Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Homeschooling Questions

Jenny recently asked me some questions about homeschooling. I thought it would be a good idea to answer them here and maybe be a help and encouragement to others.

I am considering homeschooling but what concerns me is choosing a curriculum and structure that will keep [my daughter] up with her peers (and maybe even ahead). Was it easy for you to find the right thing? How did you choose it?

I have an advantage in that I was homeschooled myself from sixth grade through high school so I am already familiar with lots of homeschooling materials, books, and ideas. However, "homeschooling" begins long before time for formal instruction. Talking to your child, playing with her, reading excellent books to her, involving her in your life--those things prepare your child for more structured learning when she is ready. It's not like one day you just "start school." I've been reading to Gavin (5 1/2) since he was a few months old. By two, he could count and knew his colors. Owen (23 months) has NO interest in colors, but has learned to recognize almost every letter of the alphabet-- not because I've opened up a curriculum and taught it to him, but because he was interested in the refrigerator magnets and asked what the letters were so many times, he picked it up on his own. So much of early learning is picked up just by being together.

When your child is ready to begin math and reading and handwriting, you'll know. Gavin started Kindergarten a few months before he turned five because he was ready. I've found that my children are a bit ahead of their peers, but the beauty of homeschooling is that a child doesn't have to be on the same pace as everyone in her class but can be free to learn at her own pace. That could mean reading at four or not until age nine!

As far as actually choosing a curriculum when the time came, I didn't have a difficult time because I just went with what fit our style and needs. (I'll share later about what curriculum we plan to use in the upcoming school year.)

Also, I could teach [my daughter] English, sure--but math? I'm not sure what I'd do around 7th grade when the math gets more complicated and I can barely remember it myself. Do you plan to continue homeschooling that long? If so, do you feel equal to the task of teaching all subjects or would you join a network?

I do plan to homeschool my children through high school. I've had to get away from the idea of homeschooling being just "school at home" where the teacher stands up and teaches the student from her great depths of knowledge! In homeschooling, you learn together. Just because I took trigonometry in high school doesn't mean I even remember enough to even teach elementary math alone! I read through the text myself and help my children along. In high school, there are many programs (in math, science or any number of subjects) for homeschool students where the student follows the text and teaches herself (or learns along with Mom). It's not like Mom has to know it all herself before she can offer it to her children.

That being said, joining a co-operative group or network can be a great idea, too. When I was in high school, another homeschool mom taught a group of us geometry one afternoon a week. She was a high school math teacher before she began homeschooling her son and had the skills to teach us something we may have had a more difficult time learning through a textbook. There is always more than one way to go about something!

I know I would face a lot of criticism from friends and family, but I think it may be the best thing for her.

It is always hard to go against the crowd--especially if the "crowd" is people you care about! Pray about it and if you feel the Lord is leading you to homeschool, then it will all be worth it!


  1. great post. full of great answers and encouragement. :)

  2. Well put! I too am planning/hoping to homeschool my little ones through high school! It all starts right now though. My learning for little ones carnival is a great way for me to share and learn ideas for homeschooling my toddler.

    It would be great to hear more about what you do with your little ones! I'll look forward to it!

  3. Excellent, Kristin! I was homeschooled K-12 and my mom used a hodge podge of different curriculums. If something wasn't working - we tried something new. A lot of homeschooling is trial and error, I think. Also, different children might require different curriculum! One of my younger sisters just could not learn to read phonetically, so mom quickly switched gears and found a program that would teach her based on sight. That's what's so great about homeschooling. The curriculum can be tailored for YOUR specific child.

    Can't wait to hear what you'll be doing with your kids.

  4. Thanks so much! I have been working on a long post about why I want to homeschool Suzi, so now I'll be able to link to this. Memories of my own education have been on my heart and I think homeschooling may be in God's plan for us.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...