Welcome to my little homeschooling page! In the last seven and a half years as a homeschool parent, I have noticed there are parents that have planned to homeschool, those who gradually enter the world of homeschooling, and then there are the unexpected homeschoolers. We are the unexpected homeschoolers.
I had already made the choice to be a stay-at-home mom, but homeschooling never crossed my mind. If it did, it was quickly squashed. I did not believe that I could take on the challenge of educating my own child when I myself had failed miserably in school. Homeschooling is the education of children at home under their parent's guidance. Did you know that for most of history, homeschooling had been common practice? It wasn't until the late 1830's and a lack of formal education, that a more public type classroom schooling started to become more conventional.
Fast forward to the year 2013. I am mom to a very intelligent son entering his last year of middle-school taking AP classes and an amazing daughter entering her 4th grade year of elementary school, who had also tested out of all her special education classes and we are looking forward to a great new year. Or so we thought. After the first month, I could tell Tanner was unhappy. He came right out and said he did't want to attend school anymore. Skye was having difficulty with the changing of classes and coming home in tears. One evening after dinner my husband approached me to talk outside, and I knew something was off-base. Tanner had spoken to him the previous evening about homeschooling. He had mentioned that he felt he was not getting the education he deserved and too many students were disrupting class, making it a difficult learning environment for him. It also upset him to see friends getting bullied and he was afraid he was going to get in trouble. The following week, I picked Skye up from school, again in tears. It took days before she could finally explain to me what was happening in school. She was being sent across the hall to finish her work, which was causing her to become further behind. When I asked her teacher if she was available in the mornings for tutoring, I was told my daughter was not failing. This both astonished me and insulted me. Why does my child have to be failing to receive extra help? This would not suffice and my husband made a phone call to his attorney that afternoon to check our state laws. The next morning we drove to the schools (with two letters of intent) and unenrolled both Tanner and Skye from public school. Our decision to homeschool was unexpected but our children deserved a better environment to learn and thrive in.
Okay, you have made the decision to homeschool. Before you begin, remember three things:
You CAN do this.
Knock out the legal stuff first. Research and learn the rules and regulations for homeschooling where you live. Homeschool laws vary from country to country, and in the United States, from state to state. If you are in the states, a great place to start is by visiting the HSLDA website. I highly recommend joining a homeschool legal defense organization who can offer you legal recourse for advice, support, and representation that you may need. Occasionally, school districts and municipalities have been known to give homeschool families grief, and you need someone to step in and advocate and defend your decisions.
Since we started homeschooling unexpectedly and very quickly, I had little time to do much research or read any of the many homeschooling books out there. I only knew that I wanted a Christian based curriculum and we purchased ACE Paces Series through Christianbook. Everything was done for me, and this gave me the time I needed to start reading and researching. I have gained a significant amount of knowledge and inspiration from a few awe-inspiring books and numerous homeschooling websites through the years.
Charlotte Mason? Classical Education? Unit Studies? Traditional? What does this mean? Now it's time to talk about Homeschool Philosophies and methods. In order to understand and teach a curriculum, you have to understand homeschool terminology. Eclectic Homeschooling put together an excellent resource list of the Homeschool Philosophies you are likely to encounter during your research. Here are a few of my favorites we have used.
CM Method - Charlotte Mason was a British educator who believed that education was about more than training for a job, passing an exam, or getting into the right college. She said education was an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life; it was about finding out who we were and how we fit into the world of human beings and into the universe God created. She preferred “living books” over textbooks, and believed that children were whole people who should be treated as if they are capable of understanding the world around them.
Classical Education - Classical education is language-based and depends on a three-part process of training the mind: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric (the trivium pattern). The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study. In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments. In the high school years, they learn to express themselves.
Unit Studies - A creative, hands-on method that is usually literature-based and incorporates multiple subjects using one unifying theme. This method works very well with families that have several children in multiple grade levels because it can be easily modified to meet the needs of each individual child.
Traditional - The traditional method looks very similar to how most of us were taught in school and uses textbooks for all subjects, workbooks, quizzes/tests, and teacher's manuals to master subject content.
Relaxed/Unschooling - This method does not follow any particular curriculum and tends to worry less about schedules and milestones, encouraging a child to learn at his/her own pace through hobbies and interests with the guidance of the parent.
Our homeschooling journey has been quite the adventure but to make it work, we had to lay down a foundation. Tanner and Skye both wanted our 'private' school to have a name and they suggested using their first names. We took the first two letters of each to spell TASK and added a dash of creativity and our school became ...
TASK Christian Learning Academy
TCLA became the acronym, we selected orange and purple as our colors, and the Sparrow became our school mascot. Why a sparrow?