Practical Homeschooling Information, Questions And Answers

Thinking about homeschooling, you may need some further information. Here are some basic answers to beginning questions like the benefits of homeschooling, laws, college, and curriculum.

Why Homeschool?

Deciding to homeschool your child is a big decision. It should not be taken lightly yet it may not be as serious or scary as you might think.

Families have many different reasons as to why they want or need to educate their child at home. Parents have great concerns about their children's safety. Many parents have concerns about the level of education being offered at the local schools. Expensive private schooling may not be an option. Possibly, your child struggles with keeping up with the class.

Parents often feel helpless when their children come home with stories of emotional abuse from classmates or a teacher that has singled them out. Peers realize when a child has been labeled as Slow. One of the most recent and wide spread concerns is the label ADD or ADHD given to children. Teachers seem to classify a child quickly when he is constantly disruptive.

Teachers with large classes have little recourse to gain authority so it is then suggested that the parents put the child on medications in order for them to be "controlled" in class. Homeschooling gives families the opportunity to educate their children without fear, threats, abuse and labels.

Sometimes a child may decide that he does not want to school at home. Depending on whether the child is elementary or high school level might answer this dilemma. Parents may be willing to exert parental authority over elementary grade kids but might allow the high schooler to decide for themselves. The Parent can often suggest good reasons why homeschooling would benefit the child. On the other hand, many high school aged teens would like to homeschool to escape peer pressure, dominance and intense academic pressure.

Be sure and decide exactly why you want to homeschool. This "reason" will be what motivates you as the year goes along. Parents should write down their purpose and principle for homeschooling. This is needed especially if close family and friends do not readily accept homeschooling.

What are the benefits of Homeschooling?

Educating your child at home gives the family time to be together and build stronger relationships which is something that is hampered when children are away from home for many hours in the day. The parent/child relationship does not have to be strained as kids mature and enter their teen years. Teens that feel close to their parents are confident, secure and seem to be more mature on average.

When a parent spends the better part of the day with their child they are able to view immediately problems the child may have with maturity and begin to train them in proper conduct before behavior becomes a problem. Behavioral issues can be dealt with discreetly without being humiliated by their peers.

Another benefit of educating your child is that the teaching parent is able to see areas that need to be mastered and are able to concentrate on that skill, resuming when the child has accomplished it successfully. In a classroom of children, the teacher must continue to move forward with information, which often leaves some children struggling to understand a particular principle. This child is then humiliated by asking what he would consider as "stupid questions" in order to clarify the work.

The child who learns well in traditional classroom settings can benefit by having the option to move through their academics as quickly as they can be mastered. Many Homeschoolers are considered academically ahead because they are not locked into graded material.

What about state laws?

The next thing a parent needs to do is understand their home state laws and regulations for operating a homeschool. Some States make it very easy to homeschool, while others make it very difficult. You may be able to get a copy of these laws from the local school superintendent's office or even from the Internet.

If you have a young child, do not feel pressured to begin early schooling. While most children seem eager to go off to school, it has been found that these same children become bored with school sooner than a child who enters later does. Check your state for mandatory school ages if you are interested in delaying school entrance.



What about College?

One particular question is, "Can my Homeschooled child attend college?" The answer is an emphatic,Yes. Homeschooled teens have successfully enrolled in State Universities, Tech Schools as well as Ivy League Universities. Many Universities send recruits to Homeschool Seminars to attract these students. It is best to communicate with several Colleges that your child might be interested in attending to ascertain their requirements for entrance.

Curriculum

Experienced families generally try to purchase used textbooks and materials. There are literally hundreds of homeschool suppliers. Many of these suppliers are on the Internet. Others send out catalogues.

Homeschool seminars and book sales are great places to purchase new and used materials. Seminars will generally have curriculum vendors that will carry textbooks onsite. Listings for these events can be found on the Internet or you can subscribe to homeschool newsletters, which might be published by local support groups.

There are many types of curriculum from which to choose. Video school can be expensive but is good for parents who may feel that their children needs "classroom" style learning. Video school is good for prepping a child for college, but it may seem overwhelming for the child who is not college-bound because of the intensity of the program. This type of education can be expensive, but many families are satisfied with this choice.

Pace material is good for new teaching parents. It is relatively inexpensive and is a self-teaching program. Teacher's editions aren't necessary because each lesson gives complete explanation of the concept to be learned. This kind of material does not overload a student and the child is tested to see what level of each subject that they will start in. This is also good for the student that may have been struggling with schoolwork and testing; those that are behind their usual grade level or even children who are diagnosed as Slow Learners.

Text book material is the easiest to come by and probably less expensive to purchase (if bought used.) A parent can go at the child's pace and can use this material to "jump" to other learning materials on the same subject. For example: A 6th grade textbook may cover the solar system. The parent is then free to stop the textbook and "jump" to library books that cover this topic if she finds the child is interested. After awhile, the student can continue studying from the textbook. Children should be allowed to explore further, the subjects that they really enjoy.

Support Groups

Most States have support groups for those who want to add organized field trips, planning meetings, special classes and exchange used materials to their home education experience. A list of these can be found on Internet sites under Homeschooling. Usually, there is no charge for being part of a group, but occasionally a large group may charge around $20 a year to cover costs of telephone lists, field trip lists, newsletters, postage, etc. This is a great place to receive information and encouragement when getting started.

Am I qualified to teach my children?

Most parents are completely capable of teaching their own children. Mothers find it easy enough to teach a child to brush their teeth, how to count, memorizing ABC's and much more, but often question their ability to teach academics.

Good school curriculum will guide the parent to what information is needed to be learned for that grade level. In addition, textbooks are good about giving complete instructions and lesson material.

Be sure and ask your State what the qualifications should be for the teaching parent. Many States do not require the parent to hold any special degree but may ask that they have a high school diploma.

The Reward

Educating your child at home can be very pleasurable and even fun! You will possess much pride in knowing that you taught your child how to read or to do pre-algebra, history, writing, science and more than you could imagine. Your child can learn to love to learn that will last him or her a lifetime!

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