Homeschooling Basics

What about socialization?

This is a very common concern we hear from families new to homeschooling, and it is a question homeschoolers hear from other people on a regular basis. Experience has shown that most children who homeschool spend plenty of time interacting with others. Since homeschoolers generally have more free time to be involved in community activities than children who attend “regular” school, there is no end to socialization opportunities.

Homeschooled children learn how to navigate and enjoy the company of peers, elders, younger children, parents, and grandparents while going to art and music classes, scout troop activities, volunteering, participating in sports, and playing with neighborhood kids. Most homeschooling families take advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling to include field trips and travel as well.

Many homeschooling families report that their children become better socialized than their school-going peers because they are not limited to peer-group interactions, which are not always healthy, but are surrounded by people who model positive ways to communicate, problem solve, and resolve conflicts.

Read more about socialization here.

Do I need a teacher manual or teacher edition?

Most families find they need the teacher manuals and editions because otherwise they would need to read all of the lesson material in order to assess their student’s work. In addition to having factual answers and information, these books include other tips on evaluating and supporting your student.

Teacher manuals are included with the full grade packages in grades 4-8 and available as an optional purchase for individual courses in high school. Enrolled students and families should contact their Oak Meadow teacher directly for questions regarding course work.

Grades K-3: Teacher guides The Heart of Learning and the Oak Meadow Guide to Teaching in the Early Grades can be purchased individually or as part of the K-3 Essentials package. The resources in the package are used in kindergarten through third grade; therefore it is a one-time purchase. Please note: while the K-3 Essentials Package is not required to teach our curriculum, there are frequent references to it in the K-3 coursebooks. However, families can use any book or online resource they prefer to complete the activities mentioned in the weekly lesson plans.

Teacher editions are available for high school. High school students usually work very independently, so teachers and parents may not have easy access to the student coursebook to find out what the student is learning. For the home teacher’s convenience, the teacher editions include all of the material in the student coursebook as well as specific answers to questions, guidance on assessing student work, ways to track student progress, and information on evaluating student responses to open-ended assignments.

How much time per day should homeschooling take?

This varies for each student and each family, and will change as the child gets older. In the early grades, the parent is completely involved in the learning process, but as the child moves through the grades, more and more work is done independently.

Grades K-3: roughly 3-4 hours per day

In first grade, you might begin the day with a 15 minute circle time followed by 45 minutes of reading and writing. In the afternoon, a one hour session is suggested: 45 minutes of either math or science and 15 minutes of reading. In the early grades, much of the learning time is spent actively engaged in hands-on projects, and you might expect another hour or so to be spent on projects, bringing the total up to three hours a day. As the student progresses, more time is spent doing more focused “desk work”: reading, writing, and researching.

Grades 4-8: roughly 4-6 hours

By the time students are in middle school, they should expect to work at least one hour per day, per subject. Of course, some students will need more time to do their work well, and others may be quicker in certain subjects. Every student is different but this gives you a general idea of what to expect.

High school: roughly 1 hour per course per day

In general most students work best when a specific time of the day is dedicated to doing school work, and there is a healthy mix of focused book work and artistic, experiential projects. Including an element of physical activity during each school day is also vital to a healthy, happy student.

Most families and  students quickly discover a rhythm to their school day and week that works well for them.

Here are more tips:

How do I set up a learning environment at home?

There are many ways for families to set up their homes to create a learning environment that encourages effective, enjoyable learning. One important aspect of Waldorf philosophy is to honor childhood by respecting each developmental stage and allowing your child time and space to mature at their own pace.

With this in mind, here are some helpful suggestions.

I've received my books. Now what?

Receiving a box full of curriculum materials is exciting but can be a bit overwhelming if you are new to homeschooling. Look over each book to familiarize yourself with what you have, and give yourself a day or so to read through everything before you begin your schoolwork.

Read the introduction to the coursebook(s), scan any supplemental books, and get oriented to the amount of work presented in a single lesson (which is designed to be completed in one week). If you are using K-3 material, begin reading your teacher guides, The Heart of Learning and Guide to Teaching in the Early Grades, before you begin your school year. This way, you will feel more prepared to begin your homeschooling journey.

Most families find their stride after the first few weeks of adjusting to homeschooling. The Oak Meadow office staff is happy to answer any questions, so please feel free to contact us.