If you have spent much time reading my blog, you have probably picked up on the fact that we are homeschoolers, and LOVE it!
On this page, you will find:
- Reasons We Homeschool
- Homeschooling Vs. Public School At Home
- Homeschooling Methods
- Learning Styles
- Our Favorite Homeschool Web Sites
- Favorite books and authors
Reasons We Homeschool
There are so many positive aspects of homeschooling, that I couldn't possibly tell you all of them in a list. Here are some of our top reasons!
- Belief that this is what God wants for our family.
- Belief that individualized education is better than institutionalized education.
- Freedom for our children to progress at their own pace, without being labeled as either slow or gifted.
- Freedom for our children to pursue their own passions and interests and enjoy “self-directed” learning.
- Freedom to have a Biblical worldview focus to our family’s education.
- Promotes a strong sense of family relationships, provides enough time for individualized attention for all the children.
- As a mother, no one is more committed to my children’s success than I am.
- Ability to celebrate my children's successes, cheer them on in their strengths, encourage them in their weaknesses and learn along side them.
If you are interested in homeschooling, or would like more information on the laws in your state click here.
Homeschool Legal Defense Association is a wonderful resource! For a small monthly fee, you can join HSLDA, and if there are any legal issues you come across in your homehschooling, they will back you up. We were fortunate to belong to them when we had issues with a social worker who believed a disabled child (Callie) could not be adequately cared for in a big family, and that she needed to have the professional care of the teachers at the special ed preschool. You can read all about our incident with them first here and then here for the conclusion.
Homeschooling vs. Public School at Home
There is a big difference between using a state funded or school district program and independent homeschooling. If you are receiving money or curriculum in any way shape or form from the government you are NOT a homeschooler! Legally, you are in an alternative education program provided by the government. You are operating a satellite of the public school, and must legally conduct your school day as such. In WA, that means no mention of religious preferences, no religious curriculum, no praying before meals or at other times, no Bible study, etc, because during school hours, we are in a public school, with the parent as the overseer. Most of these programs require that you sit down with an official to go over what curriculum you are using at home, and making sure you are doing what you should.
I know several people who use these programs, who will be offended by my saying that they are not homeschoolers, but it is the legal truth. If you are happy using the alternative education programs, that is fine, please say that you are public schoolers, and like it!
If you use a public school at home option, HSLDA will not allow you to become a member because legally your child(ren) go to public school.
Independent homeschooling in WA state is just that. It means that the parents are in charge of their children's education. It means that we have the freedom to teach our children what we want, when we want, and how we want.
You may wonder why I make a big deal about this. Unfortunately, those public school at home programs call themselves, 'homeschool' programs. They lie to parents and tell them they will have all the freedoms of homeschooling, with the extracurricular classes they want, or basic classes they may want help in. It all sounds great, but it is simply not true. The effect of this is that the legislators in Olympia often do not understand that there is a difference. There have been several attempts made for bills to lump homeschoolers in with these programs, effectively making true independent homeschooling illegal here.
I do what I can to preserve homeschooling rights in Washington State. I write letters and make phone calls to legislators. I have made visits and phone calls to public school at home programs only to get information for HSLDA to send out a letter that says to call themselves 'homeschool' program is illegal, to hopefully avoid some of the confusion in Olympia. I have stood on my legal rights each year, with the law in hand, with school district secretaries, who do not understand that when I walk in to file my Declaration Of Intent To Provide a Home Education to my children, that I am NOT seeking permission, will not give them more information than the law requires, and do not need to use their public school at home program, in hopes that I will raise awareness of what legal homeschooling means.
There are as many different ways to homeschool as their are homeschooling families. There are some common categories. Some families will use one set method, while others will pick and choose for different seasons of their family, or even different learning styles for individual children.
Most novis homeschoolers will begin with traditional homeschooling. This method is essentially school at home. Traditional homeschooling relies on textbooks, workbooks and methods virtually identical to regular public schools. Often times, people will start with a boxed curriculum, that gives you all you need for the entire year for traditional schooling. Abeka, Alpha Omega, and My Father's World are examples of this.
Charlotte Mason advocated instilling a love of learning in children, thus academic sit-down lessons take no more than an hour or so a day. The rest of the time is spent in natural learning activities like reading real literature, going out into nature and keeping a nature notebook and doing dictation exercises. Click here or here for more information on Charlotte Mason.
Classical (Well Trained Mind)
Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind, called the trivium. The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study, called the grammar stage. In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments, called the logic stage. In the high school years, they learn to express themselves, called the rhetoric stage. Each stage follows the natural progression of brain development and one stage is meant to build on the next stage. Click here for more information
Unschooling isn't exactly what it sounds like. Education definitely takes place—in an unstructured and child-led way. Unschoolers let children study things as they show interest in them. For instance, a child has a fascination with weather. His parents will go to the library and bookstore and bring home an armload of books on the topic. They will go online and find weather experiments for the child to try. They may go as a family to visit a meteorologist as a mini-field trip. Parents can work in most school subjects using their child's interest. Math can be used to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit. The student can do language arts work by writing a paper on the worst tornadoes in U.S. history.
Unit Studies are very similar to unschooling, or can be, except that it is the parent who is directed what they will be learning. Unit studies are theme studies. For instance, a unit study could be on transportation, or about the French Revolution, or insects. Once the theme is set, books are gathered. These can be nonfiction or fiction. Activities based on the theme are worked into the study. Field trips, Internet studies, projects and essays are all worked around the theme. Almost every subject can be tied into any theme. By working in a unified manner, unit study enthusiasts contend that students comprehend and retain the information better.
Eclectic homeschoolers look at education as a buffet and pick and choose from the different methods and apply them as best fits their family's educational needs.
Learning styles are a great way to help your student learn faster and retain information better by using your student's strengths when it comes to how they best receive information.
Click here for a good site that explains different learning styles.
Some of our favorite web sites:
Multiplication fact quizesApologia - God honoring, Christian World View curriculum We absolutely loved our astronomy study from them, and are greatly looking forward to our human body study we will be starting in a couple of months!
Real Science 4 kids - "Neutral" World View curriculum For what it is, we have been pleased with it. We like the hands on experiments and the text has been enough for an intro to chemistry for our children. Though we do have to add in a lot of 'This is how God made ___' statements. There are very few options for science curriculum that covers chemistry and physics for younger grades, and this is one of them! We are finishing up chemistry now, and will move onto physics before we do our human body unit.
Pease Hill Press Classical education resources for history and language arts
Rod and Staff Great godly reading books
A beka godly reading books
Vision forum Lots of resources for homeschooling and family life
Amazon good resource for new and used books at a good price.
Favorite Books and Authors
What He Must Be If He Wants To Marry My Daughter by Voddie Baucham
The Power Of Motherhood by Nancy Campbell
Created To Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl
Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham
The Princess And The Kiss by Jennie Bishop