We're beginning our journey as home schoolers

August 23 2013 | Guest post by TheMarinesWife
By: National Assembly for WalesCC BY 2.0
When I was pregnant with my son Benji, I felt as though there was an almost innate need for him to be home schooled. I had forgotten about it after I went through a very stressful birth with him. When he was 18 months and in Early Intervention for speech I revisited the idea. When I couldn't find a curriculum or school system I agreed with in public, charter, or Catholic school, I ended up walking through this door of infinite possibilities — home schooling! Many people started to emerge and extend their hand towards us, offering trips to conventions, curricula, catalogs, websites, and help.

I decided to start on my own research in the local library and on Google, which led me to Amazon and my Kindle. I started with a book called Back to Basics: Raising Self-Sufficient Children by Barbara Frank. I found that I just kept devouring books on child psychology, social skills, education vs. learning, teaching methods, the political agenda with the school system, etc. I researched Home School Legal Defense, I researched other community options for the dreaded question of "How will you socialize him?".

All my research led me to a place of confidence that I could teach my child everything he needed because he in fact learns at least one new thing a day on his own. He will have learned how to speak, walk, dress himself, use the potty, brush his own teeth, wash his hands, and draw a circle, maybe even read before he enters the school system, If he learned all of that with me, why can't he learn more?

I don't remember learning about the Declaration of Independence. I don't know too much Algebra or even how to make all of those nice geometric triangles, and I don't remember being taught anything except how to get an A on a test. I want to teach my son everything he wants to get his hands on and not have to see him held back to be kept at the same pace as other kids, or pushed forward in a subject because he isn't excelling fast enough.

Children are sponges; I have noticed that the smallest thing to an adult like being able to cut a piece of paper is utterly fascinating to a toddler. I showed him how to glue two pieces of paper together and he was in heaven. He wants to learn, he want to play his "games" and he has no idea that the games also double as education.

Benji goes back and forth between his dad and me on his Dad's work schedule, which is not solid and rotates different days every month. I figure with home schooling I will see my son more than I ever would with him back and forth between school and his dad's and my house and me working. Not worrying about how much I won't see my son on top of sharing him with his other parent and having to share him with teachers and an administrative building in the great years of his life is one stress I don't need.

Above all else, it is help that is most needed through this. Support and encouragement that waking up everyday to learn something new is really going to benefit him in the long run. The research is gratifying, and websites and books (even Pinterest) have tons of tips on organizing your home schooling home. The other great part is that it doesn't even have to be done in the home! You can take learning to the zoo, museum, library, beach, nature walk, vacation spot, even camping! The possibilities are absolutely endless.

We live in Massachusetts and the law states that he has to be in school from 6-16 when schooled from home — I am ecstatic! I have three years to prepare him and myself? I'll take it! The best part about each day is knowing he will learn from play from me, from his little friends, and his huge family. Learning should be cherished and sought out; to diminish the light inside children that drives them to learn everything, touch everything, and even eat it at inopportune times is a travesty.

  1. Just one small thing I want to mention – make sure you get all your resources for homeschooling from credible resources – particularly in science. There is so much misinformation about science on the internet, even the type that is usually learned in 1st and 2nd grade. From experiments saying that making a root beer float is a chemical reaction to deep misinformation from religious groups that is not backed by science (and never indicates their religious views). Just be careful.

    (Sorry, I'm a bit of a zealot with this as science was always my favorite subject, I'm currently an engineer, and after finding far too many bad sites pinned onto pinterest homeschooling boards, I'm always nervous)

    • Absolutely this. We're exploring homeschooling our son, and I found out Oregon publishes the public school curriculum for each grade online. We're using this as a general guideline – basically to know what he would be expected to know, and choosing how he learns it. We also have an amazing learning center nearby where our son will take a few classes 2-3 times a week, including math and science.

      I love the internet, but a lot of the stuff on Pinterest doesn't have a lot to do with science.

      • This! So much this! We also used the curriculum guidelines at our local public school to keep us grounded, we strayed from it more near the last few years though. That is, we kept to all the requirements needed to make sure college transitions were seamless, but because homeschooling takes up SO much less time in a day and because your homeschooler becomes an amazing independent learner (you really aren't the "teacher" like you thought you would be), we were able to do more than he would have at school.

        I have a new college freshman (yay!) I homeschooled through high school and also found a bazillion terrible homeschooling science resources. So we skipped them entirely and found excellent textbooks through Amazon, many of which we supplemented with videos from HippoCampus.org and KhanAcademy.org.

