Homeschooling High School Without Tears

Homeschooling requires a lot, but homeschooling high school really takes effort. As a homeschooling mom of six, I am now homeschooling 2 high school aged children. Both of them are very different and have very different educational requirements. Yet, I have found with each of them that I need to keep that motivated while challenging them academically. The only problem I have is that we have a budget to stick to; which means that I don’t have a lot to spend on getting them the variety of courses that they need.

For this reason, I began to research the various FREE online courses that are available on the internet. I began to realize that I literally had a wealth of resources right at my fingertips. There are so many amazing options with the open course ware that colleges across our country have made available. These courses are high quality, and are usually from amazing universities such as MIT and even Yale.

During this past year, we have been able to use these courses to gain incredible knowledge, and then to validate this knowledge we have taken the CLEP test that corresponds to each course. This not only gives them viable course work for high school, but also college credit as well! It is definitely a win/win situation for each of them. This used to be a fairly unused method of dual enrollment. However, in the last few years, with the explosion of open course ware CLEP testing for college credit is growing exponentially.

If you are wondering how you can find these courses and others like them, you can use a great web site called Let’s Homeschool High School. This site has been invaluable for me as I have planned my children’s high school years. I am impressed by the level and quality of the courses that I have used and am even more excited because we have been able to take amazing courses for FREE, with simply the cost of the CLEP tests. My oldest daughter is now applying to colleges, and has most recently applied to Mercer University and was pleasantly surprised at how home school friendly they were.

For those of you who prefer to homeschool via textbooks and not the internet, the same can be done through your local library. You can purchase a CLEP study book and then check out the books you need to study for the exams for FREE. This allows you to get the material and formulate it into a course type setting. You can then easily take the CLEPT test to validate your course and again gain college credit that can be transferred to almost every college in the United States.

Ten Myths About Homeschooling and Anti-Homeschooling Excuses

Prospective homeschool parents have to face fears, doubts and myths that keep them from taking the decision to homeschool their children. This article is an attempt to do some myth-busting, dispel the fears and disqualify the anti-homeschooling excuses that prevent many parents from the awesome experience of homeschooling their families…(yes, not just the kids, the parents get HOME schooled too!)

1. I don’t get on with my kids/ My kids have bad attitudes/ My kids won’t listen to me.

This, to me, is one of the best reasons to homeschool. Instead of running from discipline issues that need to be tackled, loving parents need to embrace opportunities to teach and train their children to be respectful and obedient. They need to learn to reach their children’s hearts, not just apply various methods of behaviour modification and punishment, but actually build heart-to-heart relationships with their children.

Ignoring a problem issue or expecting a teacher to deal with it, does not show love and commitment to children. They will test their boundaries and they need parents to care enough to establish and enforce boundaries. Homeschooling facilitates plenty of opportunities for parent-child relationship-building.

2. I am not well-educated/ I can’t teach subjects like Maths and Science

Research has shown that the level of education of homeschooling parents is not a factor determining successful homeschooling. Even parents that dropped out of high school have successfully homeschooled their children all through high school. Parents who did not have a good school career are often able to fill in the ‘gaps’ in their own education as they progress through various concepts with their children.

Homeschool curricula are designed to be used by parents that are not trained, professionals and for students pursuing self-study. In most cases, clear instructions are given, parent guides and solutions are provided. Some curricula even provide instructional DVD’s where a teacher teaches the new concepts for the benefit of both the parent and the student.

As a last resort, homeschoolers can also do what school-going children do if they battle with a subject – they can go for private tuition.

3. I can’t afford it.

With all the options and choices of curricula available plus free resources available on the internet, there are no grounds for this excuse. Most homeschooling families survive on one income and still give their children a good quality education.

At the very worst, you can limit yourself to spend the same amount as it would cost to have your children attend school, without the extras like school clothing, lunch money, contributions to fund-raising and other school-related expenses.

Since most of your money will be spent on books and materials which can be re-used with younger siblings, you can get a lot of value for your money.

4. My children just LOVE being with their friends

If your children prefer being with their friends, than with their family, perhaps they have already developed an unhealthy peer dependency. This might not seem to be a problem at preschool or primary school level, but just wait until they hit the teen years!

