I get a lot of questions about our homeschool journey, and if I’m being completely honest- I don’t really feel like a “pro” homeschooler, so I often hesitate to write about it. The way we homeschool is a bit atypical; but then again, just about every homeschool family does things a bit differently than another, so let’s start with that!
1. There’s not really a right or wrong way to homeschool. From Classical education to Unschooling, there are so many options to consider when deciding what homeschooling could look like for you. It can be overwhelming at first, but in my experience it’s better not to overthink it. There are questionnaires you can take online that can help you narrow down your style if desired. Classical, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Unschooling or a mix of everything are all super common options. From there, you can choose any curriculum or mixture of curriculums you like, and set (or not set) a schedule that works for your household.
2. What curriculum is best? There’s a lot to consider here- your teaching style, and your child(ren)’s learning style, most importantly. Some parents prefer a neatly packed all-in-one curriculum like Abeka or The Good and The Beautiful, while others prefer to mix and match or not use a “curriculum” at all. Try things out and don’t be afraid to switch if something isn’t working; trial and error is okay! There’s really no “one size fits all”.
3. What about socialization? This question is a bit antiquated, in my opinion, but it still comes up. Homeschooling has become a lot more common than it used to be (especially after 2020) and the options for community have increased as well. From charter schools to homeschooling pods, there are plenty of resources for students and parents alike to create friendships and get support. If homeschooling is on your radar, my advice would be to reach out to local homeschool parents and join local homeschool groups on Facebook. There you can find a wealth of information on opportunities for homeschool discount days at various attractions, play dates, sports, pods, music lessons, as well ask questions and get feedback on things you’re thinking about trying.
4. Pros and cons? Perks- there is SO MUCH freedom for you to focus on your specific child’s needs, strengths, gifts, interests, family values, and schedule. We can pick up and travel wherever, whenever. If we’re having a bad day we can just call it and pick up the slack on a good day. The flexibility and individualized attention can be a great benefit. There are drawbacks as well, though. Sometimes mom 🙋🏻♀️ isn’t feeling it on a given day. We butt heads in ways a student might not with a teacher. We get less breaks from eachother. They see less of how other students might solve a problem and there is less* opportunity for team work (*dependent on how many kids you have or how involved you are in outside groups). The pros outweigh the potential cons for our family and we are always seeking balance.
5. Okay so how do WE do it, specifically? Our school aged kids are enrolled in a local charter school. This is one option for homeschoolers in CA (among other states- and some states do homeschool pods with a similar structure). It’s basically hybrid. Our kids attend on-campus classes in a regular classroom setting two days a week. We homeschool the other three. I work directly with their teachers to stay on track and we follow the same lesson plan their teachers provide for me. I adjust as needed for our family and schedule, but typically follow the outline pretty closely. Our charter is funded by the public school system, so I don’t have to pay for any of our curriculum. If you connect with a charter but decide to homeschool 100% of the time, the charter will actually give you allotted funds to pay for your curriculum of choice as well as approved extra curricular activities such as sports and museums. You would then simply meet with a teacher regularly (after each unit) to go over the lessons and check in, as well as get support in any areas you may be struggling. For us, it’s the perfect balance and works really well right now. *If you’d like information on what curriculums our charter uses, feel free to contact me directly. It sometimes changes and I do like certain things more than others!*
6. Final thoughts: If I’ve learned anything in my eight years as a mom and three years homeschooling, it’s to hold any ideas or plans I might have with open hands. I change. My kids change. The world changes. Our family dynamics change. I’m mentally prepared to pivot and change the plan as needed in each season- which brings us back to the beginning. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Don’t overthink it. If you’re interested in homeschooling but don’t know where to start, reach out to me or other homeschooling families; we’re pretty much all happy to help. It can seem overwhelming since there are so many options, but I promise you it’s less daunting than it seems. So far… it has all been totally worth it for us.
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