Homeschooling Info

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
- HSLDA
- 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.

HSLDA
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.

Homeschooling Methods
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.

Traditional
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
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
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
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
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
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:
http://www.hslda.org/
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

13 comments:

  1. Throughout reading this, there was no mention of one very important lesson... REAL LIFE! Children who physically attend school five days a week actually do get a great education, it's the number one place where children build friendships that can last a lifetime. Children need to interact with other children (aside from just siblings). Social skills are developed, they are in a structured learning environment where they don't get to just choose what they want to learn, children need education in many subjects, not by picking and choosing. In the real world they will need to understand thats not how things work. Bottom line is that homeschooling your children may seem like a wonderful thing to do, like you said, we want our children to succeed more then anyone... This is no favours for your children. You cannot keep your kids in a bubble forever. What happens when they grow up and want to go to university or college? Are you going to school them from home then too? They will have a major disadvantage, all the others will have built friendships, have social skills, know how to act in large groups of peers. They won't learn how to stick up for themselves, how to resolve conflicts, etc. To all parents who currently homeschool or are thinking about it: your kids need more then you in their life's everyday to really grow into a proper young self sufficient adult. Please let your kids be kids. They need school for many reasons, the education (from someone who has gone through years of university to teach your children), the social and developmental skills. Your truly doing no favours for your kids in keeping them away from a social learning environment.

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  2. Thank you so much for your comment and concern! I love the opportunity to break through these kinds of myths!

    What you brought up is actually a huge misconception about what socialization actually is! The Webster's 1829 defines socialization as putting an individual with a group in hopes that the individual will conform to the attitudes and behaviors of the group.

    You want real life? When, outside of school, have you ever been in a group JUST your own age? Homeschooling affords us the opportunity to interact with a variety of ages every day! Who is the hardest person to get along with? Normally it is your family...if you can get along with them 24/7/365, or very close to it, you can get along with anyone - which is why they believe they are finding that individuals who have lots of siblings have a much lower instance of divorce.

    My children know all about the real world. They live in it each day. They are not stuck in an institution all day. They are in the real world, living life!

    my children do get to choose some of the things that they study. Others they do not. Some things (take Language Arts for my 9 year old!), are just a must because it is.

    Projects for the fair, talking to the judges, to the public, teaching the public something from their projects, speaking to the public at the fair about their dogs, and showing dogs, raising puppies and kids and speaking with potential buyers, raising poultry (turkeys, fryers and layers), piano recitals, talent shows, and more opportunities are afforded to my children in large part BECAUSE we have the time for it since we homeschool and academics do not take us all day - and we do not have homework at the end of the day, either!

    Colleges and Universities (though we are not overly interested in them unless someone has a very specific interest), are actually SEEKING OUT and creating scholarships specifically FOR homeschoolers because they tend to be superior academically than other forms of educated peers.

    My children are not in a 'bubble.' Nor would they want to be! They are however, surrounded by their best friends every day - every night is like a slumber party - because their siblings ARE their best friends! They do have friends outside of the family, who they also enjoy spending time with, and we have more time for play dates because of homeschooling as well - after lunch, they are done with school.

    They are able to concentrate on specific interests and talents, such as music. Anna plays the sax, trumpet, flute, recorder and piano. Baily plays the flute, snare drum, timpani, recorder and piano. Ashley plays the recorder and piano, and is looking forward to the clarinet next year. Brianna is excited to have graduated to the recorder and also plays the piano.

    We also are able to tailor individual things to each child, who may be struggling to learn a concept or in a particular way, especially while they are young. Such as Callie with her disability. She is able to walk as well as she is BECAUSE of homeschooling and the therapy we incorporate into her day. She is also reading and doing math on a 2nd grade level, so it is not like we are neglecting other areas (she would be in kindergarten if she were in public school - and remedial education at that because she is incapable of keeping up with her class!).

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  3. Why are you not interested in college? Your older girls seem very capable. Perhaps they would like to be lawyers or businesswomen instead of homemakers.

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  4. My older girls ARE very capable! However, unless there is a career that they are interested in that needs college, we are not interested. WE will take it on a case by case basis, with much prayer.