As an alternative, homeschooling enables children to build good relationships with both their parents and their siblings. When their identities are strongly rooted in their families and they have good family values, then children are better able to develop healthy friendships outside the home.

Homeschooling enables parents to choose the social interactions that their children experience. Parents can keep them from negative peer group pressure or bad influences until the children are old enough to gradually be exposed to them and are mature enough to make good decisions and build good relationships.

Homeschoolers don’t just stay at home. They also socialize- just not during school time!

Research has also shown that in general, homeschoolers have better social skills with a wider ranger of age groups than school-going children, whose social interactions are largely limited to their own age group.

5. I don’t have the patience

When I first started homeschooling, I read somewhere that you only get patience if you need it!

The same is true of other character qualities that homeschooling parents need such as perseverance, humility, self-sacrifice, compassion, diligence, etc.

It is through homeschooling that our characters are shaped, moulded and matured and we become equipped to do what we are called to do.

6. I am scared of failing.

I often tell my children that, “Courage is doing what we have to do, EVEN WHEN WE FEEL AFRAID.”

It’s amazing to me how many parents are afraid that they might mess up their children’s education, but they seem to have no fear that some teacher might mess up even better!

When you see how many children suffer for various reasons in the school system, it is even more amazing that parents are willing to entrust their precious blessings to total strangers for 6 hours of the day or more!

As a parent, you love your children like no teacher ever will, you have their best interests at heart and you are able to give them a tailor-made education, suited to their individual needs.

Unless you are not committed to successful homeschooling and dealing with the parenting and discipline issues that may crop up, there is no reason why you should not do an equal or better job than a paid professional.

Now, I am not saying that any parent can be a school teacher – no, I think one does need special training to teach a class of 35 plus children that are not your own in a school situation…but I do believe that committed parents can do a good job in homeschooling their own.

7. Will I cope? I am stressed out already.

Many outsiders see homeschooling only as an added responsibility – the burden of the academic training of their children. However, to give it a different perspective, homeschooling is a lifestyle that brings a lot of flexibility to a family’s day-to-day life. This might be just the thing to help a stressed out parent cope better with the demands of a family.

Since everyone is together, not rushing out in different directions, life is usually simplified. Children are home and can be trained to help out around the house too.

Sometimes a parent may initially need to stop certain outside activities or commitments, like additional church programs, sports or hobbies. However, this is not always the case and many homeschoolers are equally, if not more involved in their communities than non-homeschooling families.

Sometimes these activities just need to be re-scheduled to accommodate the homeschool lifestyle.

Learning to adapt and put family first is often a good thing. I know of too many people whose children are treated like second-rate citizens for the so-called good of the community, so that parents can find approval from their own peer group for their good deeds and commitments!

8. We have such a nice teacher/school.

There certainly are some very nice teachers and schools with good results and good reputations. However, does the teacher or the school’s values match your family values? Will the nice teacher always be the one to teach your child?

Often a school is legally bound to teach a curriculum which may be in conflict with your beliefs. No education is neutral. If you don’t know what your children are being taught, perhaps you should find out the underlying belief system.

No matter how nice the teacher or the school, only YOU have an intimate love relationship with your child and ultimately you are responsible for your child’s education, whether you delegate that responsibility to a school or not.

9. I need more stimulation/ I can’t just stay home / I love my job.

As career-workers, many of us initially find our identity in our job, satisfaction in the approval from our co-workers, boss or simply the pay check at the end of the month.

Choosing to stay home as a wife and mother demands a shift in one’s mindset and accepting that at the end of many days and months there is no tangible reward. You come to realize that raising well-educated, confident and secure children is one of the greatest achievements that one can strive towards. For many of us, its obedience to a God-given calling.

Although the stimulation may be of a different kind to that of a job, homeschooling can be very stimulating for parents as it offers you the opportunity to learn and explore topics of interest along with your children. It affords you the time to enjoy educational trips, tours, outings, co-ops, crafts, hobbies, sport and even home-based business opportunities.

(Many homeschooling parents, like me have website-based businesses that earn them a good income and they get to work at their own pace! See links below.)

