What is Homeschooling?
Win Janet's Homeschool Award ©1998
What is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling simply means YOU teach your children at "HOME". Not necessarily at your house, but in a setting other than a "school" setting. You can use a special room set up as a classroom or you can use your dining room table. You can set it up anywhere you want or nowhere in particular. One of the best things about homeschooling is that the "classroom" is portable. You can do schoolwork just about anywhere!
Every place you go can become a field trip. Even the grocery store can be a field trip or other learning experience. Every thing you do can be a learning experience. A 9-year old learning to wash laundry is LEARNING life-skills.
Education is much more than learning to read and write. To be a well-rounded person, you must have a well-rounded education. It is very difficult if not impossible for a student to get that in a public or even private school setting. In a "school" they might learn to read, if you are lucky.
Most homeschool students are well above their peers that are schooled in a public or even private school. (Check the "homeschooling information" link on the resource page for lots of statistics). There are almost as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschoolers.
If you think you would like to find out more about homeschooling, please keep reading here and then check out the resources on the next page-- Homeschooling Resources .
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Is it legal?
This section is not intended to represent legal advice!
Is homeschooling legal? YES! In every state homeschooling is legal. Some states have different laws and requirements, but you can homeschool in any state. Please check with the HOMESCHOOL LEGAL DEFENSE ASSOCIATION for the requirements in your state.
For certain states, it is HIGHLY recommended that you join the HSLDA so you will have legal protection if you should need it. There are basically 3 types of states,
(1) Private school states--- do not require you to submit any paperwork with the school board, unless you are specifically contacted and asked to do so. Your homeschool is treated as a private school. California is a good example of a private school state.
(2) Notification states--- do require you to notify the county or state board of education that you intend to homeschool. Arizona is a good example of a notification state. When we moved here I sent in a "notarized affidavit of intent" to the county school board. Since that time, I have had no contact with them.
The Third type of state is the most difficult type.
(3) Approval states--- require not only notification but you must also obtain PERMISSION before you can begin homeschooling. You must submit a great deal of paperwork before you begin homeschooling in most of the approval states. Fortunately, the number of approval states has been going down.
The following states are approval states:
Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Utah,
South Dakota has another potential problem--the superintendent is allowed to make unannounced visits to the homeschool!
Check with HSLDA FIRST for your state requirements and then IF necessary contact your school board.
If you do not NEED to contact the school board then DON'T.
If they don't need to know, don't tell them. Sometimes an official will go against the state requirements and try to make you keep your child in the public school system, either for personal reasons, (i.e. they don't believe in homeschooling) or for monetary reasons (each child in the school system represents a large amount of $$$$ for that school). You want to avoid any hassles you can, especially when you are just starting out!
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Is it worth it?
This is a very good and legitimate question! You have to ask yourself, do I want my children to learn good, wholesome, family values-MY VALUES? Do I want my young children to learn abstinence or to be given condoms and birth control without my knowledge and consent?
In Maryland, a school nurse can put NORPLANT into your daughters arm (that is a surgical procedure!) without your knowledge or consent!
Are you worried about your kids getting involved in drugs? Are you worried about what your children are NOT learning in school? Have you looked at a history book lately?
They are robbed of their innocence by the sex education given in institutional schools and by the behaviors and lack of morals they learn from their peers.
Have you ever noticed how even very young children seem "old" or sophisticated for their age? People will comment that the children of today are much more "advanced" than children were just 10 or 15 years ago. This is NOT normal, it is harmful to children to not have a "childhood". A 5, 6, 7, or even 8 year old does not need SEX education beyond the questions THEY themselves ask. Even children older than that don't need to know anything more than what is necessary for their particular situation.
When my husband was in 6th grade (age 11), in a very small-town public school, he was shown a film that amounted to pornography. They actually showed a couple being intimate (they showed it ALL) and a lot more. This was in his health class and it was 18 years ago!!! Before he saw this "film" he had no interest in sex or girls, he was interested in sports and other "boy" things. When he saw the film he felt betrayed and violated by his school. His innocence was stolen in one afternoon by the public school system! If they showed something like that 18 years ago, what are they teaching now???
We should let the children be children, and not force them to grow up before they are ready. If you want more proof about how sex education has hurt our children instead of helping them--look at the number of pregnancies, births and abortions by unwed mothers before sex education was introduced in schools and what it is now!
These are some of the many, many reasons why you should get your children out of the public or even private school systems, (even most private schools now use secular textbooks). All of them are excellent reasons to start homeschooling,
The best reason to homeschool is because you really get to know your children! What their interests are, what they don't like, what worries them. You get to spend not only quality time but also QUANTITY time with them. You can watch them grow and develop into the people they will become. Now I can't promise that just because you homeschool, your child won't start to use drugs, but the odds are in your favor. You know who they are, where they are, and who their friends are. You have greater control over their environment. They are not subject to the same peer pressure.
