Monday, May 11, 2009

Homeschool! (Ahhhh!!!!!!)

I'm starting a new series about options with homeschooling. Don't stop reading yet! Stay with me on this! We can get through this post together. Just breathe...

Homeschool. I know many of you are gasping in horror at the sight of that word. That's why I feel the need to discuss this topic on my blog. It's a word with a lot of stigma, myths, and misconceptions. Through this homeschool series, I'm going to address many of those myths and misconceptions. I ask you to open yourself to the possibility that you will learn something you might not have known previously about homeschooling.

I'd like to share my previous misconceptions about homeschooling, and this might sound familiar to you. I grew up in a small rural town in Kansas. For a long time, the only kids I knew that were homeschooled were kids from church. That's the only time I saw them. I grew up with the misconception that families who homeschooled did so to protect their children from the evils of the world (religious reasons). I thought that they were social cripples who sat in a basement all day memorizing Bible verses. However, there were many times throughout middle school that I would have done ANYTHING to be homeschooled.

I know that this is what most people think of when they hear the word "homeschool". When I mentioned once to my husband a year ago that it might be worth looking into, he told me the same thing. "There's no way I'm homeschooling my kids! I don't want my kids to be social cripples who won't be able to survive in the real world!". He said this even though he knew and loved a family who homeschooled their kids (who he thought were the most polite and intelligent kids he'd ever known, by the way).

That's why I want to talk about homeschooling. Many people don't do any research on it when their children reach school age because public school is often the only option they think of. Are you sending your child to public (or private) school because you've researched all of your options and found it to be the best? Or are you sending your child to public school because that's the expectation, and that's what everyone else does? I'm going to give you a little Homeschool 101 so you can know your options.

Common misconceptions, and objections to homeschool:

"I'm not smart enough to homeschool my kids"
Well, if this is true, and you went to a public school, then are you sure you really want to send your kids to public school? Haha:-) Depending on what state you live in, there are laws about how much education you must have to homeschool your kids. In Washington, for example, you can homeschool if you are either:

a. instructing your child only and are supervised by a certificated person (i.e., the certificated person and the parent plan educational objectives; the certificated person has a minimum each month of an average of one contact hour per week with the child; and the certificated person evaluates the child’s progress); or

b. instructing your child only and have either forty-five college quarter credits or the equivalent in semester credits (approximately 30 semester credits. 1 quarter credit=2/3 semester credit);


c. instructing your child only and have completed a course in home-based education at a post- secondary institution or a vocational-technical institute (these courses generally do not require an extensive time commitment);


d. instructing your child only and are “deemed sufficiently qualified to provide home-based instruction by the superintendent of the local school district.”

Visit the HSLDA website to see the homeschooling laws in your state.

All you really need is to give your child resources. Teach them how to find the answers to their questions. Teach them how to use a dictionary, thesaurus, internet search engines, and the library. You can't possibly be the source of their entire education. That's not what homeschooling is about. It's about exploring and learning together.

"I want my kids to be around kids in school so they can learn how to get along with others and make friends!"
This is the "socialization" issue. Let me just list a few of the hundreds of ways your kids can learn social skills and make friends outside of school.
  • 4-H Club
  • Girl Scouts
  • Boy Scouts
  • Sports teams (community leagues, club teams)
  • Community theater programs
  • Community choir/band/orchestra
  • Church
  • Playing with neighborhood friends
  • Homeschool group events
  • Events at your public library (reading time, craft days)
Really, just be creative. In my opinion, unless you literally lock your kids in the house, it will be hard to keep them from making friends.

There are so many more issues about homeschooling I want to address, which is why this will be a series! Keep an eye out for the future posts talking about:
  1. Advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling (including an interview with a current college student who was homeschooled through high school)
  2. How to get started (including LOTS of resources)
  3. Different homeschool options
If you're curious about homeschooling, a great book to read would be The Homeschooling Book of Answers: The 101 Most Important Questions Answered by Homeschooling's Most Respected Voices (Prima Home Learning Library).

So what have been your assumptions of homeschooling? Do you know anyone who homeschools their kids or who was homeschooled?


  1. I'm reading a book right now called "For the Children's Sake" by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (daughter of Francis Schaeffer of L'Abri fame) that is related to this subject. It advocates a method of education advanced by Charlotte Mason that could be used in any school setting (public, private, or home) but probably most easily in a home setting. The method centers on recognizing the individual personhood of each child and the importance of exposing them to high-quality literature, art, natural science, etc and drawing out their interpretation of what they've learned without the adult telling the child what they should think about it, and not "dumbing down" things for children. It's really very interesting and it's given me great ideas I can use, however we decide to school our kids.

  2. I am homeschooling next year...we have done a lot of research and know several families who home schooled all the way through, and their kids have graduated from college and are very successful...we are enrolling in a private school that has a home school program...basically, she will graduate with a diploma from the private school in Norman, OK, and she can participate in all school activities, sports, even take elective courses their...I turn in my grading to them and they require that I meet with the home school coordinator (who happens to be my best friend) every 9 weeks. It's the best of both worlds for me. I get to plan out my daughters education based on our family goals for her, and have the backing of an accredited school. We are also choosing curriculum that is a classical education, so that she will score well on standardized tests when she is ready to apply for college.

  3. Terrific. I get more additinal info about what homeschooling really is. In my country, Indonesia, this type of learning start to develop although many parents still in doubt about the quality of the teacher and the student as well. But I don't think it will be as popular as conventional one for many reasons here.