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    Homeschooling Myths, Realities, and Resources

    by Samantha Biggers

    Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 10:39 AM

During COVID, almost all kids were homeschooled. After trying it out, a lot of parents decided not to send their kids back to public or even private schools. With many parents still working from home and sometimes setting more of their schedule, homeschooling is a more realistic possibility for many families than it once was.

Breaking Down Homeschooling Myths

 

Kids that are homeschooled are not well socialized.

Socialization may take more effort if kids are homeschooled, but there is no reason to assume that kids who don’t attend public school are missing out. Homeschool kids can still play Little League sports, attend various clubs, etc. There are homeschool groups that meet up for events too. I also have to point out that the type of socialization that many kids experience in public school is not necessarily healthy. Some kids have a harder time socializing in a school setting than they do in their community.

 

Homeschooling is not looked at well if a kid wants to attend college later.

There was a time when homeschooling was not looked at as kindly by some colleges. I would say those days are over. Even back in 2001, when I started college, a lot of schools were fine with homeschoolers. I wrote a good essay showing how I spent my time running a small farm business and working in town while completing my studies. I received a lot of scholarships and grants that allowed me to attend a private 4-year college. It would not have been affordable otherwise. I did have to take the ACT and achieve a minimum score as well. Back then, everyone had to take the SAT or ACT.

I do think it is a good idea if you are homeschooled to go the extra mile and show that you are doing more than just completing some school work. This shows initiative and helps dispel any lingering doubts that a few institutions may still harbor.

Also, remember that a lot of colleges are actually in financial trouble or having a hard time filling classrooms, so they cannot afford to be as picky as they once were.

 

I am not capable of homeschooling my child. I am just not a teacher.

You are capable. In many states, the main requirement is that the parent must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Homeschooling does take some time out of your day, but remember that if your child likes to work independently, it may not be as much time as you think. There are so many good educational tools out there that parents have easy access to. Homeschooling used to be a lot harder, more expensive, and take even more planning. A lot of parents don’t realize just how much it has changed and improved.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash

My Homeschooling Experience

I was homeschooled from 7th-12th grade. Honestly, the reason for this was that school was getting to be cumbersome and tedious for me. The drama of bullies and cliques was tiring at best. Public school is not a place where kids can excel without facing the consequences. It is a lot easier to take a C grade than do better and get hassled for it. Although I enjoyed learning, it seemed like a lot of my time was being wasted. Running from one classroom to the next, having to wait to do things because someone was acting out, being forced to watch health videos about things we already knew, and setting through lessons on topics I had already study on my own.

By the time I was 16, I had moved to the mountains of North Carolina with my Dad. I was living on the old family land. This is where my homeschool experience really took a turn for the better. I started out my farm business with one $20 nanny goat and saved my Christmas money up to purchase a male Great Pyrenees puppy. With some help from my Dad and Uncle, I fenced off a few acres for my goats. By the time I went to college at 18, I managed 8-10 nanny goats and raised my first litter of Great Pyrenees puppies. I also worked various fast food jobs in town and helped my Dad and Uncle with other farm work like putting up hay, raising a lot of chickens, and helping out with the cattle herd.

I read a lot of classic books to supplement the through the mail curriculum that I completed for my high school diploma.

My college essay came complete with photos of my farm projects. The admissions office people said they passed my essay around. My work experience while homeschooled played a large role in my getting into my first choice college and gaining some scholarships and financial aid that made it possible for me to attend a private college that cost a lot more than the family income per year.

My farm projects helped pay for my books some semesters. In 2001, $400 per semester seemed like a lot of money for books, so anything I could do to help take the bite out of that made a big difference.

 

There is no room in large public and private schools for kids to be allowed a customized learning experience that considers their strengths and weaknesses.

I don’t buy into the idea that everyone is the same. People are good at or at least more interested in different things. This is good. We need people that have different skills and interests to make the world a decent place to live.

 

The time spent transporting kids to and from school really adds up. Bus rides for kids in rural areas can add up to hours per day.

Transportation to public and private schools can take a long time.  It took 30 minutes to get to my school.

 

Ready To Use Curriculums

Below are just a few of the ready-to-use homeschool curriculums out there. I have made a note below each link to let you know in advance if a curriculum is Christian-based or Secular so you can more easily decide which are of interest to your family.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Curriculums are free to use unless otherwise noted. Most sites do kindly ask for donations to pay for necessary expenses.

Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool Curriculum

Christian Based

This homeschool program came into creation via Lee Giles. In 2011 she started putting her children’s homeschool assignments online so they could work independently. The curriculum includes 180 days’ worth of assignments for each grade level.

The link above will take you to the main site for grades K-8. If you are interested in high school-level assignments, here is the link.

Although Easy Peasy is 100% free, the site does take donations to cover operating costs.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a not-for-profit online homeschool that offers many course options for students from Kindergarten through 12th grade.  They do politely ask you to donate $10 per month to cover operation costs, but there is no obligation to do so.  They even offer AP courses for high schoolers.

K12.com

This site offers free online public homeschool programs taught by state-certified teachers.

K12 also offers some private programs that require tuition. Summer school and stand-alone course offerings are also available.

Even if you choose to use another homeschool program, it may be worth it to check out K12 and take advantage of their extensive online free library that includes more than 21,000 ebooks!

CK12.com

If you would like a curriculum based heavily on science and math, you should consider CK12.  This site is free to use but appreciates donations of any amount. They do offer some common core courses if you want to go that route. I am not familiar with common core since I have never had a kid in public school.

ABCMouse.com

This is a great program for ages 2-8. They also offer Adventure Academy for ages 8-13. For a mere $10 per month, you get access to 850 lessons that teach language arts, math, science, and more. The comprehensive learning to reach system is highly rated by parents.

At the time of this writing, you can get a full year of ABCMouse for $60.

 

Design Your Own

While there may be mandatory tests that kids have to pass in your state, the rest is up to you. It is possible to design your own curriculum using a variety of materials. Consider the following materials:

New or Used Books

In school, they always stressed that kids not write in books. For homeschooling, I can see the value in getting inexpensive copies of books and allowing kids to highlight or write in the margins when they have a thought. Of course, they can use a separate notebook, but you may find that they are more likely to take note of something if they can just use the book in front of them. Thriftbooks, Better World Books, and eBay are all great sources for used books.

Electronic Books and Digital Library Resources

E-readers have a feature that allows for highlighting and note-taking. Sometimes an electronic version makes sense, especially when a lot of the classics are available for free. Your local public library likely has a digital book lending service available too. Libraries often offer access to digital archives and research tools that are great for homeschool use.

Printable Worksheets

Sure, you can design your own worksheets and print them off at home, or you can use a service that gives you access to thousands of worksheets on almost any subject.  Some sites offer free printables, while others charge a fee. A few offer some free sheets but charge a small fee for access to more premium sheets and a much larger selection. Besides that, you just need is the materials to print. With some books and a worksheet subscription, you could design a wonderful core curriculum for your kids. The links below are just a few of the sites that offer thousands of worksheets for a ton of different subjects.

123Homeschool4me.com

This site features a ton of free printable worksheets that are nicely organized based on subject matter. This is a great resource for every type of worksheet, including coloring and arts and crafts!

Education.com

I love how well organized this site is. Education.com features more than 30,000 worksheets and online digital resources. Although the basic site is free to use, for $60 per year or $8 per month, you can gain premium access to even more educational games, activities, worksheets, and a progress tracker. I definitely plan on using this site some when my son is old enough!

Time4Learning

Although this site offers a complete online curriculum, they also have a ton of printable worksheets that you can use for free no matter what core curriculum you choose.

Hands-On Activities

Books, paper, and electronic learning are great, but kids need some hands-on activities for a well-rounded education.  Crafts, cooking, helping build something, etc., are just a few options available. There are many kits and even monthly subscription boxes that send you hands-on educational activities with instructions.  Here are a few that I have found:

Outdoor Activities

Kids need outdoor time. If more kids spent some time outside, I am confident that we would see a huge reduction in behavioral issues.  Plenty of outdoor activities can be educational and fun at the same time!

  • Nature walks- Point out different types of trees, insects, birds, etc.  Ask kid’s what things are on future hikes.
  • Bushcrafting- Fire starting, building shelters, etc.
  • Gardening

Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

 

Homeschool Pods and Private Classrooms

If you want your child to have the homeschool or small classroom experience but are not sure about teaching them daily, then consider finding some other like-minded parents that want to split teaching duties. You could teach a group of kids on Mondays, for example, while someone from one of the other families could teach on Tuesday. Although it would take some planning, this type of system does have potential. The problem, of course, is work schedules.

