Homeschool FAQ

(Unresearched, somewhat biased, probably a bit inaccurate, and the answers definitely don’t apply to all homeschoolers.)

I just don’t have the patience to homeschool. How do you do it?

First, if we seem to have more patience it’s because we get to practice it a lot! And our patience is tried in a variety of ways! Another reason is we need patience to be effective. We also have opportunities to apologize for our outbursts, repent, and try again!

What about socialization for your kids?

We actually feel that as long as our kids are involved in religious and extracurricular activities with peers, they can still develop healthy socialization skills among their peers. Many of us also purposefully join groups and get together for our own social needs those of our kids. 

Homeschoolers also have a bunch of opportunities to develop great relationships with other adults, kids older than them, and kids younger than them. Homeschooled kids are often ok with being themselves and less concerned with trying to “fit in.” We also find that socially awkward parents often have socially awkward kids and it wouldn’t matter if those kids are in public school or homeschooled. 

How do you teach all your kids everything they need to know?

Well, we don’t, but neither do the schools! We just prioritize what needs to be taught and we get to pick the best way that works for us (the moms as teachers). We are hard on ourselves some days and really proud of ourselves on other days.

What about teaching multiple grades/ages?

There are three basic ways to accomplish this (there could be more):

1. Follow your children’s grade levels and teach them according to their grade, which is usually determined by the state/common core. This probably takes hours each day per kid. Most of us don’t do that cause we would go insane. 

2. Anne of Green Gables classroom: One-room-classroom approach where you teach the same lesson to multiple ages (for science, history, art, geography, literature, foreign languages, etc) and take some time to do one-on-one with the linear subjects (math, reading, spelling). 

3. Independent Learners: Pick a method/curriculum that fosters independent learning and you end up mainly supervising their education. Your main role is to get them to the point of becoming an independent learner—you teach the 3 R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic. 

What if I have to work?

You can make homeschooling work with your schedule. Your kids won’t need 7+ hours of “school” every day to learn what they need to learn until they are about high school age. At that point, they ought to be independent learners so you don’t need to be by their side for those whole 7+ hours while they study. You can also get creative like hire a nanny or a teacher/tutor to help you with the childcare or their education. 

How do you motivate your kids to learn?

The best trick in the book is no trick at all. It’s only cultivating a love of learning. Humans naturally love to learn, progress, and grow. It’s a part of our nature as children of God. If we can keep that love of learning alive in our kids and not squash it out, they will always have a hunger and a thirst to learn and grow. The trick is to not stifle that love of learning. 

How soon should I start homeschooling my children?

Our culture encourages us to start young and to start serious. So we automatically think we should, too.

I suggest an alternative. Let our kids be Kids. Let them play, explore, visit parks, lakes, zoos, and museums, go on hikes, play freely in the backyard, be bored, and have plenty of free time. Read good books, poetry, classics, and quality literature to them. Cultivate the love of learning.

As they grow, so will their appetite to learn. Keep feeding them good learning material out of “the best books.” As they get older, you’ll see the need for more structured learning and maybe even using some outside resources for their education. Some options are no cost, like JTED for high schoolers. Some homeschoolers also start taking college courses in high school as a way to get a head start for college. 

How much does homeschooling cost?

As little or as much as you can afford. There are many free to very low cost options you can use to teach your kids. If you’re on a budget, look for deals, second hand materials, and use the Internet and library a lot. You don’t have to buy the required school supplies every year so you’ll save on things like pencils, scissors, crayons, and school fund raisers.

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Can Homeschoolers Participate in Public School Classes or Sports?

I received this question from a reader in Flagstaff. Let me share what I found out. 

1. It depends on the district. However, most counties do allow it, you just usually have to work it out directly with the school and/or district. Make sure you arm yourself with information. At the time of this blog post, this website had the best links to the county eductional websites with the information you need.

2. Yavapai County Education Service Agency says this on their website:

     Participation in School Activities

School districts are required to allow home schooled students to participate in interscholastic activities. The home schooled student must meet the same eligibility requirements, such as passing grades (as certified by the parent), as regular students. If there is a charge (Pay for Play, etc.), the home schooled student must pay the same fee as other students. Academic activities are not the same as interscholastic activities. Schools can take a home schooled student for any number of classes if the district wants to. However, unless a student is enrolled for at least ¼ time (as applicable to age of student) the district receives no state aid and is under no obligation to take a home schooled student.

2. Coconino County Education Service Agency also addresses this topic. Just access their document by clicking on Public School at Home link and find the section about Interscholastic Activities.
*The information on this blog post is based on a quick internet search and has not been tested or proven. Please comment on your experience with involving your homeschooled children in public school classes and/or activities.

Homeschool Information Night

Are you thinking about homeschooling your children? Do you know how to get started? Are you nervous?

Or are you a current homeschooler that would like to help someone who is wanting to homeschool? Or do you want a different perspective?

