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I am going to start off by saying this isn’t meant to create a back and forth of positive or negative opinions or a shouting match. This article is an opinion piece and our family put it together to share information on why we do what we do.
We homeschool. We have been a homeschooling family for 17 years. Over the years, some of our children have attended public schools for certain grades and necessity. Over the years some of our children have attended public school at home via online public school. This is not the same as homeschooling and I will get to that below.
I am asked often why Larry and I decided to homeschool.
- I fully believe that each family should choose what is best for their family and for their individual child. It could be public school, homeschool, private school, schooling online, etc.
- A round peg doesn’t fit into a square hole – and homeschooling allows you to encompass that.
- I love the freedom of adding elements into our schooling that caters to the individual child.
- I ABSOLUTELY LOVE that I know each of my children personally because we get to spend a lot of time together.
- I love that I can school to what fits a child and not have to wait for or delay a child to fit into a classroom of other kids.
- I love the fact that my children all have a relationship with Jesus and know the bible front to back and homeschooling allows me to teach that way.
- I believe that a family should be able to take field trips often to be able to learn a living history.
- I love that for science we can incorporate animal husbandry and hands-on science.
Public School, Private School, Charter School.
This type of schooling is what most of the US does. Children attend a “Brick & Mortar” school that is a public, private, or charter school. It is normally federal and state-funded but sometimes is paid for in all or part by the parents. The parents have little control over what a child is learning at the institution of choice. Children many times have friends, social engagements, and sports through the local school districts that the child attends. Public, private, or charter schools often offer clubs and chartered organizations through the school.
During the pandemic of March 2020 and the closure of the “brick and mortar” schools, I believe that so many schools did an incredible job of bringing school work to kids at home. Parents got a feel for what it was like to PUBLIC SCHOOL at HOME!
This was NOT HOMESCHOOLING! And I will get to that below.
Public School Online AKA “Schooling from Home”.
This gets a little more complicated. Public School online or “schooling from home” is a public school, funded by either Federal and/or state governments. That means your child is actually enrolled in a public school. For students who attended this kind of classroom structure they still have a teacher. They still have testing and most of all they are attending that school so they cannot play sports or attend other clubs from a local school district. They are physically in a different School District online.
We’ve tried many different online schools over the last couple of years with different kids in our household and for our family, it just didn’t work. But that is not to say that it wouldn’t be a good fit for your family. Do your research!
I personally didn’t like the lack of flexibility when it came to us doing a park day with our Homeschool Group or field trips because we had so many children in our household and made it very difficult in order to parade around the different times that the kids had to be online on the computer. Normally these online schools do provide a single computer that you have to return when you unenroll from their school district but when you have four, six or even eight children you will have to purchase additional computers. Make sure that Chrome books will work with their online system as well.
With the online schools, you do have parent-teacher conferences just as you would in a public school or Charter School setting. They also have state standards testing because they are considered a state school.
For local homeschool groups, many times they do allow schooling from home students to attend their events but often they are not able to attend the events because they are stuck on so many hours a day on a computer or they have class time that they’re required to go out between let’s say 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the afternoon.
Traditional Homeschooling – Parent-Led Homeschooling, Child-Led Homeschooling, Unschooling.
In the state of Arizona, there are more ways to look at traditional homeschooling. For us, this was the choice that matched our family. because of the freedoms in Arizona. … and all state requirements are different.
For us, I was able to make some choices on what we wanted to teach our children. I love the fact that I can choose a curriculum that works for either individual children or all of the age range in my family at one time. There are many options how to homeschool or you can choose a computer-based program, a book base program, group work. You can create lapbooks. You can have a secular curriculum or a Christian-based curriculum or anything in between. And I love that we have freedom as parents to choose what’s right for our families.
In the beginning, I chose a straight across curriculum by one company. Now for my family that was right at the time, however as I look back now and have learned of all the different options out there, I know that that’s no longer a great choice for my family. Now, I enjoy looking for and trying out new and exciting classes for the kids every year. Since we bought a color laser printer, I prefer buying PDF copies of books and printing copies for each child. I also picked up a bookbinding machine as well to make my life easier. And every year I choose something different.
Now for math, I use from one company, history from another, and science from a third. We piece together our English and use different literature books that go along with the history and the science to make it a little more exciting for the kids to know I found my best science books are science experiments books. You know the ones, science fair project books. And I have found those at yard sales and in the “Friends of the Library” book sales as well. You can also check those out of the library.
Remember your public library is your school library when you homeschool!
UNSCHOOLING: This is a hands-off approach that allows the entire education to be child-driven with little or no actual schooling.
CHILD LED HOMESCHOOLING: This is where a child gives their suggestion on things that they want to learn and the parent gathers resources on those topics.
CO-OP Learning: I personally disagree with this type of homeschool learning because you are relying on others again to teach your child. And personally, for me, that takes away the concept of me homeschooling them. Many times this is a get-together group where kids of close ages will have weekly classes together on a set class (I.E. Literature or Chemistry)
CHRISTIAN VS SECULAR – This is entirely up to you! We chose a Christian based curriculum for most of our studies because, for us, that was more important of education than anything else. There are many different Christian based including Notgrass History, AOP, The Good and the Beautiful, Teach Sunday School, and MANY OTHERS.
There are other theory learning methods too like Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and Lapbooking. These different methods are all options for you to research to see if they would work for you and your family.
Last but not least… Learn your state laws. Know that what someone else does may or may not work for your family. And remember there may be days that you do great and others that you do not! It is OK!
(You can check your state requirements here at https://hslda.org/. I would highly recommend joining the HSLDA if you plan on homeschooling so that you have some legal backing and advice)
This blog post is shared on You're the Star Blog Hop, Friendship Friday, Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Homestead Blog Hop, Tuesdays with a Twist, Wonderful Wednesday