Some parents have gone so far as pooling money to hire a teacher to just teach all their kids full time.  If ten kids get taught by one teacher, for example, and each parent chips in $500 per month, then suddenly the teacher makes $60K gross per year and only teaches ten kids rather than the 30 they may have at a public school. Not a bad deal for some.

Legalities and Rules

Most states have few rules and restrictions on homeschooling. Here is a link to an interactive map that will show you the homeschooling laws and rules in your state.

Will homeschooling remain an option for parents?

With more and more parents choosing to homeschool, brick-and-mortar public schools are facing some challenges. Funding is often based on enrollment numbers. I would not be surprised to see some people try to make it harder for people to homeschool so that more money flows into the public schools in their area. I know of at least a few schools in my region that have closed because there are simply not enough kids attending for them to remain open.

I cannot help mentioning that some do not like the freedom that homeschooling offers parents. When you teach your child at home, you get to pick and choose what moral lessons and values are taught. You also get to decide what age you talk to your child about some topics. When it comes to subjects like history, so much is ignored. I look forward to teaching my child real history. There are plenty of reprehensible things that happened in the past. Learning about them from different perspectives is good because it helps one not make the same mistakes. Trying to erase history is not helpful.

Conclusion

On July 17, 2021, our son Bailey was born. Matt and I plan on homeschooling our son from K-12. There is so much for him to learn on the farm, and since I work from home full time, it is possible. I cannot in good conscience send my child into a public school environment when I know that I have the time and ability to provide him with an education at home. I know I have years until he is school-age, but I see a lot of parents pulling their kids out of public school due to the heavy amounts of propaganda and teaching of topics that had no place in public schools just a few years ago. The no-tolerance policies have also created an environment where kids cannot defend themselves against bullies without getting into trouble themselves.

I find it unfortunate that so many great teachers are not allowed to teach in a way that is most beneficial to the students. I have known plenty of teachers over the years that were great at what they did but over the years they increasingly had to put aside their own teaching methods and go by a “one size fits all approach”.

I realize that “the system” is set up where working parents have little choice about sending their children to public schools. I cannot think of any good solution for this.

I acknowledge that the more people pull their kids from public schools, the harder it is for the school to do better for the kids that have to keep attending. These are some deep problems that are hard to solve when you have big government agencies calling the shots.

Can you think of any solutions that might work for a country that is divided? Do you think public schools will last, or will all students just complete studies online at whatever person or place is providing childcare?

 

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14 Comments

  • Wed, Sep 01, 2021 - 1:42pm

    #1
    agnes xyz

    agnes xyz

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 21 2020

    Posts: 193

    1

    Resources

    Thanks for the listing of home school resources. Maybe some of those places will let me learn something.

    I'm sure there is a lot more available out there than there was when I was in school in the 50's and 60's. We were the early  boomers, and there were 30 some kids in each classroom.

    For the record, my biggest memory of elementary school is the air raid drills, where we had to climb under our desks, pull up our knees, and tuck our heads under our arms. Since we had to wear dresses/skirts, the boys could see our underpants. Brutal.

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  • Wed, Sep 01, 2021 - 1:45pm

    #2

    roosterrancher

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Apr 16 2010

    Posts: 191

    4

    Congrats!

    Congrats on the new baby!

    And here's to your new phase of life!

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  • Wed, Sep 01, 2021 - 2:37pm

    #3
    Kathy

    Kathy

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Feb 21 2020

    Posts: 493

    4

    Singapore Math!

    I homeschooled my kids and while there were lots of good resources and better ones now.

    For math, Singapore math is the way to go IMO.

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  • Wed, Sep 01, 2021 - 5:02pm

    #4
    MsSmith

    MsSmith

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Jul 29 2021

    Posts: 106

    7

    Great write up

    Home schooled kids naturally socialise with different age groups, ideally interacting with babies all the way up to elderly.  This is a much healthier and balanced form of socialisation imho.

