When you make the choice to homeschool your children, there are many things to consider. As a mom who has homeschooled, I’ve experienced the possible answers to many of the questions you may have on your mind. Below, you will see the questions, along with what I feel are the best answers, based on our experiences. In addition to being a mother of homeschoolers, I have also studied extensively on the subject and feel confident in the answers I have provided below.
Q: How do I get started with homeschooling and who do I contact to inform of my decision?
A: Depending on the city or county you live in, the rules will be different. In many states, you will need to inform the school district, usually at their main office. In a few states, such as Texas, homeschooling is considered to be a private school and you need not inform anyone. In Texas, if your child attended traditional school before your choice to homeschool, you should inform the child's school that the child will now be homeschooled, so they can update their records and your child will not be considered truant. Nothing else is needed. Texas is often considered the best place to homeschool because of homeschools being considered private school.
For more information on what to do in your state, please click here.
Q: Is homeschooling legal?
A: Yes. Homeschooling is perfectly legal, in the United States. However, some restrictions and regulations apply and the laws are always changing, so be sure to check the law for your specific state.
Q: What is required for instruction?
A: All states have different subject and hour requirements, but most will include math, history, science, character development, reading and language, and US Government or Constitution. Check your state's requirements.
Q: What is the best curriculum?
A: The best curriculum will actually depend on the individual child.Research should be done to determine which curriculum is appropriate according to each child's individual needs as well as instructional needs. Remember to have a good balance between what your child enjoys, what is required to be learned at his or her age, as well as what will cater to any disabilities or constraints, such as ADHD or low attention span.
Also remember to cater to a variety of learning methods. A well-rounded lesson should include oral instruction, hands-on instruction, verbal practice, and visual stimulation. In other words, the child needs to hear it, see it, do it, speak it, and write it. For children weak in any of those areas, this will strengthen those weaknesses, as well as form a better understanding. All children will respond to at least one of the methods, but rather than focusing on only the method the child responds well to, it is best to give the child practice at all of them.
Q: What about socialization?
A: Socialization is often a great misconception. As with in traditional school, homeschoolers still have plenty of opportunities to socialize. There are often more opportunities to socialize in homeschool than traditional school. Many homeschoolers encourage social interaction more than a parent of a traditionally-schooled child simply because of the (often) false concern surrounding homeschool and socialization.
More On Socialization:
Homeschool Myths: Kids Who Homeschool Have Poor Social Skills
Homeschooling to Get Positive Social Interaction?
Q: What if I want to write/customize my own curriculum to each child, but don't know what is required for each subject and grade level?
A: You can check the website for the Department of Education in your state. Every state lists the requirements this way. Each state has different requirements, so be sure to check the correct state.
Q: Is homeschooling the best method?
A: The best method will vary for each student and parent. While homeschooling may be ideal for one family, another family may get better results in a public or private school. Things to consider are time, expenses, willingness of parent to teach effectively and efficiently, willingness of student to cooperate with parent during lessons, willingness of parent to provide socialization opportunities, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, dedication to study (by parent as well as child), ability to provide proper instruction and materials, and many more things.
Write down everything you will need for homeschooling, along with all of your child's special needs and the requirements for his or her grade level. If you can meet all those challenges, your family is ready for homeschool. Even if you have only met a few, if you know that it is possible for your family to fill in the other spots, you are still ready. However, if there are problems with any areas, you may want to consider private tutoring, private school, or public school. While homeschooling provides a great opportunity, if it is not taken seriously, any opportunity it would have provided is lost.
See also: Homeschool: Are You the Right Parent for the Job?
Q: Are homeschooled children allowed to participate in team sports?
A: Yes. There are many teen sports that are especially for homeschooled children. However, if you would like your children to participate with kids in all types of school environments, try having them join sports teams offered by the local YMCA or Parks & Recreational Department. Another option that is sometimes allowed is for homeschooled children to join the sports team of the school they would normally attend if they were in public school. Some schools allow this and some do not. Check with your local school for this information and for tryout information, should they approve of a homeschooler joining their leagues.
Q: My child is in middle or high school. What about proms, diplomas, and graduation requirements?
A: In some states, homeschooled children will graduate and attend proms and other events right along with traditionally high schooled children. However, there are other options such as homeschool group graduations, proms, and events. It is up to the parent to decide what is best for the child and what works for the family. A homeschool diploma can also be made on your home computer, but be careful to also create transcripts. If this part will be too difficult for you, consider using a service that caters to homeschoolers. These services make transcripts and diplomas for you. One such service is VDM Educator Services. This is a website with diploma and transcript templates for the parent to easily fill out and print.
