Why is homeschooling allowed?

There’s been a lot of negative reports and stereotyping of homeschool students lately, leaving some to wonder why homeschooling is even allowed in the US. All forms of schooling have kids that fall through the cracks. However, homeschooling can have many advantages when done properly. Let me explain a few.

1. It gives families a chance to be in charge of their child’s education. Not everyone learns the same way. Homeschooling allows you to pick curriculum that fits your child’s needs, interests, and learning style instead of being stuck with the all-for-one curriculum provided by schools. That can help students who struggle while in school excel at homeschooling.

1b. Curriculum choice is important not just to learning styles. Public schools often have a hidden agenda of the current political correctness in their curriculum choices. This comes out in not just the reading books but also story problems in other subject areas as well. Not all parents appreciate or want that. Homeschooling gives parents more direct control over what will influence their children’s learning through curriculum. Is it religious or secular? Is it conservative or liberal in regards to morals and lifestyles portrayed? Parents can choose what to include, but also what NOT to include.

2. Students can go at their own pace. If they need more or less time on something, they can. Again, that can help struggling students. It can also help gifted students because they aren’t held back if they want to move faster.

2b. Not only can students go at their own pace through the curriculum, they can go at their own pace regarding time management. You aren’t tied to a clock. If you finish sooner than expected, you can move on. Similarly, if you need more time than expected, you can easily do so without worry about being late or losing your train of though by having to finish at another time like after school for homework. Wiggle breaks can be as needed instead of a certain time or waiting until the entire class is ready. Sometimes just a 5 minute wiggle break can be enough to get focused again. (You’d probably get sent to the principal for disrupting class if a student did that in school.)

3. (This is related to both of the above) You can easily explore related topics that interest you. Schools are limited by approved curriculum guidelines in what they can cover. So if there is interesting topics, students must learn on their own about them. Homeschooling allows you to take time to explore those issues without worry about approved curriculum or wasted time. Being able to cater better to the student’s interests helps keep them engaged with their learning.

4. Socialization is a natural concern for people unfamiliar with homeschooling. You don’t have to be surrounded daily with people your age to be properly socialized. That is actually unnatural socialization. No other place outside a school has everyone exactly the same age but 1 or 2 much older people. Even nursing homes and college classes have a wider age range than the average school classroom.

Homeschool students usually get involved in group activities, church, private lesson, sports, and volunteering. That way they are around others who share their interests instead of just the same age.

5. Some families like/need to travel a lot. For us, we are gone at least 6-8 weeks of “school days” every 2 years for long vacations. We’d miss out on a lot of great opportunities if we had to wait to travel only on school holidays. Instead, we just take what we will need to study with us. There’s no worry about how to teach it or getting behind the class. The world is our classroom. We’ve seen a lot of places and things most students only read about in their textbooks. For example, we went to Nagasaki and saw where the atomic bomb was dropped in WW2. While in a museum in Lima Peru, our family was invited into the room where ancient Inca and Aztec gold artifacts were stored, which is usually off limits to visitors. We’ve seen penguins on the Falkland Islands and komodo dragons on Komodo Island. Most recently, traditional Middle Eastern clothing was explained and demonstrated by a shop keeper in an Oman bazaar. None of these trips would we have probably done if we didn’t homeschool.

6. You don’t need to be a teacher to teach homeschool. Parents of school students do this naturally when helping explain a tough homework problem. Homeschool is like that. You don’t give your child a lecture then issue assignments. Instead, you help your child understand what is covered. Plus, you can get teacher guides and answer keys for most curriculum to help when you don’t understand it well enough to help your child.

No state required parents to have a college degree or teaching certificate to homeschool. A few states require parents to have completed high school or gotten a GED. Otherwise, those families must be supervised by a certified teacher, but they can still homeschool.

Finalizing 2014-15 school plans

Well it’s almost that time of year. Time to get organize all the homeschool stuff for this upcoming year. I’ve made a few changes from my initial plan. Mostly those are curriculum changes instead of major subject swaps.

I bought the Apologia General Science used for $15 for my son. After looking it over, we decided it just wasn’t what we needed after all. A tenant had left behind a Life Science book from Holt Science & Technology. He liked the format, but like the Apologia general science, it would have been mostly review of stuff he already knows. However, I looked online and they have 2 other books in the series: Physical Science and Earth Science. Since we did geology and astronomy last year, that just left physical science still to cover to have a good science base going into high school sciences, so I’m ordering the physical science books. It’s a bit expensive ($132), but unlike Apologia, it is fundable with out state allotment.

The other change is Karen’s social studies. I didn’t really like what Christian Light has for 4th or 5th grade. I looked on Rainbow Resource and found several world history workbooks and narrowed it down to my top 3 choices then let Karen pick which seemed most interesting to her. She decided on 2, which is ok since one is a bit light to use by itself.

I asked at our school district what they do for Alaska studies and they told me about a website which is a complete curriculum. So I’m going to have him go through that in addition to the Judy Fergesson books I already picked out.

So here’s the revised plan for how this year will go:

RICHARD 8TH GRADE

Language Arts– LA800: CLE $40,

Writing– Rockets Radar & Robotics: Institute for Excellence in Writing $29

Literature- (All Veritas Press Guidebooks $12) Call of the Wild & White Fang, Fahrenheit 451, Around the World in 80 Days

Math– Math 800: CLE $52

Reading– Reading 800: CLE $27

Bible– Bible 800: CLE $70

Science-Holt Science & Technology: Physical Science homeschool pkg & CD: Rainbow Resource $132

Social Studies– AK state study online (www.akhistorycourse.org), Judy Fergusson books

Spanish

KAREN 5TH GRADE

Language Arts– LA500: CLE $50

Math– Math 500: CLE $52

Reading– Reading 500: CLE $27

Literature– (All Veritas Press Guidebooks $12) Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, Secret Garden, Where Red Fern Grows

Bible– Bible 500: CLE $26

Social Studies– 2 world geography workbooks from Rainbow Resource $12 & $16

Writing– Student Writing Intensive A & Continuation Course A: Institute for Excellence in Writing

Science- Real Science 4 Kids: middle school physics, chemistry, biology $65/subject Rainbow Resource

Spanish