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  • Wed, Sep 01, 2021 - 6:03pm

    #5

    000

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 309

    0

    Learning Never Ends, Redux

    My Philosophy Heroes: Why I Love Terence McKenna





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  • Wed, Sep 01, 2021 - 6:12pm

    M3

    M3

    Status: Member

    Joined: Jan 25 2021

    Posts: 32

    1

    M3 said:

    https://cathyduffyreviews.com/#

    Cathy Duffy has an extensive list of curriculum and reviews.

    The library is also such a free valuable resource. Some have homeschool meet ups which is awesome.

    Kathy we use Singapore math. My older boys are past it and my youngest is in level 1. I definitely recommend it.

    I think the great thing about home educating is there is no one way and you can change what's not working.

     

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  • Wed, Sep 01, 2021 - 7:05pm

    #7
    Chicken2105

    Chicken2105

    Status: Member

    Joined: Apr 12 2020

    Posts: 7

    1

    Great job

    This is the heart and soul of PP.

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  • Wed, Sep 01, 2021 - 9:30pm

    #8
    Scarlberg

    Scarlberg

    Status: Member

    Joined: May 06 2020

    Posts: 4

    0

    The Good and the Beautiful

    The good and the beautiful has a well organized preschool - 5th grade curriculum that can be downloaded for free online to print at home and lots of great paid preprinted curriculum as well.  I’m doing a combo of that, Veritas and Beast Academy for Math for my 5th grader and am really happy with it.

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  • Thu, Sep 02, 2021 - 4:27am

    #9
    tg43

    tg43

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Apr 02 2020

    Posts: 105

    1

    Home Schooling : Easily achievable.

    Great blog post !  Good to have a place for newbies to start as many will be considering this in the coming months.  I home schooled my 2 daughters from age 11 yrs to age 14, and it can be a great experience in bonding the family.  I was helped because my mum was a teacher - back in the day - and as a teen I would mark the answer sheets for her biology class (teenage classes).   This early experience made most things seem achievable, plus there were crafting skills - baking, knitting, sewing, map reading - that I wanted my offspring to be comfortably competent in.

    I might change the first 3 paragraph headings to be less negative, to avoid reinforcing the myths.

    Am I capable of homeschooling my child? I am not a qualified teacher.

    How does homeschooling affect options for college after?

    Socialization is different for home-schooled kids.

    Home-schooled children are better socialized across multiple generations / mutiple age groups.  In school they learn only to socialize with 30 of the same age - a situation which rarely occurs in real life outside of school.

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  • Thu, Sep 02, 2021 - 8:40am

    #10
    Ben and Bren Seed

    Ben and Bren Seed

    Status: Member

    Joined: Jun 29 2021

    Posts: 3

    1

    Ben and Bren Seed said:

    Samantha, thank you so much for writing this!  And it is wonderful to hear the other supportive voices in the comments.  We are about to embark on our first real year of homeschooling our 3rd and 7th graders.  It is easy to get overwhelmed and scared, especially when you are surrounded by doubting voices in your life.  I have truly found that hearing from other homeschool families and meeting amazing homeschooled kids and adults helps us move forward with our choice.  We have joined an incredible community of homeschool families near our land up in Nelson County, VA.  They are organized under the umbrella of 4-H.  We meet up on Fridays and parents teach classes and the kids get to be together.  They are putting on a play!

    Wishing everyone the best as we embark on our new paths during these strange and chaotic times.

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  • Fri, Sep 03, 2021 - 6:29pm

    #11
    thecountmc

    thecountmc

    Status: Member

    Joined: May 14 2020

    Posts: 12

    2

    Finally pulled the trigger on Home Schooling, New rules trying to make this more difficult?

    So I'm in the Pacific Northwest, and like Chris said determine your line and when they cross it take action. So the schools crossed our line " there is a long list" and we notified the school we were leaving and signed up for our states home school program.  However there was  a new snag. Our  school district had a cap on only 3% of kids could leave for home school?  and we had to give the district 2 weeks to appeal our departure before we could be accepted in the home school program...I mean WTF!  ok there are loopholes I have available to come at this from another angle and I could have got out one way or another.. but now I need THEIR permission to put MY kid in another school?  Fortunately our 2 weeks went by  without appeal and we got officially in.  Turns out in the local news  the district "Major City" is seeing a ~15% reduction in kids not coming back and trying to control the tax $ drain.. I don't know if this 3% is rule that has always been there? or some new BS.. but its heads up to parents out there if you are sitting on the fence.. there might be a time limit, clearly they are trying to limit home schooling over here to 3%.