Also, a homeschooled child still must take and pass ACT and SAT tests in high school in order to graduate.
Q: What standardized tests must my child take every year?
A: Depending on your state, this will vary. But, usually beginning in grade 3 a child would take the state standardized test required of all students, This test would be taken each year thereafter. (In Texas, this is likely the TAKS or TEKS. In Colorado, it will likely be the CSAP.) Contact your state's Department of Education for dates and times for homeschooled children to be tested and for information on whether it is required or not. If it is not a requirement, it is still a good idea to have your child/ren take the test. It will be a good indicator for you as to whether your child is getting proper instruction or not.
Disclaimer: While the author believes the above answers to be true and correct, neither the author, nor the website where this is published claims responsibility for the information provided. It is the parent's responsibility to properly research this information when deciding to homeschool. This article serves only as a starting point for parents considering homeschool. Everything contained herein, as well as any other concerns and questions a party may have about homeschool should be properly researched with the appropriate entities.
Ask Lyn about other homeschool concerns.
*This author welcomes feedback and discussion in the comments below.
**I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Benefits and Common Questions About Multi-Age Learning
When considering homeschool methods, parents and homeschool teachers may wonder about mixed-age grouping. This may especially be true in households that contain more than one child. Will catering the lessons to multiple age groups at the same time benefit your homeschool? What is mixed-age grouping exactly and what are the benefits?
What is Mixed Age Grouping or Multi-age Learning?
Mixed age grouping is when children of varied age groups are taught in the same classroom setting. It is also sometimes referred to as multi-age learning. Sometimes the children are taught the same lessons, sometimes not. But in mixed age grouping, regardless of age, they are all learning in the same vicinity, instead of being grouped by age or grade level.
Benefits of Mixed Age Grouping
Since courses will focus on varied levels, the children will receive education in a more rounded way. For instance, if the older children are learning about a particular Native American tribe and their lifestyle, the younger kids may be dressing up like them or drawing related pictures. If all of the kids witness and even participate in the various aspects, there could be a greater understanding of each lesson. Other benefits include constant review for the older kids as the younger kids learn alongside them. That also goes in the opposite direction with a head start for the younger children as they observe what's going on with the older kids.
What About Peer Interaction and Social Skills?
Some believe that homeschooled children will receive inferior social skills, due to lack of peer interaction. However, recent studies counter that belief. In fact, children in a homeschool setting, particularly one where mixed-age grouping is involved may receive more rounded social skills. Because homeschooled kids are out in the real world interacting with people of various ages all day long, they learn how to socialize with everyone, not just their peer group. Children educated in a mixed-age setting experience that advantage even more because they are with varied ages all day long. Yes, children can benefit from being around kids their age, but there are plenty of opportunities to do so - and not all of them are during school time.
How Do Kids Advance in a Mixed Age Setting?
Just like children in any other school setting, success is measured. Depending on other methods being used, the grading system could be traditional or not. Some parents may go with unschooling and some may go with a more traditional curriculum format. When tracking the scores, the grading system itself is not as important as creating a transcript that accurately reflects what the child has learned and assigns credits accordingly.
Can Other Homeschool Methods Be Combined With Mixed Age Grouping?
Yes. In fact, mixed-age grouping allows for a great deal of flexibility. It can be used in unschooling, along with the Montessori method, and in children of all ages, of course. There are many methods that can be adjusted to fit a multi-age model. Some will of course be better suited to this model than others.
Does Multi-Age Grouping Need to be Done with Every Lesson?
It is completely up to the parent or homeschool teacher whether every lesson should be tailored to multiple age groups or just some. It can be something that goes along with the whole curriculum plan or it can be used once in a while for certain lessons. For instance, a group story may be read together. But some parents and teachers may prefer math lessons to be done on a solo basis. Yet others would find a way to teach the math lesson to all applicable age groups.
Is Multi-age Grouping Right for My Homeschool?