10. My parents, in-laws, friends, neighbours or church, etc. won’t approve.

For some reason, we all like to have the approval of others, especially those whom we respect and with whom we have intimate relationships. However, if you and your spouse are in agreement that homeschooling is best for your children, you need to have the guts to stand up for your convictions.

To many non-homeschoolers, homeschooling is a foreign concept and people don’t understand why you are NOT just doing the done thing and sending your children to school.

Sometimes people feel that by your choice to homeschool, you are silently judging their choice of schooling and rating it as second best, so they attack your choice because attack is their best defence.

Ultimately, you are responsible for your children, not your family and peers…and a good answer is to tell others that you feel your choice is best for YOUR family but you realize it may not be the same for other families. You don’t even have to explain your reasons!

Many homeschoolers have had to face criticism and skepticism from outsiders, yet in the end, the ‘proof has been in the pudding’ as they say. Many times, after a few years, others have seen the good fruit of a homeschooling family and they have earned the respect and support which was lacking at first!

Homeschooling – A Real Benefit

There are so many problems with our schools today that it can be a difficult choice to put your child on that bus each morning and send them away to an institution where it is likely little or no learning will take place throughout the day. Consider homeschooling your child. There are so many wonderful advantages.

One of the best things about homeschooling your child is the fact that you get to control what your children learn and when they learn it. There are so many worthless things being taught in our schools today. There are things your children shouldn’t be learning. There are certainly age appropriate things that school districts tend to think are appropriate at increasingly, and alarmingly, earlier ages. The ability to control this is a real plus to homeschooling. Another advantage to homeschooling is that you can show your children that learning is a fun, exciting process that they should continue for the remainder of their lives. The schools of today simply cannot meet this need for most children. You can also build a great relationship with your child through homeschooling that simply would not be possible if you continued to send them away from you each day. Moreover, no matter what your child’s strengths and weaknesses, you can give your child the personal attention they need in every subject area. If your child struggles with a particular subject, you can help them to understand the material better. If your child has an area he or she is great in, you can help them to further their knowledge. Finally, homeschooling allows you to protect your children from all of the negative things outside of your home. No longer will they have to be afraid of bullies at school. They will not have to see drug deals in front of their lockers. You will be able to keep them safe from many of the negative influences our school systems breed.

Consider homeschooling your child and you won’t regret your decision.

If you need more information visit http://www.citizenschool.com to learn about Home Schooling and a High School Diploma or if you prefer phone 1-800-736-GRAD (4723) or email [email protected]. Internet Marketing done by Crackmarketing.com.

What is Homeschooling All About, Anyway?

The term “homeschooling” refers to choosing to educate one’s children at home, rather than in a public or private school. Usually one or both parents act as “teacher,” though not in the same way as a classroom teacher. Yes, it is entirely legal in all fifty states. In fact, it would be illegal or even unconstitutional to deny parents the right to choose where, how, and what their children are taught.

Home schooling provides a personal, individualized educational experience for the child. Children learn faster, and more, when they receive the one-on-one interaction of a parent or tutor. Parents care more about the individual success of each child because it is THEIR child – no one loves your child more than you do.

Anyone who homeschools will tell you that the experience builds a closer relationship among all the members of the family. There are very few problems with teenagers and parents getting along, and each child learns to contribute to the family as a whole. They are learning to interact with people of all ages, as the real world operates, rather than being forced into an unnatural grouping where everyone is the same age.

There are as many different ways to homeschool as there are families who homeschool. Each family will develop their own system, routine, rhythm – whatever works best for them. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything before starting. Most families will research many different theories, curricula, etc., and then try out whatever appeals to them. If something doesn’t quite work for them, they try something else. There are no hard and fast rules.

This highlights one of the main advantages to homeschooling – namely, that the methods used are chosen to best fit the child’s needs and learning style. When a particular topic is too easy, you can just move on. When a child needs to spend more time learning a skill, you can take whatever time is needed. In a traditional classroom, the teacher needs to keep everyone doing the same thing at the same time, which either bores those who have mastered the skill, or leaves behind those who need extra attention. This child-centered, individual-paced feature of homeschooling is a major attraction for many.

