During COVID, almost all kids were homeschooled. After trying it out, a lot of parents decided not to send their kids back to public or even private schools. With many parents still working from home and sometimes setting more of their schedule, homeschooling is a more realistic possibility for many families than it once was.
Breaking Down Homeschooling Myths
Kids that are homeschooled are not well socialized.
Socialization may take more effort if kids are homeschooled, but there is no reason to assume that kids who don’t attend public school are missing out. Homeschool kids can still play Little League sports, attend various clubs, etc. There are homeschool groups that meet up for events too. I also have to point out that the type of socialization that many kids experience in public school is not necessarily healthy. Some kids have a harder time socializing in a school setting than they do in their community.
Homeschooling is not looked at well if a kid wants to attend college later.
There was a time when homeschooling was not looked at as kindly by some colleges. I would say those days are over. Even back in 2001, when I started college, a lot of schools were fine with homeschoolers. I wrote a good essay showing how I spent my time running a small farm business and working in town while completing my studies. I received a lot of scholarships and grants that allowed me to attend a private 4-year college. It would not have been affordable otherwise. I did have to take the ACT and achieve a minimum score as well. Back then, everyone had to take the SAT or ACT.
I do think it is a good idea if you are homeschooled to go the extra mile and show that you are doing more than just completing some school work. This shows initiative and helps dispel any lingering doubts that a few institutions may still harbor.
Also, remember that a lot of colleges are actually in financial trouble or having a hard time filling classrooms, so they cannot afford to be as picky as they once were.
I am not capable of homeschooling my child. I am just not a teacher.
You are capable. In many states, the main requirement is that the parent must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Homeschooling does take some time out of your day, but remember that if your child likes to work independently, it may not be as much time as you think. There are so many good educational tools out there that parents have easy access to. Homeschooling used to be a lot harder, more expensive, and take even more planning. A lot of parents don’t realize just how much it has changed and improved.
My Homeschooling Experience
I was homeschooled from 7th-12th grade. Honestly, the reason for this was that school was getting to be cumbersome and tedious for me. The drama of bullies and cliques was tiring at best. Public school is not a place where kids can excel without facing the consequences. It is a lot easier to take a C grade than do better and get hassled for it. Although I enjoyed learning, it seemed like a lot of my time was being wasted. Running from one classroom to the next, having to wait to do things because someone was acting out, being forced to watch health videos about things we already knew, and setting through lessons on topics I had already study on my own.
By the time I was 16, I had moved to the mountains of North Carolina with my Dad. I was living on the old family land. This is where my homeschool experience really took a turn for the better. I started out my farm business with one $20 nanny goat and saved my Christmas money up to purchase a male Great Pyrenees puppy. With some help from my Dad and Uncle, I fenced off a few acres for my goats. By the time I went to college at 18, I managed 8-10 nanny goats and raised my first litter of Great Pyrenees puppies. I also worked various fast food jobs in town and helped my Dad and Uncle with other farm work like putting up hay, raising a lot of chickens, and helping out with the cattle herd.
I read a lot of classic books to supplement the through the mail curriculum that I completed for my high school diploma.
My college essay came complete with photos of my farm projects. The admissions office people said they passed my essay around. My work experience while homeschooled played a large role in my getting into my first choice college and gaining some scholarships and financial aid that made it possible for me to attend a private college that cost a lot more than the family income per year.
My farm projects helped pay for my books some semesters. In 2001, $400 per semester seemed like a lot of money for books, so anything I could do to help take the bite out of that made a big difference.
There is no room in large public and private schools for kids to be allowed a customized learning experience that considers their strengths and weaknesses.
I don’t buy into the idea that everyone is the same. People are good at or at least more interested in different things. This is good. We need people that have different skills and interests to make the world a decent place to live.
The time spent transporting kids to and from school really adds up. Bus rides for kids in rural areas can add up to hours per day.
Transportation to public and private schools can take a long time. It took 30 minutes to get to my school.
Ready To Use Curriculums
Below are just a few of the ready-to-use homeschool curriculums out there. I have made a note below each link to let you know in advance if a curriculum is Christian-based or Secular so you can more easily decide which are of interest to your family.
Curriculums are free to use unless otherwise noted. Most sites do kindly ask for donations to pay for necessary expenses.
This homeschool program came into creation via Lee Giles. In 2011 she started putting her children’s homeschool assignments online so they could work independently. The curriculum includes 180 days’ worth of assignments for each grade level.
The link above will take you to the main site for grades K-8. If you are interested in high school-level assignments, here is the link.
Although Easy Peasy is 100% free, the site does take donations to cover operating costs.
Khan Academy is a not-for-profit online homeschool that offers many course options for students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. They do politely ask you to donate $10 per month to cover operation costs, but there is no obligation to do so. They even offer AP courses for high schoolers.
This site offers free online public homeschool programs taught by state-certified teachers.
K12 also offers some private programs that require tuition. Summer school and stand-alone course offerings are also available.
Even if you choose to use another homeschool program, it may be worth it to check out K12 and take advantage of their extensive online free library that includes more than 21,000 ebooks!
If you would like a curriculum based heavily on science and math, you should consider CK12. This site is free to use but appreciates donations of any amount. They do offer some common core courses if you want to go that route. I am not familiar with common core since I have never had a kid in public school.
