If you are here, you are probably looking for information on how to begin homeschooling your kiddos. For whatever reason, you have started entertaining the notion that public school may not be exactly right for your children. If you are like me, you've made one too many calls to the principal, attended one too many PTO meetings in which your concerns are not addressed, or in the most latter stint of public school, your children have complained of being bullied, mistreated, rushed, or simply feel like they do not belong. Never fear! Homeschooling might be a great alternative to your situation. Please keep in mind, just as public school may not be for every family, homeschooling is not an easy job, and not every family will benefit from homeschooling. The primary goal is to teach your children what they will need to know in order to be productive members of society, while keeping them safe at home, vested in their learning and hopefully, increasing those morals that many kids today seem to be lacking. Throughout this site, I have tried to be encouraging to those who want to homeschool, but as well, keeping an unbiased opinion of today's public school. Continue reading to learn about my background and for further information on how you can begin this whirlwind of ride that is called "homeschooling"!
My background and On
My graduation photo that I did not purchase - because a picture might be worth a thousand words, but it isn't worth a thousand quarters!
I was taught in the public education system. I was a straight-A Honor Roll student, a member of the National Honor Society, chosen to be in Who's Who Among American High School Students, as well as various clubs and organizations. Having said that, I quit school my senior year. Why? It wasn't entirely because of the school, but it did play a part. I became pregnant my senior year - yes, I became a statistic. But what I also became was a GED graduate, a wife, and mother to a beautiful little girl. Through a rocky marriage, several jobs, and a divorce later, I truly began to question what my purpose was in life. That hesitation led to another child, a son. Still, I wasn't sure of what God wanted me to do. So I asked Him. I prayed that He would send someone into my life that would help me discover who I really am and love me for that. A guess what? He did! That was 13 years ago. Since then we have welcomed three more beautiful children into our lives and give thanks to God for them. I also returned to school where I earned an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice, and in 2014, I graduated with my Bachelor's of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Criminology, Sociology, and Health. Because I enjoy learning, I decided to pursue my Masters in Sociology and will be graduating in May of 2019. I asked myself, what better way for us to truly appreciate and enjoy our gifts than by homeschooling our children? In 2013, we took the big leap. We chose to pull our children out of the public school system and yes, I was a little naive to the level of difficulty it would present me with, but as with any challenge, I accepted it. We are now in our third year of homeschooling.
Does this mean you need to be a college graduate to homeschool? Absolutely NOT! Many homeschool families that I know personally, have nothing more than a high school diploma or GED. As long as you have the drive and the desire to teach your children, you can do it. But it does take work - so get ready to get busy!
"Where do I start?"
The basics! Nearly every homeschool family has adopted a list of basic homeschool do's and don'ts. And as diverse as each homeschool family is, so are their lists. But you came for answers, so I'll share with you, our basic list of "need to know" info.
1. Ask yourself "Why do I want to homeschool?" After you have your answer (or answers), write them down. Then categorize them into each of the following three areas (you may list them into more than one category, depending on your answers):
Important to me
Important to my children
Important for our family.
By sorting your answers, you can ascertain if homeschooling is the right move for your family. If you find that your answers are not important to your children or for your family, you may want to ask yourself what it is YOU hope to gain from homeschooling. After all, as parents, we are sometimes selfish and we don't realize it.
2. Make a list of outcomes you'd like to achieve by homeschooling your children. They may be as simple or as complex as you'd like. Afterward, decide if each outcome is attainable through you. If you want your child to become an engineer and you struggled with math in school - you will have a somewhat tougher time and may require additional assistance in teaching your children. Remember: Homeschooling is great! But you MUST remain brutally honest with yourself on what your strengths and weaknesses are in order to prepare you children for the world ahead. Having an appreciation of when outside tutors and additional assistance may be needed is also important.
3.What is perfect for me, may not be perfect for you. This means that what works for my family may not work for yours. As you begin following other homeschool families and learning how they operate, they may claim to have the perfect solution to a particular way of teaching, organizing, curricula building, etc... But their brand of perfect may be completely imperfect for you - and that is OK! You can utilize ideas from one family, teaching strategies from another, and pull pieces of curricula from yet another to form what IS perfect for you and your children. What does that mean? It means you shouldn't give up, but rather, you may have to do some digging, accept change (frequently, and without warning), understand that trial and error isn't always a bad thing, and of course - remember why you are doing this!
4. Understand that homeschool laws vary from state to state. If you are planning on homeschooling, there is no shortcut to understanding the laws pertaining to your state. As well, the best research is what you complete on your own. However, recalling the hours I spent online trying to find the statutes and laws pertaining to Arkansas, I will share with you the sites I found to be of most help.
The Home School Legal Defense Association @ https://www.hslda.org/join/default.asp
The HSLDA for Arkansas @ http://www.hslda.org/hs101/AR.aspx
The Arkansas Department of Education @ http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/learning-services/home-schools
To learn step-by-step of how we got started, click the tab below.