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Are my kids being homeschooled because they are at home?



Misnomers about the reality of homeschooling

Homeschooling, kids, parents, expert, answers, learning

What does grocery shopping have to do with homeschooling. See the answers below

First of all you have to understand that the 50 million students that were thrust out of the public schools a couple months ago are not homeschooling. They are doing schooling at home. Huge difference. Homeschooling is a lifestyle dedicated to the joy of learning. True homeschoolers understand that learning is an adventure to be experienced and cherished – not a chore to muddle through to get a grade. 

Homeschoolers see learning opportunities in everything from reading labels on backs of cans in the grocery store to learning about nature as they walk through the park or taking the time to talk to the fireman/firewoman and learn about his/her life.

Homeschoolers never loose their thirst for knowledge and the exhilaration that comes from learning something new – not because they got a gold star or a good grade but because it has enriched their life. Like the squeal of excitement that comes from a child when they tie their own shoes for the first time.

Schools steal this joy from children as they make the everything about the external rewards – all about pride and shame. Homeschooling is not something you do, it is a wonderful mindset that offers a freedom that few can truly understand until they do it.

People are so accustomed to the idea now that a child has to learn this by this age and that by that age – says who? Try to find who came up with this nonsense – you won’t find it. There are homeschooled kids that at age 8 can do calculus but read at only a third grade level or at age 12 can read college level books on anthropology but don’t get fractions. So what?

Homeschooling is about encouraging a child to get excited and stay excited about the unlimited possibilities this world has to offer. They are never made to feel shame for giving a wrong answer and they never have to fear being punished for asking questions or offering a viewpoint that is different from their teacher. 

Homeschooling provides a safe environment where the child can learn without fear of being subjected to the dangers present in the public schools. By the Department of Educations own admission – millions of children are subjected to sexual abuse at some time during their thirteen years in the system added to millions more that are subjected to violence added to even millions more that are coerced into taking mind altering drugs to keep them calm enough to sit for hours a day without being disruptive.

Homeschooling is not perfect but the facts demonstrate that children that are homeschooled are smarter, healthier, happier, more independent, more mature, have higher self esteem, are more polite and socialize better with people that are not their own age than their public school counterparts. So it is worth the effort.

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states so every child in America. that goes to a public or private school, is there because their parents chose to put them there. Most parents don’t even realize that they are making this life altering choice every day they send them off on the bus or drop them at the door. Hopefully the silver lining of this pandemic will be the awakening of parents to this fact.

How do you find out the regulations governing homeschooling in your state? What your state requires as far as curriculum or testing?

The best place to find this information is a website called “Homeschoolstatelaws.com”. There is additional information at “HSLDA.org” under the “Legal” tab –“Homeschooling in my State”. For details you have to become a member but some information is free.

How should newbie homeschoolers find/decide on curriculum? 

The first thing that a parent needs to do is determine the way their child learns. Their learning style may be visual, auditory or kinesthetic. It would be a waste of money to buy books if your child learns by listening or doing. Same is true of listening to books on tape being a waste for kids that learn by seeing or doing. Then they need to understand that most packaged curriculum materials are separated by being either secular or faith based. So that is the first decision to make. Then decide if you want to go “classical” whereby you try to recreate school at home (not recommended) or more eclectic which is often driven by what interests the child. (Much more effective.) If something doesn’t interest a child they will learn it only long enough to take a test on it so it is often a total waste of time. Then decide if you want a “one size fits all” packaged program like the schools do or want to tailor the experience to your child. There are tons of free resources on the internet from videos and classes on just about everything to downloads of information on every subject. The most successful homeschoolers do not focus on what they are “supposed” to be learning and instead focus on learning what is interesting and relevant to them. Also understand that an hour of one–on-one deep discussions about anything is more educational in the long run than a week at school. So don’t fixate on how many hours of school a day. The best teachers do not teach – they inspire. 

And how can they make sure it matches up with their state standards?

