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What You Must Know Before Homeschooling

Posted Jul 12 2012 7:00am

It’s no easy task when it comes to deciding to homeschool and one giant leap when you actually move forward with your decision. It should not be taken lightly because your children’s education and lifestyle experience now will shape their entire lives.

Whether you’re new to homeschooling or have been at it for years, you likely face challenges. Many of these challenges are rooted in our past and can easily be resolved by changing our beliefs. Let me put your mind at ease regarding some of the most pressing issues.

  1. Involvement of time: You don’t have to create a full time job for mom or dad in order to homeschool. While many methods do create a “school at home” complete with lessons, projects, preparation, assessments, and grading and on and on the list goes, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact you can achieve excellent results using the self-education method, mentoring your children rather than teaching. You’ll still be responsible for them throughout the day, however creating a lifestyle that is conducive to family harmony will give you and your family the flexibility to grow and expand in an easy relaxed manner that’s suited to how you want to live. After all, it’s your life, so live it on your terms!
  2. Socialization: You absolutely don’t have to worry about your children missing out on socializing with now millions of homeschoolers and the social events that outnumber the hours in a day. Homeschool families are pros at gathering and sharing information and socializing all ages.  In fact, studies show that homeschoolers are better rounded and more advanced than their public school peers in socialization. As a homeschooler you have co-ops, clubs, special interest groups and community involvement available to you all hours of the day, every day of the week.
  3. Financial Cost: An education of excellence doesn’t have to cost much. Many of the materials we use in our homeschool can be found at our local library or online. With the plethora of information available today including that from homeschool veterans who share their how to’s preventing you from “reinventing the wheel,” it’s really up to you how much you want to spend. It’s a good idea to have a mentor who can help you create an academic plan that is on point and relieves you from the trial and error associated with experimenting with different curriculums. Large sums of money can be lost not to mention valuable educational time for your children when learning a particular curriculum doesn’t work for your child.
  4. Couples Agreement: It’s extremely important that both parents are in agreement on their children’s education. The influence parents have on their children is powerful. The more you are in agreement with your partner the more harmony you will experience as a family and empower your children. If one parent is against homeschooling be sure you have both taken time to talk about each of your concerns and seek answers together. Be respectful of each other’s concerns. Talk to other families who have homeschooled and remember, you create the structure that is best suited for your family.
  5. Legalities and Qualifications: Know your local state laws on homeschooling and what is required of you. Know your rights. In other words, print the law, read the law, highlight the law and keep it at your desk. In the United States, it’s now legal in every state to homeschool. You must however do your due diligence in knowing how your state education laws codify homeschooling. There is great diversity in the type, number, and level of burden imposed. No two states treat homeschooling in exactly the same way. Furthermore, many states offer more than one option for homeschooling, with different requirements applying to each option. For my readers who live outside the U.S. knowing your local statutes are no less important for you. There still remain countries in the world where homeschooling is illegal. A good source for updated facts can be found at  http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp . Having worked with families for a number of years, we’ve experienced different spectrums of the law and in each situation we’ve been able to meet the requirements while creating an education experience that was not only excellent but also honored the child as a whole.

Now that you know the first steps in getting things started you can begin homeschooling adventure. If you’re already homeschooling now is a great time to review where you are to be sure you have all your “ducks in a row.” It’s a good idea to check your local laws periodically and remain current on what your requirements are. When we pay attention to important details the rest of our homeschool flows much easier and we can relax knowing we’ve taking responsible action.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” -Plutarch

 

Parents Inspired to Action:

  • Review each issue listed above as a couple and come to an agreeable conclusion. If there are any points in which you don’t agree upon then create an action plan to resolve those points.
  • Explore your level of commitment and purpose behind your desire to homeschool. A strong purpose will allow you to shed any doubts that show up later.
  • Begin creating your action plan. If you don’t already have one, find a mentor so you can receive guidance and answers to your questions giving you more on-point results.

 

 

Children Inspired to Action:

  • Talk to your children about homeschooling after you and your spouse have come to an agreement. Help them understand that you’re fully supporting them to their highest good. 
  • Ask them, especially children who are older, what they would like to learn more about or accomplish personally. 
  • Be sure you know their values so you can honor them appropriately. 
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