        (FYI: our History/Government texts were paired up with HippoCampus, which had supplementary video directly keyed in with the textbook, which for my son was really awesome. )

        Like Stephanie, we also supplemented with local resources. My son went to a performing arts school as well. And if I didn't feel comfortable teaching something (hey, chemistry), then we outsourced it. At 16, where we live kids can start taking community college classes.

        • Hmmm, the supplementation with external resources has made me start thinking a bit. I'm an engineer but have always wanted to teach in some fashion. I was planning on becoming a prof, but after learning the probable job prospects, I've decided to quit academia after my masters.

          I've always loved math and science and those seem to be the areas where homeschoolers generally have some issues. And I wonder if I'd be able to help with homeschooling specifically with math and science in the time I'll likely have to take off if I ever want to have children.

          Anyway, just random musings on my part.

          • I've sort of done this! It was through a community outreach program through a university. I taught biology labs (2-4 hours) that were part of field trips for both public school and home school students.

            I think it's a great idea, and there are opportunities through tutoring centers, science museums, etc. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning and teaching, so it only makes sense that home schooling parents would need to outsource a few things. Professional teachers even specialize when they are in the higher grades instead of teaching all subjects like in elementary school.

          • I know a lot of moms that seek outside help from friends and family members in subjects that they are not too awesome on or that seem daunting. I have a few engineering friends, some artists, and accountants on my side for help!

      • I would also say to look up the Common Core Standards (CCS) for various grade levels (www.corestandards.org). While the CCS are not universal across the US or comprehensive across subjects (they are geared primarily to Math and English/Language Arts), many state and national achievement exams are planning to align themselves with the CCS benchmarks. The CCS documents can be a bit cumbersome, but they actually do a fairly good job of explaining how to read them.

        *Note: I know there's some controversy surrounding whether or not the CCS should be implemented, how to do it, etc. Regardless, I think it's definitely worth a gander when constructing long-term teaching goals.

        • I went to a very large seminar on CCS. It is not something I agree with based on that a National Curriculum is against your constitutional rights, and it was not tested/piloted or even voted on.

    • I couldn't agree more! Science is harder to teach at home because you need more materials. I did some teaching through a university where I taught home schooled 15-16 year old students about genetics. It was awesome. They didn't have the same prior knowledge like the public schools, but they were very good at reasoning through the scenario once you gave them the information. And since they traveled to the university, they were in a real lab and used real scientific equipment.
      Their homeschooling network had a microscope they could use, but just looking at small stuff up close is only part of science. The bacteria we plated meant more than just "look at the bacteria." You have to match the hands on activities with related concepts. Not everything has to be authentic, but the kids need to have an appreciation of the scientific process, what a theory actually is, etc.

      • I am coming from a very different perspective, but I do not think that science would be difficult to teach at all.

        I was unschooled, and just finished my B.S. in Wildland Soil Science. I realize that the author of this post is probably going for a more conventional homeschooling experience then I had, or would chose to do with any (hypothetical) children I may someday have, but teaching science should still be fairly easy to do.

        The problem, as I understand it, is two-fold: First, many homeschoolers are of the Christian variety, and it is not uncommon to deliberately mis-teach the sciences. Secondly, the K-12 education system teaches science as a series of facts to learn, and set experiments to follow. This means that most people who have gone through our education system have a terrible grasp of what science is. The type of science taught in the school system would be very difficult to teach, but it's also a highly ineffective method.

        Instead, to teach the sciences you have to teach them the following: what a hypothesis is and how to form and test one (ie how to question one's surroundings in a way that can be investigated); what peer review means and how it works in ideal and real world applications; the difference between theory, hypothesis and fact; how to play with language (what a latin or greek root is, and how to use them. Tutoring botany at the college level this was one of the most important skills that my students lacked); and that the world is an interesting place. Some basic stuff that science has figured out (gravity, evolution, thermodynamics) are cool, and a good idea, but they should flow from the above.

        If you teach yourself the above (if you don't already have it), teaching the child would flow from that. I would suggest reading Steven J Gould and Richard Dawkins. (Climbing Mt. Improbable by Dawkins is an excellent intro to science in general, and evolutionary biology in particular).

