There are a million stories in the Homeschooling Jungle — here’s mine. You may be wondering if you can do it; I’m here to tell you that you can. There’s no ONE right way. There are as many ways as your imagination. Whatever you motivation for looking into homeschooling, I’m here to help and would love to be part of your journey.
I didn’t start out thinking I would be a homeschooling mom; I didn’t really think about that at all. Of course I thought that Aaron would first go to a preschool, then would start at our local elementary school. I was really happy that we lived in what was considered one of the “best” school districts in the city. That train of thought literally imploded during our first grade year. While we didn’t yet know what was at the root of his behaviors or that he was a kid with autism (or autistic kid — I don’t really care or get caught up in the politics or emotion of whether the descriptor or the person comes first), we did know that he was not typical. Unfortunately, the principal of that school was one of the most despicable human beings that I have ever had the displeasure to cross my path. Yes, I am still bitter and yes, our whole family suffered trauma that year. I’m confident that God has not put her in my path since that time as I would likely unload an avalanche of invectives that would scorch the earth beneath her feet. And I would also insist that she call me “Dr.” Miles as we both have doctorates. She was always overly concerned with her own title, after all.
In June 2014 on the last day of school we were DONE. Fried. Burnt Toast. Completely traumatized and desperate for a change. At the darkest point in our family life we sought the light of homeschooling.
Your story may not be as dramatic as mine. It doesn’t have to be for you to consider homeschooling. I’ve talked to many moms and dads who are toying with the idea for a variety of reasons. The questions I get are mostly the same. If you’re thinking about it, here are the top three questions I get.
But I don’t have an education/teaching degree!
Me neither! And most of the homeschooling parents I know don’t either. You don’t have to create curriculum, you don’t have to learn formal classroom management, and you really don’t need to know how to employ formal or classical teaching methods. You know your child best and you also know what methods work when trying to teach them something. They may thrive on reading, they may need to see an example, they may need see it done first. They could need all three! There are so many resources you can choose from that this is the LEAST of the things you actually need to be worried about.
Do know that each state has its own requirements about how much formal education the homeschooling parent must have. In North Carolina where I am, it’s only a high school diploma. To find out what your state requires, take a look here.
But I don’t have time to sit and teach for a whole school day!
First, step back from the cliff. Most likely you won’t be doing formal instruction for hours at a time. You won’t be standing in front of 28-30 kids of all different levels and abilities trying to “teach” them the same thing about the Civil War. You have one or more kids and they will likely be working some with you, one on one, and then independently for some time. Every family’s schedule is different. With ours, we start about 10am. Aaron has a list of subjects he has to do and the lessons are largely online. He then has some independent reading and work on building his self esteem. He needs more help with writing and spelling from me than with other subjects. All told, and if he worked straight through, it would take about 2.5-3 hours. Thats it!
Now when high school rolls around we will both need to put in more time — me with record keeping and some instruction and him with time and quantity of work. In neither case would we be spending 6-8 hours a day doing anything.
But I have no idea what to teach or what he needs to know!
I didn’t either. You will be amazed at all the resources available — seriously! You can choose everything from a packaged curriculum that contains all the subjects and lesson plans (it will literally hold your hand all the way), see Sonlight, for example, to each subject a la carte. We started out with Sonlight, but have now moved to something different for everything. We use Teaching Textbooks for math, history is all over the place, and science, writing and language is online and self paced from Time for Learning.
Hopefully, I’ve eased your mind a bit. If you want to talk more, drop me a line here. I’d love to help you on your journey!