    The idea of college for the sake of having been to college, is not for us. Colleges, even private, so called 'Christian' colleges, are very much pro-evolution/anti-God. We have no reason to send our children to those kinds of environments if they do not 'need' it for a specific job or purpose that God may have for them.

    To deny God in education is to be trained by a fool...not something we want for them.

    There are a lot of ways for them to gain an education. They can do an internship, or job shadow where they can learn a trade under someone else. They can also begin a cottage industry here at home. Which is actually something that lends itself well to having 5 acres, a piano, cows (we can sell meat), the space for chickens and turkeys (again, selling meat), or something else they want to do. (Piano lessons, cake decorating, sewing or craft selling, etc.) There are also countless ministry opportunities, from sewing to organizing and fund raising, to volunteering for different things. Or even just to be involved with our church, able and willing to help someone who may be in need, which is a ministry form missing from so many churches today.

    I do hope they do know and understand that THE MOST IMORTANT job they could EVER do is being a homemaker. Raising the next generation for Christ. Influencing a nation by training up children in the way that they should go. We NEED very capable young women who are willing to and able to do this!

    Being a homemaker is not settling! It is a dynamic, fulfilling, and ever-changing position. for me, it has meant learning brain development, biomechanics, anatomy, neurodevelopmental theory, physical therapy, driving a bus, becoming more economical, researching better, more natural ways to do things, learning about energy and the way it moves and interacts in the body, learning about food and the way it interacts with every cell of our bodies, learning how to get the most nutrition out of everything we eat, research curriculum.

    I have had to learn to be a nurse, maid, chef, chauffer, secretary, counselor, vet, farmer, laundry service, organizer, teacher, advisor, researcher, and more.

    Being a homemaker, in short, is the most challenging, and rewarding job I have ever held. I certainly wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, and I hope and pray that they wouldn't either!

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  5. Being a homemaker is a very important job, and certainly an admirable choice. So are other alternatives such seeking a higher education and becoming a professional.

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  6. There are many public school teachers who cannot teach religion because our constitution separates church and state. I would hardly call them fools. Do you realize how hard many of them work?

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  7. I'm pretty sure God loves his educated, intelligent people, too.

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  8. God says that knowledge of Him is the beginning of wisdom, and that we are to come to God with a renewal of the mind.

    When 'education' begins with God left out, and calling God a liar, and that creationism even as a THEORY has no validity in education, yes, I would say those 'educators' are foolish.

    Yes, I know how hard they work, too. (I am only educating 5, and I know how hard *I* work at giving them a good education, lol!) I also know the statistics on how many they are turning away from the Christian faith, from the one and only True God of the Bible...and that it says woe to any who do that. I pray for them diligently because of this.

    There IS no higher education than to know God, believe in Him, trust Him with your life, and life your life for Him. THAT is the most high calling that there is for any of us.

    Becoming educated, chasing after lots of money, material things, big house, etc., but allowing your own children to be raised for the majority of their waking time by someone else, whose spiritual standing before God Almighty you do not know, is something I hope that my children NEVER choose to do. God has made it quite clear that it is the parents' responsibility to raise children. I hope they choose to not go into debt, or get into a place financially where they feel they 'have to' work and send their children to someone else.

    I hope that they understand the value, and the intellect and the work and effort it takes to raise children, keep a home, and actually make a house a home, (which requires actually BEING there).

    I hope that my children understand the value of children. That they understand the privilege of having children and raising them, and the immense responsibility it is that God has entrusted an eternal soul to you when He blesses the womb with life. That child will either choose God, or not, that child consequently will spend all of eternity in Heaven, or in Hell...it is not to be taken lightly, nor is it something to carelessly leave in the hands of someone who you barely know. I hope that my children understand that the idea of 'having it all' and working at a great career, keeping a home, raising children, etc., is not possible. It creates a divided person, who is not able to be truly exceptional at any of it. Working in daycare, I saw moms who were in tears day after day because they didn't feel like they could stay home financially, or their husbands didn't want them to. I have seen it in friends, and family as well. And yet, their hearts become hardened enough that it becomes ok for them...THAT is a real shame.


    We have personally had issues with Sunday School teachers telling our children that Genesis is not true. We have also had VBS workers tell our children that it is not enough to 'just be a mom', that they need to 'do something more' for God.

