Long time, no see!
I’m back with another highly requested topic! I apologize for my absence. But as many of you already know, I’ve been so, so busy the last few months. Between photoshoots, working with birth clients, hosting full moon gatherings, and preparing for our first official year of homeschooling- to say I’ve been busy is an understatement!
But for now, I’m here to give you my undivided attention.
I’ve received many questions recently directed towards my homeschooling our three children.
Questions ranging from “What curriculum are you using, and which ones do you recommend?” to “How do you manage to homeschool full time and socialize your children?” And I’m here to answer your questions one by one!
(Below is a short vlog of pieces of our day!)
But first, I’m going to begin this article by debunking many of the negative generalizations and stereotypes that seem to always come from well-meaning, yet extremely unaware individuals. And chances are that if you have ever considered homeschooling or unschooling your children, you’ve heard many, if not all of these remarks as well.
1.) “Homeschooling is hard. You’ll quit after a month.”
While I would never lie and say that homeschooling or unschooling is a walk in the park, it is by no means something that I expected to “try” and if I didn’t like it, immediately quit. I’ve also never met another homeschooling parent with that mentality. When we choose to homeschool, we are choosing to educate our children because they are just that- our children. Its a life altering choice. The majority of us homeschool to keep our children from receiving a biased, government funded education, to enjoy teaching our children and watching them flourish, and in the more recent years, to avoid the ridiculous amounts of standardized testing in public and private schools.
Its a very large choice to make, and many of us drift back and fourth for quite awhile before plunging into the world of homeschooling. And unless the children themselves have issues adjusting (which is rare) very few of us quit. But if we do? No big deal.
2.) “Your children will end up with little to no social skills.”
*Insert eye roll*
By far the largest misconception regarding homeschooling. I’ve heard it from everyone. Friends, family, strangers. It seems to be the first sentence that comes to mind for many. But to truly debunk this myth, we have to take a larger look at homeschooling. Homeschooling is not sitting at a dining room table reading textbooks all day long with “Mom” lecturing. Far from it. The term homeschooling applies to anyone who is not receiving an education from a public or private school. Therefore there are no regulations on how you teach in a homeschool setting, especially if you are not using a “boxed” curriculum. That being said, the majority of homeschoolers primarily teach outside of the home. They teach at parks, museums, historic monuments, state parks, cities, farms, oceans- the list is virtually endless. Believe it or not, homeschooled children receive such diverse amounts of communication nearly every day- far more than their public school counterparts.
According to a 2009 study that examined the maturity, communication, and socialization skills of both homeschooled and publicly educated individuals, the results had naysayers silenced.
Because homeschooled children are “thrown into” everyday society far earlier than publicly educated children, they have a much better understanding of communicating with various individuals. Young, old, foreign, native. You name it. The results speak for themselves.
3.) “Homeschooled kids receive a poor education compared to public and privately educated kids. They aren’t ever prepared for college.”
Referring back to the study preformed above, I’ll debunk that (false) statement right here.
GPA’s tend to run higher among homeschooled children versus publicly educated children. Don’t believe me? Check out this in-depth study:
Drawing from 15 independent testing services, the Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics included 11,739 homeschooled students from all 50 states who took three well-known tests—California Achievement Test, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, and Stanford Achievement Test for the 2007–08 academic year. The Progress Report is the most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed.
Overall the study showed significant advances in homeschool academic achievement as well as revealing that issues such as student gender, parents’ education level, and family income had little bearing on the results of homeschooled students.
National Average Percentile Scores
Subtest Homeschool Public School
Reading 89 50
Language 84 50
Math 84 50
Science 86 50
Social Studies 84 50
Core 88 50
Composite 86 50
a. Core is a combination of Reading, Language, and Math.
b. Composite is a combination of all subtests that the student took on the test.
There was little difference between the results of homeschooled boys and girls on core scores.
I think that wraps this up quite nicely.
