Yes, You Can Homeschool – There’s A Wealth Of Help Out ThereBy Steve Belonger
This addresses two of the main fears felt by parents and children considering homeschooling: “Is there anyone available to help me?” and “How do I find the textbooks we’ll need?”
Homeschool co-ops are roadmaps to success
Co-ops have sprung up to meet the needs of homeschooling moms and dads. Through co-ops parents find each other. This often occurs as parents network through the churches they attend or charities for which they volunteer. The co-ops can be small or large, formal or informal. They may meet once a week or multiple times.
These groups offer teachers who specialize in certain subjects or who work with students at certain grade levels. The co-ops have a mission statement which will clearly inform you what their worldview is and why the co-op exists. That is very reassuring for parents who have chosen homeschooling because of concerns about what children are ‘taught’ in other educational systems.
Co-ops fill the gap with subjects that you, as a parent-teacher, might not be strong in. Our family used a coop that met every Tuesday. For example, our daughters would take Literature from a retired Lit teacher or Economics from a woman who had a business degree. Then they would get homework for the rest of the week and turn it in the next Tuesday. The parents help monitor those assignments and teach the other subjects they reserved for home teaching only.
The other parents at the coop are great resources for material and wisdom. “What did you use for 6th grade math? Can you bring the text so I can see it?” “How did you decide what foreign language to teach?” “What phonics program did you use?” And the big one, “How did you juggle teaching time at three different grade levels?”
The co-ops also help with the common objection to homeschooling. “How will your kids get socialized?” There are so many answers to this, the list below is, by necessity, limited:
- They have friends in the neighborhood and at church.
- They have friends at the homeschool coop.
- Your kids also play with each other.
- And this one the objectors never consider. Because homeschooling can be done efficiently during the day (no classroom disruptions, discipline problems, waiting in the lunch line, answering questions from various students) homeschoolers complete class time and homework during the day. They have their evenings free. When our first daughter was a teenager, after supper she was out the door going to coffee with friends or attending a movie. Homework was done. Socialization begins.
- Also, when you homeschool different ages, they learn to relate to those age levels instead of only students their own age. The younger ones learn more mature, but monitored and appropriate, behavior from the older ones.
The great thing about picking your own curriculum is you can pick books that emphasize what you want emphasized. You can avoid boring approaches by the big publishing houses and get creative. See, there is fun for the parents, too.
A trustworthy company is Rainbow Resource Center (www.rainbowresource.com). They have more than 40,000 schoolbooks in their catalog to choose from at all grade levels. Others offer online programs or DVDs that let others teach your kids. But you get to see and hear the content (something that won’t happen with the public school). One child can take a class on video while you are helping another at the study table.
Other reputable curriculum suppliers, among many, are Sonlight Curriculum (www.sonlight.com) and Abeka (www.abeka.com), both with a Christian worldview. For online schooling there is www.time4learning.com where everything is on the computer. They help plan your whole year and help you keep track of grading and transcripts. You are monitoring more than actively teaching. That can relieve some fears like, “What do I know about Shakespeare?”
here are many websites devoted to how to homeschool, where to get curriculum, common mistakes, where to find support groups. Of course, www.homeschool.com is a great resource. They also list lots of co-ops in your state so you can link up with other likeminded people. They list over 60 homeschool groups in Illinois alone and there are plenty more not on the list. You’ll even find an abundance of groups for homeschooling parents on social networks.
To give you more confidence, there is a Homeschool Legal Defense Association (www.hslda.org) which helps families know the homeschool laws in each state. You can learn about your rights to homeschool. And they provide legal help if Big Brother decides to impose on our liberty to raise our families as we choose. They help with knowing how to make the transition to college with transcripts, immunization questions, mandatory subjects and if any tests must be passed before entering college. They are in our corner.
Homeschooling offers the freedom to avoid instructional messages you won’t tolerate. Homeschooling is a choice you can make. It is a blessing to the family, and it produces young people who are a blessing to society.