Monthly Archives: September 2021

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Homeschooling and the family

According to the National Center For Education Statistics, almost
1.1 million children underwent homeschooling in 2021 alone. That’s
a lot of children. Once upon a time, homeschooling used to be a
radical statement – something like a declaration of independence.
It was the conservative Christians who advocated homeschooling in
the ’80s and legalized it in every State. But the typical
homeschooler of the day is not religiously motivated.

Recent surveys indicate that parents are actually quite fed up of
the public school systems
where much of the learning is
superficial and compulsory. They are also concerned about negative
school environment ranging from drugs and abuse to negative peer
pressure. As a result, we have a surprising mix of people who form
the homeschooling world of today. They cut across all religious
and regional borders. Their main aim is providing meaningful and
productive learning
through a method that strengthens the bond
between the various members of the family.

All these families have one thing in common – a long enduring
commitment to the sanctity of childhood. The children in these
families are accorded a primary position. Many believe, and
rightly so, that homeschooling allows parents to bring up children
in a more natural and nurturing environment. Public schools can
make one nervous, diffident and downright mean. Children who get
schooled at home are protected from these damaging negative
influences till they reach an age where they can handle it

Homeschooling draws the whole family into the almost religious
task of schooling. Everyone is put to work. The parents together
form a bond with the children. Any experience can be turned into
an educational experience. Both the parents are aware of exactly
what is going into their child’s head. Parents also have greater
control on the kind of religious and moral values that the child
imbibes. Even watching a movie together can become a learning
experience. Trips to the libraries and other places become
educational as well as recreational.

A homeschooling family is primarily dependent on the income of one
earning member. That means that often spending has to be curtailed
and proper planning of expenditure is a must. This helps to bring
the family members together and everybody gets involved in the
process of saving money.

Having a parent at home to supervise, to nurture and care for the
children brings with it a lot of love and caring. Even your
husband chips in and there just is no room for boredom. Yes,
problems do crop up, and there are a lot of misgivings in your
mind. But when you know that your kids can always count on you,
and your kids know it too, then homeschooling becomes a richly
rewarding experience.

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How to Homeschool Your Child?

Now that you have decided that homeschooling is the way to educate
your child, get ready for the ecstasy and the anxiety – the road
ahead is a bit bumpy, but the rewards more than make up for it.
Producing a well-adjusted and well-rounded personality is no mean

First of all, it is important to check out your state laws on home
. Some states need an affidavit filed with the State’s
education department. There are basically 3 categories for
laws. These are: private school laws, home education
laws and equivalency laws
. Find your state laws. You may also need
to maintain a portfolio that records the child’s educational
. It is important to look into the legal requirements
BEFORE you start homeschooling. Some States also stipulate a
minimum educational qualification for the parent or teacher.

Next, look for a support group. If you live in a friendly or
curious neighborhood, well-meaning friends will try to dissuade
you. At the very least, they may put a lot of uneasy questions in
your mind. A support group that consists of like-minded people
will insulate you from the criticism, pressures and questions of
regular school-goers. Many groups organize fun events like visits
to the zoo, museum, tours to the ice cream shops
etc. And if your
children hit it off with other homeschoolers, they will be able to
build lasting relationships that do not fade when their friends
change schools. These groups provide an important avenue for

The next important thing to do is to select a curriculum.
Depending upon the method of homeschooling, you may choose various
tools that aid you in this process. The internet is also a rich
resource for homeschooling. Do some research and look into the
material that is available.

Set certain ground rules. Homeschooling requires a lot of
self-discipline and hard work. Here is a comprehensive list of the
things you will need:
1) Eagerness to learn
2) Hard work and effort
3) Discipline
4) Time and patience
5) Flexibility
6) Enthusiasm

Consider why you want to opt for homeschooling. Your motives and
your reasons are important pillars on which the whole edifice of
your child’s lessons depends. Also, consult with your children.
Ask them what they feel about homeschooling.

Select a curriculum or custom-make a curriculum that best suits
your child
. Record keeping is an important part of homeschooling.
Look into the various methods of record keeping. Set up a
. Your child does not have to learn 6-7 hours a day. Allow
him or her to dictate the time. Flexibility and fun are the
cornerstones of homeschooling. Do not stuff too many skills into a
single term or year. Prepare a skill list. Make the child learn
the skills that he is ready for.

