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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What made me decide to homeschool?

I think some parents decide to homeschool because they are called to.  I personally was told by the Lord to homeschool my boys, so I did.  But at first I was scared, confused and uneducated about it.  I pushed the thought aside for a bit and went on with life.  Our oldest son just started third grade, our middle son just started the K4 program and my youngest was just a few months old.  We had just recently made the decision for me to be a stay at home mom full time.

One day while picking up my two older boys at the private Christian school they attended, the teacher (also principle and pastors wife) met me at the door.   She told me that she had an issue with my oldest son.  I was shocked because he was the quiet, calm, did as he was told, son.  (Not that the younger one was not, he was just more of the 'class clown'.)  She began to explain how he sat in her classroom all day and didn't do any of his work for that day.  On the way home I questioned my son about this issue.  Nothing was said to him until right before I got there.  At first I was irritated but I began to think 'I pay really good money for the boys to attend that school.  How is it that she was in the same room all day with him and didn't notice him not doing his work?'  (Especially when there was only about 20 children in that room.)  The more I pondered this, the more irritated I became.  The school uses aBeka curriculum.  I've seen the curriculum and thought to myself that I could teach this to my boys.  I could teach them the same material they were learning at this expensive private school.  (Which money wasn't the issue at this point.  Remember, I was called by the Lord to homeschool so I believe this was his way of opening my eyes.)  

I started to research homeschooling.  I was shocked to see that there were several homeschool groups right here in my county!  Really?  Where were they all?  lol.  I've never noticed.  I heard that the local homeschool group was holding a meeting about homeschooling, so I decided to go.  I was a fish out of water.  Do people really do this, educate their own children at home?  They get to spend all day, everyday with their children?  Where do I start?  I don't need a degree?  What would my husband think?  How in the world do they organize, give grades, chose curricula?  I had so many questions.  I tried to ask a few, but again, I was a fish out of water and felt so overwhelmed.

After the meeting I went home and told my husband all about what I found out.  I then looked up the Florida homeschooling laws, (we lived in FL at the time), discussed and went over it with my husband.  He was ok with me doing this, so I then joined HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association), gave the private school and county Notice of Intent, and I found a mentor.  :)

So some are called to homeschool, some are just not happy with the public school statistics, and some want to be with their kids.  For whatever reason, it's good to know that we as parents have the right to decide what kind of education our children receive.  Because the government is funding our public schools, we as parents have less and less control and say on how they are run and what they are teaching the next generation.  I used to say that I am not anti-pubic school, but I feel my opinion shifting.  They are not getting better.  Our safety for our public school children is diminishing as well.  I have great concern for our public schools here in America.  Do I think homeschooling is for everyone?  No.  But if you aren't happy with the education your child is receiving, you can do something about it.  You do have choices.  YOU are responsible for your child's education, not the government.  YOU should decide what kind of education they should receive.  Pray about it.  Ask God to show you the answer and help you decide what educational path you should take for your family.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

BEFORE you start homeschooling, you should..............

#1  Know your state laws!

This seems a little scary.....the word 'law', yikes! There are laws with homeschooling?  Yes.  Each state has their own homeschooling laws and requirements.  You can go to (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) and click on your state to see what your state laws are.  There are only 5 states that have high regulation, some with low to moderate regulation and there are also a few that have no notice requirement at all!  The few that have no notice requirements (meaning, you do not have to notify them at all that you are homeschooling) are MI, IN, IL, IA, MO, OK, TX, AK, NJ, ID and CT. (Guam & Puerto Rico are in this group as well.)  Some of these may require a certain number of days or hours to be schooled, or different compulsory age requirements, some want log books and portfolio's to be kept, but there is no notice to be filed and I don't believe any assessments are required to be turned in.  So please check your state before you start to homeschool to make sure you are compliant with the laws!  Our veteran homeschoolers fought to preserve these rights for us so we don't want to infringe on them.

#2   Plug into your local homeschool groups!

If you don't think your community has a homeschool group, think again.  We are out there!  (We are everywhere!  hahaha)  Homeschooling is growing at a ridiculous rate this past decade.  There are over 2 million homeschooled children in the US alone!
Just Google 'homeschool groups' or find your state under-
HSLDA also has groups listed.  However, keep in mind that these groups will need to register with these websites.  So if you cannot find a group using these websites, that doesn't mean they don't exist.  Our local homeschool group has over 120 families in a rural area of northwest WV and we aren't on these sites.  (Not sure why now that I'm thinking about this.  Hmmmm.)  Your public library is another great place to ask about homeschooling groups.  Most homeschooling parents utilize the library.  Also, there are several homeschooling groups on Facebook now.  So they are out there, you just need to look.  :)

#3   Ask for help!