Deciding whether to use mixed-age grouping in your homeschool could depend on many factors. The first factor is more obvious. Do you have more than one child and are they of varying ages? If the answer is no, you may actually need to search for a homeschool co-op that practices multi-age learning. Will you be comfortable coming up with plans for each age group that coincide with each other. Mixed-age teaching may require more planning and detail from the instructor, which often is one or more of the child's parents. Is there a way to tailor the mixed grouping to fit the way in which you have determined your child needs to be educated? All of these questions and more are things you should consider when deciding whether or not to integrate mixed-age grouping in your homeschool lessons.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Q & A on Discussing the Unschooling Homeschool Method with Kids
Sometimes when switching to unschooling from a more traditional homeschooling method, your kids will have some questions. Here's some common questions kids have when faced with this new form of learning. The questions are accompanied by answers that may help them better understand what unschooling is all about.
Yay! Does That Mean I Don't Have to Learn Anymore?
No. Unschooling does not mean you won't be learning. It means that you will learn based on your strengths, weaknesses, and interests, rather than learning through a set curriculum. It can also mean you will learn through hands-on experience and play.
Can I Play All Day?
Well, you will be playing but you also will be learning. You can learn through play if learning is going on. It's most likely going to be more fun than learning in a more traditional way. Sometimes playing will help you learn your lessons and that's perfectly fine if it works for you.
Are we Still Going to Use Textbooks?
Unschooling doesn't necessarily mean textbooks and other materials won't be used. Just like any other teaching method, some unschoolers use textbooks and some may use other materials to teach with. When and how they are used will align better with the way each child learns and their individual readiness. So, you might use textbooks and you might not. Sometimes other books or other learning materials work best.
Do I Have to Sit at a Desk All Day?
No! You can if you learn well that way. But you can also do other things if they help you learn. Unschooling is about doing whatever works best for each kid. If blocks help you learn how to count, you can use them. If visiting a veterinary clinic helps you learn about an animal, you might get the chance to do that. But if reading a book at your desk helps you more, you can do that instead.
Do I Have to Learn All Subjects?
Yes. You still need to learn all subjects. But the order you do it in and how you do it might be different than what we did before. If you are enjoying a particular lesson, we might spend more time on that if you want to. If you aren't in the right frame of mind for another lesson, we might move on to the next and come back to it later when you are ready.
Will I Still have Grade Levels Like All My Friends?
Yes. You still will have grade levels. However, the order that you do things in might be different than what they do. You will still graduate at the same time if you earn your way there - just like any other type of learning. Unschooling is just a way to make learning more fun for you and allow you to focus on things you are most interested in to help you succeed in life.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
As parents, students, and teachers research education from many angles, home school is becoming a more popular option. With that growing popularity comes many questions and concerns. Also, a study has been released that shows students in homeschool again scoring much higher than public school students. Here is a collection of resources on some common myths and questions associated with homeschool.
Why Don't Home School Parents Teach in a School Building?
With more people homeschooling, some people may wonder if homeschoolers should buy big buildings together. So, why don't homeschool parents form a school?
Can Someone Other Than a Parent Legally Homeschool a Child?
When making the decisions involved in the homeschool choice, some will wonder what teaching options are available. One possible question is whether another adult, besides the parents, can legally homeschool a child.
Home School Myth: Homeschooled Students are Unprepared for College
A common homeschool myth is the one that assumes children who are educated outside of a traditional school setting will be unprepared for the academic challenges of a college. Here we will explore that myth.
Home School Help: Dealing With Negative Reactions to Your Choice
When a parent chooses to home school, that decision is generally one of great importance to them. Unfortunately, not everyone will always agree on this issue, leaving most parents who homeschool vulnerable to questions, as well as disapproval by some.
Can a Parent be a Homeschool Teacher Without a Degree?
Schooling children at home is becoming more and more prevalent as parents look at a variety of schooling options for the children. A question that comes up often when choosing to homeschool is the question of whether a parent can really become a child's teacher.
Home School Myth: Homeschooled Teens Can't Get a High School Diploma
As the concept of homeschooling continues to ease back into the mainstream, where it began, more and more questions and myths seem to follow. It is often assumed that homeschoolers won't be able to receive a high school diploma.
Home School Myth: Kids Who Homeschool Have Poor Social Skills
As the concept of homeschooling continues to ease back into the mainstream, where it began, more and more questions and myths seem to follow. One myth that is very often assumed of home schooled kids is that they do not have proper social skills.
Child Struggling in School? Why You Should Try Homeschool
Do you have a child struggling or failing in school? Have you tried the options available (extra help at school, tutors, etc) with little to no success? Many parents and children struggle with this issue daily. Could homeschooling be the answer for your family's situation?
