Today I'm going to try and hit up some of the questions running through your minds as you decide to homeschool. Not the curriculum questions, but all the other ones that keep creeping up in your decision making. Some of them are myths, and some of them are truths. Here are my thoughts on all of them.
1. What about socialization? Really, I do not get this question very much myself, but I know a lot of people do. In fact, it is pretty much the #1 objection from people who think you are crazy for homeschooling. And, let me tell you, if you want to make sure your child is 'properly socialized' (insert eye roll) there are plenty of ways to do it.
Of course, you have to decide what socialization is and what you want from it. School isn't realistic socialization for the real world as you have 25 kids, all the same age, stuffed in a room interacting with each other. That is a form of socialization, but so is sitting in a room with your own siblings and parents interacting with them. So is going to the park and playing with the other children there. So is going to the grocery store and interacting with the clerk. So is going to AWANA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, Bible Club, etc and interacting with the children there. These are all socialization. Homeschooling isn't a world without socialization, it's just a world with a little different socialization during school hours only. This won't ruin your kid. My Mustang got 1st runner up at our local town fair pageant. She had to answer questions and blew everyone away with her answers. Later, I realized that Mustang-my homeschooled, 'unsocialized', kid had just won a trophy at a 'social' competition. The irony was not lost on me :).
2. What if I don't have a lot of patience? Now this one I DO hear a lot. I don't have enough patience to homeschool my children. This one always amuses me because I am not a very patient person at all. In fact, I have often prayed for lots more of it just to get through mundane tasks such as serving dinner to my children :). It might help to know that we homeschooling mommas DON'T have the hook up on more patience. We have, however, learned some coping mechanisms that help get us through the tough points. Planning ahead helps a lot for me, as does playing soft music while I am teaching. But, most of all, I think the times when I don't need patience helps me the most. Believe it or not, I don't need near as much patience to teach as I thought I would!
3. What if I'm not very smart? I hear this a lot, too. I'm not good at math, how will I ever teach my child geometry, algebra, etc (insert your hard to teach subject, here). Let me let you in on a little secret...I DON'T have a college degree. I am NOT good at math, and the idea of teaching high school math scares me, too. Thankfully, my DH has already volunteered to help with high school math because he was good at it and understands it. But, if i didn't have him, I would certainly be signing the kids up for an online math course when we got to that level. The fact is, that if you have something you can't teach, there is something out there (online course, DVD program, tutor, friend, HUSBAND) that can fill that void. You will also be surprised that learning actually seems to come easier now that I WANT to learn and have a REASON to learn. If you read the teacher's manual, it will often tell you what to say when and if you stay a lesson or two ahead of your child, you can still teach them.
4. What if I don't have a lot of money? This used to be an issue, but it really isn't anymore. Especially in the younger grades (but even in the older) you do not have to be rich to homeschool. The internet, especially, is packed FULL of free things to school your children with. There are even full websites that have entire curricula for free. Two examples are Ambleside Online and Easy Peasy Homeschool Online. Really, other then a library card, you don't NEED anything to homeschool. A printer and internet access are very nice, but if you can print off your lesson plans at the library, or write them down, you can take them home. So I guess you need pens, paper, and a library card. Also, if you put the word out to friends that you are looking for homeschool materials...you might be surprised at the amount of things you wind up with. Old textbooks, homeschool books, and even manipulatives can also be found cheap at yard sales and thrift stores. You just have to look :).
5. What if I have a small house? Homeschooling takes as much space as you will let it. Yep, there are people out there with an entire building next to their house used for school (and yes I drool), but there are people who live in an RV that also homeschool. The fact is, you have made your small space work for everything else in your life, you can make it work for schooling, too. It may take some creativity, but it CAN work.
6. What about sports? Now, this one I have to admit to be a part myth, part truth. When your kids are younger, there are plenty of 'non-school sponsored' sports activities to be involved in. Sign your kids up there. But, at the high school level, this IS an issue. I know, there is a law or whatever that says the schools have to let your children play anyways...but in our state, there is a state athletic association that has it's own rules. Your school can let them practice, but the association won't let them play unless they have so many hours a week at the school. This has become an issue for some in our homeschooling co-op who have gone ahead and sent their children to school part time. That said, our own co-op has a basketball team for boys, one for girls, girl's volleyball, and a pom pom/dance team. So, check around and see what your area has to offer.
7. I need to sign up for all the co-op classes. This one is a hard myth to accept. You DON'T need to sign up for all the classes. Be careful. The first year or two, especially, it is so easy to sign up for everything. All of a sudden, you are never home and aren't getting any school done! Be diligent to only sign up for what is going to work around your homeschooling.
8. What about college? Yes, you can certainly send your kids to college after high school! But, it's going to take a little work. What you need to do first, is figure out what school your child wants to attend. Contact them, figure out what the school wants your child to have done in the high school level to attend their school. So, in other words, don't wait till Senior year to start deciding what to do! Junior High is probably a great time to start thinking about it! Also, be sure to check out your local community college. Our family plan is to send our children part time to the community college starting at age 15. If they progress well, when most kids are graduating high school, ours will have their associate degree and be ready to take on the world of college :).
9. All homeschools are exactly alike. This is a HUGE myth. You may see some great blogs out there and think, I could NEVER do that. And you are right. You couldn't. I can't do everything I see, either. But, what I CAN do, is create an education geared specifically for my children. So can you!! There isn't a 10 step program to start homeschooling, because each family is unique. That's what makes homeschooling fun and so important to our society.
I hope that these bits of info, along with the other 4 days, can be of help to you and your family! I asked before, and will ask again. Do you have any questions that I didn't cover? I'd love to help out!
Good luck to all of you beginning your school journey this week or month, and to those of you considering it, it's NEVER too late to start!
Thanks for stopping by!