Parents are a child’s first teacher and US Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) advocates for parents, not the government, to control their children’s education. There are about 2.5 million homeschool students in grades K-12 in the United States and it appears that the homeschool population is continuing to grow at an estimated 2% to 8% per year.
USPIE believes the continuing rise in the homeschool population is related to parental concerns over the Common Core standards, data collection, developmentally inappropriate content, insidious sex education programs, LGBTQ+ policies, mandated vaccines, revisionist history, and more. Now with schools closing for months due to risk of COVID 19, we witness another incentive for parents to seriously consider homeschooling.
Homeschooling can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding and incredibly successful in engaging children to learn. There are so many homeschool options available these days that it can be overwhelming. Where should you start?
First, be clear on your reasons for home schooling. What do you want for your children? What are the most important outcomes for your children and your family?
Second, check out the homeschooling laws in your state. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is an excellent resource for home schooling parents, and they have an easy reference of homeschool laws by state. You need to make sure you stay current with state laws for homeschooling.
Third, join a homeschool group. Find a local co-op for extracurricular activities, museums, outdoor exploration, sports, etc. You will find there are more options than you could imagine specifically tailored for homeschoolers. There are also many online groups. The Crossing Over to Home Schooling Facebook page is an excellent resource for support. One warning however – do not join a group that takes State or Federal money. These groups shift their focus away from freedom and real parent-child focused advice to marketing arms for government education.
Fourth, choose your curriculum. This can seem overwhelming since so many choices are available. The curriculum you choose needs to align with your purpose. Programs like K12 at Home or Public School at Home use Common Core-aligned materials and practices. Programs like Classical Conversations, Freedom Project Education, and Home Grown Learners use more traditional and successful educational materials and practices. Here are some great curriculum options.
Finally, have fun! One of the most valuable opportunities of homeschooling is reigniting your children’s love of learning. Try to relax and live in the moment. If your child wants to spend all day reading about dinosaurs, let them. You can easily integrate math questions, history questions, verbal presentation skills, research skills and more all into a focused day- or even a week- on dinosaurs! And include the whole family, both parents, all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and cousins are all resources you can integrate into your child’s education. Blogger Joy Novack has gathered tons of free learning options for all ages. Happy homeschooling!
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