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About Homeschooling

For those not currently homeschooling, or those considering it. Find answers to some common questions and concerns. Click on a subject to go there, or scroll down and read it all.

    - Why homeschool?
    - What about socialization? (Read the research)
    - Research regarding homeschooling
    - Can I afford it?
    - Am I smart enough?
    - I don't have enough time for homeschool.


Why Homeschool?
People homeschool for many different reasons. It's often not just one reason that a family chooses to homeschool, but a combination of reasons. The following links list some of the most common ones.

Why Home School in the First Place? - reasons why a parents may choose this route. From Home Schooling R Us. (I know, I think it's a weird name, too.)

What is the benefit of home schooling? - more good reasons to jump on the wagon. Again, from Home Schooling R Us.

What made you decide to homeschool? - a number of great posts by many hs parents at About.com. Though there are multiple pages, there is not very much per page (sometimes only one post on each). These are worth reading if you need a bit of encouragement before you take the leap.

School Issues - Links to many great articles about various issues concerning public school and homeschool.

John Taylor Gatto Links - Former public school teacher who wrote many books/articles about the public school system. You may not agree with EVERYTHING he says, but he makes some very valid and interesting points.

We all have different reasons for homeschooling. It all seems to boil down to your basic beliefs. Your beliefs about religion, government, education, and a child's potential, parental responsibility, etc., are all part of deciding where your child will be educated.
Thomas Jefferson's words seem all too appropriate today: "We are now trusting to those who are against us in position and principle, to fashion to their own form the minds and affections of our youth ... This canker is eating on the vitals of our existence, and if not arrested at once, will be beyond remedy." (Thomas Jefferson to James Breckinridge, in 1821)


The Socialization Myth

The most common argument against homeschooling is that children won't be properly socialized. Thankfully, that is not true. (In fact, homeschooled children often grow up with better social skills than their public-schooled peers.)

How to Answer the Socialization Question Once and for All - a short article that addresses the difference between socializing, and socialization. Good one!

Socialization and the Homeschooled Student - longer article (by a marriage and family therapist) about how homeschoolers really do get great socialization. Click on the title of the article to open it.

"But What About Socialization?" - links to more good articles about socialization, the non-issue.

Check out the links below to find actual research results. Banish any doubts and arm yourself with facts. (The research also touches on other topics, besides socialization.)


Research Regarding Homeschooling - Socialization AND other issues.

Here is brief sample of what you will find in the research results:
(Scroll down or click here for links to the research sites.)
  • Homeschool children fare as well, or better, than those who attended public school. (Have equal results in self-esteem, and fewer behavior problems.)
    "The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem. " ...Brian D. Ray, Ph.D.

  • Contact with adults, rather than contact with other children, is most important in developing social skills in children. (Do you really think your child's peers know more about teaching proper behavior than you do?)

  • Homeschoolers score an average of 15-30 percentile points above public school students on standardized achievement test.

  • Homeschoolers score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents' level of education. (The research included parents who had not even finished high school, clear up to those who were certified teachers or who had a PhD.)

  • Whether or not homeschool parents are certified teachers makes no difference to their children's academic achievement. (Even without a certified teacher they continue to score far above average.)

  • State regulation of your homeschooling efforts doesn't improve a homeschooler's academic achievement.

  • Homeschoolers score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges use to consider admissions.

  • People who were homeschooled do as well as or better than average in college.

  • Homeschool children regularly attend activities outside of the home, such as church, scouts, sports, field trips, and other community activities.

    Though not mentioned in the research, don't forget that these children still socialize with family, friends, and neighbors. Besides, how much can you really socialize in school when you are supposed to be sitting quietly and listening? I remember many of my teachers using these very words:
    "Please stop socializing!"

NHERI - National Home Education Research Institute. Click on "Research" to find a number of links to their free printable research results.
HSLDA - Home School Legal Defense Association. They have on and off-site research results.
Learn in Freedom - Some results from the above research links, summarized and put into plain English.


Can I afford it?

Probably. It can cost much less than you might think. You don't have to spend a lot to give your children a great education. Studies show that homeschoolers are academically far ahead of their public school counterparts, no matter what curriculum they use. And many of those students are homeschooled at a very low cost, and often without a formal curriculum.

