Yes, at one point, I homeschooled my children. Tony was such an active (do I say hyper?) boy that I knew they would not allow him in school without trying to medicate him. Even when he played Nintendo or watched TV, he could not sit still. He would stand in one place with the controller in hand and make little jumps or sway back and forth.
I knew I did not want him on any medications, so I became a homeschooler. Then I no longer homeschooled, but several events occurred and now I am homeschooling my youngest.
As I am asked frequently for advice, I thought I would share some of the things I have learned through the years.
First, it is very important to know and stay within the laws and requirements of your state or region. It is also important to realize that depending on where you live, even depending on the specific school district or county, that there may be negative forces that are determined to take away your parental rights.
I chose to purchase a type of pre-paid legal protection through the Home School Legal Defense Association [HSLDA] that was founded to defend and advance the constitutional rights of parents to direct the education of their children and protect family freedoms. HSLDA has defended hundreds of families whose choice to teach their own children was being challenged in the courts, legislatures, and media.
They are also an excellent resource on the different aspects of homeschooling.
Homeschooling tends to take up a lot of time in your day. It is more than just sitting down with books for a couple of hours. There are experiments and projects to be managed, lessons to prepare, papers to grade, field trips, coop days, music lessons, sports, and the list goes on.
I saw the following on a homeschool website:
“Housework and laundry still have to be done, but it probably won't get done first thing in the morning. If a stickler for a spotless house, you might be in for a surprise. Not only does housework need to be let go at times, but homeschooling creates messes and clutter in itself.”
I do not agree with the above premise. It is not homeschooling that creates messes and clutter…it is PEOPLE (and not just children), and PEOPLE can be TAUGHT organization and management skills.
My whole website is devoted to these principles.
What good is it if I teach my child about history or geography, but he or she is not self-disciplined; they do not know how to organize things, themselves, or their time. They do not know how to systemize, analyze, manage, or categorize.
I homeschool and my home is clean. My children do the chores with me. That way they learn to categorize as they put the videos or books by genre.
They learn to systematize as they do laundry, following the processes and steps I have developed, and learn how to refine them.
They learn time management as fun isn’t allowed until after chores and schoolwork are done. (Moreover, some learn it quicker than others do).
Principles of organization and management and good character will determine success more than educational achievement, in my opinion.
Homeschooling can be accomplished very inexpensively; however, it usually requires that the teaching parent will not be working out of the home. Therefore, changes will need to occur if the family is used to two incomes.
I am constantly told that my children need socialization. From what I’ve seen of the public schools is that the child learns social tidbits such as: how to spit; how to say bad words; how to talk back; how to be rude, cynical, and sarcastic.
On the other hand, it always puzzles me, when I see someone homeschooling “to protect their children,” but then they let evil (at least comparable to what is in the public schools) into their home through the movies, television, or media they listen to and watch.
I also see many sleepovers or slumber parties to which I do not agree. I know of no good that comes from such, and just because someone homeschools or even attends the church you do…does not mean that they parent with the same standards. (Believe me, young parents; I have learned the hard way…from experience!)
Meeting together with other homeschoolers can be helpful, but finding a support group can sometimes be difficult. It often takes patience to find the right match for your family. Generally, support groups offer encouragement and help along the way. They can help with choosing curriculum, record keeping, meeting the state laws, and providing opportunities and activities for your students.
This is hard for me, as my religion is a major factor. I believe in the Godhead, but I believe that they are three distinct personages with Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, having tangible, perfected, resurrected bodies, and the Holy Ghost being a spirit. I also believe that Jesus Christ is the Literal Son of God, the Eternal Father.
Therefore, I cannot sign the Statements of Faith that the groups in my area have. One group, did not even allow us to attend their activities. The other group allowed us to attend activities, but I could not hold any position or teach.
If you live in a more populated area, this should not be a problem as you can find a group that will fit your needs. However, remember that many of the concerns you have about public schools will surface in other forms in homeschooling; because people are people; and stereotypes, prejudice, and ignorance will always exist.