They will be home for you to see all their accomplishments. If a topic comes up such as abortion or euthanasia or some other "deep" topic, you don't have to worry about the information they are given, you will be able to talk to them about it from your point of view. Best of all you will start to have these types of discussions with them because they will be there.
If your child is in a "school" for 6 hours a day (which with the bus ride each way etc, it is more like 8), then comes home with 3-5 hours worth of homework AND they want to see their friends, AND watch television---when do you have time to get to know your kids? When do you have time to really TALK to your kids? If they are at "home"school you have many, many opportunities for that kind of interaction.
In 1 state, either Georgia or Alabama, a judge just ruled that it is illegal to pray in a classroom or at a school function of any kind, even if it is silently or student led. He went so far as to even include times of National Danger, etc.! If, God forbid, the President was shot-like Kennedy or Reagan - the students would not be able to stop and pray for him!!!!
If you are Catholic, like we are, you can live the faith much more fully. (The church has always said that parents are to be the primary educators of their children.) You can go to Mass in the morning, go to confession during the week, help out with a prison ministry, visit elderly people, etc. You can set your schedule the way you want. You don't have to wait until 3 p.m. or be back by 12:30 to pick up the 5 yr. old in order to do things. Another great thing about homeschooling is it allows time for the whole family to get involved in starting and running a home-based business. They learn great skills and the family earns income.
So, is it worth it???
That depends, do you want to really get to know your children? Do you want to protect them as far as possible from the evils being taught in our public schools? Do you want to teach them the truth about abortion, contraception, and other important issues? Do you want them to fulfill God's plan for their life? Do you want them to achieve their full potential? Do you want them to be spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually prepared for the "real world"? If the answer to any of these is yes then,
homeschooling is worth it!
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Can I do it? I am not a "teacher".
Webster's new school & office Dictionary, 1961 ed.---
teach- to impart knowledge; to instruct; inform; cause to learn or acquire skill in; to give instruction.
teacher- one who teaches others; an instructor; a preacher
You do not have to be a certified teacher to teach your child!
( Check with HSLDA because some states used to require this! )
The reason teachers go to school to get a teaching certificate is not so they can teach the basics. They go there to learn how to handle a large group of children to which they have no relation. They do not learn how to teach YOUR child, they learn to teach a subject. YOUR child is not a "subject", he/she is a child. Only you truly know your child! They cannot teach that to a teacher, it only comes from experience. You have been with your child since his/her birth (usually), and you know how they learn, what their weak points and strong points are. ( If your child has been in a "school" for several years, it may take you some time to get to know your child's learning habits again, but don't worry, YOU CAN DO IT! ) In order for most people to learn something, it must be presented to them in a way they can understand. Does your child speak? Does your child walk? Does your child understand what you tell him/her? If the answer to any of these is yes then-
YOU ARE A TEACHER!
Who taught those things to your child? Probably it was you! Teaching math, reading, spelling, etc is no different than teaching a child to speak or walk. In fact, teaching a child to read or do math is probably easier than teaching them to speak or walk and I KNOW it is easier than potty training!
The best advice I have ever received about homeschooling was
"Try it for 1 year."
Try it for 1 year and if at the end of that year you decide it is too much work or it just isn't working out (for whatever reason), you can put your child back into the school he/she had been in. You will have lost nothing! Even if your child doesn't learn anything during that year, he/she will still be no worse off than the children who were in the public school that year. You will still have gained a lot by having them home, you will have a better understanding of each other and yourselves, and if it isn't for you then you will have learned that too! ;-)
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How much does it Cost?
Homeschooling can be expensive or inexpensive depending on the curriculum you choose and your point of view. Homeschooling is almost always less expensive than a private school, but when you send your child to "public" school usually the only thing you pay for is supplies like paper, pencils, new clothes, etc. The reason I highlighted new clothes is because when you homeschool, you do not have to RUSH out and buy a bunch of new clothes every September, you can buy what they need, when they need it and spread your expense over the course of the year.
If you choose to buy a packaged curriculum you will spend anywhere between $200 and $500 (more or less) for each child. That seems like a lot but that is for the entire year. Compare that with any private school! (High school courses can sometimes be more, but still less than private school.)
If you choose to put your own curriculum together it will usually cost much less. You can purchase new or used books from many sources--book/curriculum fairs, used book companies, direct from publishers, some of the schools that offer full curriculums also sell the books separately. You can use the library. Some support groups maintain a "library" of books that they share. Also if you purchase the books without buying a complete curriculum you get to KEEP the books and use them for the next child in that grade or sell them and recover some of your investment. (Most full curriculums require you to return the books you use, you are only renting them).
I, personally, recommend using a packaged curriculum for the first year, unless you feel really comfortable with doing it on your own. After the first year, once you have an idea of how to do it, you can do it on your own. For our first year, we used the full package from Seton Home Study School. Once we got the hang of it, we decided to go out on our own and have been putting our own materials together ever since. Doing it yourself gives you a lot more flexibility but also a lot more responsibility because you have to make sure you cover all the basics.
