The Homeschool Like an Expert: Video Series should be useful for parents new to homeschooling—and even more so for those just getting started and who might not be certain how long they intend to homeschool. Presenter Anne Crossman speaks from both her knowledge as a professional educator and her own experience as she discusses the steps to take to get started with homeschooling. You can check out her, seven-minute video titled “Overview of Homeschool Like an Expert: Video Series” to get an idea of what the entire series is like, but the entire series is free!
The complete series consists of nine course videos (eight to twenty-one minutes each) plus the “Bonus Quick Start Guide” video (25 minutes).
The “Bonus Quick Start Guide” video might be the best starting place since Crossman begins that video with a lengthy discussion of the options available to homeschoolers—comparing the cost, the amount of autonomy families have, and who has authority over educational decisions. In this video, she also covers the importance of both structure and flexibility, ideas for streamlining the curriculum, free resources, resources that are particularly practical for homeschoolers, and how to meet the individual social needs of children.
The nine videos that make up the main course are titled:
- Get Started Successfully
- Study How My Child Learns Best
- Develop a Community
- Find the Best Homeschool Curriculum
- Utilize Tests and Grades
- Look Out for Special Needs in Homeschooling
- Teaching Multiple Ages at the Same Time
- How to Transition into Traditional Ed (back into a traditional school)
- Support the Teacher at Home
The first four of these nine videos will probably be the most important for new homeschoolers to watch before they get started. These four videos cover almost everything you need to think about, sometimes referring you to the free PDF resources Crossman has available for each video. Parents whose children have special learning needs might find the sixth video particularly helpful before they begin.
I agree with most of what Crossman says, but she has a confidence in government schools as sources for support and information that I do not share. She also strongly recommends tests and report cards for most grade levels, while I am much more cautious about their use in the elementary grades. In addition, she discusses meeting state standards as a good thing. This is often of concern to new homeschoolers who are not sure if they will continue homeschooling, but I have a pretty dim view of state standards. I find that most homeschoolers exceed them over time in the areas that matter, even if they don’t teach things in the same order or don’t cover everything in the standards.
On a more positive note, Crossman makes some excellent points about topics you might not think important. For example, when she discusses becoming part of a community in the third video, she suggests checking out a number of support groups to find the one or two that best fit you and your family. But she also says to be wary of support groups that are formed around one particular curriculum. Very often, families begin with one curriculum, only to find that it really doesn’t suit their family, and they need to switch to something else. But if their support community is centered on a curriculum they no longer want to use, they can find themselves in a bind. This can be a huge problem since children and parents have already started forming relationships they might not want to lose. Crossman alerts new homeschoolers to a number of things like this that are unlikely to have occurred to them.
I also appreciate that Crossman often discusses efficient and inexpensive ways to homeschool. Even if parents have the financial resources to purchase whatever they want, time is limited. Knowing that you don’t have to do everything in a textbook or that you might be able to teach two children working at different grade levels using the same curriculum for subjects like science and history can be a lifesaver.
Crossman speaks very quickly on these videos and she covers loads of information. You might do well to rewatch a few times or else stop and rewind periodically to make sure you’ve understood everything. There’s a lot to absorb, especially when so much of it might be new information. If you prefer reading, Crossman has a book titled Homeschool Like an Expert that covers the same information as that on the videos and more.
The Homeschool Like an Expert: Video Series should give new homeschoolers the confidence to get started. Even those who have already begun homeschooling are likely to find valuable ideas in these videos.