Gentle parenting is the secret to successful homeschooling.
Children make great advances in learning and show more enthusiasm.
They also turn out to be surprisingly well balanced and well
informed when they are taught at home.

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Home Schooling Teenagers: Preparing For College

Most of the high school years are spent preparing for college and discovering passions for future careers.  This is a time when most home schoolers do not follow a textbook driven curriculum.  Most home schoolers learn by interest driven curriculum and some students even become experts in their field. 

There are diploma programs for home schoolers, which are equivalent to an institutionalized curriculum.  But that is not the only option to provide learning.  Many home schooled teens use selected correspondence courses in specific areas of interest, or take classes at community colleges, or use community education programs, home school cooperatives, or online classes on the Internet.  Students have the opportunity to pursue what they enjoy, which usually involves extra training with a mentor or tutor, or special courses.  There are advance placement courses online or by mail, county immediate school district programs, or private classes, the learning options are endless.

Teenagers should really focus their energies on schoolwork, excellent grades (and grade point average) and the direction they wish to take for a career.  If a student is interested in pursuing a college degree, he/she should practice and prepare to take PSAT, SAT, and ACT.  Some home schooled students get college credits for taking CLEP (College Level Examination Program) courses.  Colleges are seeking students who are well rounded, who have a desire to learn and be a part of the community, and who excel in textbook studies. 

Parents who home school their teenagers cannot teach them everything they are interested in learning.  For instance, a student who is passionate about flying and aviation probably doesn’t have parents who are experts in this field.  Mentorships, apprenticeships, and on the job training are necessary to better learn a skill or trade that is not found only in a textbook.  Experience is more valuable than textbook memorization of subjects.

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Home schooling Teenagers: Curriculum

When designing a curriculum for home schooled teenagers, parents cooperate with their teens and plan the school year together.  Some parents prefer the traditional, text book driven curriculum, especially during the high school years because it opens up options for diplomas and college preparatory courses.  A structured curriculum is not the only way to earn a diploma when home schooling.  Other parents and teenagers prefer the interest driven curriculum, where teenagers are motivated to learn interesting subjects and apply it to the curriculum. 

For college admissions, there are core courses that should be taken.  English, math, science, and social studies should be worked on each year.  Health, language, and fine arts are another batch of classes that should be included each academic year.  This ensures a well rounded individual who has learned the essentials for the age level. 

Parents should not be discouraged to pursue the interest driven approach while still completing the same college preparatory high school curriculum.  Reading and writing is an essential part to communication, which is vital in society.  Most homeschoolers read plenty of books and visit the library often; on average, home school students read many more books than the institutionalized student.  After each book, the student writes an essay, and spelling lists are derived from misspelled words.

When it comes to math, home schoolers use real life math problems, such as consumer math, statistics, gaming and probability, recreational math, mental math, math history, and especially bookkeeping.  Some students use math programs on the computer or Internet.  With math, the repetitive practicing of problems is the only way to learn.

Science can be found anywhere, without a formal lab.  Home schoolers visit hospitals, rivers, volcanoes (if they are lucky!), and any work place.  Many attend camps and field trips and learn biology, botany and astronomy.  When home schooling, students are open to so many more fields of interest such as:  meteorology, paleontology, nutrition, health, equine science, herpetology, nature studies, engineering, physiology, and even psychology.  This is why most home schooled students do not stick to a boring, limited textbook curriculum.

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Home Schooling Teenagers

Home schooling a teenager is much different than home schooling a younger child.  Teenagers usually know what they enjoy learning about and have a goal in mind about what they would like to do as a career.  Home school is a great way to enhance and explore specific areas of expertise.  Teenagers usually plan out their own curriculum and document their own record keeping, which teaches accountability.  Most teens are capable of self study and self monitoring; they usually know where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

Teenagers should be making decisions on what they plan to do after school.  They may plan on going to college, military, community college, or maybe something else.  College is just one option.  Interest, passions, hobbies, past times can all be turned into a career.  A parent should research career options with your teenager by their gut feelings and instincts and nothing else.  Do not let anything else get in the way of an intense passion that your child holds.  Even if it is something you think will not make enough income, it is a passion.  When someone does what they love, money comes.

