by Andrea Hermitt, Education Examiner
When I started homeschooling my children over five years ago, I noticed that the vast majority of people had little understanding of what homeschooling meant. People would approach my kids in stores and ask them why they were not in school, then they would get a puzzled look on their face when they said "I am homeschooled". Now when people see my kids in public during school time, they ask "are you homeschooled?" They often follow up by saying "That's great!" So it is evident that the concept is much more familiar and acceptable to the general public.
Because so many more people are familiar with homeschooling, most knowing someone who is or was homeschooled, many more people are also considering undertaking homeschooling themselves. Unfortunately, many of these families homeschool for only one or two years before deciding to put their kids back in school.
I say "unfortunately" because these families stop homeschooling not because they feel ill-equipped, and not because they have decided that traditional school is best for them. I say all this to express just how important it is to fully prepare yourself for homeschooling before you begin. If you are thinking about homeschooling, I urge you to take the time, do the research, make your own assessments and decisions, and do not blindly follow others into it just because it seems like it might be a good idea. Taking your children's education into your own hands is a huge undertaking, not to be taken lightly.
Here are some things you should do before you begin homeschooling your children:
Read at least 5 books on homeschooling. They should include books about reasons to homeschool, a book on homeschool success stories, and a few books on homeschool methods, philosophies, and learning styles. Personally I was not comfortable in my decision to homeschool until I had read about 30 books. I read them in 3 months.
Spend some time with homeschoolers. Go to homeschool support meetings. Ask questions. Arrange play-dates. Go on outings, otherwise known as homeschool field trips.
Investigate curriculums. Do not blindly follow the same homeschool program that your homeschool friend is using. Take the time to decide what your child needs and what will be best for him or her. Choose your curriculum or program accordingly.
Learn about homeschooling rules and regulations in your state. Each state has a different set of rules and regulations. They are easy to find online and through your local homeschool associations.
Make sure your kids are willing and ready to begin homeschooling. There is nothing more stressful than trying to teach a kid at home who does not want to learn at home. I am not saying you need to let your kids make the decision to homeschool, but I am saying that you need to find an approach that excites your kids even if that means using tutors and homeschool co-op classes.
Wow, this was a lot to read today. A lot to take in. Le t me see if I can recap this correctly. He begins by telling us about Gods defense of Jerusalem and...