There are many ways you can homeschool economically. Do what fits your budget and don't feel guilty about not having more. Many of the greatest people in history were schooled with nothing more than a great library.

Here are a few things you can do to keep costs down:
  • Use your public library.
  • If you live near a college or university, see what resources they have available (on campus or online. They often have great local history materials).
  • Buy used books when you can, and watch for sales on new books.
  • Buy used curriculum, or use a curriculum swap online.
  • Look for free resources on the internet. (You can create your own curriculum this way.)
    Find more books than you could ever read at Project Gutenberg (or Manybooks.net for more eBook formats). Or go to my free books page to see some I've selected from here and elsewhere, that you may want to use for homeschool. And take a look at my Homeschool Links page to see some of the other free resources that are available online. (There are many more out there. I just selected some I thought would be the most useful.)

    Stick with the three R's and you will do fine. If you have time for more subjects, you can add them. But you don't have to. (Don't feel pressured into following the public school model. Remember, you took them out of the system for a reason.)

    When looking for curriculum, don't let yourself be talked into buying a terribly expensive curriculum. It is in the seller's best interest to convince you that their curriculum is the best and only way to homeschool. They often try to convince you that if you don't buy their product you are somehow going to ruin your child's chances at a good education. Remember that they are looking out for their own pocketbooks, and don't let them make you feel guilty.


    Am I smart enough?

    If you can read this, then yes. Remember that bit above in the research section. It said: "Homeschoolers score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents' level of education. (The research included parents who had not even finished high school, clear up to those who were certified teachers or who had a PhD.)"
    And "Whether or not homeschool parents are certified teachers makes no difference to their children's academic achievement. (Even without a certified teacher they continue to score far above average.) "

    People just like you (and probably some people not even as smart as you) are successfully homeschooling every day. And their children are learning more than they would in public school! Look up the research sites, and reassure yourself. You can do it!!! You ARE smart enough!

    If you still think you aren't smart enough, you may be interested in the Robinson self-teaching curriculum. (Learn a bit more about the curriculum here, or more about self-teaching, or self-learning, here.) Self-teaching works well, teaches children to love learning, and to seek out knowledge the rest of their lives. It also frees up a lot of the parent's time. If you have more free time, then you can get your housework done while the kids are doing math, or reading. Then when you're all done with your work for the day you can have some quality family time.
    (Self-teaching still takes supervision from the parent, but it is a minimal amount of time and even parents working full time are able to fit it into their schedules. Of course, you can increase your amount of involvement, even with a self-teaching curriculum. Just do what feels right for your family.)


    I don't have enough time for homeschool.

    Try looking into a self-teaching curriculum like Robinson Curriculum. Or create your own self-teaching curriculum, based on some of the RC methods. (Learn more about the curriculum at the RC site, or more about self-teaching, or self-learning, from URtheMom.)
    Look at various booklists (like this one) to see what other people are using, and see my links page for many free resources, and the free books page as well. And don't try to do too many subjects. Keep it simple and avoid burnout. You're not doing your kids (or yourself) any favors if you run out of steam and put them back in school. Even a simple curriculum can provide an education superior to what's available at public school.

    Here's an example of the time it takes to use Robinson Curriculum: Read their daily essay, and correct any obvious spelling or grammatical errors (there's a grammar and spelling book if you need a refresher course). Make sure they have the printed materials they need. Do this by printing directly from the RC disks. Print books as they need them (click print and walk away), 3-hole punch them, and stick them in a 3-ring binder. Print out math flashcards for younger students, and cut them out. Print out vocabulary flashcards as needed for each book. Cut them out. It's pretty simple. And you can do things even more quickly if you don't print the books and simply download them to an e-book reader.

    If you want to be more involved, you can be. I like being more involved in the daily work, yet it still doesn't take much time at all. And you can always get a little fancier with your printing/binding methods if you choose. But you don't have to.

    Adjusting to self-teaching (or any new method) can sometimes take a bit of time, and a bit of patience at the beginning, especially if the student is used to being spoon-fed information. But once they become accustomed to it, this becomes a very "do-able" option. My daughter has not only become more responsible, but she loves to learn. What more could I want for her education?


    If you want to learn more, the keep reading in the next section: How do I get started?


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