Several different approaches to this post have been considered. There is just no way to adequately cover homeschooling in one blog post so I’ve decided I will make this post a bit of a survey post to show some of the many options when homeschooling.
Beginning with the most well known version of homeschooling is the Stay at Home approach. This approach in and of itself has many different versions although the most common is when kids learn at home and are taught by one or both parents.
In Real-Life Homeschooling: the Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home by Rhonda Barfield many different methods of homeschooling are explained by the real life families who do them. Many people have an idea in their heads that all homeschoolers do (if they are taught at all) is sit and do worksheets all day. While worksheets might play a part in some homeschooling programs, they are actually not very typical. Most homeschoolers get a very hands on approach to learning complete with educational field trips and instruction in home arts skills. Often homeschooling parents are very capable and good instructors. They have good days and bad days–just like teachers in a public school. When a homeschooling parent is not strong in a certain academic subject and other family members aren’t able to fill in the gap, sometimes they will join Cooperative Home Schools.
In the cooperative homeschooling approach parents may formerly join other homeschoolers and/or organizations. Some cooperative homeschoolers are organized informally because the homeschooling families know and trust each other. Each co-op looks and functions differently. Sometimes homeschooling parents will teach different subjects which may be set up by the day of the week. For instance if one parent is very strong in Math and another is stronger in Language Arts, they may trade kids for a day and teach their particular subject to ensure that the kids are taught well. This isn’t all that different than changing class periods and teachers in a public school. One advantage to setting up a curriculum where students learn math skills on a Monday is that there is more time to explore and practice a particular subject. A more hands on approach can be utilized without time restrictions which allows children to work and learn at their own pace. Some parents using this approach may set it up differently where Math is half a day twice a week or whatever works in their particular situation(s). The possibilities are endless.
In addition to the two approaches listed above, now there are also Hybrid Home Schools. This approach amounts to part time homeschooling. In this approach students may attend an actual school (often a private one) a few days a week and learn at home the rest of the week. This approach has also been called the Collegiate Model since the schedule will resemble a college student’s schedule.
I have also heard of some newer versions of homeschooling which I believe would fall into a hybrid description. In this approach a small amount of homeschoolers (maybe 3 or 4 students from different families) are taken to another home, usually another homeschooling family. They maintain fairly regular school hours but are instructed in small groups by the homeschooling parent(s) who reside there. A fee is charged (similar to private schools) to take on these extra students, but all the benefits of homeschooling are maintained. Though there are regular hours there is heightened flexibility in scheduling to accommodate family schedules, doctor’s appointments, and the like.
Although I’m sure all of us could think of a few exceptions, usually homeschooling families are quite dedicated and organized. In my read through of the Fulton County Public Library, I came across many resources and suggestions for homeschool organization, including how to keep academic records and create transcripts for college entry. Since I can’t go into all of this in depth, I will just show a few of the (many) books that I checked out on this topic.
The cost of home schooling ranges from free to quite expensive. Many families strive for the free range while still providing quality education. For those interested, the following book would be a good place to start your research.
Another book worth checking out is The Well-Adjusted Child: the Social Benefits of Homeschooling by Rachel Gathercole.
Homeschooling families are often accused of neglecting the social development of their children by keeping them isolated. This has been changing quite a bit in the last several years. Homeschoolers are now much more conscientious about providing socialization activities.
Homeschooling laws may vary from state to state. According to the A -to-Z Homeschooling site, in Indiana all you have to do is start homeschooling. There aren’t a lot (if any) forms to fill out. There are, however, some guidelines for parents which are recommended by the Indiana Department of Education. If interested in homeschooling, be sure to check the laws of your own state. Some states require the supervision of homeschoolers by a licensed teacher.
Do you know anyone who is homeschooling? Is homeschooling something that you would be interested in? What is your opinion of homeschooling?