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  " It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiousity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom. "
-- Albert Einstein


This may be VERY hard advice for those of you just coming out of a traditional school setting but the first few days and weeks you should RELAX! Give yourself a break. More importantly, give your child a break. The tendency is to just jump in. This really isn't helpful. You need time to read, learn and plan. Your child needs time to "de-school" and so do you. This is basically the process of deprogramming school from your child. This is the time to start rebuilding your childs confidence and self esteem. What we most usually see with families that start teaching right away is that they tend to just recreate school at home. In most cases, you are homeschooling because school didn't work for your child and your family. Homeschooling isn't just about "school at home". It is so much more. It is a completely different adventure.

So, if you really need an assignment, I will give you one. You need to read, learn, and plan. Talk to other people who do this. Spend time finding out what your childs goals are, how they learn best, what motivates them. You might just be surprised at some of the great insights your child has. I know I was. Your child needs to play, read, and learn to love to learn again. Cuddle late in bed, bake something, go to the library and let them pick out books just for fun. This is a great time to go on a family vacation or skip to Step 5 and enjoy some Las Vegas activities.

The loose rule of thumb is that for every year your child attended a traditional school, you should give one month of deschooling time. My younger son needed this long. It varies by kid and situation. You will know when you and yours are ready.

If the deschooling process really freaks you out because you feel like they are not learning anything, check out some websites that offer educational games. This keeps it light and fun but the kids are still practicing skills. Here my three favorites for clearing away brain dust bunnies:

BE 'TWEEN' TALK- Kids can make friends from all over the world here. The forum environment gets them discussing, writing, typing and learning. They can start their own blog. There is an arcade with fun, mostly non educational games. The site is highly moderated to allow for a safe environment. This site was started by a homeschooled kid.

I KNOW THAT- The ads on this site drive me crazy so we did pay for the family membership. I like that in order to play in their "Club Penguin" like game, the kids have to earn points playing educational games. They earn points to buy things in the virtual bee hive. It is a win-win.

FUN BRAIN-Games aligned to standards. The kiddo's seem to have fun here.