If you are truly planning to be real homeschoolers then the vast majority of States (at the moment) require only moderate testing to demonstrate advancement. Very easy to do for most homeschoolers with or without specific curriculum materials. It has been demonstrated over and over again that it takes just roughly 100 hours for a child to read, write and do basic math. Yet the Department of Education openly admits that 19% of those that graduate each year (not drop-outs but actual graduates) cannot read their own diplomas after 13 full years of instruction. If there are any relevant State standards they certainly don’t apply to children in public schools so expecting homeschoolers to comply seems rather hypocritical.

Are there curriculum options that don’t require a full-time at-home parent managing schooling? 

As I mentioned before, an hour or two a day of one-on-one interaction with a child will be far more educational than an entire week at school so anyone that thinks they need to be a “full-time at-home” parent managing schooling is doing it wrong.

Is it possible to homeschool if you’re working from home?

Of course – see my other answers. Furthermore, for those parents that work full time away from home or are single parent households that work full time, there are P.O.D.S. (Parent Organized Discovery Sites) which is a cute way of saying small groups of like minded parents that take turns hosting each others children.

The National Home School Association helps parents to form these groups so that all of the children from that group go to one house on Monday’s where there is a parent that has that day off, they go to a different house on Tuesdays where a different parent has that day off and so on. The kids get to socialize with kids of all ages, they have supervision and someone to answer questions, the parent can offer expertise on subjects they are familiar with if they want and the children can all work on their respective interests until their parents return. Then instead of helping the children with a couple hours of homework at night the parents spend a quality hour or two discussing what was done that day, preparing for the next day and having meaningful discussions about the multitude of questions that the child has because their thirst for knowledge is never quite quenched.

For parents who are considering this, what questions should they be asking themselves now? About themselves? About their kids? 

Unfortunately, the transition to true homeschooling can be a real challenge for kids that have been in the public school system. They are so accustomed to schedules, grades, systems and procedures that it can be difficult. For every year a child has been in public school it may take a month of doing absolutely nothing before the desire to actually learn something returns. So the first and most difficult question would be can a parent let their child do nothing educational for months? Sounds absurd to most but when learning has become a “job” or something they “have to do” it is pretty much useless to push learning on them– parents should ask themselves how much they really remember from school? 

Parents do not need to ask themselves if they are “qualified” to teach. We have parents that are high school drop-outs that have children performing is the 80th and 90th percentiles across the board when tested. Children don’t need to be taught. Look what they learn all by themselves in their first 5 years – to walk, talk, make sense of the world and control enough of it to get what they want.

What crazy person decided 100+ years ago that suddenly at age 5 or 6 kids can no longer learn anything without a qualified teacher to teach them. Look at the work done in India by SugatraMitra on YouTube. In one experiment young children, given a computer with instruction on advanced concepts in biology in English with no instruction as to even what a computer was, managed to learn not only a great amount of English but also substantial amounts about biology without a single word of instruction from anyone.

It is the desire to learn that has to be cherished not the structure or the testing or any other aspect of it. The only question parents or kids need to ask is do they want to be free to learn what is important to them. Do they want to be free from the endless requirements and structure of the public schools?

Are there signs that this will be a good fit… or a bad fit? 

Let’s face it if parents don’t really care about their children, and although it is very sad to say there are some out there, or if the parents have mental or substance abuse problems, then homeschooling is not a good fit, otherwise it is the greatest gift a parent can give to their child.

Any other advice for brand-new homeschoolers to ensure success?

It’s all about mindset – society has conditioned people so much into thinking that grade school prepares kids for high school, high school prepares kids for college and college prepares kids for a successful life. Maybe this was once true but in today’s world there are many alternatives to that narrative that are so much better for most children.

The vast majority of children never graduate from college even though they rack up enormous amounts of student loan debt. Of those that do manage to graduate the vast majority are not able to get jobs that even required a degree in the first place and less than 10% of those that actually graduate agree that the degree was worth the cost in time and money.

Parents should think long and hard about this and should let their children investigate alternatives that they will never hear about in public schools like, for instance, being their own boss, running their own business. Mindset is the key. The National Home School Association offers two key resources to help with this very subject. There is a downloadablehomeschool handbook (ebook) and a 10½ hour video homeschool teacher course that focuses much more on mindset than on teaching. Anyone serious about helping their children should take a look at both and the membership fee has been dropped to just $10 for the first year to help all of the parents that are struggling at this time.



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