Frequently Asked Questions About HOMESCHOOLING
I can’t even get my kids to do their homework at night. How in the world can you teach your own kids?
It is difficult to compare the “homework” experience to the “homeschool” experience. You are getting your kids at the end of their day when they are exhausted and so are you. You are trying to help them with concepts that their teachers may have taught them differently than you would. When you homeschool, you set your own schedule. You work with your children when they are fresh and have energy and you still have patience. It takes a while, but you eventually establish a working relationship with your child. It helps when you are familiar with their course work and you can easily answer questions that they may have without competing with what another teacher may have taught them. It may seem impossible, understandably. However, it can be very rewarding.
How do I teach all of my kids at their individual levels all of the subjects every day?!
If you try to teach each child every subject every day on different levels you will burn out quickly. Keep in mind that when children are in school they do not get every subject every day. Some days they may have art class while the next they may have music class. Consider combining some subjects and adopting a one room school house philosophy. The family can study music, art, history, and even science together. The older children will be given more challenging assignments but the information can be studied out together. This can be a very rewarding process. As the children become teenagers, many of them become independent learners and are capable of studying independently or through correspondence programs. Think of yourself as a facilitator. You will not literally stand up in front of your children lecturing them all day long. Most homeschoolers do more mentoring and tutoring and only instruct as needed.
Do homeschoolers “make up” their own lessons? How can they possibly know what to teach their children?
Some do but they are few and far between. There is an abundance of curriculum available to homeschoolers. Visit our CURRICULUM CORNER to see what we mean. These curricula are written out with standards in mind and are often a bit ahead of the public school grade level that they correspond to. Many homeschoolers follow a strict curriculum at the beginning and then become more familiar and comfortable with the materials. At this time they may pick and choose resources that fit their children’s needs.
How do you know if your children are staying on track with other kids their age?
Many homeschool children take state standardized testing at local testing centers at the end of a school year. They will do this to practice their test taking skills and to see what subjects they may need to work harder on and which ones they are doing well. If you are concerned, you can find out the “scope and sequence” that the teachers in your area are using by visiting the school district’s website or calling the local public school. You can compare and contrast what they are doing to the materials that are available.
What is a scope and sequence?
A scope and sequence is an outline that a teacher or textbook will follow to organize the order of topics and skills that they will teach. Curriculum will list their scope and sequence for each grade and subject. Teachers will also follow a scope and sequence through the year.
What curriculum should I use?
This is often the first questions from a new homeschooler. Unfortunately, this one takes time, patience, and trial and error to discover. It is up to the individual family to discover their needs and preferences when it comes to curriculum. Visit our homeschool philosophies page and well as our CURRICULUM CORNER to help you in your journey. You can take a quiz for both philosophy and curriculum.
What do you mean by "homeschooling philosophy"?
There are several philosophies on education. Early pioneers of the homeschooling world wrote books and challenged the modernization of the public school system. Curriculum is often written with philosophy in mind. It is a good idea to become aware of the philosophies and to discover which you identify with. This can help you as you choose curriculum and even as you determine how you will approach your teaching style. Some of the philosophies are; Classical, Traditional, Unit Studies, Unschooling, Eclectic, Charlotte Mason, Thomas Jefferson Education, and Principle based. Visit our PHILOSOPHY page to learn more.
What is TJED and who is Charlotte Mason? I hear homeschoolers using these terms and I don’t know what it means.
These are homeschooling philosophies and pioneers of homeschooling. Visit our PHILOSOPHY page to learn more.
Why do homeschoolers seem so relaxed about their kids being behind the public school system?
Often times a homeschooler has decided to take their kids out of school because of a special need. They may feel that the child will learn better without the pressure of sticking to a specific timeline. This may come across that they are too lax about schooling or that they do not care or are lazy. Although there are those who very well may be, more often than not, they have spent a lot of time and prayer to determine how they are schooling their children. Some children who struggle in the school system are brought home to give them more time and one and one attention. Others may be ahead of the curve and were not being challenged at school. These families are following the timetable that is being set by the child; trusting that by the time they reach adulthood, they will be “caught up” to their peers, and will be capable of going to college or moving into their careers.
What is unschooling?
Unchooling refers to those who allow their child full ownership in his or her education. This is an approach to homeschooling where the child leads by interest. It may sound crazy but there are some children who are naturally motivated to learn. Their interest leads them to learning and they are able to do quite well. Many people are uncomfortable with the relaxed nature of this kind of approach but there have been success stories to back up this method. The term “unschooling” is often used loosely and light heartedly to describe days when homeschoolers are not able to do their regular schedule.
Is homeschooling legal? Will the state be banging down my door if I don’t do it right?
It is legal but some state regulate more than others. Find out the LAWS in your area.
What about socialization? All of the homeschoolers I know are weird.
Weird parents=Weird Kids. Are you weird? If so you can expect weird kids. :) You probably know many people who homeschool or are/were homeschooled and just don’t know it. There are a number of support groups and programs for homeschoolers in which children have ample opportunity to socialize. Contrary to the stigma, the majority of homeschoolers do not stay in their homes all day and avoid civilization. Visit our CONNECTIONS page to find homeschool groups in your area.
Don’t you think your kids need to interact with people other than their family? My kids learn better from other teachers and role models.
Homeschoolers participate in coops and classes in their communities. They may also participate in distance learning programs that involve teachers and other instructors. Many of them take dance lessons, art classes, music lessons, theatre classes, as well as participating in sports and other activities. This allows children to receive instruction from other mentors and teachers and gives them the diversity that they may need.
How can you handle being with your kids all of the time? I need a break!
Homeschoolers need a break too. It can be an adjustment at first, especially if your children have been to school previous to your decision to homeschool. Establishing reliable routines and schedules can curb frustration and keep peace and order in the home. Keep in mind; the children are busy working and learning at home so they have less time to destroy the house mindlessly as they do on the weekends or holidays. It takes some getting used to but planning outings and scheduling “me time” can help you to get relief and perspective that you need.
How do you ever get your house clean if your kids are always there?
Enlist the troops! You CAN NOT do this one alone. In order to have a clean and orderly home AND homeschool, your children have to pull their weight. Keeping the home is a lot easier when everyone does their part.
When do you run errands? Go to the doctor? Etc.
The days of going places kid free are over. You will learn to do just about anything with your kids in tow. The kids will eventually learn how to behave when you have to run errands or go to public places all together. For those times that you need to leave your children at home, make sure that you have a friend who you can trade babysitting with. It is possible. It does get easier.