    So if we are not able to trust those IN the church to deliver God's truth (part of why we go to a family integrated church, where we know what they are listening to, and are able to discuss it after service!), then how would we be able to trust someone OUT of the church to teach our children anything, when a student, when he is well trained, becomes LIKE THE TEACHER? (Biblically speaking of course.)

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  9. And as far as 'separation of church and state'...it is widely MISS applied today. The purpose of it was that the state was not to create a 'national church' denomination such as the church of England. There was NEVER an intent to create an educational system void of God Almighty.

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  10. Yes, God does love educated people as well, but statistically speaking, the more anti-God indoctrination that a person receives (the more 'education' they have) the more likely they are to be atheist and turn their back on their Creator. So while God loves them, just as much as He loves others, they do not TEND (I realize that there are exceptions, and this is meant to just be a generalization) to love Him.

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  11. (And while, YES, I do call anyone a fool who does not acknowledge God, it is not *I* who said it, but God. Read through Proverbs and Psalms, it is said over and over again.)

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  12. I really appreciate your response. I very much enjoy your blog and I like the way you are motivated each day to work with your children.

    I, personally, have been to college and, in my own experience, there was never any anti-God sentiment. I find many of my professors dynamic and inspiring and many of my classmates were devout Christians.

    I also taught elementary school and, when I was single, I feel that WAS my contribution to society...working to inspire our future generation.

    Later, I sent my oldest child to daycare because I had to, and believe me, it was not okay with me. I did so because my child's father checked out of the situation and decided he didn't want to help raise our child.

    I truly hope that God recognizes that I was placed in an unfortunate position and worked very hard to provide everything I could to my child without asking for a dime of a public assistance. You see, sometimes we our placed in situations that our not optimal and I personally believe God appreciates it when we work with the best of what we have. Sometimes, as much as we would like to stay home, it is not possible all women.

    I was curious as to your positions on my question. I was truly wondering how you would feel if one of your girls came to you and said she wanted to become a lawyer, accountant, or some other professional. Perhaps being a doctor would be one of your girls' ways of contributing to society. Would you be proud?

    You seem like a devoted mother, and I would hope that you would be.

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  13. You said that you did not find college to be anti-God. Did they teach creation or did they teach evolution as fact? There is a mountain of evidence that DISproves evolution. Did they talk at all about that? Or did they do the typical, sweep it under the rug, and say that nothing created everything. THAT is anti-God! God is the Creator, and deserves the credit as such. If you say that Genesis is not true, from the first verse, (In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.) Or if you deny what has been deemed the young earth time line given in the Bible (the genealogies and creation add up to just over 6,000 years. Putting the ice age right after Noah's global flood, and we could go on and on with time line stuff!)...

    And then you take into account that if you are not FOR God, you are AGAINST God.

    I would be very interested to hear about your experiences in light of what I said above based on it not being anti-God!

    I am sorry for your circumstances. We do tend as humans (not at all singling you out!) to put OURSELVES into situations that are less than what God would have wanted for us. And YES, we should most certainly make the most of it. And God can turn our sorrow into joy, and our mourning into dancing. He is bigger than any situation or circumstance.

    Our hope is that our daughters, (and our sons!) would allow us to give insight and input on a potential suitor. We hope that they will hold to a courtship rather than dating scenario. We hope to get to know a potential suitor with his family, to see how he treats his mother and siblings, to see how he interacts with friends, and to talk with each of them about what kind of character this young man might have. My husband hopes to be able to do Bible studies, and perhaps some sort of project with him to get to know him one on one.

    Most men in our society are not men. They are boys, wanting the benefits of manhood without the responsibility. I am sorry that your (forgive me, if I am wrong, but it sounds like) boyfriend? was not a man and did not stand up for his family. He is a disgrace to real, Biblical manhood! Not doing things God's way, has a way of making life much harder for us...and sexual sin is something that effects just about every person on the planet! Fornication, homosexuality, adultery, emotional adultery, lust, it hurts real people.

    If one of my daughters were called to a profession that needed college, and worked hard to achieve that, yes, of course I would be proud. We would do a lot of praying and seeking council before coming to that conclusion.

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