Friday, April 10, 2015

Considering Home Schooling

I found an email in my inbox today from a prospective home schooler. It had so much fodder for a blog entry that I decided to turn it into one! So I present to you the letter from the possible future home school mom, followed by my answer:
I'm considering homeschooling my 11 year old daughter starting this fall when she begins middle school. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  I've done Google searches and have found this group [a local home school Yahoo group] plus a few blogs and websites (Hip Homeschool Moms,, and have ordered a few books from Amazon.

I'd love some advice.  How did you all get started?  How did you decide your family's "style" of homeschooling (unschooling, classical, etc.)?  Where/how do you get teaching resources and ideas?  What kinds of groups exist in/near Montgomery county to provide socialization for my daughter?  How can I meet other local homeschooling moms?  (Can you tell I have a lot of questions?)   :-)
 So, I replied with the following:
I started homeschooling when my oldest was five (now 28). My second (now 25) only attended outside the home senior year, but wished she had stayed home. My youngest (now 15) has only been home schooled and doesn't want public school.

My style has evolved over the years. Each family's choices will be different. Many of my "choices" are just required efforts to comply with HSLDA | Home School Laws. They basically say register with the County or an "umbrella" at least 14 days before you start; home school at least 180 days in the year; home school regularly and diligently throughout the year in Science, Math, English, Social Studies, Art, Music, Physical Education and Health.
After that your choices will be affected by religious vs. non-religious choices.

Then you need to think about your daughter's learning style and any special needs.

How much money can you afford to spend on materials?
I homeschool from a Christian perspective. I love to plan. I fail to follow my plan regularly. I love to start our days by reading to my son from the Bible, and then we launch from there. We are currently doing World Literature, World History, Algebra I, Biology, Spanish and Videography (and Bible). What we are doing (9th grade) will look different from what you do because we are now studying to meet graduation requirements and college admissions expectations.

Before I continue, why are you home schooling? Are you religious? Do you know her learning style? What does she love and what subject(s) does she do well in/poor in? How much have you budgeted? Do you know about "MACHE" (Maryland, not Michigan( curriculum sale in Frederick? (I think it is 4/25 and 4/26)
So, I thought I would wait for her reply before I continued to spend time in answering. But there is still so much I could tell her, depending on what she is looking for.

I could tell her about the four-year history cycles of Tapestry of Grace [Year 1: Ancient Cultures; Year 2: Dark Ages, Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation and Early America; Year 3: The 1800's, Year 4: The 1900's to Present], with History, Literature, Writing and Geography all woven around the theme of the week, focusing on a classical Christian education.

I could steer her towards a gentle Charlotte Mason style Ambleside Online Education for the next two years, while she deprograms her daughter's school as she leads up to high school. I could share with her my love of First Form Latin by Memoria Press, or Art by ARTistic Pursuits, foreign languages by Mango Languages and writing programs by Institute for Excellence in Writing. And let's not forget Science by Apologia!

And I'd love to tell her about the Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course I am currently reviewing.

If she were writing to you, what would you highlight?

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