I’ve liked several of the “10 in 10″ blog hop topics organized by the iHomeschoolNetwork and linked up to Top Ten Tuesday @ Many Little Blessings for other topics, but I haven’t been organized enough to participate in any of the “10 in 10″ topics yet! I was clued in to this week’s topic early enough today to get a post written, so I thought I would join in the fun!
So here are the “Top Ten Questions People Ask Me About Homeschooling”:
1. Why do you homeschool your kids? We did not make our decision primarily for academic reasons, though I do really appreciate all the wonderful academic opportunities we have with homeschooling to give our kids an excellent, personalized education. We chose homeschooling because of the unique opportunity it gives us to help our children develop Godly, Christ-like character and to be the primary influences in their lives during some very formative years of their lives.
2. At what point did you decide to homeschool your kids? I can honestly say we “decided” or at least both agreed it was a path we would consider before we were even married! Both my husband and I were really impressed with several homeschooling families we knew in the church we attended before we were married. As we discussed a number of topics while we were courting, the topic of education came up and we both agreed that many of the homeschooled kids (and former homeschooled kids who were now college students) were some of the most mature, well-grounded kids we had ever met. We both thought at that point that if we did get married and have kids, homeschooling is something we would like to do. So after we did get married and then have kids, we already had the path of homeschooling in mind and planned to head that direction right from the start of our parenting journey
3. Is it hard to homeschool with a baby and a toddler and a couple of older kids as well? Yes, some days it is very challenging! Other days, it doesn’t seem so bad as the boys play together and holding/feeding a baby is pretty conducive to doing school simultaneously. Planning ahead helps. I wrote a post a couple months ago with a few more thoughts about homeschooling with a new baby in the family.
4. Is homeschooling expensive? It doesn’t have to be! I feel like I am a “moderate” spender when it comes to homeschooling expenses. So far, we have typically spent a few hundred dollars per year on curriculum and activities. I try to find bargains whenever I can (often by buying used), but I am also not afraid to make good investments and to value my time by not creating everything myself. Some families spend a lot more than we do. Other families make do with spending much less, and all still give their kids a good education.
5. Do you have to be super organized and creative and love planning to homeschool? Okay, so no one ever asked me that question exactly. But people do say to me on a regular basis things like, “I could never homeschool because I am not [insert description here] like you”….where the “blank” in that sentence is often “organized”, “creative” or “a planner.” The answer is definitely, “No” — you don’t have to be “like me” in those ways to homeschool. It’s true that homeschooling isn’t for everyone. BUT, I make certain choices in my homeschooling because of my personality and strengths. There are many homeschooling methods and curricula that are very conducive to homeschooling for people with strengths, weaknesses and personality types very different than mine.
6. How do you find time to cook, clean, shop and do everything else you need to do AND homeschool? I don’t clean my house very often. Seriously. It is hard to find time for everything, and I am not always the best at balancing other household demands along with homeschooling (or along with parenting in general). I could improve at this and need to get my kids more involved, particularly with cleaning and dishes. On the other hand, kids are only little once and I am more concerned with raising Godly kids than having a spotless house.
7. Do you have a lot of rules and regulations you have to follow? Do your kids have to take standardized tests? Every state has different laws for homeschooling, but in our state (Minnesota), is fairly moderate as far as regulations go. For each student (age 7 or older by October 1st), we file an annual form with our school district and agree to take a nationally-normed standardized test of our choice each year. We also agree by law to provide instruction in basic subject areas such as math, communication, science, social studies and health/P.E. That’s it! The state does not tell us what books or curriculum to use or exactly what to teach. We don’t have to keep track of hours or days of schooling or report what we do. I’m thankful for the freedoms we have!
8. Do you have to stay home all the time if you homeschool? Well…No…and Yes! There are so many opportunities in our area for homeschoolers: co-ops, classes, lessons, sports, performances, group field trips, individual field trips… You could easily spend all day, every day engaged in some sort of activity. But if you spend too much time doing all those great activities, it will be pretty hard to get those “3 R’s” done, not to mention history, science and all the other subjects. I find I need to guard our time carefully. We participate in a co-op twice a month. During our school year we go on a couple field trips per month and the kids may be enrolled in one (or possibly two) extra curricular classes, sports or other activities at a time. We have to say “no” to a lot of interesting, fun worthwhile activities, playdates and so on in order to have enough time at home to get our homeschooling accomplished!
9. Do you plan to homeschool your kids all the way through high school? I get asked this a lot, actually. And in fact, no, we don’t plan to homeschool through high school. I’m always a bit nervous when this subject comes up among homeschooling friends, because I’ll feel like it’s an unpopular choice. But before you throw the rotten tomatoes for thinking I don’t have the guts to finish the homeschooling job, hear me out.
Remember those homeschooling families I mentioned in question #2? A lot of them sent their kids to public school for high school. Not because they didn’t think they could do a good job of education in the higher grades or they didn’t want their kids to miss out on prom. Instead, it was because by the time their kids were high school aged, their kids were ready to be more of a positive influence in their school than the school environment would be a negative influence on them. They were ready to be a shining light in a public school environment and share Christ with their friends. We would love to have our kids in a school environment in high school to work alongside them to show Christ’s love to their friends. We see it as a stepping stone to them being even more independent in college — perhaps doing what we did and living in the dorms and sharing Christ with friends on their dorm floor.
We’re still six years away from having a high school student. Proverbs 16:9 (ESV) says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” We will, of course, continue to prayerfully seek the Lord regarding our plans. If being in a school setting for high school isn’t what is best for one or more of our kids (or they aren’t mature enough for that step), we will of course do what is best for that child. If one or more of our kids really don’t want to go to a school setting for high school, we won’t “make” them do it — we really need them to share in this vision with us it’s going to work. Or maybe we’ll be convinced that this just isn’t a good plan. All in all, I’m glad we still have a few years before we have to make any decisions.
Finally, on a lighter note…
10. I’ve heard that a lot of people get the question, “But what about socialization?“ They are worried that homeschooled kids just won’t learn to communicate with or get along with other people, I guess. No one who has ever met our kids has ever asked this question. Instead they are probably thinking to themselves, “Do these kids ever stop talking???“ The answer is no…unless they are sleeping, and sometimes not even then!
Do you have any burning questions about homeschooling? Are there any great questions that people often ask you if you do homeschool?
Visit this week’s Top Ten Tuesday @ Many Little Blessings to read more Top Ten Lists about this topic and more!