These are my answers to the most common questions I hear about homeschooling.
What is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is the term used when parents choose to educate their children themselves, taking charge of their academics instead of leaving it to a school system. Homeschooling is allowed in all fifty states, but each state has its own set of laws that families must follow in order to homeschool legally.
Do I need special training to homeschool my children?
No, in most areas a background in teaching is not necessary, nor is a college degree. Most often a high school diploma is the minimum requirement. Check with your state for the homeschooling laws specific to your area. No one knows your child like you do, so who better to teach them?
How do you know what to teach?
As the teacher, you are responsible for deciding what your child needs to learn. You begin right where your child is developmentally and academically and build upon their skills. In some states there are basic requirements to teach certain subjects, such as English and Math and standardized tests may be required which can guide your instructional goals. Educational assessments are also helpful when determining what to teach, but ultimately you decide what your child learns.
What curriculum do you use?
Curriculum and books are available from various companies specializing in home education, but are certainly not required. When you homeschool, you get to decide what materials you use to teach your child and you are responsible for obtaining those materials from your family’s budget. Depending on your child’s age you may not need text books or formal curriculum, but as your child gets older they may be helpful for home instruction. Each family has their own needs and learning styles and can choose the materials that are right for them. Check out our Curriculum choices here.
What does your schedule look like?
Homeschooling offers the freedom to choose how we spend our days. Each homeschooling family chooses what time of the day, which days and how many hours per day are needed to achieve their educational goals. Most homeschoolers do not have to put a full eight hours into each school day as do children in institutional schools. When students in a traditional school setting are waiting for others to finish an assignment, changing classes, waiting for the bell or when there is a disruption, dead time takes away from the students instructional time. Without this dead time at home homeschoolers can get the same amount of work done in a much shorter amount of time.
Some states have a minimum number of school days that must occur within the school year and guidelines for the amount of time spent doing educational activities. Homeschooling families may follow the typical school calendar, others school year-round and still others don’t follow a schedule at all. Homeschool does not have to look like traditional school, but it can. Learning can take place in many different environments and even at unexpected times! Check out our Daily Schedule here.
What about socialization?
This is the most common question I get and the issue I tend to worry about the least. Socialization is defined as conforming to the norms of society. As Christians, we are instructed to not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). Honestly, there are many behaviors that I see in our society that I do not want my children to learn or accept as normal. I also do not want to shelter my children from the real world, because one day they will need to function in it.
As homeschoolers there are many opportunities available for my children to interact with others. They not only interact with children their own age, but with people of all ages, because the world is our classroom. There are extracurricular activities available to homeschooled children just as there are for institutionally educated children and even co-op opportunities with other homeschooling families. Studies show that homeschooled children fare equally well socially compared to their institutionally educated peers, and are even able to interact on a higher level with people outside of their generation. I personally believe that with God’s grace my children will develop into the individuals they were created to be no matter how they are educated.
Can your children participate in extracurricular activities?
Yes! Our children can and do participate in extracurricular activities! In many areas there are community programs for sports, music, art and more that children can participate in regardless of what school they attend. There are also homeschool groups that offer extracurricular activities for local homeschoolers to join. In some school districts, homeschooled children are even permitted to participate in the public school’s programs as well.
Do you homeschool in your pajamas?
So far, no. Our family does not do school in our pajamas. Some homeschoolers do. I personally feel like we are more productive if we get ready for the day. In this way we are able to tackle anything that pops up as a learning opportunity. I make it a point to have my family dressed and ready for our school day as if we were heading out the door (sans shoes). I take school seriously by preparing for the day ahead and I want my children to do the same. That is not to say that one day in our future we won’t do something educational in our comfies. Does it really matter what we wear while we learn? For now pajamas are not a part of our school uniform. But…maybe I will declare a pajama day for fun like traditional schools do!
Are homeschoolers lazy?
To suggest that homeschoolers are lazy is one of the most unbelievable things that I have ever heard! I would not have thought of this question on my own, especially after pursuing homeschooling for my family. Anyone who has taken it upon themselves to devise, establish and execute a homeschool knows the work that goes into it day in and day out. I have quickly learned that there is no day off, even on non-school days. Learning opportunities for homeschoolers present themselves everywhere. We intentionally use the everyday world around us as our classroom in addition to planned instruction. Even if we are not sitting at our desk for eight hours we are putting in the work. Consider our ability to tailor our children’s education to their individual needs, give them one-on-one instruction and eliminate the ‘dead’ time in our days and you can see how our children can learn without a full eight hours of ‘school’ like their institutionally educated peers (see above question about scheduling).
As the parent teacher, there is also the pressure of knowing your child’s academic future rest on you. No one wants my children to succeed more than I do and with that kind of pressure I am not giving sloppy effort. Homeschooling is a lot of work, but most home educators love doing it and do it well. So, NO! Homeschoolers do not have time to be lazy! If you’re still skeptical I have one suggestion….try it!
Why do people choose to homeschool?
The answer to this question is unique for each individual family because people choose to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons. Some are dissatisfied with their institutional school choices for their children due to academics, faculty, safety or other reasons. Others home educate for religious reasons. Some because of a desire to choose what their children are being taught. Families with children that have special needs or medical needs may choose to homeschool for one-on-one instruction. Military families or those that must frequently travel or relocate may find homeschooling more fitting for their family.
Each and every homeschool is one-of-a-kind.
If you have a specific homeschooling question I would love to hear it! Contact Me!