I struggle with….
Struggles! I hear this many times over the course of the year. As a veteran homeschooler I have experienced many of the struggles others have faced and I will probably not cover most of them in this post. I will try to cover some of the popular ones and share with you my experiences pertaining to that struggle.
Are we covering enough material?
I used to beat myself up over this one many times, are we covering enough material? I would get really down about it at least once a year and Jim would always tell me we are doing more than the government schools do by far. Now, I do not compare what we do to the government school because they really spend lots of time going from class to class, getting kids settled, passing out papers, assemblies, and lots of other time robbers. The children really only do academics for about an hour and a half to two hours a day, the rest is just stuff.
We have always been a doing family, there are just some times that we had to sit down with a book and cover some ground with material but for the most part our learning was through doing and lots of it was done on the road. Did you know learning can be done on the road? There is a really cool resource that I used many times called Carschooling. There are tons of ideas and learning games that can be played while you are on the road. Living in Maine you have to travel a lot to get anywhere, those of you that live here know what I mean. 😉
In a typical day here our children would have to tend to the animals, chickens, pigs, dogs, and a bull or two in the morning and evenings. They would have to bring the wood in for the fires, we cook with wood, as well as heat with wood. These things are not what most would think of as part of learning but they really are, maybe not so much the wood hauling but it is physical fitness. In taking care of the animals they learn a lot; what to do to keep them protected from weather and predators, how to keep them happy so they don’t attack each other. We learned about biology when it came time to butcher some of them, I know it is not a subject that everyone enjoys and we certainly had a hard time with it at first but it is a part of life on a farm.
I would organize trips and classes so that the children would have groups to work with and give them that experience of working with others to think things through and be a team player. There were activities that taught this trait as well for example, summer baseball and playing in a popular blue grass band, the Abbott Hill Ramblers.
What about socialization?
Lack of socialization, in most homeschooling families, is a myth. There is more socializing going on in homeschooling families than in government schools. The socialization that is going on is not of just the peers of the student but of all ages and walks of life.
Think about it, in the real world, are all bosses your age? Are all supervisors older than the workers? No, some may have a younger boss or a younger supervisor, no where in the work force is everyone the same age. Your student may be the supervisor of a younger person or an older person, they are not going to be working with people only their age.
Homeschooled children are children longer but much more mature than the government school counterparts. It sounds like an oxi-moron but it is the truth. I have seen homeschooled teens scoop up a toddler that ran over to them and then get down on the floor, play legos with a young child; later you will see them talking to the 82 year old gentlemen and hold a very engaging conversation.
We take our children with us everywhere and they socialize, they meet people of all ages and they talk to them at their levels.They are polite and well behaved, you can spot them where ever you go.
It is very exciting to see all the upcoming graduates! Homeschoolers can make a difference in this world. I know I have said it before, they are our future leaders, Amen!
Can my child get a diploma?
Yes, you can make your own diploma or purchase one, if you are in a RAPPS like Guilford Christian Academy they may provide one for you. HSLDA sells diplomas for a small fee. Most higher education institutions will accept your diploma, your student may have to do an entrance exam but for the most part it should not be a problem.
On pet peeve of mine is if the institution requires that your student get a GED in order to attend the program, I would seek another place to attend. If all the work you put into that student does not count for anything then I wouldn’t spend my hard earned money there. There are a few that require this of anyone, so I have heard, and it is just ridiculous in my humble opinion that your student goes through all that education and they want them to get a General Education Development certificate? Really? What has this world come to?
There is so much to choose from, how do I know what will work for my child?
You are absolutely right and this is probably one of the biggest struggles for most that are just starting out. The one bit of advise I am going to give you is to stick it out for the year. When we first started I chose a curriculum and then after a few months as I was looking at other options I thought that maybe this other curriculum would work better for my child as the one I was using was not a good match for them. So I purchased another curriculum. A few months later the same thing happened and before you know it the year is over and we have only covered up to the Revolutionary War, LOL. It was not good. When you choose a curriculum stick with it for the year, supplement if you need to and add to it or adapt it but continue until the next year and then make a change.
Can I access the school for classes?
Yes you can if you file a Letter of Intent. We have some families that have some of their students enrolled in GCA and others reported through the state under the letter of intent. The ones that are enrolled with us follow our requirements and the one under the letter of intent have to have an assessment sent in at the end of the year.
We do recommend that you try to find another means to provide your student with the opportunity other than using the government school. There are many co-op classes around and adult ed classes that they can be part of.
There are many options available today that were not available when we started, lots of programs now seek out homeschoolers and set times during the day to accommodate them and alleviate struggles.
There are many more struggles.
Please share some of your struggles here, share how you have dealt with them and some encouragement for those going through it now. If you have a struggle and you do not know what to do about it, share and we will share ideas on how to overcome it.
Homeschooling is not always an easy road, there are ups and downs, we can be an encouragement to each other. In good times we love homeschooling in bad times we start thinking about other options, this is where we can make bad choices that will affect our children and family down the road. So, keep on keeping on, the time goes by so fast and before you know it you will be graduation your last student. Your children will thank you for it!