Parents are now thinking about the 2020/2021 school year. It is a huge decision. We love our children. We are willing to sacrifice for their safety and our peace of mind. One option is Homeschool. I hope to answer some of your questions concerning homeschooling.
Our story: In 1995 I was looking at the school options for my oldest son. Back then there were three choices: public school, private school and homeschool. I wanted the best for my very active boy. Our family decided to give homeschool a try. After our trial year we were hooked. Looking back, twenty-five years later, it has been a great choice for our family. We love it because it has so many benefits.
Benefits to Homeschooling
Family Time. Spending school time with the kids by homeschooling allowed me to fully enjoy each new phase of their lives. Whether we were learning alphabet letters or doing science experiments in the kitchen, we were together. I do not regret the time I spent with my kids. Being home with them and teaching them became one priority that was worth the sacrifices we made to make it happen.
Select academic curriculum that agrees with your family’s values. We followed Matthew 22:37: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” For example: I read a chapter of the Bible out loud to the kids during breakfast. I start each school day praying to God and putting Him first. The curriculum our family uses is written by people who follow the Bible. If one cannot be obtained, then I read over the text ahead of time to make sure it lines up with our family values.
Set up your child’s school day. Normally 3 hours in the morning should suffice. I have an ADHD child who takes longer. Hers is more spread out because of breaks and other issues. Too much school is just that, too much school. This allows us to spend our afternoons doing quiet things on our own. It’s nice to have time planned in the day for reading, creativity, and yes even watching shows. All of us need a break by then, so we take it.
Children learn at their own pace. If you see your child understands a math concept by doing 5 problems, why would you have him do the next 25 problems? If my child has shown me he’s got the concept, we go ahead and do the sample practice problems for the next several lessons until I see my child needs to slow down and practice learning something. Then we would spend time doing that lesson. Many of our kids are bored with school, but if we keep them in a place where they are challenged and always learning, they will be more engaged. Homeschooling nurtures a child’s natural curiosity. Children learning at their own pace is one of the gems of homeschooling.
This coming school year be gracious with yourself and your children. There is a lot going on in our world. Our children are grieving the loss of freedom in their world just like we are. Let them talk about their feelings. Take time to listen to them even though it probably sounds like they are complaining. This school year will look different. Our expectations should be different too. Our children need safety, a schedule, structure and some sense of normalcy. But be sensitive to when they can’t even do that. As a parent, I too get overwhelmed by my own grief or worry for the future. It’s okay to declare a pajama-movie day or it’s okay to go out and enjoy nature that day instead of doing paper and pencil workbook school. Or, you could choose to sit by the fireplace for hours reading a good book aloud to the kids. Be gracious to yourself and your children.
Before you can start however, you need to let your current school know your intentions to homeschool as you fulfill your state’s grade level requirements (look on HSLDA’S website). Order homeschool curriculum early so you have it in time for school to start. Homeschool equals freedom. One freedom I like is to choose when we start school. We typically start the day after Labor Day. You just need 180 school days total in each school year.
Leave Your Current School
Complete all necessary paperwork in a timely manner to officially withdraw your child from his/her current public school.
Homeschool Legal Defense Association is a group of lawyers who specifically defend homeschool families. Their website shows what the laws are in each state. It even gives you a PDF Letter of Withdrawal for each state, making it super easy. Get to know your rights as a parent. You can withdraw your child from public school at any time. Also, for a yearly fee, they cover you if you ever have to go to court. I sign up for this every year.
Christian Book Distributors is where I get most of my curriculum.
A few of my favorites are…
Teaching Textbooks for 3rd grade – Pre-Calculus Math. This is online and they have a visual lesson for each day and it corrects the child after each problem which means you don’t have to. They get automatic feedback on each problem they complete. If there is an error, they can see each problem done correctly after they’ve attempted the math problem.
Math with Mrs. Fish is an online Zoom Math classes for 6th – 8th graders. This is for when you want an actual live teacher for math. I highly recommend Mrs. Fish for Math in Middle School because it can be a difficult stretch for many students. Mrs. Fish makes math fun! Students are engaged and learn everything required for each of those grades. She is available for extra help and can answer your student’s questions in real time.
Apologia Science for 4th – 12th graders is an excellent curriculum choice. You will not get bored doing science with your student. This is written from the world view that God created the earth.
Memoria Press for Literature. Reading books like “Heidi”, “The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe”, “The Little House on the Prairie” series, “Pilgrim’s Progress”, “Robin Hood”, “King Arthur”, etc. are excellent read aloud books for all ages. Memoria Press workbooks include vocabulary and critical thinking skills, so teaching this literature is more than just teaching reading. It includes teaching language arts skills as well.
We can do this!!! We can teach our kids at home during these perilous times. They will be safe at home in our loving care. God will honor our efforts. Consider inviting Him to be a part of your school time.
Dear God, Please guide and direct me as I make decisions concerning my child’s new school year. I need wisdom to know what’s best. Help us all to do the best we can with what is going on in the world. Lead our family and keep us safe. Give me patience as I learn to teach my child/children. Encourage my child/children to respect me and do the schoolwork they should be doing. Help us work together as a family. Cover us with your love. In Jesus name, Amen
If you have any questions about homeschooling, please comment here or comment/message me on my Facebook page My Heart’s Cry. I would love to help you. Please forward this blog to parents you know who are trying to decide what to do for their children during this new school year.
May God bless and guide you as you make this important choice.