Don't be afraid to ask for help!  Don't be afraid to ask what you might think is a silly question.  But do NOT ask your local pubic school questions!  They do NOT know the homeschool laws and may give you wrong info.  Also, they are more than likely losing money on those being homeschooled so their goal is to get your child(ren) back into the public school system.  You see the picture.  (By the way, don't feel bad about the local schools losing money on your child(ren), they still receive some money for them and you still pay school taxes even though your child isn't attending.)  Anyway, please ask someone who knows the laws.  A homeschool coordinator, a veteran homeschool mom or dad, HSLDA, etc.  These are the people you want to ask because they are knowledgeable about homeschooling all the way around.

Before I end this blog post, I want to take a minute to explain HSDLA.  

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HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Assoc.) is a group of Christian attorneys who fight and help preserve our homeschooling rights.  Not just here in the US, but all over the world.  They are wonderful.  There is a membership fee of $120 per year.  This fee includes any questions you may have, advice, shopping perks, etc.  You will get a teacher ID card with membership so you can use it at certain stores for discounts just like the public school teachers do.  (After all, you will be an educator.)  The best part of this membership is peace of mind.  If the school board contacts and asks for something that isn't required by law, you call HSLDA and ask for advice.  Our local school board started calling parents a few years back asking for information (why we are homeschooling?  what can they do to get our kids back in to the public school system?).  A few of us called HSDLA.  They wrote a letter to the board explaining that they are not to contact us for things that are not required by law.  The phone calls stopped.  But it goes beyond that.  I've read articles on homeschool parents getting charged with Truancy.  (Maybe their paperwork got lost or they were still on the public school roster.)  HSLDA will go to court for you and defend your homeschooling rights.  No fees are paid to them except your membership fee.  I've been to court before and lawyers are not cheap!  HSLDA has been my peace of mind for many years.  They have monthly plans (of $10) or you can buy 5 years for $500 or even a LIFETIME membership for $1000.  I wish I would have purchased the lifetime membership.  I am going on my 13'th year of homeschooling and I've paid by year.  hahaha.  But it is worth every penny!  To view the membership options or to join, click HERE.

Thank you for reading my blog!  I hope this information has helped those who are currently homeschooling and are new to it. 

 God Bless & Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Where do I start with Homeschooling? What do I need to buy?

Getting started with homeschooling seems to be a struggle for some.  "Where do I start?", "What do I do?" and "What do I need to buy?"  These are the questions you may be asking yourself.  

"Where do I start?" -
Well, first ask yourself what does your child want to learn?  What are they interested in?  Then use your resources!  Your library is your #1 resource in homeschooling!  It's free and I'm sure it's not that far away.  Whether you child wants to learn about electricity, frogs, crocheting, Italy, cooking, trees or dragons, the library has information on it.  Anything your child wants to learn about can be found at your local library.  Can't find it, ask the librarian.  Your #2 resource is the internet.  There are literally thousands of websites for homeschoolers.  You can find a homeschool friendly website or just Google what you are looking for.  (You know how this works.)

"What do I do?" -
Let your child learn.  Some children like sitting at the table to do their work, some (like my son) love to sit upside down on the couch.

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Learn where the child feels relaxed and the most attentive.  My son doesn't like to sit still at a desk or table.  He even does his writing on the couch, (quick, call the school police!)  along with all his other schooling.  

You just observe and of course offer help, if needed.  Kids are smart.  If they really want to know something, they'll find the information.  You are just there to help them get to a place where they can find it.  I think our main goal as homeschoolers are not to teach our kids everything, but to teach them how and where to find everything they want to learn.  For example, my youngest (starting 8'th grade this fall) doesn't want to go to college so we are not teaching Algebra.  And if that bothers you, he is excellent in math!  Some may think that it's dumb not to teach something a child is good at, however, it's wasted time.  Don't believe me?  When is the last time you used Algebra in your adult life?  Exactly.  If he changes his mind and decides to go to college, guess what?  He'll learn it.  My youngest wasn't interested in Pre-Algebra when we did it last year.  He didn't like it at all, so why go on if he isn't going to apply it in his everyday adult life?  He doesn't like to write either, however he won't be able to support himself in life if he can't write.  There are some things we must teach that they don't like, you just have to find a way to make it fun.  

Some school days we like to just play with bait and fish.  ;)

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Learning to fish, baiting hook, removing fish, knowing the laws and regulations.....these things are all learning!

"What do I need to buy?" -
It really depends what you are going to be learning about, but there are some basic supplies that you should keep on hand during the schoolyear.  Here's a list:

manila folders for lapbooking and filing
colored pencils
gel pens 
tape or glue
staples and stapler
lined writing paper
clear typing paper
one 3 ring binder (for mom) 
a few spiral notebooks

Yep, that's it.  All of these things on this list can be found at the Dollar Tree or Dollar General.  Your homeschooling supplies don't have to cost very much.  Even grocery stores have big 'back to school' sales with notebooks selling for 50 cents per book.  

I hope this helps with these basic questions.  I'll be blogging more on the new to homeschooling theme in the near future.  :)