        In my case, it was nature walks and edible things and poking things with a stick as a child, then making things and understanding sound and color transmission, and building a record player and dissecting telephones in my preteens. As a teenager I ignored the sciences, except the times when I decided to read a college marine biology text, took a college geology class, geeked out on roadside geology, wandered around figuring out how tall the telephone poles were, climbed to the top of an old growth redwood tree, and hypothesized about how frisbees flew. In college I went straight into first semester chemistry. It was incredibly hard, but it always is.

        That was a long response from the perspective of an unschooler, but it seems like an approach like this could be toned down a bit for a more conventional homeschooler, and still work. I highly recommend Dawkins.

        • What I taught was auxiliary to both traditional school and home school. I agree with your description of how science should be taught because that is what we did! My point was that it might be difficult for some parents to afford or find the materials and equipment they need to support their children's interests.
          But, yeah. Dawkins is the man.

          • It depends where there interests drift, and science as a thought pattern requires very little, but yes you are right.

            Even aside from the cost of materials and classes and adventures, homeschooling is not an option for many lower income folks, as it requires that at least one parent be home when they are little. I am grateful that my parent's socioeconomic status allowed them to unschool me, but I am also aware that it is not a possibility that is available to everyone.

    • Absolutely! The last thing any Mom wants is her kids learning false information. I love science as well and I can't wait to get my hands on all that with him as he progresses πŸ™‚

  2. I'm really happy to see a posting about homeschooling! We are a homeschooling family, and we definitely do not fit into the stereotypical ideal of a homeschooling family. It's nice to see the lifestyle represented! I wish there were more!!

  3. I love this whole article! This is exactly the way I have been feeling about learning. I would love my kids to go to a Montessori school but the one in too expensive and far. Plus I am an artist and have a ton of supplies and skills that I want my little ones to get to experience that I never was able to. We also have a crap load of creative friends that would love to help. They have three uncles who are all amazing musically and in different aspects of music. The list just goes on and on.

    Socializing is a joke. Kids get along with everyone if you let them and they have a great sense of danger when someone isn't right. The whole point of homeschooling is learning and to go outside and be hands on, including going to museums, libraries, zoos, and other field trips that public and private school kids don't have the opportunity too.

    • I think it is great that homeschooling provides such a great opportunity to go to museums and such. However, I think the socialization issue is important, especially that kids get time to be around other kids and kids who are in public school. I was in charge of interns at a place I worked and there were more communication issues in general with the students who had been homeschooled.

      This was an article by a woman who was homeschooled in a very conservative, Christian environment, but I think her points apply to all those who might choose to homeschool: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/06/homeschool-parents-need-to-take-socialization-seriously.html She brought up some issues I hadn't thought of in terms of socialization. She has a lot of posts on this issue, here's another good one: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/03/homeschooling-socialization-and-me.html

      • Totally agree. I've known plenty of secular homeschooling families who didn't have any problem with socialization. You network with other families, let your kids find sports or after school hours clubs, meet kids at parks, etc. Public school isn't the only place socialization happens.

        It's also all about where you are. Our son has a chance to go to outside classes with kids, take field trips, and participate in many activities that won't involve his parents directly. I think conceptualizating homeschooling as something that's not just in the house, one on one with parents and kid, helps a lot.

      • I thought I addressed that fact. Perhaps it didn't become clear. I meant that effective homeschooling meant also meeting and playing and learning with other kids and people. πŸ™‚ But not stuck in a stuffy classroom all day. A more hands on approach. Of course tailoring lessons and learning towards the child's learning attitude and abilities helps. I'll definitely give the above articles a read too. I'm always researching and learning.

        • I was home educated my entire life. Socialisation is really very easy to achieve. In fact, from my own experience it made myself and my siblings more able to relate and socialise with a wider range of people. Instead of being confined to being friends with a small age range of peers, we were always around people and children of different ages, backgrounds etc. when else in your life will you actually spend your whole day with people of roughly the same age? Certainly not in any workplace I have been in! My parents made sure we had many avenues to socialise in lots of different ways. I had many friends both in and out if school. In fact I knew a lot more people than any of my friends who attended school.

    • I would be wary of saying that all kids socialize easily. I never did, and I was in public school! Actually, I learned to socialize quite well with adults and people 7-10 years older than me, but not so much with people my age. My siblings were 5 and 7 years older than me, but acted much older, and even though I was around people my own age, I just never clicked.

      The truth of the matter is, I'm still not 100% ok with general socialization with people my age, but I can only imagine how much more difficult it would have been if I didn't learn to deal with people that weren't at all like me in public school.

