Family photo in 1994
I was not in favor of home schooling our 4 children for several years…for the same reasons people today who don’t understand it usually give -
“What about Socialization? - I didn’t want our children to turn into nerds unable to make it in the “real” world.
“What about extra- curricular activities like band, football, school dances?”
“How are we going to teach the subjects we’re not qualified to teach?”
What about college?
In the end, it was the gentle persuasion of my wife that changed my heart to take a year for the two of us to seriously research the idea and then make a final decision. That was in 1991-
Here I sit 19 years later.
As Paul Harvey used to say…this is the rest of the story.
The first thing I discovered as I researched the home schooling movement was there was more than one model on how to do it. It was confusing. The amount of information to assimilate was overwhelming.
If you were to come to me today and ask “where is a good place to start? – I would point you to Doctor Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s book The Successful Home school Family Handbook (it is a later version than the one we had back in 1991)- but from where I sit today, that is still the one I remember best for a general overview. Get it- you won’t regret it.
Secondly, our children ranged in age from 3 to 11 when we took over the job of teaching them. Our oldest two had already completed the 4th and 5th grade in public school, it took two or three years for us to find our rhythm.
Now feel free to duplicate a traditional educational model in your home, I know people who do- they get metal desks, they set up a room just like an elementary school room, the whole package, like I said initially, that is one model of home education.
There’s also the classical model, a unit study model, a dual enrollment model (where your kids take some of their classes at a local public or private school and some of their classes at home)
Lots of experts, lots of good ideas. At the end of the day, you need to find what works best for you.
I will tell you this, when we finally did start home schooling, it wasn’t too many months into it before we all started to burn out- we were putting a lot of pressure on the kids and ourselves.
Children are naturally curious and love to learn (believe it or not) so when that’s not happening- that is just like the check engine light coming on in your car- you need to pull over and figure out what’s wrong.
Our first year, we purchasing a curriculum package- put out by Christian Liberty Academy. http://www.homeschools.org/
What I liked about their set up (and they’re not the only one on the market), was the fact they gave us a complete set of books for each student. They offered a payment plan- so we could spread out the expenses over time. And you could either buy just the books, or for an additional fee, have the kids actually enroll through their school long distance. I liked it the first year, it felt like we had a safety net under us.
Over the course of a couple of years, as our confidence grew, we began to design our own unit studies, and didn’t need that net.
Here’s some final thoughts- Home schooling is not for everyone….it’s not even necessarily for every child in your home- I can already hear someone squawking about not letting the world shape your children- like I said, you need to find what works best for you.
As our kids got into the 9th and 10th grade, we involved them in the decision process, whether to home school, go to public school or do a combination of the two, which in our state is called “dual enrollment”. All of them dual enrolled, except our youngest, who decided to go to public school full-time once he hit 9th grade. Since the 3 oldest only went to the public school part-time, they didn’t have enough credit hours for a diploma- so they each tested out and got a GED through the local community college.
I don’t regret it for a minute that we chose the home school route, I wish I could have done it myself when I was growing up.
There is so much more I could say, so if you have a question- I’d be glad to talk with you more about it- just leave a comment w/ your e-mail address and I promise to get back to you. DM