Come to our Homeschool Information Night

January 30, 2015 @ 6:30 pm
The Montes Home
Please RSVP to Lisa Montes

freedommom@1791.com

We will have some current homeschoolers who will briefly tell us why they homeschool and we will have some curriculum that we use for you to take a look at. We will also have a Q&A session.

We serve appetizers and desserts.

Husbands and Wives are both welcome to come. We ask that if all possible, you find someone to watch your kids. If it’s not possible, but would still like to come, contact me.

Sequoia Choice and REACH

Last week I attended a meeting put on by Sequoia Choice that introduced their REACH program to us.

Sequoia Choice, a distance learning Charter School backed by AZDL, will be starting up a REACH program in Prescott this year. REACH will be a day for homeschool kids to get together with each other and participate in elective classes (on Fridays…and it’s a drop off). In order to participate in REACH, the child has to be enrolled at least PT in Sequoia Choice classes…either using their AZDL curriculum options (2 core classes of Science, Math, Language Arts, or Social Studies) or Williamsburg Academy or Williamsburg Intermediate. http://sequoiachoice.wix.com/reachaz Also, if you’re enrolled in their program, they will also reimburse you $150/semester for extracurricular activities including things like gymnastics, piano lessons, or other PE/ARTS qualifying thing. The catch is that it is a charter school so they have to do benchmark testing 4 times a year, state testing on the grade level it corresponds with, and abide by common core standards. Otherwise, you enroll your child in their school and they pay for your child’s curriculum (as long as the curriculum meets state standards) and REACH program.

 

So far, the REACH classes/courses haven’t been decided yet, and that’s what the meeting was for…to find out what we need here.

But we spouted off a bunch of ideas:

Classes for elementary, middle, and high school kids.

Art classes

Choir/Music

Ballroom Dancing (other dancing)

Orchestra/band

Drama

Foreign Language (Latin and Spanish were the main interests)

Math Enrichment

Science Labs

Writing Enrichment

Vo-Tech classes like computer classes, welding, wood working, etc.

Business classes

College Prep, Internship, Life Skills

Overnight family field trips

If you are interested and want to have a say about what classes are going to be covered this year, then contact Karen (who will be the REACH coordinator here and main teacher at first). I’m sure she’ll be looking for teachers/mentors for these classes, too. I’m sure the teachers will be paid for them.

Karen’s phone number is 928-308-2668.

The first day of class will be Aug 16. Located at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 1202 Green Lane, Prescott. They will allow homeschool kids to attend REACH classes 2-3 weeks before committing to a Sequoia Choice enrollment.

Definitely something worth thinking about.

K12: Arizona Virtual Academy

I figured that since I’ve been spotlighting other school-at-home options, I should include this one. This is the first one I found out about. It’s been around for a while and it’s another great option for getting a school education at home. I have a friend who uses this with her children. She says the early grades do require quite a bit of parental supervision and time, but as the child gets older and becomes more independent in their learning, she just needs to check in with them to make sure they are on task.

So, check it out!

Arizona Virtual Academy

Arizona Connections Academy

A few days ago, I received a direct mail advertisement from Arizona Connections Academy. My first thought was how much homeschooling must be growing for homeschool academies to be advertising via direct mail. My other thought was that some others might be interested in learning more about this.

They will have an in-person information meeting on Thursday, Aug 1, at 6:30 pm at Starbucks on 351 N. Montezuma St.

After a brief review of the website, it looks like it provides full public-style instruction in all core classes and many electives. There are also a couple dozen activity clubs your child can participate in. It’s basically set up as a distance-learning/online charter school. There is no cost for curriculum or activities (as far as I can tell). Your child will periodically have a review session (once every two weeks) to monitor progress and learning. Regular assessments will be taken and it will follow core curriculum guidelines. Your child can learn at his/her own pace and (possibly?) take subjects according to their own level.

Once again, another great opportunity for home-based education! Really, there are SO many options out there, it’s hard to keep track of all of them!

Sequoia Choice REACH Kick-off Meeting

Dear Prescott Area Home-Educators:

We are very pleased to invite you to attend the rescheduled:

Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning

REACH Kick-Off Meeting

This Coming Thursday, July 25th

 7:00 PM

 Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church

1202 Green Lane, Prescott

 Come meet our Prescott REACH Coordinator, Karen Norris,

learn about the exciting opportunities for the Greater Prescott Area home-educators,

and help plan the ideal REACH program you want for your children!

Please feel free to invite your home-educator friends

to come check out this magnificent program!

This is a flyer I received from a homeschool friend of mine. You can learn more about Sequoia Choice here or the REACH program here. Basically, it’s an AZDL (Arizona Distance Learning) program that gives you a teacher/mentor to help you and your child stay on top of their homeschooling. They also provide field trips and other organized learning activities. K-12. Please come if you’re interested!