      This isn't to say you can't recreate this with homeschooling, but it's something to think about. Additionally, I'd say it's incredibly important for homeschoolers to make their children do group work with people who are not on the same academic level as them. I was an advanced academic student and honestly, the only really important thing I learned in K-8th grade was how to deal with people who were not as academically talented.

      That being said, homeschooling also offers the ability for kids to learn to work with different aged kids. This is something I believe is severely lacking in public schools. I learned a bit as I was placed into a math class two years above my grade. I feel I had a much easier time of dealing with people who were not my own age than others who always stayed within one age group.

    • Children will socialize themselves, my question to people is 'have you met a toddler??' I cant keep my son from talking to strangers. I understand that there are children in the world that born shy and no child is created alike, but with the right approach I do believe all kids will succeed in the socialization area and it doesn't have to be from them all sitting in straight rows with the same age group year after year

      • You're right that toddlers can be quite open with new people, but there is a difference between being friendly with strangers and the ability to form long-term bonds with people outside the family. Being outgoing helps in socialization, but it is not the same as being socialized.

    • Socialization is NOT a joke. I say this as a homeschool graduate. Having a well-socialized homeschooled child is definitely possible, but it takes a lot of deliberate effort on the part of the parents, much moreso than if the child were in public school. Libraries, zoos, and field trips are not socialization unless you're going there with other children. I can't overstate how important it is to find a good playgroup made up of your child's peers. One you can trust enough to give your child plenty of unsupervised interaction with. Along the same lines, it's very important for homschool parents to provide access to the same kinds of extracurricular activities the child would have access to in public school – music, drama, sports, whatever they're into. Again, all of this is possible, but it takes a lot more effort and planning than if you were part of a public school system. You cannot go into homeschooling expecting socialization to just fall into place.

  4. I absolutely agree with all the comments so far. I am planning on homeschooling my kids (because the public and private schools around here suck) and I was homeschooled myself off and on. But I am absolutely going to make damn sure that my information is solid. My mother insisted that all of our learning materials be christian in nature, and so I was taught a lot of wrong things by people such as Ken Ham. My sciences in particular are sorely lacking because of it. There's nothing wrong with wanting your child to follow the same religion as you do; however (and I'm sure you wouldn't do this anyway), don't do what my mother did and pick curriculum based on religion alone. please.

    (This is an extremely sore point of mine and I hope that I have said this in a way that comes across and kind and interested rather than irate and judging. )

    Good luck!

    • I like some of the religious curriculum, not all. Some of it is helpful with manners, etiquette, aka preschool-1st grade stuff. The math is fairly good at elementary level but moving on to middle and high school it gets a little fuzzy for me and I am glad I dont have to dive into that right this second!! Take one year at a time πŸ™‚

      • I would also suggest Montessori at home materials and books (for mama) are enormously helpful with manners and etiquette. They teach" graciousness" which includes not just things you think of as manners…like how to conduct yourself at a meal or in conversation…but also things like, how to get an adult's attention (the child puts their hand on the adult's hip, the adult acknowledges the child by placing their hand on the child's hand, and the child waits until the adult stops speaking and the adult turns fully to the child to then speak to them). Or how to pour out a carafe of water into a cup. Or how to use a knife correctly.

        It's been really great for our three year old! It reduces his frustration and enables him to get what he needs, but also it looks like good manners too.

    • I hear you on this one. I went to public school, but because of the teaching of my church I basically closed myself off to what I was learning in the classroom, especially science. It took until college to get the Kent Hovind ideas out of my head.

  5. Good luck to you! Whatever educational plan you do, you are going to have one awesome kid with a parent who cares so much.

    One thing about the socializing that it sounds like you already know, but we got a lot of flack for this issue throughout our homeschooling years….your child will totally be socialized no matter what. I mean, it takes work to NOT socialize your child and more patience than I have to be holed up with them and only them all damn day every day.

    My son went to a performing arts school a few time a week, he still had friends from the neighborhood, we went to the library, to the park, to the grocery store, to the museum, to well, EVERYWHERE. "Socialization" is not just sitting in a classroom with just kids their exact age, in similar socio-economic categories. It's being in contact with and being able to talk to people of all ages and types, as well as peers.

