Archive for June, 2012

The term ‘homeschooling’ basically refers to the process in which
one or more children of not more than 2 families are instructed by
parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household. The
laws that define homeschooling vary from State to State. The legal
requirements for establishing a homeschool also vary with the
State.

For most children, the actual process of learning begins much
before school. Many children already know their alphabets, the
names of animals, colors and other more complicated stuff before
they reach school. This is mostly due to the hard work of a member
of the family who has taken the time to teach the child.
Homeschooling is just a natural progression from here. Instead of
sending their children to a public school, parents make their own
curriculum and teach their children in ways that best suit the
child. This is homeschooling, in its most simplistic form.

Before you decide to go in for homeschooling, there are certain
important matters for consideration. First off, meet with parents
of other homeschoolers. Find out the pros and cons of
homeschooling. Then ask yourself why you would want to adopt this
method. This is a very important aspect, as the success of the
program depends on the clarity and sincerity of your purpose.

Next, it is time to consider the expenses of homeschooling. It may
cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand
every year. More importantly, you are also effectively shutting
out any job opportunity for one of the parents. It is only obvious
that one parent will have to stay at home full time to manage the
homeschool. A home-based business however is a great alternative.

Are you qualified to take on homeschooling for your children?
Teaching is a continuation of your own learning process. With the
advent of the internet, information is aplenty. There are various
books and resources for those interested in homeschooling. Go
through the various methods of homeschooling and choose one that
is most suited to you. It helps if you know what kind of learning
style your child has. Also, find out what your child feels about
homeschooling before you start.

Every state has its own laws regarding homeschooling. For
instance, in North Carolina, you must first file a ‘Notice of
Intent’ to start a home school. In this you have to mention if the
school is a ‘Private church’ school or a ‘qualified non-public
school’. The persons providing the education are required to have
at least a high school diploma. You have to maintain an annual
record of the child’s attendance and disease immunization. Every
year, the child is required to undergo a standardized test. Each
student attending the eleventh grade has to take a nationally
standardized test. These are the requirements in North Carolina,
but it is enough to give you a good idea of what homeschooling
entails.

Homeschooling may seem like a lot of fun and freedom from the
outside. However, things are seldom as simple as they seem.
Homeschooling is a lot of added responsibility and hard work. But,
if successful, it will forge a strong bond of love and respect
between parent and child, while providing your child with the best
form of education he needs.

According to the National Center For Education Statistics, almost
1.1 million children underwent homeschooling in 2005 alone. That’s
a lot of children. Once upon a time, homeschooling used to be a
radical statement – something like a declaration of independence.
It was the conservative Christians who advocated homeschooling in
the ’80s and legalized it in every State. But the typical
homeschooler of the day is not religiously motivated.

Recent surveys indicate that parents are actually quite fed up of
the public school systems where much of the learning is
superficial and compulsory. They are also concerned about negative
school environment ranging from drugs and abuse to negative peer
pressure. As a result, we have a surprising mix of people who form
the homeschooling world of today. They cut across all religious
and regional borders. Their main aim is providing meaningful and
productive learning through a method that strengthens the bond
between the various members of the family.

All these families have one thing in common – a long enduring
commitment to the sanctity of childhood. The children in these
families are accorded a primary position. Many believe, and
rightly so, that homeschooling allows parents to bring up children
in a more natural and nurturing environment. Public schools can
make one nervous, diffident and downright mean. Children who get
schooled at home are protected from these damaging negative
influences till they reach an age where they can handle it.

Homeschooling draws the whole family into the almost religious
task of schooling. Everyone is put to work. The parents together
form a bond with the children. Any experience can be turned into
an educational experience. Both the parents are aware of exactly
what is going into their child’s head. Parents also have greater
control on the kind of religious and moral values that the child
imbibes. Even watching a movie together can become a learning
experience. Trips to the libraries and other places become
educational as well as recreational.

A homeschooling family is primarily dependent on the income of one
earning member. That means that often spending has to be curtailed
and proper planning of expenditure is a must. This helps to bring
the family members together and everybody gets involved in the
process of saving money.

Having a parent at home to supervise, to nurture and care for the
children brings with it a lot of love and caring. Even your
husband chips in and there just is no room for boredom. Yes,
problems do crop up, and there are a lot of misgivings in your
mind. But when you know that your kids can always count on you,
and your kids know it too, then homeschooling becomes a richly
rewarding experience.

As children grow out of their little pants and are ready to begin
their teens, many parents wonder if they should continue with the
homeschooling program. They fear that colleges may not give equal
opportunities to a child educated at home.

Many fears of this kind were put to rest when 2 homeschooled boys
got admission into Harvard. Harvard does not require a high school
diploma for gaining admission to their degree program. Many
colleges are more interested in the knowledge and behavior of the
homeschooled children rather than their high school diplomas. In
fact, other things being similar many colleges prefer
homeschoolers because of the diversity and richness they bring to
their college life.

Admission requirements may vary. While some colleges require the
child to appear for the SAT, others may need a general equivalency
diploma. And some may not care for any tests at all. The criterion
may vary depending on the college that you wish to apply to. But,
college courses really do not require any high school background
or special training.

