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Popularity of Homeschooling on the Rise

Homeschooling continues to grow in popularity but is it right for your family?
Homeschooling continues to grow in popularity but is it right for your family?

A 2007 government study showed that 1.5 million children (2.9% of K-12 students) in the United States were homeschooled, an increase of 36% since the previous study conducted in 2003.

While the reasons for the growth in the homeschooling trend vary, many parents cite religious reasons, lack of faith in public education and/or differences with the curriculum taught in public institutions.

Why Homeschool?

Reasons parents decide to homeschool their children vary widely but often include common reasons such as:

  • Belief that public schools are inadequate or too far from home (especially true for parents who live in rural areas)
  • Philosophical or religious differences with mainstream K-12 educational institutions
  • Family travels or lives abroad where access to schools may be limited
  • Desire to spend more time with growing kids rather than having them away from home much of the day
  • Special needs or medical treatment that makes going to school difficult or impossible

Is Homeschooling for You?

Don’t underestimate the commitment of time and dedication involved with homeschooling; whereas most teachers focus on a single grade level, you’ll have to be prepared to learn a new curriculum each year as your kid(s) progresses through each grade level.

Talk to other parents who have done homeschooling to get a realistic picture of what you’ll be signing up for and make sure you and your spouse both agree that you want to homeschool, since you’ll both be making sacrifices in terms of time, income, lifestyle, etc.

Ultimately only you can decide whether homeschooling is right for your family but making an informed, deliberate decision is the first step to doing it successfully!

Homeschooling Legalities

Become very familiar with your state/region’s legislation on home schooling; you want to stay within the guidelines to avoid any problems down the road that could affect your family or future educational opportunities for your child.

As a general rule of thumb, school officials don’t have a clue about home school laws and may give you information that is misleading so probably, public schools are not the place to go for your information. Here are additional legal resources:

Homeschool Support Groups

Meeting other homeschoolers can be helpful, but finding a local support group can be challenging. If you belong to a church that may be a good place to start searching for other homeschoolers you could get to know.

Finding and joining a support group will greatly help you succeed in homeschooling by providing help with choosing curriculum, keeping good records, meeting regulations and giving you and your child opportunities for social interaction.

Local parents or groups who homeschool are going to be your best bet to get in touch with the proper agencies to give you insight on the home schooling rules and laws in your area, and how to make sure that you fulfill them.

Most states have a home schooling group that parents can join to assure that students receive enough interaction with other children and they will usually have brochures or welcome packets that will help you in your choice to home school and help you to find a curriculum or to develop your own.

Homeschool Curriculum

Developing your own curriculum is not difficult at all if you remember your own schooling and you can usually do it quite successfully on your own, however if you don’t feel confident with that, there are many packaged curricula out there that are developed with your children’s age and what they should be expected to know at any given time during the school year.

Most of these packaged curriculum programs are highly expensive, and may cost between two and five hundred dollars to purchase, while some at that price don’t include the workbooks and other materials that you need.

Homeschool Record Keeping

Record keeping is an essential part of homeschooling in order to meet regulations and ensure your child stays on track. Records could be in the form of a daily journal or handwritten in a notebook. You can also purchase computer software that will assist in the record keeping process.

Homeschool Scheduling

While you will have a lot of flexibility and freedom in your homeschooling schedule, it is important to set up a daily, weekly and year-long schedule to ensure you don’t fall behind. Discipline and structure in your homeschooling program is no less important than in the classroom. Again, try to learn from others what works and adapt it you’re your own family needs.

Making Homeschool Interesting (and Fun!)

It’s no secret that kids have short attention spans, so variety and keeping learning activities will go a long way in keeping your homeschool student(s) focused and engaged!

Focus on anything you can do to make learning fun and interesting. Riddles, learning games, puzzles and arts and crafts projects can all help make learning more fun.

Homeschool Tools and Aids

Many teaching resources used in the classroom can be adapted to help you set up homeschool learning centers and activities:

The pocket chart is a commonly used K-6 teaching resource that can help define your curriculum, schedule learning activities, and teach specific subjects such as word study, how to use a calendar, learn about money and many other topics. You can also easily switch the cards that go in a pocket chart, making it an extremely versatile teaching tool.

You can find a wealth of professional books for teachers available that provide complete programs on teaching reading, writing, basic math and other subjects. Many include printables and guides on how to conduct specific learning activities and exercises.

Wikki Stix are a creative, hands-on crafting material that make learning activities fun for kids. They are easy to use and clean up and can be used to teach children basic shapes, the alphabet, numbers and counting and more.

Additional Homeschooling Resources

Hopefully our basic overview on homeschooling will help get you started. You can find many free resources online. Here are a few websites to help get you going:

If you have experience with homeshooling, please leave your comments below and/or link to additional resources you may know of to help others on their way!

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