In Part 1, we discussed Alaska’s homeschool law and the importance of knowing the law. We also discussed the importance and value of national organizations such as HSLDA.
Once you are familiar with the law, the next step is to connect with your state homeschooling group(s) and any local homeschooling groups. In Alaska, the statewide support group is Alaska Private and Home Educators Association (APHEA). APHEA hosts an annual homeschooling convention in Anchorage and a quarterly newsletter for members. APHEA is also a discount group for HSLDA and will inform members of any legislation that may be detrimental to Alaska’s homeschooling freedoms. There is a yahoo group called akfreeschoolers and for social media fans, there is an active Facebook group called “Alaska Network of Independent Homeschoolers” that you can join. There is a Google+ group with the same name, but it does not appear to be as active as the Facebook platform. Through HSLDA or any of these statewide groups, one can connect to a local homeschooling group that will be able to put you face-to-face with seasoned and veteran homeschoolers that can answer questions, provide insight, and help your children connect with other homeschooling children (that “socialization” factor).
You’ve connected with all of these organizations and people, but I’m sure you are wondering where the “home” of homeschooling is? Now we get to it. The organizations and support are an important part of your foundation. You wouldn’t build a home without a good foundation, right? The support available is highly valuable to your new endeavor. Now we get to finishing the foundation and developing the floor plan. This means you need to get a vision and establish some goals. We’ll start with the basics. I encourage you to write down your answers to these questions so that you can refer to them whenever you need a gentle reminder. Homeschooling is not always sunshine and roses. There will be stormy days and you may need to be reminded of your bigger picture.
WHY are you homeschooling? Write down all of the reasons that you want to or have decided to homeschool. What are the advantages to homeschooling? List ALL of your perceived advantages in ALL areas: spiritual, moral/character, academic, social, and family. Next, list all of the disadvantages and how you can resolve those disadvantages for all of those same areas: spiritual, moral/character, academic, social, and family. Whatever the reasons, no matter how big or small, write them down! Not only will these answers help you when you feel doubt or discouragement try to creep in, they will help to steer your curriculum choices. This is such a vital step in that education home’s foundation that you are building.
In my next post, we will move beyond the foundation and into that floor plan: GOALS. We will cover several different areas for setting and making goals, as well as short term and long term. No matter how long your homeschooling journey may be, having a clear set of measurable goals helps to keep you on track and keep your eye on the prize. Stay tuned!