Homeschool Myths: Parents Who Homeschool are Rich
As the concept of homeschooling continues to ease back into the mainstream, where it began, more and more questions and myths seem to follow. One homeschool myth is the concept that families who choose to school at home are rich.
Homeschool Myths: Home School Parents Think They Know Everything
As the concept of homeschooling continues to ease back into the mainstream, where it began, more and more questions and myths seem to follow. One myth that is often brought up to homeschoolers is the "know-it-all" myth.
Homeschool: Custom VS Pre-Packaged Curriculum
Deciding whether you'll go with a customized curriculum or a pre-packaged one for homeschooling your child can be a daunting task. Here are some things to consider to help make that choice easier.
Homeschool Myths: Home School Kids are Too Lazy for Real School
There are many myths surrounding homeschool. One of those myths is that of laziness on the child's part. Some feel that a child who home schools is too lazy to complete real schoolwork. Is this really true?
Homeschool Myths: Home School Parents are Just Lazy
As the concept of homeschooling continues to ease back into the mainstream, where it began, more and more questions and myths seem to follow. A common myth that seems to follow many parents who decide to homeschool their kids is the concept of laziness.
Homeschool Myths: Homeschooled Kids are Truant
Many questions and myths seem to follow the topic of homeschool. One topic that frequently comes up during conversations about home school is the one of truancy. It is often perceived that a child who is homeschooled is (or should be) counted as truant.
Homeschooling to Get Positive Social Interaction?
For so many years, choosing to educate children from home was looked at as stripping away their social interaction. However, many homeschooling families will argue with that fact, and for good reason. Here is a newer, more positive look at socialization and homeschool.
Preparing For Homeschool: Frequently Asked Questions
When you make the choice to homeschool your children, there are many questions that will be in your mind. As a mom who has homeschooled, I now know the possible answers to many of the questions you may have on your mind.
Is Homeschool the Best Title for the Education Method?
Homeschooling is many things. But, does it have the correct title? This title implies that schooling is done completely at home, which is very far from the average "homeschool".
Public School, Private School, Homeschool, or...
Choosing the right type of school for our children is a very difficult decision. This decision will ultimately determine your child's success in the future...First, we must remember that each family and child is unique and has differences that play a role in this decision.
Gym Class Ideas for Homeschooling Families
Families who are homeschooling will benefit from these, but they are also great ideas for playing outside with the kids in general, especially on the weekends.
Homeschooling: Enhancing Social Skills
Homeschooled kids have a variety of options for enhancing social skills. Many of the parents that only homeschool inside simply don't know how else to do it. Now, if you are one of the parents that has no clue or just want to learn more, read on.
Why Does Anyone Homeschool Anyway?
Well, I can't tell you why everyone else homeschools, but I can tell you about our decision to homeschool and why we thought it was the best choice for our family.
~ The author is always open to questions and discussion. Please feel free to express your thoughts and concerns.
*This is not a complete guide on homeschooling, nor is it meant as legal advice. Always check with your state's education agency for up to date laws and do the proper research for questions and concerns.
**I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
LAST UPDATED 5/15/2021
If you're thinking about or have decided to homeschool, you likely are wondering about homeschool laws. What are the legalities and where can information be found? Each state in the US has a different set of rules. The following information should help guide you toward the most current information.
One place to learn about homeschool laws is through your state's education department. When people think of the Department of Education, they may not necessarily be thinking about homeschool. But this agency should have access to the most current information regarding homeschool.
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) also can be extremely helpful when it comes to learning about homeschool laws. They even have a state by state breakdown of the legal options. In addition, they also can be very supportive to homeschool families who have been legally wronged.
Can a Parent Be a Homeschool Teacher Without a Degree?
Schooling children at home is becoming more and more prevalent as parents look at a variety of schooling options for the children. A question that comes up often when choosing to homeschool is the question of whether a parent can really become a child's teacher...
Can Someone Other Than a Parent Legally Homeschool a Child?
When making the decisions involved in the homeschool choice, some will wonder what teaching options are available. One possible question is whether another adult, besides the parents, can legally homeschool a child...
Homeschool FAQ: Common Myths and Questions
With growing popularity comes questions and concern. A new study has been released that shows homeschool students again scoring much higher than public school students. Here is a collection of some common myths and questions associated with homeschool...
LAST UPDATED 5/15/2021
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