A new school year always bring many changes. Not only are the seasons changing, but your kids have gotten a little bigger and need a new wardrobe. Class subject have gotten more intense requiring more homework and different school supplies. There may also be new teachers at the school, new kids, and involvement in a variety of new activities — everything from football, band and cheerleading practice, to after-school science and foreign language clubs, scouting programs, and anything else you can imagine. As a Military Family, you may have even changed your address over the summer. That in itself is a huge change.
Ready to add one more to the list? How about homeschooling — an option that many families have pursued, rather than send their kids off to a public or private school. What kinds of things should you consider before deciding to homeschool your kids? Guest blogger Vicki DeLuzio is quite familiar with this subject and has a lot to share with you about it. See what she had to say below.
Homeschooling our little ones was not something I foresaw on our radar. I imagined dropping my kiddos off at school and getting back to the working world, but life had other plans for us.
Making the decision to homeschool is a very personal one. I have been asked many questions about homeschooling that I, too, have asked others. I am pretty open-minded to these questions and know, for the most part, people are just curious about the homeschooling lifestyle.
Q. Do you plan on homeschooling your kids until they go to college? And, how are they going to even GET to college by homeschooling? Right now, I would love to homeschool my kids through their whole K-12 experience. But, things may come up where I can’t homeschool. Maybe my husband will be the one who does most of the homeschooling, or maybe the children will attend a school or something else. Plans can change, so right now I’m in the moment and working with what we have. And, yes, I can homeschool my children throughout their K-12 experience. Depending on the state you are in, there are different regulations. And, depending on the college or university they are planning to attend, there are different requirements. Some schools and states require high school diplomas that can only be offered by using certain programs. Some schools allow a GED or a test to finalize your schooling. What the rules are now may change in the future, so I’m not really concerned with all the high school graduation requirements since my oldest is just in first grade.
Q. How are your kids going to be able to socialize with others if they aren’t in school? We are a part of so many different groups that it can be hard to find time to actually do schoolwork. There are many groups available for homeschoolers — for field trips, play groups, park days, church groups, volunteer activities — you name it, there is a group for that. We also live in a neighborhood with a lot of children who are both homeschooled and public-schooled, and our kids eagerly await playmates at the park after school is out.
Q. What is wrong with public or private schools? I think that parents know that there are some great teachers and great districts out there and there are some bad ones too. Unfortunately, our area has seen a lot of overcrowding at the public and charter schools and there isn’t money in the city’s budget to fix that. It is a nationwide problem and we felt that we could help our children by schooling them at home.
Q. Do you have a degree to teach or do you need one? I actually started out my college career as an early elementary educator. I didn’t like the influences of all the lawmakers and the lack of individual attention that kids seemed to have in the classroom. And, even back in the late ‘90s, test preparation was going up and outside time was going down. I have a minor in early elementary education and major in psychology and communication. Parents who homeschool do not need to have a degree! There are so many resources that are available if you have questions, online curriculum, full curriculum sets, lesson planning and even tutoring.
Q. How do you handle being around your kids all the time without a break? My husband and I both also work from home, so our “breaks from our kids” are very limited. Do we sometimes feel overwhelmed with three high energy children? Absolutely! We definitely are human and need to have a rest too! And my husband and I have a lot of things we would like to do that aren’t kid appropriate and we plan date nights to do it. Our kids also go to bed early (they rise with the sun) so we have time after they go to bed. My husband and I communicate our needs and our expectations, but sometimes we each get overwhelmed. Our parents also babysit for us occasionally so we can have date nights, which really reenergizes us as a couple and as people.
Q. What do you have in your household to make it learning friendly? We don’t have a schoolroom set up in our house, but it is something we might set up later. We do all of our teaching and book learning at our kitchen table. Keeping bins of crafts and board games also is helpful for those long days at home — we always have lots of crayons, markers, glue, construction paper, printer paper, beads, string, play dough (or we make it), play dough toys, measuring cups, and this is just for starters! I love arts and crafts and children love anything messy. I try to do all of the messy activities outside, but sometimes the mess makes its way inside as well.
Q. Where do you get your curriculum? We get some of our curriculum online — there are lots of companies that provide full learning systems, and there are other companies that do certain subjects. There are also homeschool groups you can join where you can swap books as well. We buy some of our online and we use the wonderful resources of our local libraries. If our kids are interested in certain animals, we pick up a book about that for science and sometimes even geography. Using the multi-subject approach to learning about one subject increases the level of interest of our children, and it’s so rewarding to hear them really get into the subject and be able to apply the information they have learned. Big Box stores like Walmart and Target have little workbooks that are great for preschool and early elementary age.
Q. Do you need to be part of a group to homeschool? I don’t think you need to be part of a group, but I think it is so helpful on those days where you are doubting yourself or the kids are being rough. Having a support system is always helpful when you reach those tough times. Finding a parent who has a child (or children) a little older than yours can be so helpful -they can give you advice about what worked during their homeschooling journey and maybe things that have made them successful.
Q. Is your whole family supportive of homeschooling? The most important thing about our homeschooling journey was that my husband and I were on the same page regarding our children’s education. We naturally fell into the pattern that I would take the lead with the children’s homeschooling-researching curriculum, applying the curriculum and teaching. My husband will help take over and encourage the children with their schoolwork, work with them on different projects, read to them and be involved in some of the activities when it may be too much for me to handle on my own. Our extended family has come around to homeschooling, but with any parenting decision, there is always someone who is going to be resistant to doing things differently than how they did it themselves. We have a lot of public school teachers in our extended family, but after they saw how our kids were flourishing with homeschooling, and they weren’t secluded socially, I think they started to understand our reasons for homeschooling.
For another perspective, check this out: Are you considering home schooling?
About Vicki DeLuzio:
Vicki is a mom of three kids five and under. She met her web designing (and Army Vet) husband through mutual friends. Wanting a change of pace, cheaper taxes and warmer temperatures from Connecticut, they sold their home and relocated across the country in Surprise, Arizona. Vicki now blogs about all the places they go with reviews about the amenities in Surprise. She is also a licensed Real Estate Agent and loves helping people find homes in the area.