This week we entered our 15th year of homeschooling. 15th! That sounds crazy even to me! In fact, when we started, most of my family thought we were crazy and it wasn’t exactly a mainstream choice. (Probably why my family thought we were nuts). When I was pregnant with Chey, I made the decision to homeschool and as soon as we were financially able to do so, I pulled both her and Wyatt out of public school.
Top Questions About Homeschooling
Choosing to homeschool is a decision that requires plenty of consideration and should not be taken lightly. As parents consider homeschooling their child or children, they often have a lot of questions. Here are some of the top questions (and their answers) asked by those expressing curiosity and concerns about homeschooling.
Will my child receive proper socialization if I homeschool?
The answer is yes—if parents put in a little effort. In a traditional school setting, parents send their kids off each day and hear about their new friends. For a homeschooled child, the parents take an active role. For the record, two of my children are introverts and the other three are extroverts. This is personality based and has nothing to do with our education choice. I’m an introvert; Colby an extrovert. We met at a public high school.
Socialization may take several forms for the homeschooled child—interacting with the community as you attend events and local libraries, museums, church and so forth; but also getting together with other children on “playdates.” Parents may find that a homeschool co-op is a wonderful source of positive socialization. Homeschooled families go on field trips together and interact regularly. Not to mention, we help plan and host bi-monthly neighborhood events to connect with our families with children in our community.
What about testing?
Your particular state board of education will have guidelines and laws about academic assessment. For example, some states require that homeschooled children be evaluated by a certified teacher; others allow submission of a portfolio to a certified teacher for approval; and still others require that homeschooled kids submit to standardized testing. Find out about laws in your state through the HSLDA. I know that Texas, where we live, is one of the easiest states to homeschool in and there are no required standardized tests.
As for tests and quizzes during the year—well, that’s up to the parent! You can include pop quizzes or tests as part of your curriculum if you choose. And, again, in Texas, grades are optional. We keep high school transcripts, but the lower grades do not require regular grades. Be sure to check the requirements in your state as you begin planning!
Is it expensive?
The answer to this question varies depending on the curriculum and method you choose; but the short answer is, not necessarily. You can spend a great deal ($500+) if you want to purchase a pre-packaged, full-year curriculum with all the “fixin’s.” But you can spend a whole lot less than that if you take advantage of community resources (including your local library) and free internet materials. We are using several resources from Easy Peasy Homeschool this year—all completely free!
Be cognizant of the fact that a parent must take time (possibly away from a wage-earning job) to teach. In our case, we both work from home but hired a tutor to spend 4 hours a few days each week with our girls. These choices could affect the budget and add to the cost of homeschooling.
What about the ACT and SAT?
These tests are college requirements, so it depends on whether or not your homeschooled student is going to go to college, and what college he or she is interested in. Obviously, if the college he or she wants to apply for requires these test scores, then he or she will need to take the tests. Our oldest daughter graduated at 16 to get a jump start on college and tested well on her college entrance exams. She already has her Associates and is now a year away from her Bachelors and two years away from her Masters. Homeschooling your child in no way slows their education process.
Is homeschooling just for religious families?
No, homeschooling is not just for religious families; there are secular approaches to homeschooling as well as religion-based ones. In the past, sources say, more homeschoolers educated their children at home for religious reasons than they do now. School violence and safety are modern motivations to homeschool, too. We have used both secular and Christian-based programs to make sure our children learn different perspectives.
What questions about homeschooling do you have?
There are so many ways to teach your children at home that things may get blurred when trying to explain to others. The myths and misconceptions surrounding homeschooling/unschooling are out there, so you have to do your due diligence. Research the facts for yourself, ask questions, and make an informed decision based on what’s best for your child and your family.