|A Quick Look at Your Own Experiences||8|
|How This Book Can Help You||10|
Chapter 1: Why Homeschool?
|Traditional Schooling: What, Why, and How Schools Teach||10|
|I Never Set Out to Be a Homeschooler!||15|
|Children and Young Adults in Their Own Words||19|
|Parents in Their Own Words||25|
|Sixty-Four Reasons Why We Homeschool||31|
Chapter 2: How To Homeschool: The Basics
|Answers to Common Questions||33|
|Overview of Basic Types of Curricula||41|
|Examples of Curricula We Used||44|
|Examples of Learning Without Using a Curriculum||48|
|Using the Internet for Homeschooling||53|
|Homeschooling and the Law||53|
Chapter 3: What’s Next?
|The Best Place to Start: Where You Are||56|
|Let’s Go Treasure Hunting: The Questionnaires About Your Children||59|
|Appendix A – Maxims for Parents||61|
|Appendix B – Two Favorite Quotes||62|
|Appendix C – Sources for More Information and Materials||68|
|Author’s notes and biography||74|
Sample Section: Preface
Despite all the attempts at reform and an enormous budget, students in American schools keep falling behind other countries in rankings. Socialization in some of these institutions has become so dysfunctional that many schools have resorted to installing metal detectors to protect students from one another. Teachers and students sometimes have to submit to random drug testing to deal with the problem of drugs in schools. Buildings and materials suffer for lack of funds. Underpaid teachers struggle with larger class sizes, and more intrusive government testing requirements leave little time for creative lessons. Your children’s school may be an exception, but even the best schools have their own problems.
Until recently, it seemed our only options were to struggle within the system or to send our children to expensive private schools in hopes they could do better. My intention in writing this book is to help you see other options and to help you feel empowered to choose the path that is best for your family. I am making no attempt here to sell you on homeschooling or to tell you everything there is to know about it, as that is not at all necessary or even desirable. Instead, I aim to give you a briefing on the reasons to homeschool and enough information for you to know what it involves, whether it’s something you want to try, and how you can do it. It really is easier than you think.
A decision to homeschool need not be looked at as a long-range or unalterable choice. Indeed, many parents expect to keep their children at home only for the early years of schooling for a variety of reasons which will be covered in chapter 1.
Yes, you may choose to keep your children in school. But should they continue in public or private schools, you and your children will know how to make the most of other educational opportunities available to you. Anything homeschoolers do can be done after school or on the weekends to extend the education of your children. Though I must point out that homeschooling has as much to do with an attitude toward education as it does with any particular piece of information we teach our children or any specific activity we do with them.
Also important to note is that even if you do choose to keep your children enrolled in public or private school, you will now be making an informed choice. Your child may be thriving in school now, as many do, but that could change any time. You will know that you can always homeschool if school turns out to not work for your children.
As an aside, I think the term “homeschooling” is misleading. Homeschool parents aren’t operating a school at home. Few of us stand at blackboards or use textbooks or give tedious assignments like, “Read the next chapter and answer the questions at the end.” “Home-based education” would be a more accurate term, for home is the base we venture out from. We make use of all the amenities a home has to offer, like a fully stocked kitchen with ready snacks and meals, a TV with DVDs to be had on every interest imaginable, a low computer-to-person ratio, perhaps a garden or power tools in the garage, a car to take us anywhere we want to go on the spur of the moment, and much, much more. But we also spend a lot of time outside our homes interacting with other families and with the people in our community. We can easily take advantage of any interesting, educational, or just plain fun thing going on around us whether during school hours or not.
For over twenty years, I have been doing homeschool consulting to distressed parents of children who are having problems in school. The thing that brings me the most pleasure is hearing the relief in the parents’ voices as they move from fear to confidence. It is my hope this book will do the same for you.