This is a time during home school years that a parent may wonder if they can keep their children at home.  Parents need to find out about diploma options.  Some home schooled teenagers receive a GED, which stands for general education development, and is equivalent to a high school diploma.  Parents may also research about college preparatory curriculums and classes that may supplement their home studies

During these teenage years, it is crucial to include the student in as many extracurricular activities as possible.  Some activities may include:  sports, working in a family business, self-employment, tutoring, community memberships, local arts productions, etc.  Keep good documentation of awards, essays, interviews, and recommendations for future college requirements. 

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Home Schooling Six to Eight Year Olds

Whether a child has been to an institutionalized school or has been home schooled forever, many six to eight year olds enjoy learning.  As a parent, understanding how your child learns, which temperament is their strongest, and what type of intelligence they excel in will greatly assist in the teaching/learning process.  Six to eight year olds learn best when they are having fun.  Reading to the child is essential to their learning experience.  Read about a variety of subjects, such as animals, mystery, history, fantasy, classics, and adventures.  Visit the library often and see what they offer.  Some offer reading and art classes or other activities.  Purchasing a phonics book will dramatically help your child to understand how words are phonetically read out loud. 

Another lesson for this age group is writing skills.  Although the child may have difficulty writing, they certainly can talk up a storm.  Scribing for your child as they tell a story is a great way for them to see it written down.  Have them draw pictures by the words that you have written for them.  Narration is also a great tool to learning language skills.  Read to your child and have them repeat in their own words what the story was about.  Remember to keep all these lessons fun and stress free.  Children learn at their own pace as long as there is daily practice there is nothing to worry about.

When working with arithmetic, try to incorporate a lot of real life situations, such as cooking, or trips to the grocery store, etc.  Science is another subject that is learned best in its natural setting.  Read about snakes and then go to a zoo to see some.  Name all the animals at the zoo and then write about it later.  See how many different birds are outside your home and try to name them.  The hands on approach is often the easiest way to learn.  Walk on the beach and name all the animals, hike in the mountains and notice the different landscapes, collect specimens, notice changing seasons, the world is a learning experience.

In addition, parents want to teach their children responsibility and accountability with household chores.  This is an excellent way for child to learn that they are capable and that they are needed in the family.

Overall, children in this age group enjoy combining research with creative projects, such as crafts, costumes, foods, reports, place setting, home decorations, music, and imagination play.  With every activity, each subject can be incorporated easily.  A purchased curriculum is not necessary, learning is inevitable.

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Home Schooling Nine to Twelve Year Olds

When home schooling a child between nine and twelve years old, there is a lot of pressure for peer pressure.  Keep in mind that not all children undergo this pressure to be with and like their peers, while distancing themselves from their parents.  These preteens still need plenty of attention, eye contact, positive reinforcement and praise, personal communication, and good interaction with their parents.  Believe it or not, children at this age do still enjoy being read to.  Keep having positive attitudes toward learning; focus on making learning interesting and engaging.  Make sure you use positive constructive criticism with the least amount of academic pressure possible.  Focus on providing a safe, secure learning environment that encourages love, acceptance and reassurance.  This will, in time, raise their feelings of self worth and help them understand where their values lie. 

At this tender age of hormones, mixed emotions, changing feelings, group planning in curriculum is suggested.  Preteens prefer learning skills that have a reason or purpose in real life.  For instance, instead of offering busy work in language arts, ask your child to write a letter to a manufacturing company in regards to a defective household product for you.  Not only would this make the child feel important but the learning task would be a skill much needed in real life.  When learning math, use real life examples with money and budgeting, perhaps even balancing a checkbook.  Use graphs and charts to set goals with earned money and savings.  Reading about science from a textbook is one way to learn the subject, but performing experiments or identifying specimens in nature is much more engaging.  Daily and weekly chores are necessary to learn responsibility and accountability as an integral part of the family. 

Remember to always model what you want to teach.  Learn new topics together.  Dissect a grasshopper for science, work on the family budget together, etc.  Home schooling allows parents to design a curriculum that benefits their children.  Find out where your preteen has strengths and weaknesses and plan your curriculum around that.

Home Schooling Nine to Twelve Year Olds