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Just recently, in two different situations, friends confided in me their consideration of homeschooling their children. They both had distinct reasons for this contemplation. One child is just in the preschool age and the other a fifth grader. I realized that I do a lot of "part-time" teaching with my own children but, because I send them to school, I don't have to worry about laws, a set curriculum, socialization and testing. Fortunately, I contribute to Mommy Maestra and was excited to learn more about homeschooling.
Other worries I can just imagine: I understand that home schooling parents receive a lot of scrutiny, unsolicited advice and endless questions from extended family (and even perfect strangers) they wish they could avoid. Like all family matters, education decisions can be private too, and the only ones questioning should be the family themselves.
These families trusted me enough to ask the questions and to help talk things through. I asked my friends if they knew anyone who was already homeschooling and if they could set up some time to pick their brains? I also asked if they knew our state laws, if they were organized and if they knew their children's learning style? What about letting their children just attend gym class or art class at their local school? Did they know that was an option? It's a lot to consider. No one doubts it is a hard job, but parents now have many tools at their disposal to help them be effective homeschoolers. Some parents hire tutors to do a subject matter with which they are not comfortable, while others perfer to use online instructors or programs that teach specific subjects, and still others find communities of homeschoolers and parents to share the work.
Things to consider: Involve your child in the decision making. A preschooler might have soccer buddies who will start school soon and parents should be prepared to have the homeschool conversation. An older child might request it. I once heard of a family who homeschooled some years and not others. The child would ask to attend traditional school one year but not the next!
What type of method would you like to approach? A classical homeschool method? A religious one? Unschooling? Eclectic?
I learned through this research that Unschooling is a teaching method with no set curriculum, pretty much taking the child's lead. This reminds me of my "part-time" teaching at home. If my son wants to learn more about dinosaurs, I find books, websites, videos, puzzles and museums to help him learn.
I also learned that the Eclectic method takes a little from all the teaching methods. A set grammar teaching curriculum from a classical homeschool resource and a little of the religious and unschooling methods could all be used simultaneously.
My friends' decision is not an easy one to make. I did leave them with a solid piece of advice: Whatever you and your family decide, it will be the right decision for your family. If it doesn't work, there are other options to consider. Most importantly, it doesn't matter what people will say now or later. Homeschooling is a decision made based on what is best for our children...and given with a lot of extra love. Good luck!
- Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)
- New Jersey Department of Education (One state's example)
- Equal Access Law: State by State list
Blogs (Mommy Maestra's favorites):
- The Homeschool Lounge
- Simple Homeschool
- Free Homeschool Deals
- The Homeschool Mom
- Homeschool Giveaways
Links from this blog:
- What is Bilingual Homeschooling?
- Is Homeschooling the Right Choice for My Familia?
- A Brief Description of Homeschooling Methods
- Dealing with the Emotional Decision to Homeschool...
- Homeschool Basics
- Resources (lots for bilingual kids!)
Betty Galvan, is helping her readers "find the positive and seek the benefits" over at her blog, MyFriendBettySays.com.
She is the mother of three beautiful little boys and a teacher.