  6. I just want to second the use of your state or city curriculum guides (or scope and sequence as they're sometimes called). I know you want to expose Benji to more than he would get in a classroom, but if MA is anything like NY (where I've been an elementary teacher for 12 years), he will still be expected to take and pass standardized tests. Plus, if in the future you ever decide to enroll him in school, it will be a much easier transition for him if he has a solid foundation in the "typical" subjects. You sound like a motivated mom, but I've had students transition into my class from parents who were in way over their heads and it was not easy on any of us.

    • I have heard of the MA kids having to take the standardized tests if they are home schooled but I also heard they dont follow up on the grades. One mom said that she just writes a letter to the school each year when they come looking for her son and says that ' John isn't in your school district this year', and it works! My goal is not to fight the tests, or the state but to educate him well so that taking that test will be a breeze.

      • In Missouri, there is no follow up. I wrote ONE letter when I pulled my son out in 8th grade and no one ever looked for him again.

        You are to keep records here, but there is no standardized testing required. We did it anyway for us to keep track of his progress and of course, for college admissions.

  7. I just wanted to say "hi" from the other side of the journey that is homeschooling β€” I was homeschooled after Kindergarten right up until I was ready to start taking classes at our local community college, which made a nice transition to university. At this point, I'm married to a wonderful guy, finishing up my last year of university part-time, doing freelance graphic design, and working part-time on my brother's farm (he was also homeschooled, and now has a B.Sc in Organic Agriculture, and owns & manages a small-scale soon-to-be-certified organic vegetable farm). Point being, we turned out fine β€” as did all of my wonderful, homeschooled friends. When people ask me whether I liked being homeschooled, I give an unequivocal "yes!" β€” so many of my university friends talk about how bad highschool was socially (I hang out with the nerd crowd…), but my experience was that homeschooling was great socially as a nerd, since it was completely normal to unashamedly love nerdy things. It was also completely normal to brag about how little we got our clothes for at the thrift shop (I still have one top that my friend bought for 75Β’, then later outgrew and passed on to me…).

    We were part of a wonderful homeschooling group which I'm sure provided various resources to my parents, but I mostly remember it as my friend-group. We would do a lot of things together β€” science discussion group, play-reading group (yes, we voluntarily read Shakespeare), ballroom dance lessons, square dancing, and so on. Two of my closest friends were in that homeschool group β€” the one I met through homeschooling, and the other's family took the leap into homeschooling at the same time as we did, since we already knew each other. I would not trade those friendships for anything. (And how do I socialize? Well… The best answer I ever heard to the infamous "but how do you socialize?" question was the time a friend of mine answered, "well, I'm talking to you right now….")

    I think my favourite thing about having been homeschooled is the freedom I had to explore my interests. When I was 12, my mom and I started co-editing our homeschool group's newsletter, partially to try to put my copyediting of friends' emails to better use. However, my dad taught me the basics of newsletter layout, and I became design editor, while Mom wound up doing most of the copyediting. I was hooked. I started design editing another organization's newsletter. Then I learned HTML, and started maintaining that second organization's website. I designed a website for our homeschool group, based on the newsletter layout. I picked up other volunteer graphic design projects here and there. When I started at community college, I took some graphic design courses. And now, ten years this month since I began design-editing that newsletter, I'm doing part-time freelance graphic design for pay. My brother, on the other hand, always wanted to be gardening or farming. He spent all his spare time with his hands in the dirt β€” and now he's a farmer. I really think that the freedom to spend so much more time on our interests has helped us find our callings.

    Anyway, good luck as you embark on your journey, enjoy the years to come, and try not to worry too much about whether your kid will turn out OK β€” I'm sure he'll turn out just fine (and plenty well enough socialized, to boot).

    • I have heard it all from 'he is going to be weird' to 'the government is going to take your kids away'. And it is all fine!! I am stoked to see a comment from someone who was home schooled and speaks fondly of it!! I had that hope when I was pregnant that this little man needed to find where he was going in life. Watching my generation struggle with standardized tests, and college tuition, jobs and etc I just get more and more nervous about his future. I just want to give him all the tools to make his choice in life and if by high school he decides he wants to get on the yellow bus and he is ready for that, by all means…GO! πŸ™‚ and experience.

    • I love reading about fellow hime educated adults experiences! When I was growing up (I'm 31 now) there were not many home ed adults to look to as an example of how well it works. It wa such an alien concept to most of the people we came in contact with that we all spent half our time explains the ins and outs to people! I love that now when I say I was home educated or mention our plans to home educate our daughter people are much more aware of the concept. There are still raised eyebrows and lots of questions of course, but not a many and the questions are far more engaging to answer now than "is that legal?"!england in the 80s was not a hot bed of home education!

