Homeschool Top 10

What are the top 10 questions homeschoolers are asking?

1. Is homeschooling legal?

Millions of children in the United States are homeschooled. In fact, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) projects that this number will reach over 12 million by 2015. The United States Constitution does not have specific laws concerning education; each state governs education and has its own laws concerning homeschooling. So, if you’ve considered homeschooling your children, you will only have to learn the laws for your individual state.

2. What about socialization?

Always a biggie! The socialization book at This Old Schoolhouse is good. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) may still have a really good flyer that dealt with this issue that you can hand to those in your family who may not be supportive.

3. Can my child get into college; how do they get a diploma?

See diploma/accreditation below.

4. How much does it cost?

The real question ought to be – am I willing to financially invest in my children’s education and if so, how much?  For a family this will include bookshelves, school supplies, curricula, field trips, co-ops, help for mom (could be someone to help clean the house all the way down to giving mom a trip to a convention to recharge).

5. How much time does it take?

This is a good question to ask yourself – see #2 below

6. What does a day look like?

People really like to see a day in the life stories.  Homeschooling is such a foreign concept, it helps to see different types of people and how it really looks day by day.

7. How do you get it all done?

This goes back to the idea of time – are you a full time homemaker or a teacher?  Homeschooling takes direct hands on time by the mom, especially if the kids are little.  Depending on the number of children it doesn’t have to be a full time job. After all, how much time of the 40+ hours a public school teacher works is really spent on teaching duties and how much is spent on classroom management, administrative duties, etc.

8. How do you teach multiple kids?

Without an understanding of your philosophy of education, you can’t answer this question.

9. Can I teach my kids?

This is the am I smart enough argument. The question really should be – am I willing to spend the time to find the resource we need if I don’t know something?  With the internet, DVD curriculum, co-ops – there is nothing you can’t learn.

10.  What is the best homeschool curriculum?

There is no such thing.  If someone searches for something that meets their needs perfectly, they will never find it.  Find something that works for you 85% of the time – and adapt!

What are the top 10 questions homeschoolers SHOULD be asking?

1. Are you committed to homeschooling?

Let’s compare homeschooling to getting married – if you plan on just trying it out don’t bother!  There will be bumps in the road, and if you plan on bailing out when you hit them, well, again, don’t bother trying.  If however, you are willing to work through the bumps because you are committed to this adventure (even if it is only for one year at a time), then go for it!

2. Can you spend the time required?

Depending upon the age of your child you really just can’t turn them loose to educate themselves.  Well, there are some curricula out there that say you can, but you do need to know what you are getting into, how much time you will need to commit.  Even high school students can’t be totally independent – they need accountability. And be realistic – don’t look at the best case scenario.  You have to have some time to spend daily, even if it means your children are involved in your life, your pursuits – that can be school.

3. Another part of this is: are you willing to sacrifice the time?

Homeschooling takes time, period. A lot of homeschool moms have given up a social life for a large number of years – especially single mome – because earning a living and homeschooling their kids takes all that they have to give.  But looking back, most think it was worth every minute. It is about a lifestyle of putting homeschooling first.

4. Is your spouse committed to homeschooling?

Homeschooling requires commitment – of time, money, energy.  If both spouses aren’t committed, if your darling husband (dh) is not supporting the homeschool efforts…. it can mean trouble for the homeschool and the marriage.  Way too often this is overlooked.

5. Am I willing to financially invest in my children’s education?

It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money to homeschool – but it will take either money or time. There are a lot of conversations and workshops out there talking to the dad about spending money to provide the needed tools, about making it a priority.

6. What type of family relationships do you want to develop? This is the opposite of the socialization issue.

Just like I mention in my bio here on the website – the kids spend time with you, developing strong ties. Homeschooling is definitely a different way of life, not just school. It is about their best friends being their siblings.  It is about learning how to get along with the people you usually treat the worst (your family) when you are with them 24/7 and the world is saying, “I can’t wait till school starts and the kids are out of the house!”

So are we socializing our kids so they know how to have relationships with people their own age, when they will never again after high school be in a situation primarily with people their same age, or are we teaching them how to have relationships with people of all ages?

7. What does a diploma mean? What does accreditation mean?

This is a huge issue and not enough homeschoolers really look at the ramifications before they enter high school – and in most states that is when there is no turning back.  There was a thread in a homeschool forum where a student who had attended college in Tennessee for a semester was being told without an accredited high school diploma he would not be allowed to return for the spring.  People are shocked – but they shouldn’t be!

Accreditation means nothing – unless it is from a DESE certified school.  Really only a handful of university related schools have that certification (Texas Tech, Indiana University, Univ of Nebraska, Univ of Oklahoma) along with American School (Illinois).  No homeschool curricula carries this certification – which means their diploma only carries any weight with their accrediting agency.  For example, A Beka’s correspondence school is accredited with the state of Florida private school association, which means nothing outside of Florida.

In the vast majority of cases colleges will accept parent generated transcripts along with external documentation (i.e. ACT/SAT, dual enrollment course grades, etc.) that support the grades awarded on the transcript.

A diploma is just a piece of paper saying you completed someone’s program – it really is the accreditation that is at issue.

8. What is my philosophy of homeschooling?

Classical versus Charlotte Mason versus unschooling — so often people stop at what they are familiar with, instead of spending the time to find the philosophy before they search for curriculum.  Do you believe in letting them just play or do you want more formal activities?  There are all sorts of ways to address this issue, but to be satisfied with your choices, you start here before choosing your curriculum.

9. What curriculum options meet my philosophy of homeschooling?

Once you find your philosophy, then you can search curriculum options that are compatible with that philosophy.

10.  Why do you want to homeschool?

Way too many people homeschool out of fear.  If they don’t deal with the fear, then they will pass that fear along to their kids.  Parents are absolutely to protect their kids, but at some point you start preparing them for life – or you end up with kids afraid of the world.  It really starts with the parents dealing with their own fear and realizing they don’t have as much control as they think.  Faith versus fear.

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