Can I really do this?
Yes. Moreover, you already are homeschooling in some ways. Every parent who chooses to stay home with their baby and preschooler is homeschooling. You are the primary teacher then and you can be their best teacher for K-12. You might want to find help through a support group, local homeschool coop, and / or Family Academy and the Able to Teach course.
What are the legal requirements to homeschool in my state?
The answer to this is 50-fold. So the best thing is to go to www.hslda.org and click on “About Homeschooling” and then “Homeschool Laws.”
How much will homeschooling cost?
That will depend on your choices to meet your family’s home education needs. The library is an excellent source for a free reading program. You might, however, want to begin with an investment in your own understanding of how to homeschool effectively by taking Family Academy’s course, Able to Teach. But the direct answer to this question is that it would be wise to be able to budget at least $100/+ per month for each child you are homeschooling, but some do get by with less and many will pay more.
What has to be taught for “X” grade level?
There is a myth that certain things must be taught at certain grade levels, and there are even books out there that support that myth. Reading For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley might be the best source for addressing the issues that this question raises. For older students, Homeschooling the High Schooler (pdf) might be the best beginning point.
How do I get the curriculum resources I need?
The "question before the question" is how to determine what curriculum resources you need. (See the answers to the questions on homeschooling costs and “X” grade level.) There are thousands of curriculum companies that would dearly love to sell you a little something. Avoiding misplaced purchases that prove ineffective takes some preparation and foreknowledge. Learning how you teach (your learning style is related to that) and how your child learns is critical. Becoming able to evaluate material for its approach or methodology is helpful. Finding the resources is easy after that. It becomes more a matter of what not to use.
I am terrible at math (or “X” subject), so how can I teach it?
For any subject, modeling a love of learning is more important than previous mastery. If you can stay one-page ahead, you will typically do fine. Some resources can be more supportive than others. For example, Teaching Textbooks offers a lot of math support and structure for upper elementary through high school math. You could also hire a tutor, even an older student with a passion for the particular subject. Family Academy can offer other educational support as well.
What if my child is against the idea?
Children can often be against an idea that is foreign to their experience. How do you address any area as a parent where the child is uncooperatative: chores, bedtime, attire, friends, television viewing, Internet access? The simple answer is to follow the strategy in the “horse-to-water-salt-the-oats” adage. List all the benefits that you can think of that would make it a positive change, find appropriate solutions to the objections (i.e. playtime with friends). Make your initial commitment to one-year and then evaluate.
What about “socialization”?
Homeschooled kids are among the best socialized kids in the world because they know how to relate to people of all ages; they can’t be in a “clique” in their own family so they learn better relationship skills than school could offer. Most of the socialization that does occur in school is negative and creates peer-dependency not maturity.
I have several children at several age levels, how can I do deal with all the different subjects and abilities?
The worst thing you could do when you have several children in a range of ages is to try to plug each into a packaged grade-specific program. There are many topics that all the children can be learning about, but each on their own level – i.e. US History. Find books at the library for the time period you are studying. Read aloud some together, while other books are read independently but each one does a short oral report on what they learned, so all can learn from one another. You will need to differentiate in math and other skill-specific areas, but even then, having the older ones tutor the younger students will reinforce the material / skill in the older one along with exercising responsibility. You may need to recruit one older child to watch the younger ones when working with one or more children that may need your focused attention (there is no such thing as undivided attention when you have several children).
What if I have only one child?
Find another homeschooling family with a child of similar age and “trade” households once or twice a week for special activities or certain subjects where those students are learning together. Don’t forget there are many other group activities that your student might be able to access in your community – gymnastics, music groups, scouting, AWANA and church activities.
What about testing my student?
There are many testing services and tools to assess skill levels, but it is important to understand that testing provides only a small window into any student’s abilities. Achievement tests were designed to measure traditionally educated students. For children 10 years of age or younger, the impact of the testing session can negatively effect the results. Alternate evaluation services may prove more accurate and less stressful.
The important point to remember is that a commercial test can’t measure character or spiritual maturity, creativity or artistic expression. They are merely a snapshot that is out of date the day after the test.
Do I have to keep records of what my child is learning?
The answer here may relate to your state laws, but generally, keeping track of what you are doing is an excellent idea. When you don’t record the learning process, you actually forget much of the non-textbook learning that happened over the course of each week, month, and school year. You might even panic and think you didn’t do enough. Consider using a source like Teaching My Own K-8 record-keeping or High School Your Way. High school records may be critical to college admissions as the college may want to know how your student will meet the entrance requirements.
What if I have an unsupportive spouse?
If the one who is unsupportive is the one who would have to do the primary task of homeschooling, then the best answer is to pray for a change of heart. If it is one who is the breadwinner and not doing the primary work, then I would recommend the unsupportive spouse take 1-3 days and volunteer at the local elementary school for playground duty or go to the local middle school and high school and be a hall monitor. The unsupportive parent will soon realize what school environment is and will be more likely to change his mind. The reluctant spouse might prefer to know that there is some professional support that an organization like Family Academy can offer. It is important to have agreement or you will be a "house divided" that cannot stand.
Have a question not listed here?
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Family Academy 206-246-9227.