  8. I work in a public school and my husband and I both have too many horror stories about our public school education, so we are probably going to home school. I'm an artist/history/biology/english nerd and he's a mathematician/philosopher/physicist, so we've got our bases pretty well covered πŸ˜€ I love to hear people being so positive about public school.

    My two cents: please don't forget to teach them how computers work, and introduce them to coding. This is why its important: http://coding2learn.org/blog/2013/07/29/kids-cant-use-computers/
    I see too many high school students everyday who don't know basics (like how to turn a computer off, how to navigate properly, how to save, etc.) and it breaks my heart. Be open about every subject, just because you don't like it doesn't mean they won't take to it like a natural.

  9. I have complicated views on homeschooling. I went to public school and I seriously don't think I could have been properly "socialized" without it, but I also deal with social anxiety stuff, and going to public school ended up helping me be able to cope and thrive in situations that I don't think I ever would have been able to otherwise. I also learned how to deal with unfair situations, peers that are miles behind you academically, authority figures who just don't like you (thanks high school calc teacher!), and different coping strategies for what to do when life feels too hard, but you still just have to do it. I think these are important lessons, and ones that might be difficult to replicate during homeschool. My mom was also a public school teacher and has many horror stories of kids coming in with massive gaps in their education. I think her horror stories are kind of unfair to the homeschooling population in general, because the parents she dealt with were more of the "I will only make my kid do what s/he wants to do, if learning to read is too hard, I guess my 10 year old doesn't have to do it," type, whose kids were now in school because the state mandated it.
    I also nannied for a family for three months (the mom had to student teach, the only part left of getting her degree, before all her credits expired) and homeschooled the 9 year old while the 4 year old went to a montessori preschool. The 9 yo went to a homeschool group put on by the school district twice a week, art lessons once a week, piano once a week, ice hockey once a week, and did boyscouts. He was doing great by academic standards, had friends, and because of the homeschool group he had done projects that had to be presented to group of people and was comfortable with public speaking.
    I chaperoned a field trip with the homeschool group to a wildlife preserve, and a few things I noticed were none of the kids there knew to raise their hands to ask questions, they just blurted answers out (which isn't a huge deal, but that waiting to speak until it's appropriate is a skill they might need later in life), and most of the kids looked at their parents as the main authority figure and not the guides, or even other parents. They were very used to having only their parents tell them what to do, and had very little respect for any other adult. There were some rules the guides presented and the kids blatantly disobeyed, and the guides told them to stop, but the kids wouldn't unless the moms stepped in. That part of socialization (not just being able to socialize) can be difficult to teach and model if you're homeschooling.

    That being said, I think homeschooling can be done very well, I know quite a few people who were homeschooled who succeeded in college, and are all around great people. I just think there are some challenges that might not be present while sending your kids to public school, but if you're aware and prepared to handle it (and it sounds like you are! you're son is very lucky) then it can be a great choice.

    • From my teaching experience with home school v. public school, I noticed some of the same things. I didn't know if it was a shyness issue with a couple kids, but they were more likely to ask their mother a question than me! For the rest of the kids, it was a stark contrast to have kids interrupt me compared to certain classes from the public school, which seemed almost robotic in how they would raise their hand answer questions. So I really think the best somewhere in between. The kids don't need to be robots, but respecting the adult who is currently in charge is necessary. And of course I give the families credit for seeking out the resources they need for a complete education.
      On the other hand, I think it varies a lot by family and home school network. I went to public school, and home schooled students in the area participated in concert band. They were incredibly respectful to the director (and extremely talented!)

  10. The thing I'm always curious about with homeschooling is how do you get your kids to work on the subjects that they don't want to? I know this is going to be different for every kid, but any suggestions?

    • Ooooh girl. GIRL. I got this. I had that kid. I pulled my son out in 8th grade because he was just sitting there, head down, hoodie up, alllllll day. So as you can imagine, he wasn't keen on schoolwork at home either.

      One thing to do sometimes is let it go. You have time at home, so if he's not into math or reading or something, you might be able to just let it go until he is ready. Even if that is months. It's SCARY to do that. But it can work. For us, I had to get him to a place where learning didn't equal "shit my mom makes me do," before we could focus on the subjects he really hated. I had to get him into the groove of learning.

