10 Good Reasons to Home-School

Whilst there are probably hundreds of reasons why people choose to home-school, these ten seem the most common good reasons why you would embark on this process.

  1. Your child has special needs – Children with Aspergers syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD or ADHD respond much better to one-on-one tuition. This is very difficult and costly to provide at school, but is very easy at home. Their education is less likely to suffer as a result of hearing or speech impairments or other such impediments – Mum and Dad usually can understand them perfectly! Such children often do better in a familiar environment with just one set of ‘rules’ – not one at home and one at school which we are so familiar with. Children with chronic medical conditions who spend a lot of time in hospitals often benefit from homeschooling too.
  2. Your child is not performing at the standard of other children. These deficiencies are often not caught until it is too late to do effective mediation. Practices such as repeating years at school and doing remedial classes or out of school tuition can have questionable outcomes. With Homeschooling, you can start the process from the beginning. Parents can keep a much closer record of their children’s performance, helping them to negotiate learning obstacles along the way instead of discovering their lack of knowledge well into their schooling years.
  3. Your child is being bullied at school. Whilst teaching children effective negotiating techniques is a plus, many children bear the scars of bullying well into their adult lives. Schoolyard bullying is becoming a scourge of schools and although many of them have taken pro-active steps to prevent it, it doesn’t mean much if they have cut bullying incidents by 99% if your child is the 1% they didn’t manage to prevent. Homeschooling ensures bullying is not an issue. Peer pressure is reduced and issues such as drug and alcohol abuse are more likely to be avoided or observed early enough to mitigate.
  4. Lack of choice. Many parents choose to homeschool because they have limited alternatives. In many places, they have only the choice of one school which may be unacceptable for many reasons: it may be too small or too big, not have enough resources, be a boarding school, have a ‘reputation’, etc. At the end of the day, only parents and the children themselves will answer for their standard of education or lack thereof. In homeschooling many parents feel they are empowering themselves and their children by providing a better quality of education than that on offer in their particular circumstances.
  5. Family cohesion. Families often find that school and its extra-curricular activities eat into a lot of family time. Parents who wish to have a close family unit and keep communication at a high level between its members often choose to homeschool. The old maxim “The family who plays together stays together” often comes in here and although this doesn’t preclude family members participating in their own individual activities, homeschool families enjoy a greater number of recreational activities as a family.
  6. Nomadic lifestyle. Many families from those in the Defence Force, to fruit-pickers and showies, move around in their employment. This often has a detrimental effect on their children’s schooling and is often a reason for choosing to homeschool. Many families also choose to be on the move temporarily, travelling around the country or around the world. Homeschooling provides a cohesive education for their children.
  7. Alternative Educational Theories. Some people have researched other educational theories proposed by people like Charlotte Manson, Montessori, Froeble, and Steiner, and see great merit in their methods. Homeschooling allows them to follow these alternative methods, which are available in the education system but often not at a convenient distance.
  8. Gifted and Talented Children. Such children often need to spend many hours practising in the area where their gift or talents lie. Schools try to cater for these students, but lack the resources to tailor such individual programs and although there are some schools of excellence which cater for such children, very often families find they are too far away. Homeschooling is an option which allows them to fit school around such gifts and talents.
  9. Values. Families who have value codes which may not necessarily be, but can include religious or cultural, find homeschooling is a valid option for them. There has been much debate about including values in education, but much of the criticism levelled at historic schooling systems was pointed at values education of the time. Values are not a homogeneous entity, so it makes it very difficult to decide which and how to include them. In recent years, schools have erred on the side of safety by ignoring them completely – which has probably had as disastrous outcomes as those being blamed on the historic schooling systems! Homeschooling allows the passing on of family values.
  10. Dissatisfaction with the curriculum – many parents are not happy with what their children are or are not taught at school. It is also common for children to not learn or not be taught things which are actually in the curriculum. At Homechool, you pick your own curriculum and the way it is taught. In places where a ‘core curriculum’ is required by legislation, this can usually be easily incorporated. Early literacy is an area where many parents find their children are let down. Homeschooling allows the use of resource material for the teaching/learning of such basic skills, such as that from Quantum Literacy, which may not be used in schools or in their child’s school in particular.

