As soon as people find out that we homeschool, the questions begin. While I occasionally get thoughtless questions from people who are critical, often the questions come from sincere curiosity. And more than one question session has resulted in a new homeschooling family!
Here are the questions I am most frequently asked about homeschooling and my answers:
1. How do you stand being with your children all day long?
I enjoy being with my children. I know that all too soon they will be off on their own, and I cherish the time we have. (Tweet this!) That said, some days they fight, some days I’m crabby, some days we have been locked in the house due to weather or illness. Some days I lose my temper. At least once a year I seriously contemplate putting at least one of them in school. But then God reminds me that he has called me to do this, and just like anything else he has called me to do, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So, we soldier through it, and a few days or weeks down the line it is enjoyable again.
2. What about sports?
Our goals are to prepare our children spiritually and academically, rather than making sports a priority. We do make use of softball and baseball, which don’t require school attendance, and classes at our local YMCA. Depending on which state and school district you live in, your child may be allowed to participate in school sports without being enrolled. In our state, a student needs to attend at least part time in order to participate in any activity that goes to districts or state. Several of my friends enroll their children in school half days so they can participate in sports. Larger communities often have homeschool sports teams, as well.
3. How do you find curriculum?
Unlike the early years of homeschooling, there is now so much curriculum available that it can be overwhelming. I use a variety of resources to help me choose curriculum. My favorite is the HEDUA review site. I also ask my homeschooling friends what they have used, and how it worked for them.
4. Does it cost a lot?
Homeschooling can really cost as much or as little as you want. There are several free, complete curriculums available online that use books from the public domain. There are also complete curriculums or online classes that cost several hundred dollars. On average we spend between $500 and $700 a year on curriculum, not including household items that I use for science and art. There is a huge market for used curriculum, so I often sell what I no longer use. I also buy used whenever possible, using sites such as eBay or used curriculum groups on Facebook.
5. What about grades?
Each state has its own reporting requirements. For our state, letter grades are not necessary. From preschool to seventh grade I use a checklist system, marking off skills or topics as my children master or study them. This year, with my eighth grader, I started using letter grades for some subjects as I get her ready for high school. Next year, I intend to give her letter grades in all subjects to make completing a transcript easier.
6. How do your kids find friends?
My husband and I have made it a priority that our children have the opportunity to develop relationships with children and adults of all ages. Our children regularly have friends over (both homeschool and public/private school), and we attend homeschool gatherings and church events, as well as sports classes and other activities. In fact, the difficulty is more in deciding what to say “no” to, so we have time for school. My children seem to be much less concerned about the age of their friends than many of their peers in school.
7. What if I can’t teach upper level math (or science or whatever)?
You can still homeschool! There are many ways around this. One is to dual enroll your child in school or even community college, depending on their age and your convictions. Several video curriculums or online classes are now available. We have also had parents who are an expert in a particular subject offer to teach a group of children, either for a small fee or in trade.
8. Where do I start?
Find out what your state’s homeschool laws are. Contact your state department of education or HSLDA. Then find a veteran homeschooler or homeschool group in your area. They will be able to tell you everything you need to know to begin. Be sure to check out our Homeschool 101 series on hedua.com for helpful information on getting started homeschooling.
Originally published at hedua.com.