While the homeschooling movement is gaining traction, it's still a rather against-the-grain form of education. And like all unconventional lifestyle choices, it tends to raise a lot of eyebrows and garner its fair share of question marks.
I've been around the block a time or two thousand and have heard all the questions and have received all the sideways glances.
But, not all curiosity comes from a place of judgement. More often than not, folks are just after a little information, not an inquisition.
Here's a list of the top 10 questions I receive most often and my GO TO answers.
And here's the long answer...
What curriculum do you use?I tend to be rather eclectic, picking and choosing the best from various styles of education and publishers. Feel free to browse my curriculum lists from year-to-year Since our schooling needs continue to ebb and flow, so must my list.
Why did you choose to homeschool?Like all of life's "big questions," there is no simple answer. I have put together a series of my Top 4 reasons. The main one being that my husband and I felt called of God to do so.
What about socialization?As I have already answered at length about that in part 4 of my Why Do I Choose to Homeschool series, I'll give you the short version. For the most part, people who ask that question know very little about homeschooling and even less about a traditional classroom setting. I taught in the classroom for seven years prior to homeschooling and know that by its very nature, a school tends to be quite institutionalized. What little socializing does actually take place, typically comes in the form of bullying and unnecessary peer pressure. The peer pressure isn't always blatant, but often subversive as in the case with popular clothing trends, music & movie choices, and attractions to the opposite sex. Children are only encouraged to have relationships with children born the exact same year as them. If that is "socialization," I think I'll pass.
Have your children ever asked to go to school?Nope. Not even once. Part of the reason might be that one of our co-op moms lives right across the street from the playground of a local elementary school. She, obviously hosts our group occasionally. When getting out of our car to enter her house, my kids have looked across the road and have seen several fights break out with groups of children, teachers yelling at students in rather unkind tones, and many students looking tired and bored in their "pen." I wish I were exaggerating these facts, but unfortunately, I am not. It might also make a difference that my oldest kids each have public schooled friends who have mentioned to them at various times their own desire to be homeschooled for a number of different reasons.
What do you love most about homeschooling?How do I pick just one answer??? As a school teacher, I looooved teaching, but hated all the school politics. I suppose my favorite thing about homeschooling is that I get to teach...my very favorite kids in the whole world...and I don't have to deal with all the "extras" that come with the job.
What is your least favorite thing about homeschooling?Sometimes it does get a little overwhelming. When I was a school teacher, I only had to prepare one lesson a day per subject. Next year, I will need to prepare three lessons in most (but not all) subjects, provide educational/intentional play for a toddler, and nurture/chase after a crawling baby. Pheewww...just writing that makes me a little dizzy!
How do you know what to teach and when?I do the same thing that a classroom teacher would do...follow the general scope and sequence laid out for me in various teacher's guides and manuals. Since I've been doing home teaching for a while, I feel more free to "invent my own wheel." But if I'm ever in doubt, I can refer to the curriculum. There is NOT a single classroom teacher that I know of who has taught every single grade. Therefore, every teacher has to...at one point or another...be directed by a pre-determined guide. A homeschool mom is no different. She just has the advantage of being able to tailor/tweak the "guide" for her specific child. As and added bonus, I get to include my kids in the plan. Their own passions and interests get to steer their learning much of the time.
Do you ever fear that you might not be qualified to teach a particular subject?Well, the short answer is that many new homeschooling moms fear that they will leave something out or that they might be ill-qualified to teach a particular subject...that they will sabotage their child's education. On the contrary, a MOTHER, more than any other person in the world has her child's best interest at heart. Most homeschooling mothers go ABOVE and BEYOND to ensure QUALITY for her children...to invest all her time, energy, and resources to do the job well! And in the end, if I am not the best at algebra or a foreign language, I have to rest in the fact that God gave ME these children and called ME to educated them. It was not by accident. It was by design. He knows what their futures hold and will provide them with all that they need to do His will for their lives...with or without me and my inadequacies.
And here's the long answer...