There are no special skills or training required for homeschooling. You are teachers simply because you are parents. Requirements for homeschoolers vary from state to state, but I don’t know of a state that requires any certification or special degrees for homeschooling parents. Besides, most education courses of study apply to traditional classrooms and managing 20 or 30 students at a time. They really don’t focus on one-on-one teaching. There are plenty of resources available to help parents who don’t have any experience at homeschooling. For example, the curriculum we have been using (now in our sixth year) provides me with a daily lesson plan which spells out everything to do to learn the topic. They also have counselors available to answer any questions we may have. It would be very difficult to fail with so much help and support.

Of course, a packaged curriculum is not for everyone. But even those who create their own plan of study will be able to find books, websites, support groups, and more to assist them. No one needs to “re-invent the wheel” when starting out with homeschooling.

Wherever you may be in this journey, I wish you the best. In the end, you need to discover the path that works best for YOU – so don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Homeschooling Children with Autism: 5 Reasons Why It Works

As a homeschooling parent of a child with autism, I am often asked, “How do you do it?” It takes dedication, planning, and research, of course, but I find that it is not all that difficult when I remember why I do it.

There are 5 primary reasons why homeschooling is the best option for my child:

1. One-to-one instruction provides for optimal learning.

It is a generally-accepted educational principle that the lower the teacher-to-student ratio, the more effective the teaching can be. Most parents realize that the more students a teacher has, the less attention and direct instruction each student will receive from the teacher. One-to-one instruction is always preferred for private lessons or tutoring because the lessons can be customized to the student’s ability in order to maximize their progress in the shortest amount of time.

Homeschooling or private tutoring offers a child with autism the opportunity to make the most of their learning potential. The child receives more direct instruction time, immediate feedback, and teaching that is tailored to their learning style and strengths. Due to the individualized instruction he or she receives, the child with autism is able to experience success on a daily basis which helps improve their self-esteem. Feelings of success are something that many children with autism do not experience in a typical school setting.

2. The environment can be adapted to the child’s sensory needs.

In a home setting, it is much easier to control the learning environment. Unlike a classroom situation where other students can be a big distraction from learning, homeschooling parents can structure an environment that is best suited to their child’s needs. Whether it is a quiet room, special lighting, background music, or breaks for sensory issues, the home can be an ideal educational setting.

3. Homeschooling offers flexible scheduling.

With fewer distractions and more direct instruction, home-schooled students require less of their time to be spent on schoolwork. There is no time wasted on the taking of attendance, class announcements, student reprimands, repetitive teaching on a subject the student has already mastered, etc.

The school day can also be planned around the child’s best time for learning. Some children with autism are “night-owls” by nature and have a difficult time going to bed early and getting up early for school. We can adjust our hours of instruction to correspond with the times that the child is naturally most alert and able to focus. We can also schedule shorter learning sessions throughout the day with plenty of breaks as needed. Shorter sessions also promote greater intensity and concentration on academic tasks resulting in the child retaining more of the material being taught.

Most parents quickly realize that another benefit of homeschooling is the fact that you can plan field trips during the week when places are less crowded. This is a big advantage for children with autism who may not do well with large groups of people.

4. The child has a better opportunity for positive socialization.

All socialization is not beneficial for our children. In schools, you must take the bad with the good. In a home setting, parents have more say in determining when their children are ready for specific social situations. For more on the topic of schools and socialization, see my article entitled, “Social Skills and Autism – Where’s the Best Place for Socialization?”

5. The child’s interests can be incorporated into their schoolwork.

Anything that your child is interested in can form the basis for their studies. In homeschooling circles, this is referred to as unit studies. You take any topic of interest and design a complete educational program around that topic. This approach works well for reluctant learners who say that school is boring.

For my family, homeschooling is a great time-saver that allows us to focus our attention on constructive social opportunities, educational field trips, and practical daily living skills. We don’t have to worry about which teacher our child is going to have every year nor do we have to spend most of the year trying to help the teacher “get to know” our child and their needs. We don’t have to fight the school district for services or for the correct implementation of services that were promised. We don’t have to waste our time going back and forth to school or to school-related meetings. Simply put, homeschooling offers my son with autism a method of instruction that works efficiently and effectively to enable him to achieve his highest potential.