      But then again, sometimes that's not going to work. We couldn't wait years to start up math again, because math is progressive. So sometimes, I had to tie math homework into something he wanted. Bribery? Sure. So finish your math would then allow for computer time or 30 minutes of a break before the next subject.

      I would also suggest seeing why they don't want to do the work. For my son, he didn't like math because it was hard for him. I realized he actually didn't know the basics (adding, subtracting, etc.) so the rest of it was such a struggle. Reduce frustrations as much as you can. Go back 5 or 20 steps to see where they are comfortable and re-start there.

      You have time. At home, you have more time to help. Good luck to you!

    • My son loves trains…everything we dois geared towards that! counting, colors, letters etc…everything!!!! whatever their new obsession is gear it towards academics and they WILL sit for it πŸ™‚

  11. As an adult who emerged (at sixteen) full of facts and curiosity from a home-school education to go to a large university, I wish you and Benji the best of luck and piles of patience, TheMarinesWife!

    My two younger brothers and I were home schooled from pre-K through high-school graduation. We were 80s babies, and I know our parents encountered a lot of prejudice and concern in the US. They chose to home-school because of my Dad's military career and because they wanted to give us each a chance to learn at our own pace. Home schooling is not for everyone, but it worked well for each of us, for different reasons.

    I'm now finishing my PhD in music anthropology & technology; my middle brother, who is dyslexic, is a physiotherapist and finishing his Masters in epidemiology; and my youngest bro just finished university with a degree in economics. I'm a pasty book nerd living and working happily in the UK, middle bro is a fitness nut who dreams of Doctors Without Borders, and youngest bro is a team-sports-playing, former-model who hasn't figured it all out yet. There were some strong personality conflicts and tough times in our tiny house, but our parents' plan worked — we learned, grew, and explored in our own individual ways.

    Regarding socialisation, it's my experience that education at home allows for education in the wider community. We didn't sit in a building full of kids our own age all day. We went out and talked to people of all ages at the market or library. We played music with local community ensembles. We took courses with older people at community centres. We helped neighbours take care of younger children. Most of all, we were tight. When your siblings are your classmates at home, you learn to deal with conflict and build working relationships. We're still good friends today.

    My partner was also home-schooled at a very young age, then was put into Montessori and alternative school programs. Education in the home didn't turn out to be the best thing for his family, but the other paths they took resulted in a good education and solid foundation for him too.

  12. I was homeschooled up until collage and I beleive that it was a great thing for me. I totally endorse it and I am planning on homeschooling my child (Once he/she is finished gestating). Consider yourself encouraged! Here are a few of my suggestions, from that prospective:

    Find (or make) a homeschoolers group if you possibly can. We were extremely lucky in that we found a great homeschooling park group when I was about 4 which lasted until I was about 15. A group of moms (and a few dads) and kids would meet at a park every Thursday afternoon. The kids would play (this is where I met all my closest childhood friends) and parents would socialize, share strategies and provide support for each other. Sometimes groups of the parents would get together and hire a teacher to teach a class to a group of kids. This group was really the community that I grew up in. I am still in contact with people I met through this group. And my mother says she feels like having that community is a big part of what made homeschooling work for us.

    Don't be afraid to sign up for classes or hire tutors, especially as your kid gets older and especially in subjects he is struggling in. Homeschooling doesn't mean you have to do it all yourself. Sometimes a teacher with more experience or training is actually useful. Sometimes a different approach is useful. Sometimes just working with someone who is not you mom is useful.

    Keep an eye out for learning disabilities. Learning at your own pace is great… unless you're stuck. The one thing I feel that my parents could have done better is catch my difficulties with reading and math sooner. They did eventually decide that I needed help and set about finding it (With great determination. Finding someone who was actually useful took several tries) and I did catch up in time to do well in college, but I think I would have been better off if the problems had been addressed sooner. I do, however, still think that I suffered less damage than I probably would have having the same learning difficulties in public school, so I still feel that homeshcooling was a good thing for me, even in this.

    This won't be relevant for you for some time, but community collages are a great option for homeschooled teenagers. If they are planning to go to collage, community collage classes provide a good stepping stone where they can learn how to do the formal school thing in a lower pressure environment than a university and doing your general education requirements at a community collage makes it easy to get into a university even when you don't exactly have a high-school record. And for kids who aren't planning on attending a university, a community college offers a chance to take a few college level classes in the subjects they are interested in.

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