How To Make A Decision About Homeschooling

It is that time of year…the time when parents start to think about homeschooling!  Contracts may be due back at private school, or you may be interested in not sending your child to school next year.  You have thought about homeschooling, read some things on the Internet, but you are still deciding.

I am very pro-homeschooling.  Specifically,  I am very pro Waldorf homeschooling, bur  this is directed toward anyone investigating homeschooling, no matter what method they intend to use (although you may see my leanings come out here and there, LOL!)

1.  Find out the laws in your state!  Many times parents are panicked about “homeschooling” their small children, only to find out the law in their state says that compulsory schooling starts at age six or something.  You need to know the laws, how to file for homeschooling, what the requirements are and if you really need to be doing anything other than living together at all!

2.  If you don’t know what method you are going to use to homeschool, you must investigate.  Go to your library, or on-line and look at ALL the options.   Really understand what drives some of these methods if their is an underlying philosophy, and look BEYOND the Kindergarten years if you only have small children.      Homeschool is NOT about re-creating a classroom in your house (although some people do!)…There are many, many advantages to homeschooling and using the home as a learning environment – things can be much more practical and hands-on than in a classroom.  You can involve a lot of cooking, gardening, building, hands-on science.  Please do, (and this is just  my basis coming out, so fair warning), think about more than just worksheets or “school in a box” or “a math program.”  Think about human development, think about a holistic approach.

3.  Understand that if your child is coming home from school OR if you are switching homeschooling methods, it can take six months (or some estimates say two months for every month your child was in school even!) to really relax into homeschooling.  So my advice is to start SIMPLE, and to plan to time around holidays, family trips, etc.

4.  If you have very small children, consider the approach you want to take carefully and how you feel  about when and how academics  should be introduced.  How do you feel about art, music, movement, nature?  Are these things integral to you and to your child’s development?  Is your approach regarding education more a “fill them up” or “it will unfold with support”? 

5.  Start with establishing a basic rhythm to your home with mealtimes, nap times, bedtimes, outside time, working together – part of schooling at home means helping with meals, cleaning up the house, etc.  Those things are part of school and of life. 

6.  Please, please do understand that the “pre-K” through second grade phase can be pretty relaxed. Look at the standards for your state or neighboring states; skills are just being developed.  I find many parents freak out a bit with their first child (or they have a little person in Kindergarten who thinks they need to keep up with big brothers and big sisters!) and are just not relaxed at all and are much too strict and moving too fast.  Develop depth and flexibility in your teaching.  Learning should be fun!

Please add your suggestions for parents, especially for those with very small children, in the comment box; I would love to hear from you!

Many blessings,

Carrie

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10 thoughts on “How To Make A Decision About Homeschooling

  1. Hello Carrie, i have been following your blog for about 3 months now and i have to say my life has changed dramatically since. my parenting journey is so much more forfulling. i have read you posts on rhythm and now have a very good rhythm to our home and the children are so much more happier and calmer. anyway thats just one of the changes, i could go on and on.

    as your post came in to my inbox about deciding to homeschool i was actually sending an email out to a friend telling her my dreams of homeschooling but my dilema of my child firmly entrenched in a public school and loving it. i believe just because she loves it doesnt mean its good for her though. we have spoken about homeschooling and she is pretty clear she wants to keep going to school. and because she is going to school my next girl who is 4 wants to deperately go because her sister is. i feel like this is a big dilema for us. she loves her teacher at school and her friends – she is very very social. i dont know how it will be possible for me to homeschool. i have a 3 month old and hoping perhaps i will get the opportunity with atleast one child.
    any thoughts, tips?
    thankyou for your blog that has changed my life, my kids life and my relationship with my husband.

    Carissa
    Australia

  2. I would also suggest to parents who are considering making the change or getting started to get in touch with local homeschooling organizations or co-ops. Not only is talking with other parents who have been there and done that a great way to get a handle on what direction you want to go; it’s a great way to find out more about local resources and activities for homeschoolers. Also, while the internet can be a wealth of information and support, it’s always nice to have support in real life.

  3. Hi Carissa,
    My general rule is that if this child is under the teenaged years, they don’t get to pick or chose. I know some people will be aghast at that, but it is part of this view of the cycle of life through the seven year cycles. Seven is very, very little and peer orientation will be foremost in their minds. So, you have to be absolutely crystal-clear as to the fact that homeschooling is going to be the right thing for your family and for your children. You will need to plan a year to deschool, and know there will be times when she says, “This isn’t how we did it in school.” or “I don’t want to do homeschool” or whatever. She will need a plan for the social end of it (aka, a homeschooling group) …
    But the point of it is that you must be very sure in whatever you decide. If you decide to keep her in school, then you must be okay with that and be cheerful about that.:)
    Hope that helps!

  4. It took me a few years to really learn that you should not be a slave to your curriculum or even your homeschooling philosophy. You should always do what is best for your family, even if you are blazing your own trail!

  5. thankyou for your helpful comments. could you please recommend the best book you have read on steiners view of child development and the 7 year cycles please? Carissa

    • Did you see the post on which Early Years book to buy? That would help, although the seven year cycles are not always the focus…Try the Christopherus website, also Melisa Nielsen gave a podcast on this subject over at the Gnomes’ Home Radio Show. I also like Steiner’s Soul Economy…
      Blessings,
      Carrie

  6. Pingback: New To This Blog and Considering Waldorf Homeschooling For Kindergarten? « The Parenting Passageway

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