So you’ve decided to homeschool or you are at the very least considering it. It’s easy to get so bombarded with curriculum ideas and homeschooling styles that you forget a few of the basics. Here are some things I feel you need to know.
- State laws – Different states have different laws in place. Some states are very hands-off suggesting you send in a letter of intent to homeschool while others require more due process or they will mark your child as absent from their local public school. To avoid legal action find out what your state laws are concerning homeschooling and use your findings to decide which homeschool route is best for you. You can find out what your state requires here. We choose a state charter and explain our reasons here.
- Motive – Why are you choosing to teach your child at home. Religion? Content? Content delivery? Freedom to travel year around? Show business? Whatever the reason keep it in mind. You will likely need to remind yourself at least once a year why you choose to embark on this wonderful journey. This will also help determine which homeschool style or styles will help your family reach their goals.
- What’s the deal with socialization – I think every homeschooling parent has been asked this questions at least once, “What about socialization?” If I am in a chatty mood I will ask, “What about it?” Then listen as they find a way to politely ask, “Aren’t you worried your kid will be weird?” The worry is that the homeschooled kid will grow up without friends and become the awkward co-worker that doesn’t know how to make small talk around the water cooler. Rest assured I don’t intend for my child to grow up and go work for someone else. My hope is that by raising my children outside the system they will be able to imagine and freely create innovative ideas that will allow them to provide jobs not work them. We are in such an interconnected society it is easy to put kids into extracurricular activities, take them on field trips or even travel the world. My objective is to equip my children to live their best life. Having friends and being a friend is on the list of things to make that happen but it is not the top of the list.
- Curriculum – This is tricky because, in my opinion, it depends on the age you start. The younger your child is the less curriculum they NEED to take that time to explore what works for you. When you find one you like to use it until you outgrow it. For math I use Horizons workbooks, for English, I use a personalized curriculum from a friend, and for social studies, geography, and science we wing it. I do use common core standards as a guide for creating content though. DO NOT SPEND A LOT ON CURRICULUM. There are so many buy/sell/trade groups online that allow you to purchase used curriculum so you can see if you like the program your interested in.
- Time – If you take out recess, lunch break, distractions from other kids, traveling to and from classrooms the average child spends less than 4 hours a day actually receiving education instruction. Keep this in mind when structuring your day. You are not teaching a group of 20 (unless of course, you are) so you do not need to structure your day as such. Last year we had a clear schedule you can see it here. This year we have an order but some days are shorter and some days are longer. Just the other day SJ finished school a whole hour early! We were both surprised and proud. She simply went through all her assignments for the day and was able to go play after. There is no rule that says all four hours (or less) of instruction have to be done at once. You can break it up based on your schedule. Do you both work best when you sleep in? Great! School starts at noon! Are you a night owl? Start school after dinner. You can even do math at sunrise and English at dusk. Explore and see what works best for you there is no hard fast rule.
Homeschooling is awesome! It’s freeing in that my children are able to learn in an environment tailored to their needs by a teacher who is personally invested in their growth, me! Please comment below with any questions you may have. I hope you take the plunge!