Both Parents in Agreement
Just as any major decision in marriage,…both partners must agree. If your spouse is against it at this time, do more research, pray, serve, and try to meet more homeschoolers.
Is your child willing?
A willing student is always helpful. Ultimately, the decision is the parents to make, but if your child is dead against it, you might have a hard time of it (However, I believe strongly that parents are ordained of God to raise their children, and he will guide them…if you have received confirmation of the spirit to do so…do it!)
Sometimes it is the most rebellious and unwilling child that needs homeschooling/private schooling the most...
Douglas was dead set against us moving to Houston, and thought we had made the worst mistake of our lives. He met Ary (his wife) just a few months after we moved there…now he thinks differently.
One Year at a Time
Or even one day at a time… It isn't a lifetime commitment - most families take one year at a time.
In addition, just because you feel led to homeschool one child, doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to homeschool all of your children.
Each child is different, with different talents, personalities, capabilities, weaknesses. Some children do fine in public schools, while others do not.
One woman I knew had three children: one was homeschooled, one was in a religious private school, and one was in the local public school. Do what is best for each child and do not listen to the comments of others!
Intimidated by the teaching? - If you can read and write, you should be able to teach your children. The curriculum and teacher materials will help through the planning and teaching. Get help from others if you are stuck, or hire tutors for subjects that are difficult for you.
Choosing a Curriculum
If I were to ever homeschool again, this is one area that I would do it over…completely different from what I had done.
I spent hours coloring, cutting, copying, creating, organizing, developing curriculum, lesson plans, visuals, and so forth. I wanted to create an individualized curriculum just for my children.
Much wiser now, I would find curriculum that was already developed and just supplement it with selected pieces, as I felt necessary.
Selecting a curriculum can be overwhelming, but ask around, go to book fairs, find a family that has successfully homeschooled for years to get advice, and study and pray. It is possible to overspend or underspend; cost doesn’t equal quality…a fact the public schools have yet to learn.
I wrote the above previously. Of course, I am now homeschooling again, but have not been so successful in finding a curriculum or program I like for each child.
Last year, they were enrolled in an on-line school that was a fiasco. This year we are on our own, but I would like to find a complete program that is really good....I keep searching...
Keep good records of your child's homeschool years. The records can be as simple as a daily journal or as elaborate as a purchased computer program or notebook system. There are also companies and schools, from which you may purchase curriculum that keep the record for you, or even test your children.
Keep Abreast of Best Practices
Just as a professional takes additional training to keep current or subscribes to Professional Journals to keep abreast of current treads, legal issues, new data, research, and so on. As the educator and administrator of your child, you need to educate yourself on curriculum, grade levels, learning styles, intelligence, pedagogy, and the subjects you will teach.
I suggest subscribing to a well-informed homeschooling magazine as well as researching, reading, and learning continually.
Tammy’s Likes and Dislikes
What I enjoy most about homeschooling is that I am with my children all day. I still cringe when someone makes a joke or comment about how happy they are because school started and now they have their freedom.
I actually like children, and I especially like my children. I like being with them and enjoy their company.
I missed spending my days with them when they were in school.
What I dislike about homeschooling is the pressure that I feel, being responsible for the secular education of my children.
I still remember the day I sent my older children to school for the first time. I cried for hours because I did not want to send them to school, but I felt that was best for the family at the time.
At the same time, however, I felt as though a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders, as now my main focus was their spiritual and mental education.
(I must add, though, that you still have to constantly teach your children to think critically and learn to discern between what is correct and what is politically correct, gooblygook...)
And now that I am homeschooling...again....I do not have to worry about what misinformation, lies, propaganda, intellectual fallicies are being taught to them...
Sometimes, a child is struggling so much in school, that homeschooling is the only or last life-preserver you can give them. As I noted earlier, each child, each situation is peculiar. Parents must find the best path for each child.