Before I take a bit of a computer break for the long weekend, I thought I would jump on here to share a litle #7QT post about making the decision to homeschool. Linking up with Kelly!
So You Are Thinking of Homeschooling!
Are you considering homeschooling? Have you thought of the benefits of having your children home more, having control over their education, and a more manageable family schedule? Are you overwhelmed and don't know where to start?
Don't worry, you are not alone. Truth be told it took me six years to make the leap! Hubby and I began discussing homeschool the day Cowgirl was born. When she turned five I still wasn't ready to commit and had so many reservations. I enrolled her in preschool for three full days a week to stall the process a bit. She had made the kindergarten birthday cut off by mere hours, everyone was okay with that response so that is where we were for a year!
When Cowgirl was coming up on turning 6, Hubby told me that preschool for another year was no longer an option, I needed to make a decision! I jumped in with both feet and 9 years later, we are still going!
Where to Start with Homeschooling
The best place to start is with your "why." Why do you want to do this? Why do you think your family needs this? Write it down. Say it out loud. Paint it on your wall if you want! Knowing your why will solidify your decision because now you gave a vision.
You could do a pros and cons analysis--that is a favorite exercise of mine, but your why is the biggest piece to this decision making process. A homeschooling friend once said, "Write down why you are doing this in August and then take it out in January and remind yourself when you forget!"
Dealing with The "What About...?" Resistance
One of the first questions you will probably be asked when you announce your decision to homeschool will be, "What about Algebra and Chemistry?"
The second will be, "What about socialization?"
What about them?? If you child is starting kindergarten, the truth is that you don't need to know what you will do about anything beyond kindergarten. No one is asking public school kindergarten parents, "What about AP Spanish?"
That is years away. The years go quickly but you really only need to tackle this year.
On to the socialization question...ask them to define socialization, and then proceed. Homeschooling is not some back woods, underground movement. Today, it is as mainstream as charter schools and abounding with opportunities. In fact, most homeschool families struggle with actually being home!
However, even if you are not on the road every day for co-op, classes, meet-ups, and field trips; socialization is the skill of being able to relate to others, form relationships, and interact with those beyond your immediate family. Homeschooling provides more opportunities to interact with people from all age groups and demographics than any other schooling option. Homeschool activities are not segregated by class or geographic neighborhood, there are children from all grades and often several towns, counties, even states in one place, learning together!
Is Homeschooling Even Legal?
Well, yes it is! Honeschooling is legal in all 50 states of the USA, Canada, and most countries around the world. There are exceptions, however, and you can see a break down of homeschooling laws for the world here.
Each state does have it's own regualtions and requirements. Some are more homeschool friendly than others. If you are considering homeschooling, your first stop should be HSLDA to see what your state requires of homeschool families and how to proceed.
Even in the most rigid states, homeschooling is still a completely viable option. Do not fear that you will have to hide in your basement and use code names to survive. I promise you, no laws are being broken by teaching your child to read!
Are You Qualified to Teach?
Some states do have stipulations on home teacher requirements that need to be met. That said, parents teach their children every day! You taught your child how to dress, how to speak, how to safely go up and down the stairs, how to ride a bike, how to write his name....the list goes on and on. Lesson abound at home. Also, homework turns parents into teachers whether they like it or not. If you are spending hours each night reviewing multiplication, working through essay writing, helping a child match shapes and colors, etc, guess what, you are already homeschooling!
If you do come across a subject that you just can't or won't teach to your children, there are numerous options for online, video, and self guided courses. Being a homeschool parent does not mean you are the only one allowed to teach your child, it just means you are the one in charge of overseeing his complete education.
In fact, recent studies have show that the biggest factor in successful learning is student/teacher relationship! Teachers are being encouraged to get to know students better, and many schools are adopting a "looping" system so students stay with one teacher longer. That just begs for an increase in homeschooling. Who knows a child better than his parents?
Where Do You Find Homeschool Curriculum?
Do you have a library card? I know that seems over simplified, but back in the day, before textbook companies existed, there were books! Just books! That is how Abe Lincoln learned, and it seems to have worked pretty well.
Of course, you may want more structure, more accountability, more support. In that case, there are an overwhelming amount of homeschool curriculum options out there. Honestly, there are too many! Instead of worrying if options exist, prepare yourself to be overwhelmed with the programs and texts available for homeschooling today! I will be publishing a guide to finding homeschool materials this July!
What If I Fail at Homeschooling My Child?
Well, that is a possibility, but so is your house being struck by lightening, you live there anyway, though. The fear of failure holds back the best of ventures. You will never know until you try. Playing the "what if" game is not beneficial to any decision making process.
You are making this decision to the best of your ability today for this year. Take it one year at a time. get through kindergarten without worrying about 4th grade! You are free to change your mind at any time. Children change schools all the time due to moves or school choice options. Don't let the fear of failing hold you back. YOU CAN DO THIS!!
What is your biggest question about beginning to homeschool?
Drop it below or send me a message. I would love to help you out!