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  • Fri, Sep 03, 2021 - 7:13pm

    Aria

    Aria

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Aug 03 2020

    Posts: 70

    1

    Consider joining HSLDA if you home school

    I am replying to thecountmc (post 11).

    I would suggest that you join the Home School Legal Defense Association. I have been predicting that the public school systems will start cracking down more on home schoolers when they see how much $ is walking out the door.  There have been many instances where the public schools have tried to make home schoolers follow rules that were not required by law.

    The HSLDA will help you with this and if you are a member, you can even contact one of their attorneys for help. Even if you are not a member, their web site is still a good resource for info.

    https://hslda.org

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  • Fri, Sep 03, 2021 - 11:43pm

    Andrew Black

    Andrew Black

    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 03 2021

    Posts: 1

    1

    New to homeschooling

    This year we decided to home school our son because we don’t want him wearing a mask at school all day long. My son will be a junior. The kid has all A’s. But the education during Covid has been horrible. Our town is loaded with masky terrified parents and some are even trying to get our school district to postpone classes. They are so scared of Covid and live in an echo chamber of fear of Covid. They won’t acknowledge that kids have almost a zero chance of dying from Covid. It’s like they’ve forgotten how to evaluate risk. Soon they will try and mandate the Covid Vaccine on kids. I’m happy to have unenrolled our child and look forward to homeschooling. Thanks for writing a good article on this. Cutting ties with the school district has been good. The schools in Oregon are getting worse.

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  • Sat, Sep 04, 2021 - 12:29am

    #14
    Redneck Engineer

    Redneck Engineer

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Mar 16 2020

    Posts: 178

    0

    Homeschooling resources

    Nice list.

    Khan Academy has really good explanations for advanced topics. I needed to brush up on linear algebra for a graduate level math class and was surprised how well he explained the topics.

    A few shameless plugs for some acquaintances who provide resources for homeschooling:

    https://historyatourhouse.com/

    Suggestions for self-educating on a variety of subjects: http://strongbrains.com/

    Recommended classic literature, K-8th grade, from a private school in CA: https://www.vandammeacademy.com/favorite-books-by-grade-level

    Maria Montessori's methods have been adapted for use in one's own home. Visit websites for some of the schools to get an idea. For instance: https://www.guidepostmontessori.com/in-home

    https://www.leportschools.com/why-leport/

    There are entrepreneurs offering services teaching age-appropriate science in an exciting way: https://mysteryscience.com/

    and others bringing literature to life: https://www.literatureatourhouse.com/

    For more advanced students, take a look at the reading lists on schools with "Great Books" programs. The most fascinating curriculum out there is that of St. John's College. If I had 4 years to do nothing but read and study, for the sheer joy of it, I'd love to immerse myself in this curriculum. https://www.sjc.edu/academic-programs/undergraduate/great-books-reading-list

    U. Chicago is famous for its program: http://grahamschool.uchicago.edu/programs-courses/basic-program/core-curriculum

    And of course there's the Harvard Classics. What was the goal here?

    "My aim was not to select the best fifty, or best hundred, books in the world, but to give, in twenty-three thousand pages or thereabouts, a picture of the progress of the human race within historical times, so far as that progress can be depicted in books. The purpose of The Harvard Classics is, therefore, one different from that of collections in which the editor's aim has been to select a number of best books; it is nothing less than the purpose to present so ample and characteristic a record of the stream of the world's thought that the observant reader's mind shall be enriched, refined and fertilized. Within the limits of fifty volumes, containing about twenty-three thousand pages, my task was to provide the means of obtaining such knowledge of ancient and modern literature as seemed essential to the twentieth-century idea of a cultivated man. The best acquisition of a cultivated man is a liberal frame of mind or way of thinking; but there must be added to that possession acquaintance with the prodigious store of recorded discoveries, experiences, and reflections which humanity in its intermittent and irregular progress from barbarism to civilization has acquired and laid up." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Classics

    And of course they are available for free with reading guides: https://www.myharvardclassics.com/

    https://archive.org/details/harvardclassics

    If someone did nothing else but read the classics with an inquisitive mind, they would emerge as a far better informed individual capable of sharper thinking than most. Couple that with math and science and you end up with something amazing.

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