You must be considering home education or you have already decide but have so many questions.
Many are in your position at this time and are looking for insight or helpful answers to questions they have.
I am here to help.
I am willing to help, without any cost to you.
(Holistic Homeschooler is an affiliate partner with All About Learning Press and A Gentle Feast. An associate advertising program designed to provide a means for Holistic Homeschooler to earn fees. Disclaimer: This is not intended replace legal advice. Please refer to a Lawyer for legal expertise, Disclosure policy)
A little about myself…
I’ve been homeschooling from the very beginning. My oldest is 8, my youngest is 5 and we have one on the way.
Home education was a decision that my husband and I made several years before we started having children. For various reasons that have only multiplied and compounded upon each other, the longer we have homeschooled.
I began researching and preparing myself for my children’s future education far before they were formally ready for academics. This is just a character trait of mine, if it’s something I am passionate about then I study it endlessly.
I previously worked as a Registered Nurse but after a traumatic birth due to complications from developing preeclampsia, my health changed. My oldest later developed medical issues that changed me from the parent I thought I would be, to the parent she needed me to be.
I include this to explain why I stepped down from nursing and dedicated my time to learning my child. Which included continued nursing educational credits and evidenced based research surrounding my child’s medical conditions. Then being trained by her occupational therapist to provide home therapies that jived with our lifestyle.
All accomplished from that mother bear kind of love that is powered by God. To empower my daughter to be the exceptional person she is today.
Eventually, this led to learning differences and figuring out what a customized education meant for my children.
My plan with this post, is to list some of the most common questions parents have and answer them to the best of my ability.
1) I want to homeschool but how do I start?
If your child was already in school then it’s likely you will have to submit a letter of intent. Which notifies the school that you’re withdrawing your child with the intent to homeschool. If your child just hit “school age” then (depending on the state) you may or may not have to notify anyone. Which brings me to my next question.
2) How do I legally homeschool?
This expands off of the previous question. Besides submitting a letter to your child’s school district withdrawing them, your state may have additional requirements. Plus, they may have testing or even require a trained teacher to oversee your educational plans. Since this is a state by state difference I always steer new homeschool families to Homeschool Legal Defense Association. To see the homeschool laws and requirements in your state, please click and read this link: Homeschool Laws By State.
3) How does my child receive a transcript and diploma?
There is several ways that this can be achieved. The most affordable is making your own. Which can be as simple as going into spreadsheet and creating your own transcript, as your child completes certain subjects. Using word and a fancy diploma template to create a parent issued diploma. Both are recognized and legal documents proving your child received the education you provided.
Yes, even colleges accept a parent issued transcript and diploma. Not any different or less than they accept transcripts or diplomas from a conventional school. For more information on testing, grading, transcripts, and beyond please go here: High school and Beyond.
Although, a few states may have additional requirements for parents to issue Diplomas therefore go here: Diploma Facts.
If you would like help with transcript services or making a diploma but unsure about creating them? Go here: Transcript services, Student ID’s, and Graduation.
Additionally, some homeschool curriculum or even homeschool co-ops, come with transcript services and diplomas the parents can issue. It’s not required, it is just another option that may make things easier for you.
4) What about accreditation, won’t my child need this to be accepted to college?
To answer this let’s go over what accreditation means exactly.
“to recognize or vouch for as conforming with a standard.
to recognize (an educational institution) as maintaining standards that qualify the graduates for admission to higher or more specialized institutions.”(source: Webster dictionary)
An official accreditation isn’t necessary.
You can however purchase curriculum that is accredited. However, you may be surprised to learn that not all conventional schools are accredited either.
5) What qualifications do I need to educate my child at home?
Legally, it depends on state laws. Some states have very little requirements, others require a high school diploma and others require various levels of a college education. There is even language written into homeschool laws that protect religious reasons to homeschool. Return to HSLDA and click on your state to determine what requirements you need to meet legally. Here: Homeschool Laws by State.
If you’re coming from a biblical background then rest assured, God qualified you to teach your children when he made you their mother. If you are able to teach them to walk, talk, and learn the alphabet then it doesn’t just stop because they turn a certain age. Sure, it absolutely becomes more challenging or involved the older they get. However, once you gain the confidence to home educate, anything is possible. It’s a high calling, with massive responsibility which isn’t always easy but entirely worth it.
6) What about socialization? I don’t want them to turn out like weird homeschoolers.
Careful how you ask that question in the future. It’s a common misconception and sometimes you may run into a homeschool parent who takes offense to the stereotype.
