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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To Homeschool or Not To Homeschool?

That is the question I’ve heard from several people lately! I always like to ask why someone chooses to homeschool. The answers vary widely. From wanting a more flexible schedule to moral/religious reasons to a more personalized education for their child to steering free from Common Core to providing an educational method not found in schools…the whys are different for everyone.

One thing is for sure. More and more people are homeschooling.

I am also amazed at how this website is really reaching out to a lot of people in our community! Both homeschooling families and others who are just thinking of homeschooling. Just last week, I spoke with my daughter’s former gymnastics coach (from a homeschool gymnastics class), and now she is really thinking of homeschooling! Another friend of mine is making the plunge and she will be hiring a private teacher for her children. Pockets of homeschoolers gather as co ops, pay teachers for group classes, go on outings together, etc.

People often email me about how they can find a group that’s right for them. Since one size never fits all with homeschoolers, it’s important for you to look around to find what will work for you and your family. A good place to start is on the link above, HS Groups. Also, ask around. You may be surprised who homeschools at your church or on your child’s sports team or extra curricular activity. I’ve even been asked about homeschooling while shopping at Costco! (During a school day, of course, with all my little ducks in a messy row.) One surprising gathering place is homeschool gymnastics…all three gyms in the area offer homeschool gymnastics classes. Arizona Dreams Academy, YMCA, and Synergy Gymnastics (formerly Flip City in Prescott) And while your boys and girls (of all ages…so nice to do one extra curricular activity for everyone at the same place at the same time) have fun with their PE, you can chat with the other moms.

Also, I would love to have other regular/semi-regular writers and contributors on this blog. Maybe you’re in-the-know about things going on around here and want to share with others. Maybe you like to write about tips and tricks for homeschooling. Maybe you have a club/co-op/play group you want to grow. Just let me know. I also always appreciate the emails from the program directors of educational classes/opportunities that ask me to publicize their opportunity on this website.

prescotthshub at gmail.com

Holes

 

Cute cartoon I found showing that even if we can't teach our children everything, there are other ways to fill those holes.

Cute cartoon I found showing that even if we can’t teach our children everything, there are other ways to fill those holes.

Today I had a friend over who is trying out homeschooling for the summer to see if this change is right for his children and family. I love this family. He’s a stay-at-home-dad and his wife runs a successful practice. They have three darling girls–each is a daughter of a different country adopted from birth. Like all parents, my friends what what is best for their children and right now, they are doubting that public education really fits the bill. So they are seriously looking into home education.

Among the discussions of “how do you do it?” and “What is the curriculum you use?”, we also talked about the inevitable holes our children have as they grow up. As parents, we might wish that if we parent right, our children won’t have any holes so they can become amazing and successful adults. But I’ve come to accept the holes I’ll leave in my children just as I recognize the holes in my own life. Holes are a good thing–they give us something to fill–something to work on and achieve personally.

In the matter of education, I’ve also realized that no matter where children are educated, they will have holes. It’s the type of holes we want to avoid and the kinds that we are okay with that make a difference as to where we educate them. As a home educator, my children will not experience a 1st grade class play, a 3rd grade choir, arts and crafts every day of Kindergarten, daily recess with peers, and class PE. But they will also not be bored while waiting for the teacher to teach through 5 different learning styles to teach a concept, they will not be taught to a test, they will not experience negative peer influence on the bus or elsewhere. And they will definitely receive consistent discipline, behavior, and character building lessons at home. I choose the home education holes over the public education holes. The nicest thing about approaching an educational hole as a homeschooler is that I don’t have to have a parent-teacher-principal-superintendant-educational system conference to fill that hole. I just have to take an honest look at myself, my child, our home, and our curriculum to make the change where it needs to happen.

What do you think about the holes that inevitably come into your child’s life?