Homeschool families have many choices - curricula, schedules, extra-curricular, coop, or no the list goes on. The first step to homeschool success is developing a written plan. But to do that, homeschool families sometimes have to sort through the "needs versus wants, versus options" question. There is a difference in each of these areas when it comes to the subjects. You include for study, and far too often, homeschoolers allow the wants and the options to overpower the needs for homeschool. Plan ahead, prepare for flexibility, and involve your student in the process whenever possible!
Homeschool Designs-State requirements
Be sure that you know the state codes for graduation in your state. An excellent source for clarification is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. They keep one of the most up to date websites on specific state requirements. And even if you are homeschooling through an on-line private school program or a chartered program. he parent still must meet State codes. Subjects of study do vary from state to state, relationships with local school districts are handled differently. Homeschool parents need to understand the process in their country. There should be no fear in dealing with these codes, but adherence is critical. Stay current on the requirements that affect you.
Once you have determined that all areas of mandatory core subjects are included in your plan towards graduation. Then you can consider a list of "wants" - courses that you or your student would like to add in overtime. Just because one child in your homeschool wants to learn Spanish. For instance, that does not mean that another child might not prefer French. Be adaptable to different "wants" as that will help to motivate and encourage the unique styles and character of each of your students. Homeschooling may be the current vehicle, but not all students have a shared passion! Capitalize upon their interests.
And then a third item worth consideration would be a list of "what if" courses or areas of study. What if you had the opportunity to let each child travel for their senior year? What skills would you want your child to have? Perhaps one of your children has a passion for missionary work. That can be included in your homeschool plan if you have allowed plenty of preparation, both for academic needs as well as personal needs.
Homeschooling is full of possibilities and options. That is what draws many into homeschooling. However, you must keep focused on the big picture while allowing flexibility in the plan. The options can be as glittering lights that draw you in. But plan for them with foresight and awareness. That will eliminate false starts and wasted time. The earlier in a homeschool program that you can sit down with each child individually. Then create a master list of needs wants, and "maybe" items, the earlier you will be able to incorporate these core studies into your homeschool program.
Over time, each child that you homeschool will begin to develop unique gifts. You will need to allow some elasticity into your plan to pursue specific requests as your child grows. Never sacrifice the required elements, as that will impact your child's prospects for college. You may find that while you would like to add enrichment opportunities in some areas, your child may prefer to do extra work in a different field altogether. By involving your homeschool student in this planning process, you will have a much more motivated and engaged student learner in your homeschool program. You will also be teaching the fundamental skill of ownership. The pride in self-direction that comes from creating, implementing, and completing a successful plan.