Thankfully, I’ve heard it enough that it’s lost it’s affect on me.
That being said, are you weird?
I mean, if you come across a weird homeschooled kid chances are their parents are weird.
I mean really, what’s so great about being “normal” weird people make the world more interesting anyway.
The great thing about home education is that you determine what your child needs. If you think they need more social exposure either because they are an extra-extrovert or because you want to challenge them being overly introverted. Then find those social outlets you think they need.
I wrote this since I have an extra-extrovert. Click here: 20 Ways To Socialize As A Homeschooler.
I also want to point out the difference between social exposure and social skills. You can expose your kids to other people all day long but unless you teach them social skills too then it’s not always a sure thing. Again, this is your responsibility entirely now. You have to watch for it and teach your child the things you’ve observed that need improvement next time.
Just a few social skills that come to mind:
- Sharing or taking turns
- Polite conversations
- Friendliness and how to make a friend anywhere
- Appropriate responses to persons in authority
- Conflict resolution
- Responding to bullies (we get them too)
- Working in groups
- Communication Skills
- Confident communicators
Ok, I could probably write a whole in-depth blog post on this one so will save the rest for later.
One last bit of information, “Homeschooled children’s social skills scores were consistently higher than those of public school students. Differences were most marked for girls and for older children, and encompassed all four of the specific skills tested: cooperation, assertiveness, empathy, and self-control. Among homeschooled children, girls were more empathetic and assertive than boys, and at the lower grades, more self-controlled. These results mirror gender differences found among public school children––girls tend to have better social skills than boys in grades 3 through 6.” (Source: Homeschool Social Skills NHERI.org)
7) What about house work and home responsibilities? I feel like I’m already drowning in laundry and house work.
I do too sometimes and don’t we all but I’ve figured out a few things to make housework more manageable.
1). Try to lower your expectations. I laugh at this suggestion because I have high standards for my own home so it was hard to lower mine. However, it’s advice that was once given to me so I thought I would pass it along. This doesn’t mean you let things get to an unhygienic level but it may mean the toys are left out. Perhaps, the dusting doesn’t get done for longer than you prefer.
2) At the same time, I understand that for many of us we have a certain standard we must uphold in our home. If we don’t then we start to feel uncomfortable or like me, downright triggered. Therefore, as soon as any of my children show interest in helping with house work then I’ve always encouraged it. Even if it means a 15 month old handing me dishes to be put away from the dishwasher.
Because that has turned into a very independent 5 year old who unloads and loads the dishwasher plus adequately washes the pots and pans. While this helps with house work, these are also very important life skills that some young adults don’t even have. In short, cooking and house work is a family effort where we all contribute that also teach necessary life skills in the process.
Want more insight in this area read this: Encouraging Cleaning In Your Family.
3). Establish a routine or rhythm that works for your daily schedule and loop in a daily family quick clean. Everyone helps even the littlest one, trust me it will pay off in the long run.
4) If you’re truly in a bind then delegate. Perhaps this means asking your mom to help out. Either sending the kids over to her so you can catch up or her coming to you. If a house cleaner is an affordable option then don’t be afraid to utilize one.
8) Do you have any curriculum recommendations?
One of my favorite conversations really. I think as home educators we probably all spend way too much time researching and looking at homeschool curriculum. Since I write about homeschooling, I probably spend even more time than your average homeschool parent reviewing curriculum. I do have my favorites but it’s dependent on our homeschool style and my children’s learning strengths or weaknesses.
If you’re unsure what homeschool style best suits you read here: Different Types of Homeschool Styles.
This is what I used last year in our homeschool:
A Gentle Feast as our spine. I supplemented reading and spelling with All About Reading and All About Spelling. I made my own Nature Study Curriculum with Watercolor Nature Journals which covered science.
Again, what I use:
A list of purely aligned and Charlotte Mason Inspired Curriculum here: The Ultimate Charlotte Mason Curriculum List.
I am working on an extensive list of curriculum and educational resources which will be an entire separate blog post. I’ll link it here once it is complete.
9) Can my child still participate in school sports?
In Michigan yes but your experience may depend on the bias or non-bias of the person you work with at the school. For some, it’s worth it and others don’t wish to deal with it. Check into homeschool co-ops, church ministries, and privately funded sports teams as other options. In our area, a homeschool mom organized an entire cross-country team for the homeschoolers in our county. They compete against private and public school cross country teams.
Refer to HLDA again for sports questions in your state: Homeschool Laws State by State.
Well these are the most commonly asked questions that I get. I hope you have found it helpful. If you have additional questions or need further advice, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.