We Are So Blessed!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

All About Homeschooling!

To homeschool or not to homeschool was rather an easy decision for us. We had been pretty open minded about homeschooling as an option since Maletch was born. We only really had a few questions that we wanted answered, to make that final decision.
With our pros/cons list for public school vs. homeschool, there was only one "plus" in the public school column and a bunch of "negatives," and on the homeschool column there were all "pluses" with two main questions we needed answered to decide if they were pluses or negatives.
The only plus in the public school column for us, was the socialization with other children (although that is not always a plus, anyway).. so we wanted to know what options there were for homeschooling kids in the socialization category (if any besides sports, church activities, etc)... AND we wondered if the graduates from homeschool would have any trouble transitioning their academic "credits" for entry to college.
It took all of one click on the internet for me to find several HUGE homeschool groups and organizations that are centered around socializing their children, arranging everything from DAILY play dates at the park to organized field trips- what a blessing! Second, I found several articles that explained that homeschooled children typically thrive more than public schooled children socially due to the fact that they get to experience many more social situations growing up AND from being around grown-up people more often, they tend to be more mature. So socialization went into the "plus" category... check!
Finally, and again quickly, we discovered that since homeschooling has been so popular for over 20 years, and with most homeschool students graduating and testing out- well above public school test scores, that most colleges, even ivy-league schools, happily welcome homeschooled students. There were several interesting articles on this as well- so that answered our other question.

Next, became the more challenging decision, how/where to set up homeschool? To my surprise there are 5 (yes FIVE) different ways to set up homeschool, AND within those choices, there are many sub-choices (such as types of curriculum to use), that decision took the most time and research.
The 5 main ways to set up homeschool are:
- through a public charter school (independent study program)
- through a private/Christian school (satellite program)
- create your own private school in your own home through legal means (filing an R-4)
- through a hybrid school (which is part public attendance and part online)
- through an online school

Within any of the above 5 choices, each has their own set of requirements/rules/legal responsibilities. I won't go into each one too specifically, since that would be way too much to type, but to give you an idea, in one instance, you would be required to meet with a teacher every 3 weeks to go over material, some you are responsible for everything yourself, some schools keep your child's cumulative file, some you are required to do it, some schools are free, some you pay all expenses/materials, etc.
Then, depending on which school type you choose, you face more choices such as which curriculums to use, etc.
So again this research took the most time, and this is where our pros/cons list needed to be applied again. Which of these methods would best suit our family and our children's future?
I am so glad that it is so popular and mainstream now- and that there are so many options. And now after all of my research, I feel like a "homeschool expert," hehe. It almost seems that homeschooling has become the mainstream choice among anyone that can do it (such as families with stay-at-home moms)- it is just unfortunate that in our society/economy the majority of families require 2 incomes. If it wasn't for that, I wonder if public schools would become extinct? Well, maybe not, since I am sure that nothing is for everybody. But with more and more parents being "called" to do it, public schools will probably find themselves less crowded, as they find ways to do it! One alternative for working parents is online schooling, since it is taught by a teacher online (everything from the lectures via video-cast to tests are administered online)
It's funny how many people we meet that homeschool EVERYWHERE-- so many kids at their dance school- doctors- Disneyland- Starbucks- just everywhere... but I knew I didn't want anyone to influence our choice on where/how to homeschool- I wanted that to come from prayer, and it did.
We are excited about our homeschooling decision, and excited about all of the opportunities it brings. I feel so blessed to be able to see that our children get the very best education possible, while also being free to teach them our religious beliefs and keeping them away from a secular school environment.
I want to encourage anyone to look into it if you are a bit curious or interested. I think you will find it to be one of the most worthwhile and rewarding things you can do. Challenging, yes, time consuming yes, but worth it, definitely!
From my own personal experience, growing up in public school, there were very few things if any that I liked about it, and nothing I feel my kids will be missing out on, if fact the opposite, they GET to miss a lot of the negatives! I am even willing to place a wager that-- had these homeschooling options been available "back then," that my parents would have homeschooled us as well!
I intentionally didn't mention which type of homeschooling we chose, so that anyone interested can look into the information for themselves. I don't believe anyone should have any influence over that decision, how/where to do it is a big part of the decision, and that should be between the individual parents and God (based on their beliefs, their financial situation, and their time schedule).
Of course, I am happy to answer any questions, if I can be of any help.

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