It is common to come across parents who frantically try to shift
out their homeschool children to high schools because they fear
unavailability of college admissions. But college admissions are
open to all educated individuals, regardless of whether they are
educated at home or at a public school.

If you are going over a particular subject with the family and
feel that a field trip would be beneficial, then that’s what you
should do – go for a trip. If you are attached to a support group,
you can plan to include other children too.

Here are some guidelines that will help you plan:
1) Collect the rates
2) Allowed ages
3) Special highlights
4) Size of the group
5) Timings
6) Eating facilities

Inform your support group of all these details well in advance so
that the necessary circulars may be sent out. On the appointed
day, arrange to meet with other parents and children in a
particular place. Plan the mode of travel and reach the place at
least 10 minutes in advance.

The field trip is not just fun. So, let your kids bring their
writing material. Allow them time to stare and admire. Do not
hurry them along. Collect data beforehand so that you can clear
doubts. Get help from a guide, if necessary. And most importantly,
have fun and enjoy the time you spend with your children.

When a parent takes on the responsibility of educating his or her
child, homeschool burnout is one of the more common issues they
have to deal with. There are many reasons that lead to this
burnout: an illness, a new baby, added responsibility, change in
routine etc.

The symptoms of burnout vary from lack of patience to overeating
and crying without any apparent reasons. Surprisingly, a burnout
need not be such a bad thing. It is a wake-up call – an indicator
that things are not going well and that you need to reschedule.
Reversing or avoiding a burnout is possible if you get fair
warning.

Firstly, lower your expectations. Do not be a perfectionist. Take
the good days with the bad. Next, when something does not seem to
work, look for alternative methods. Flexibility is a key
factor. If tension starts mounting, take a break. When necessary,
change the style of teaching. For instance, small children love to
take on their spellings when they quiz an adult.

Avoid overkill. Do not pack too many activities for the sake of
socializing your child. A worn out mom means a grouchy kid and
that means no happiness. Get support from your spouse or a
neighbor or a support group. Don’t try to achieve everything by
yourself. Homeschooling means ‘happy schooling’ – don’t forget
that.

When people talk about teaching their children from home in the
absence of any definite or structured curriculum, it is perhaps
natural to think that homeschooling is cheap. But this is far from
the truth. Although homeschooling does not stick to any particular
text, this is perhaps more of a bane than a boon, when it comes to
finance.

When you need to make sure that your children receives
state-of-the-art education so that they can compete with regular
school goers, expenses will naturally mount. The actual cost of
educating a child at home is surprisingly high. Up-to-date
textbooks, course materials, a library, computing equipment,
lighting, specially designed furniture all cost money. In this
case, the cost may be slightly lesser when it comes to
homeschooling the second child. Add to this any additional tuition
cost for tutors who come to teach subjects that cannot be handled
by parents, like higher-level math or science. The total cost can
be a bit mind boggling.

If you take another important factor into consideration,
homeschooling costs may effective triple. The need for having one
of the parents tied to the house and fully dedicated to providing
education deprives the family of a second earning member. The
average homeschooling teacher is usually a lady with a college
degree. This means that she can easily bring home a pay of $35,000
or more. It is also interesting to note that most families that
have more than 2 children do not opt for homeschooling at all.

But, there are those who have been successful in carrying out
homeschooling at low rates. This is dependent on the size of the
family, the support group, the type of materials used and the
availability of the material. When successive children can reuse
the materials, cost goes down. Much of the course material can be
got from vendors of homeschooling materials. A membership in a
public library, theatre, concerts, ballets and other cultural
events also help in cutting costs. Sometimes, it is even possible
to barter expertise. For instance, the mother of an 8-year old
gives dancing classes, and her daughter receives drawing classes
for free. Support groups allow you to divide the cost of field
trips, science projects and fairs.

Whatever the cost, advocates of homeschooling say that the
benefits far outweigh these considerations. When you are able to
decide what knowledge your child receives and when he or she
should be taught and to what extent, it gives you a lot of freedom
and a lot of power. Both the children as well as the parents
benefit from this mutually enriching experience.

When we consign our children to public schools, we feel satisfied
that they are receiving ‘quality education’. But, are we really
getting our money’s worth? More importantly, are the children
gaining anything from this kind of a learning procedure?

Socialization is hailed as one of the greatest advantage of
schools. This is the place where the child picks up the rudiments
of social skills that help him survive. But in truth, a regular
school-going child can interact only with his peers. He may bully
younger children or fear older ones. He does not know how to
behave with an adult. This is because in the school environment
he interacts only with his peers. A homeschooling environment
brings in a more natural social environment.

A regular school going child cannot read literature. He cannot
keep silent or think in depth about any one thing. The artificial
‘busy’ness imposed upon him by the school disallows quiet
contemplation. Rowdy and destructive behavior, as seen among
peers, is more noticeable in school-goers.

There is little long-standing knowledge among regular school goers
because most things are learnt for the exam. There is no
correlation of facts with life. The child may know a lot, but
understands very little. This is where the homeschoolers beat the
regular school goers. Ultimately, homeschoolers emerge more adept
at facing the outside world.

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