1.) “What curriculum do you use? I’ve heard that online curriculums can be good, but I’m nervous about it not working out.”
I had the exact same fears due to seeing children not adapting well to online schooling. Its a large commitment to make, and I didn’t see it as an appropriate fit for our family. I also decided to homeschool my children primarily because I didn’t want them to have America’s standard curriculum, which is what the majority of online curriculums provide.
I decided to try making my own curriculum for my children. It was a daunting task at first, however it seems to be working well and my children are learning at a much faster pace than their public school peers.
2.) “How did you come up with your curriculum yourself?”
I initially started out by gathering all of the information that I could find. All of our state’s standards, pro’s and con’s of various teaching techniques, lesson plan guides, etc. I was receiving advice from both public school teachers and seasoned homeschool teachers alike. I was very overwhelmed during this process and I nearly changed my mind completely on homeschooling. It was a difficult task and it took a few weeks, but it payed off!
From then on I had to make the decision to evaluate my school-aged children to get a good, clear grasp on where they were intellectually so I could formally map out their education, curriculum, and goals for the year. I tested them in mathematics, literature, english, handwriting, world history, science, and art connections. Once I had a good idea of where I should start, I was able to truly map things out.
From that point, it was very easy to put down where I’d like to see my children in a month, three months, six months, and nine months. Goals were put into place, supplies and books were bought, and lessons were planned out.
3.) “What is your schedule like everyday?”
We begin our school day usually around 9-10am. We start the day with our “morning warm up” which consists of setting our Judy Clock to the current time, changing our date/weather board, singing our “days of the week” song, and our “months of the year” song. Occasionally we will do a little bit of math using the Judy Clock as well.
Next comes free reading and literature. I let the kids pick any book off of our shelves for me to read to them in our circle, and we take our time. Then my preschooler will usually work on a worksheet or a project while I work with my kindergartener out of her phonics workbook. (Which I HIGHLY recommend. It is available here.) Once her lessons are completed we will ether work on our book of the week, or move on to English/handwriting.
With English/handwriting my oldest has a “letter of the day” that she must write several times before moving onto other activities. I try to make English fun and enjoyable since its one of her more disliked subjects. We work on rhyming, poetry, sentence structure, etc. We have two wonderful workbooks that we also incorporate. At the end of each school day she also must journal a picture of her day, and one sentence. For English, my preschooler is still working on tracing her alphabet and recognizing letters and their sounds.
Next comes mathematics. My children’s favorite. My oldest thoroughly enjoys this subject and excels at it, so we are working at a first and second grade level. My preschooler is working at a kindergarten level. We are working through one specific workbook, and usually complete two additional fun activities a day. They move very quickly through their work, so if there is additional time, we will also go outside and practice math outdoors.
Science is next, and the most fun of all. While I spend a lot time teaching them in this subject, about 90% of our science is spent doing experiments. We do a lot of field trips, and a lot of hands-on learning for all of our subjects, but science is the subject many of our field trips are based on. Since my children are already a grade level above state standards for science, we take science as it comes and I incorporate anything that I can into our lessons. The weather that day, chemical reactions, temperatures, etc.
At the end of our school day, we usually add in an arts and crafts project that pertains to our current bi-weekly theme. Our bi-weekly themes range from ocean zones to ancient civilizations and they incorporate every single subject. Having a bi-weekly theme really helps to capture my children’s interests while helping them learn about many different topics. Something I definitely recommend to other homeschooling parents!
If you’re wondering why we aren’t working on world (or US) history right now, its because I am waiting to introduce it until our second semester in December/January, which is when we will be phasing out a big part of our literature. We will have additional time, and that is when we will begin world history!
I hope that I have been able to answer some of your questions! There are so many more questions that I need to respond to, so I will likely make a “part 2” to this post to answer all of you to prevent this post from being so long. (If you’re still reading, bless you)
Have any other questions for me? Feel free to ask in the comment section below and I’ll be sure to answer!