< About Homeschooling Q & A

1. What is homeschooling?
2. Do homeschooling families ever include other people as teachers?
3. How do families homeschool?
4. What does a homeschool day look like?
5. How do homeschooling parents know how fast to pace their children’s education?
6. What about competition among children at home?
7. What do parents needs to know to homeschool their children?
8. Whe is the best time to start homeschooling?
9. Is it possible to homeschool for just one year?
10. What does it cost to homeschool?

1. What is homeschooling?
Very simply, homeschooling is parent-directed education. Homeschooling is also a lifestyle. It extends family life to include the partial, or complete, education of children in a family.

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2. Do homeschooling families ever include other people as teachers?
In most homeschools, parents are the primary teachers. Some famillies share teaching responsibilities with other families in home education cooperatives. Some families hire a tutor for things such as foreign language or sppech. Some families participate in a growing trend, the one-day-a-week “homeschool school,” which typically offers specialty subjects such as foreign language, physical education, speech, and other subjects, even robotics.

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3. How do families homeschool?
How each family pursues home education varies greatly, and it varies year to year within the same family. As a family pursues home education, parents gain more time and ability to assess where a child is now, in various areas of learning. Little by little, parents find out and follow through with how education can best take place in the lives of their children. (Click here to learn about popular homeschooling methods.)

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4. What does a homeschool day look like?
For many homeschooling families, the world is their classroom, and home is really a home-base. Homeschooling is as big and as flexible as a family would like it to be. At home, children who are creative can create to their heart’s content, and still learn math! At home, children who need to move can stand up at a table to do their work. At home, children who enjoy concentrating for long periods of time can do that.

In some families, the parent-educator moves from one child to the next helping them with pre-assigned lessons. In other families a school day includes individualized lessons and learning, and also group learning in the form of unit studies. In some families, children pursue their own interests and parents facilitate their learning.

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5. How do homeschooling parents know how fast to pace their children’s education?
In a homeschool, the idea of children being “ahead” or “behind” drops out of the picture. Because parents know their own children, and see their abilities, they can free each child to proceed at his or her own rate. Some children race ahead in one area, perhaps in math or reading. Some children need more time than others to master challenging subjects. Children learn to talk and walk at differing rates and at differing times. Why not the same attitude about learning to read and learning to do math, and other skills as well?

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6. What about competition among children at home?
Since children at home tend to be different ages, there tends to be less academic competition among them than one would see in a school classroom. There is less awareness and memory of who learned to read at what age. While this is not always the case, at home, parents have more time and more opportunity to affirm each child, for siblings to see each other’s varying gifts and abilities, and for children to gain a personal sense of joy and accomplishment when they learn at their own pace.

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7. What do parents need to know to homeschool their children?
Homeschooling doesn’t require that a parent already know all subject areas. Clarence Page, a national columnist on a variety of subjects, and not a homeschooler, summed up his views about homeschooling with this comment on June 7, 2000:

“For us (his family), the home-school movement reinforces a lesson common sense should have told us long ago: Parents matter. You don’t need to have a doctorate in education to instill in children an eagerness to learn. The best educational support systems begin at home.”

So true! Also true is that teaching a class of 20 or 30 students in school requires classroom management skills, and many other skills that are not required of a homeschooling parent. Teaching one’s own children, and a much smaller group of children, is more like tutoring. In a homeschool parents are often learning right along with their childrren. After all, who among us, who is now an adult, learned phonics when we were growing up? Who among us who is not already a math teacher remembers how to solve for x? Parents also get to remember lots of other delightful concepts, such as how chlorophyll makes leaves green.

Learning in a relaxed setting, on the couch, at the kitchen table, or at a picnic table, means all can learn enjoyably. The emphasis in homeschool is truly on individualized learning. The stress of task-mastering a child to get through homework assignments so they don’t fall behind in school drops away.

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8. When is the best time to start homeschooling?
There is no pattern to when families begin to homeschool. Those who know they will homeschool tend to begin when their oldest child reaches five years old. Some begin after all their children have been in school for a few years. That’s the time they decide they will give homeschooling a try. Some begin when their oldest child reaches middle school.

Similarly, families homeschool for varying lengths of time. Most families, who start to homeschool, believe they will take it one year at a time. Many gain a growing commitment to homeschool as the years go by. And many continue to move their children to an from various forms of schooling, depending on what is available to them, and best for their children and their family.

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9. Is it possible to homeschool for just one year?
Yes, and it’s also possible to homeschool for just one semester, and then return to another form of education. Families who choose short-term homeschooling often do so to help a stressed child shore up in specific areas, or to just see what homeschooling is like. Some short-termers step away from school-life to have a special, less hectic year together as a family.

When and how long to homeschool is as personal a decision as the decision to start.

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10. What does it cost to homeschool?
It’s possible to spend practically no money on homeschooling resources. Families who spend pennies on homeschooling tend to use the public library extensively, and they also find books and materials at support group sales and garage sales.

It’s also possible to spend thousands of dollars, per student, on homeschooling curriculum, tutors, and materials.

In addition, many homeschooling moms also work. Many homeschooling mothers work part-time, in the evening, at home doing child-care for another family, or at home pursuing a home business to supplement the family income.

Not only that, but in almost every homeschooling support group, one will find widows or widowers, and single parents who homeschool.

No matter what your life circumstance, or your budget, there are ways to make homeschooling work for your family. Our website is one of the resources that is here to help you.

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