This is a great program for ages 2-8. They also offer Adventure Academy for ages 8-13. For a mere $10 per month, you get access to 850 lessons that teach language arts, math, science, and more. The comprehensive learning to reach system is highly rated by parents.
At the time of this writing, you can get a full year of ABCMouse for $60.
Design Your Own
While there may be mandatory tests that kids have to pass in your state, the rest is up to you. It is possible to design your own curriculum using a variety of materials. Consider the following materials:
New or Used Books
In school, they always stressed that kids not write in books. For homeschooling, I can see the value in getting inexpensive copies of books and allowing kids to highlight or write in the margins when they have a thought. Of course, they can use a separate notebook, but you may find that they are more likely to take note of something if they can just use the book in front of them. Thriftbooks, Better World Books, and eBay are all great sources for used books.
Electronic Books and Digital Library Resources
E-readers have a feature that allows for highlighting and note-taking. Sometimes an electronic version makes sense, especially when a lot of the classics are available for free. Your local public library likely has a digital book lending service available too. Libraries often offer access to digital archives and research tools that are great for homeschool use.
Sure, you can design your own worksheets and print them off at home, or you can use a service that gives you access to thousands of worksheets on almost any subject. Some sites offer free printables, while others charge a fee. A few offer some free sheets but charge a small fee for access to more premium sheets and a much larger selection. Besides that, you just need is the materials to print. With some books and a worksheet subscription, you could design a wonderful core curriculum for your kids. The links below are just a few of the sites that offer thousands of worksheets for a ton of different subjects.
This site features a ton of free printable worksheets that are nicely organized based on subject matter. This is a great resource for every type of worksheet, including coloring and arts and crafts!
I love how well organized this site is. Education.com features more than 30,000 worksheets and online digital resources. Although the basic site is free to use, for $60 per year or $8 per month, you can gain premium access to even more educational games, activities, worksheets, and a progress tracker. I definitely plan on using this site some when my son is old enough!
Although this site offers a complete online curriculum, they also have a ton of printable worksheets that you can use for free no matter what core curriculum you choose.
Books, paper, and electronic learning are great, but kids need some hands-on activities for a well-rounded education. Crafts, cooking, helping build something, etc., are just a few options available. There are many kits and even monthly subscription boxes that send you hands-on educational activities with instructions. Here are a few that I have found:
Kids need outdoor time. If more kids spent some time outside, I am confident that we would see a huge reduction in behavioral issues. Plenty of outdoor activities can be educational and fun at the same time!
- Nature walks- Point out different types of trees, insects, birds, etc. Ask kid’s what things are on future hikes.
- Bushcrafting- Fire starting, building shelters, etc.
Homeschool Pods and Private Classrooms
If you want your child to have the homeschool or small classroom experience but are not sure about teaching them daily, then consider finding some other like-minded parents that want to split teaching duties. You could teach a group of kids on Mondays, for example, while someone from one of the other families could teach on Tuesday. Although it would take some planning, this type of system does have potential. The problem, of course, is work schedules.
Some parents have gone so far as pooling money to hire a teacher to just teach all their kids full time. If ten kids get taught by one teacher, for example, and each parent chips in $500 per month, then suddenly the teacher makes $60K gross per year and only teaches ten kids rather than the 30 they may have at a public school. Not a bad deal for some.
Legalities and Rules
Most states have few rules and restrictions on homeschooling. Here is a link to an interactive map that will show you the homeschooling laws and rules in your state.
Will homeschooling remain an option for parents?
With more and more parents choosing to homeschool, brick-and-mortar public schools are facing some challenges. Funding is often based on enrollment numbers. I would not be surprised to see some people try to make it harder for people to homeschool so that more money flows into the public schools in their area. I know of at least a few schools in my region that have closed because there are simply not enough kids attending for them to remain open.
I cannot help mentioning that some do not like the freedom that homeschooling offers parents. When you teach your child at home, you get to pick and choose what moral lessons and values are taught. You also get to decide what age you talk to your child about some topics. When it comes to subjects like history, so much is ignored. I look forward to teaching my child real history. There are plenty of reprehensible things that happened in the past. Learning about them from different perspectives is good because it helps one not make the same mistakes. Trying to erase history is not helpful.
On July 17, 2021, our son Bailey was born. Matt and I plan on homeschooling our son from K-12. There is so much for him to learn on the farm, and since I work from home full time, it is possible. I cannot in good conscience send my child into a public school environment when I know that I have the time and ability to provide him with an education at home. I know I have years until he is school-age, but I see a lot of parents pulling their kids out of public school due to the heavy amounts of propaganda and teaching of topics that had no place in public schools just a few years ago. The no-tolerance policies have also created an environment where kids cannot defend themselves against bullies without getting into trouble themselves.
I find it unfortunate that so many great teachers are not allowed to teach in a way that is most beneficial to the students. I have known plenty of teachers over the years that were great at what they did but over the years they increasingly had to put aside their own teaching methods and go by a “one size fits all approach”.
I realize that “the system” is set up where working parents have little choice about sending their children to public schools. I cannot think of any good solution for this.
I acknowledge that the more people pull their kids from public schools, the harder it is for the school to do better for the kids that have to keep attending. These are some deep problems that are hard to solve when you have big government agencies calling the shots.
Can you think of any solutions that might work for a country that is divided? Do you think public schools will last, or will all students just complete studies online at whatever person or place is providing childcare?