How to Be a Great Homeschool Parent When You Didn’t Like School

Some parents hated school and maybe didn’t even complete school. Others endured their education but didn’t enjoy it. The public school system hasn’t really improved over the years, or there wouldn’t be so many parents choosing home schooling. How do you home school a child when you didn’t enjoy school? Obviously you probably want a better model of learning for your child than what you had. Here are some suggestions for being a great home school parent:

1. Educate yourself. Read books and articles about home schooling. Talk to other successful homeschoolers. How do you know they are successful homeschoolers? Do you enjoy being around their children? Then they have probably done a pretty good job of teaching and relating to their children.

2. Get a support system. Sometimes a good support system can consist of a supportive spouse and a few good home schooling friends. Sometimes you need a home school support group or home school cooperative to get the support you need. Each person is individual and needs a different amount of support. You will need to decide that for yourself. If you join a home school support group, make sure you are able to stay focused on the home school materials you are using.

Sometimes when you hear about what materials others are using, it can be easy to be swayed and switch curriculums just because someone else is using it. Some groups are better than others. Just make sure you evaluate that the group is giving you the support you need without compromising your values. Support groups run best when everyone does their part. Contribute to the group, but don’t burn yourself out either.

3. Watch your children. How do they play? What do they like to do? Do they prefer filling out workbooks or creating their own books? What is their learning style? Do they like to be read to while they play or would they rather read the book themselves? Do they need to be shown how to do something or can you just tell them how to do something and they understand? There are many other questions you can ask yourself along these lines that will help you to evaluate how your children learn best and then work with them accordingly.

With the right attitude and support, anyone can be a great home school parent. You know and love your children better than anyone. Sometimes when people had a bad experience in school they are even more determined to provide a great environment for their children.

Can You Homeschool Your Child and Still Work Full Time?

In today society the majority of families are dual income earners. Someone that wants to switch their children from public school or home school may shy away from the idea simply because they currently work at full-time job.

Although it may be a difficult task it is certainly one that can be accomplished with some creative planning. You would first want to consider the amount of time that most children are actually home school during the week. The typical home school schedule is much different from the traditional public school schedule which is generally around eight hours per day Monday through Friday. Most home school programs can be accomplished with just a few hours each day.

Next you will want to consider the individual student. Are they old enough to stay home by themselves while you’re working during the day? Can the student be given a lesson plan for the day and be expected to have this work completed for you to review when you return home? Does your child work well independently? If the answers are yes and then this will be an easy decision for you. If your child is not of an age where they can be left home alone then you will have to be a little more creative.

Since your average student does not follow the traditional 8 AM to 4 PM school schedule, you may find that home schooling early in the morning or late in the evening would work best for your family. You may also consider doubling up your work on your days off or over the weekend. It is not uncommon for students to be homeschooled on Saturdays and Sundays. Remember that you are in charge of the individual schedule and it can be made into anything that best suits your family.

There are many online curriculums that are available for you to choose from that allow you to work at your own pace not following a set schedule. This not only allows your child the educational freedom to work at their level but also provide you with the ability to educate your child at a time that works best for you. Another option would be a library-based curriculum. There are lots of free resources online that can be utilized for this type of curriculum. Although this choice would require a little more planning and effort from you it still would allow you to set your schedule to what works best for you and your student.

The decision to home school is often compared to a giant leap of faith. Trust yourself and your instincts to know what is best for your child’s education. Homeschooling while working a full-time job can be difficult at times but it can definitely be a rewarding accomplishment.

Teaching History in Your Homeschool

History is not focused on so much in school these days. I was disappointed to learn that it isn’t even included on the big, important ACT test. But a knowledge of history is vital to Americans. History is where you learn the average length of time the world’s civilizations have endured, and where we are currently on that time clock. It’s where you learn from the past about what works and what doesn’t so you don’t make the same mistakes as a society. But it can also be one of the driest subjects to children. The teacher must have a fire for the subject herself and then be able to transmit that excitement to her students.