One of the best things about doing it yourself is being able to direct your studies more toward the interests of your children. You can do "unit studies" where every subject revolves around a particular theme. We did one earlier this school year on "Flight and Rockets". We read the biography's of Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Francis Scott Key ("The rockets red glare...."), and the Wright Brothers. We studied the art of Da Vinci. We built a model rocket and had a picnic lunch and set it off. We read stories about airplanes and rockets. We went to an air museum, etc. There are so many ways you can have fun and learn, especially when you do a unit study.
Check out Amanda Bennet's unit studies--she even has a unit on the OLYMPICS.
If you decide to go out on your own at any time, there is a really great book called "Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum" by Laura Berquist ( also available through Ignatius Press). It has a lot of really good suggestions on what books to use (most of them you can get from the library) and what kinds of things to have the children memorize, etc. We have really enjoyed using that as a guide during this school year.
There are a couple of other really good books on the subject of homeschooling, they give the "whys" and "hows," plus their curriculum choices and a lot more try: Catholic Home Schooling by Dr. Mary Kay Clark, director of Seton Home Study School (also available through Seton Home Study School). Also Catholic Education: Homeward Bound by Kimberly Hahn & Mary Hasson (also available through Ignatius Press). You DO NOT have to be Catholic to use and enjoy these books!
A child who is homeschooled is essentially being privately tutored! Have you ever checked into the cost of a private tutor? If you consider the cost of private education or the cost of the damage that can be done to your child by the PSS....
Homeschooling is inexpensive!
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How much time does it take?
The amount of time it takes depends on a couple of things. If you are using a packaged curriculum, such as Seton, it can take 4-6 hours to complete the days assignments if you follow the lesson plan. If you are flexible with the lessons it will take much less time. If you do unit studies or make up your own curriculum it generally takes about 3-4 hours for the elementary grades. The high school grades depend almost entirely upon which subjects are being taken and how easy or difficult the subject is for the student, but typically it is about 5 hours. The thing about homeschooling is-- when you finish your work you are done for the day! No extra 4 hours of homework each night and on the weekends.
Another good thing is you can either get the work done first thing in the morning or spread it out throughout the day. If you are a single parent and you work during the day you can do the homeschooling in the evening. You set the time! (In most states) there is no "law" that says you must teach them between 8 a.m. and 3p.m. In the "public" schools and even the private ones, a lot of time is wasted! The time it takes to get ready for school, getting to school, changing classes, taking attendance, recess, etc. Homeschooling eliminates these time wasters. [ You can still have recess if you want! =) ] In a normal "school" day the child is gone for about 8-9 hours, they catch the bus at 7 a.m. and get home around 3:30/4 p.m.. During that time they only spend an average of 3.5 hours actually learning anything! The rest of the time is wasted! Think about how much of your child's life is wasted over 12 years of schooling! That is a lot of time. At home that time can be much better spent, helping with a home business, helping out around the house, or spending it just being a child. "Schooled" kids don't have time to be "kids" anymore.
By homeschooling you will actually be saving time for your children and it doesn't take a lot of time out of your day. On the average homeschooling takes about
3-4 hours each day!
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What about socialization?
Webster's New School and Office Dictionary, 1961 ed.--
social-adj. pertaining to men as living in society.
socialize-v.t. to render social; regulate by socialistic principles.
sociable-adj. disposed to associate and converse with others; social; companionable; affable.
This is probably the most asked question when it comes to homeschooling! Let me pose this question to you---
How often do you spend 6-8 hours with only 1 person older than you and 30 other people all the same age you are?
How is it, that society dictates that to become sociable you must spend 6-8 hours among others your own age, who by the way, are as ignorant about "the real world" as you are? In order to be able to relate to others you must experience interaction with a variety of age groups. In the typical "school" setting, a child is exposed to the same limited experiences of the other students day after day. With homeschooling, however, this is not usually the case. Homeschoolers tend to spend much more time interacting with people of varying ages in their communities- i.e. in stores, the post office, the bank, on field trips, in Church, visiting the elderly or what ever types of activities their families encourage. There have been numerous studies done on the social skills of homeschooled and publicly/privately schooled students and here again the homeschooled students came out way ahead of their peers. (See studies done at HSLDA or "Homeschooling Information" on the resource page). They were much more "well-rounded" socially.
Do you think having your child exposed to the constant barrage of name-calling and other rude or unacceptable behavior is socializing? In your daily adult life are you constantly teased and insulted? I should hope not! Look at the typical playground or even classroom. How often do you hear about children being picked on for their clothes, their looks, or their personality? In a homeschool setting your child can develop a healthy view of himself and others, without undue (unacceptable) roll models (i.e. their peers).
Now, I am not saying that we should completely isolate our children, but we must be careful about WHO they are socializing with and WHAT their peers are exposing them to, at any age.
More to come, please stay tuned!
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