Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience #2

The following DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience are being presented in a series to allow for digestion and discussion. After homeschooling/unschooling my own children for over 22 years I've discovered what worked and what didn't work for us was universal. Feel free to add your comments and concerns or ask questions.

#2 DO read as many books, magazines and blogs as you can about homeschooling to see how other people are doing it or how they did it. Read as much as you can about your constitutional rights too. When we started homeschooling over 22 years ago there were few books about the subject of homeschooling. The first book I read was 'Teach Your Own' by John Holt. I was hooked on homeschooling after that. The best magazine at the time (and still is) was Home Education Magazine published by Helen Hegener in Tonasket, Washington. I craved every copy of this magazine and counted the days between issues. Now there is a plethora of books, magazines and blogs about homeschooling. Subscribe to as many as you can and be sure to look at my recommended reading list where you'll find books about homeschooling, as well as books about your parental and constitutional rights. Empower yourself with knowledge.

#2 DON'T let your detractors rock your homeschooling boat. This includes the main stream media that loves to tweak the movement by creating less than flattering stories about homeschoolers. I learned early on how the media is able to create jagged and inflammatory portrayals of certain segments of society. This is why I no longer grant interviews. Detractors also include school officials, legislators, social workers and law enforcement. Many of them have no idea what homeschooling is or what the homeschool laws are. Even if they did know they are quite capable of lying about both to get their way. Avoid them if at all possible...even if they're related to you.


Mrs. C said...

Yuuuup. Have you found support groups to be helpful at all? I get most of my support on the blogs, but just askin'.

Cindy Wade said...

When we first started homeschooling we tried to join or start support groups. The problem with a support group is that it can become too organized or too structured. That's when things would start to fall apart. We eventually stayed away and looked for opportunities to participate in activities as they happened. We loved the spontaneity and there was less stress. The biggest commitment we ever made to any structured setting was piano lessons. My son actually learned to read once he started playing piano. Before that he couldn't retain the ability to read but he was comparing his reading skills to his older sister who was reading on a college level at the age of 12.

Formal playgroups and support groups are mainly for the parents. Most young children are happy just hanging out with mom and dad all day. Once the child is older (8-16) they usually participate in activities that include other children their age. I enjoyed taking my children to these activities because it was a chance for the moms to chat while we were waiting. That was the extent of any 'support' group we had.

Online blogs and forums are great for support because a parent can access them at all hours or when their attention isn't needed elsewhere. I think the internet has caused the homeschooling movement to explode and it's a great way to share info and experiences quickly and on a personal level. I love how all these online moms and dads have become home education advocates. It's made my job easier.