Take a page from my own childhood experience. I entered sixth grade very excited to have my first encounter with world history, but it quickly became an overwhelming bore, what with dozens of end-of-chapter questions that had to be answered in complete sentences, hundreds of vocabulary words, memorization of meaningless facts. History did not come alive for me at all, and I actually made a D, yes, a D in history, my only one ever, and only because of so many incomplete assignments. That class effectively killed my budding love of history for the next 10 years.

So we do history differently in our homeschool. Yes, there are still assignments, and I do like my children to be familiar with a few key dates (Columbus-1492, Civil War-1861-1865, etc.) But my goal has been to really bring out the importance of history and its effects on all of our lives, as well as to inspire with the curious and innovative spirits of so many historical figures. Both of my kids have indicated that they “get it”, and one has even stated that he likes history. A beautiful moment!

So for our “spine”, as it’s called (the main resource you use as an overview of history), we used some good textbooks, just your basic, “This happened, followed by this happening, etc.”, not always fascinating by itself, but I like my children to get the big picture of the history of the world to date. The supplemental resources we’ve used are really where it’s at, where you get the words of people who say, “I was there and this is what it was like.” In that vein we read lots of books and watched lots of documentaries and films. There are many interesting biographies, written on a children’s level, that you can buy or check out from your local library. Many homeschool websites provide resources and recommendations for history supplements that include hands-on activities, games, crafts, stories, and other things which make the subject come alive for kids.

Timelines are very effective for seeing how events fit together in history, and to see what was going on in different parts of the world at the same time. We have a large, comprehensive one covering one wall of our schoolroom, plus each child has their own sketchbook where they keep a timeline with small drawings of each entry. History can become a favorite subject in your homeschool too.

Homeschool Laws

Homeschooling is permissible in all the states, however, there are different laws governing the process to safeguard children’s future and interests. 20% of the states do not have any laws and are free from any liabilities to contact the local officials. A majority of other states simply require local officials to be notified of the process. However, in a select few states, parents and children are subjected to varying assessment of their capabilities and progress to ensure the child’s development. Here are some homeschool laws that you need to bear in mind before attempting to homeschool your child.

Homeschool Options

There are different homeschool laws in different states. In some states, the parents can homeschool their child under a homeschool stature. In others, they come under private laws. Different states also allow umbrella schools and private tutors to homeschool the child. Furthermore, some states have diverse packages and options for a highly customizable homeschooling plan to offer the best solution to both children and parents.

Notification

Certain states require parents to notify government officials of the homeschooling plan or package. In other states, the homeschool law is different and parents are thoroughly assessed before being permitted to homeschool their child. Still, other states are different and require no notification procedure at all. Hence, the state also determines the type of homeschool law prevailing in the area and the laws that every parent will abide to.

Parent Qualifications

Naturally, you need to have a decent education yourself in order to be able to teach your child. Where it is not as important to prove your education in most states, certain states have homeschool laws in place that require parents to have high school diploma or GED to be eligible to homeschool their children.

Subjects

Moving on, certain states have even more thorough rules and regulations. They require children to have certain necessary subjects in their course. Also, they require that parents give their children a certain amount of time on a daily basis and can even provide instruction manuals for parents to follow. This allows states to ensure that every child is provided with fundamental knowledge, even if they are homeschooled.

Assessment

About half of the states have academic assessments that assess the progress of your child. This is only to ensure that your child is progressing. However, many states don’t have strict regulations and allow parents to bypass any such requirements. Also, many states don’t need a passing score for the academic performance of your child and can accept homeschool certifications, created by the parents themselves.

Clearly, there are different homeschool laws for different states. You would do well to have a look at all these different rules and regulations before attempting to homeschool your child. Having good knowledge of all these different laws will help guide your homeschooling accordingly. Plus, it will also help avoid many complications later on.