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Homeschool Questions & Answers

People often write and ask me questions about homeschooling. Below I've answered some of those questions.



Homeschool Questions and Answers



Hopefully you've already read the article on the home page. It was designed to answer several common questions about homeschooling.

Be sure to also consult the information on Takara's Homeschool Tips, Advice, and Ideas for a Better Education.


Where do I start? I'm thinking about homeschooling. Now what?

1. Understand the law. The first thing you must do when considering homeschooling your child(ren) is find out what the laws are in your state.

This step is critical. Every state has a law about children being educated. If you plan to do the job yourself, you have to dot the i's and cross the t's the proper way, or you could get in unnecessary hot water.

Don't worry. In most places it is very clear what to do. Usually a simple form must be filled out. Often it can be done online.

2. Join a group. Find some local homeschool groups and join their mailing lists. Then ask online what you need to do to get started.

If the law in your state offers multiple options, then talk to the group before you send in any paperwork or fill out any forms.

3. Determine your method. Decide how you plan to educate. Will you use an all includive curriculum? Will you unschool? Will you enroll your child in local classes? Will you use an online program? When, where, and how need to be figured out.

You don't really need to sweat this too much. As you get used to it, you will probably change your methods over time.

Having said that, you might consider not choosing an expensive all inclusive program until you've spent some time teaching your child(ren) and figured out their learning style. A curriculum may be great with tons of endorsements from other parents. But if it doesn't work to your child's strengths and primary learning style, then you will be wasting a great deal of money and causing huge frustration for yourself and your child.

4. Fill out the appopriate paperwork, turn it in, and get started.

5. Keep updated with the current law. States change the rules from time to time. Make sure you stay up to date and in compliance.


How will my child get a high school diploma?

There are several ways actually.

1. Some homeschool correspondence programs are accredited and offer a diploma upon graduation.

2. Many homeschool students attend community college. In New Mexico students could enroll as early as age 12. In Virginia, I believe it is 14 or 15. Check with your local community college for details. Many community colleges offer GED prep classes, sometimes for free. After passing the GED exam, they receive the General Education Diploma.

3. You can create your own. There are some very good recommendations here: http://www.hslda.org/highschool/faq.asp#D9


If homeschooling doesn't work out for us, can my child return to public school?

Many homeschool students are educated at home for their elementary education. Then some time during middle or high school they enter the public school system or attend a private school.

Other students start in public school, home school for awhile, and then return to public school.

Sometimes a homeschool child will want to attend public school and they will do so for a year, just for the experience.

Just check with your state on how to enroll your child in public school.


If I homeschool my child, can they get into college?

Many home educated students go on to community colleges, 4-year universities, and other institutions of higher learning.

Read the article on the home page of this website to read what Stanford University thinks about homeschooling.


How far in advance and how much detail do kids need concerning the schedule?

People need different things and sometimes it's not obvious what it is they need until you talk about it further.

One thing I do know, though, is that there are basically 2 kinds of people. According to DISC, a personality profiling exam used often for work groups, there are 4. But I lump them into 2 when I'm trying to help people understand the other people they are working with.

After a team I was facilitating went through their DISC exams and training, I'd go over it in more detail back at the plant. I'd give them this scenario I made up to drive home the point. This is what I'd say:

"Let's pretend that it's 2:30 p.m. on a Friday. I'm holding in my hands some free tickets to Jamaica ~ or some other exotic location that is "hot" right now for vacationing ~ all expanses paid. Here is the deal. You have between now and 5 p.m. to get what you need and meet me at the airport. Who will be there?"

Several hands would typically fly up into the air. And then everyone in the room starts looking very strangely at one another. Why?

Because everyone thinks the other people are nuts.

People like me would absolutely be there. A free trip to Jamaica, you bet, no hesitation. And there would be several others who would also absolutely be there. You see those people are spontaneous. They live in the moment. They adapt to change. They need little supervision. They get bored easily. And they hate repetition.

But there is this whole other group of people that would never in a million years even consider such a thing. There are too many things to think about, too many details to put in order. They would not even be tempted to go. They are great at details and prefer repetition and a "routine" of some kind. And for the most part those people need structure. They need a plan.

In a corporate environment, I would tell supervisors and managers that the first group just needs a little bit of direction and they can run with a change. But they need to give those people in the second group about 2 weeks notice before they want some "change" to be implemented. That way the person can think about it, ask questions, and slowly and comfortably adapt to the change.

At my house, I'm the one who is spontaneous. My son likes to know what is going to happen. He isn't an extreme case, he just needs to know more than I do. So we are spontaneous and adapting inside a bigger structure.

What I mean is I've put together a weekly schedule that includes the broad topics we are covering and when, as well as all the things that happen weekly like classes with others, park days, even the typical times he is open to hang out with friends. These are just big chunks of time with the topic listed.

I have this on my google calendar and it is color coded. A certain color for our classes. Red for events we have signed up for or I have paid for. Green for events we are invited to attend, but are not obligated to attend like park days. I pull it up all the time to stay on track. I also have it printed and put inside of our homeschool notebook where I keep track of what we are doing and my favorite resources online.

These are the things we are trying to accomplish each week. The red things have to be done. The green things we try to do as many as possible. Our at home classes are flexible. If we have to move something around because I'm on a phone call or he is skyping with his dad, it's O.K. if we miss the time. But we will make it up some other time during the week. And we both know that.

If I had more than 1 kid, I would probably use one of those pin up boards that is half pin up board and half write on wipe off. I would post the weekly schedule on the pin up part and hand write on the other side any unusual events that are not on the recurring weekly schedule like a doctors visit, along with the time we need to leave for it. Then everyone is on the same page and those who need to know about things before they happen have that opportunity.

Those are my thoughts. Hope they are helpful.

Takara (Deb)


How can I get access to Google Calendar to use it for organizing as you mentioned above?

All you need is a gmail account and the calendar is just a link at the top of the page. It doesn't cost anything. You don't even have to use the gmail email. Just google sign up for gmail and the rest is very simple. I have tons of gmail accounts - helps me keep business, homeschool, and other parts of my life separated and orderly. There is also a tasks section that is a way to have a running to do list. And the contact list is a wonderful way to always have access to everyone you call or email or write. I really like having my email and contacts online. I can access them from either my desktop, my laptop, or my Blackberry. It has made my life much easier. The calendar is very easy to use and you can color code it if you want to. You can even have multiple calendars if you want.

Hope that was helpful,
Takara (Deb)



Visit These Pages for Homeschool Help in Other Topics

Additional Homeschool Resources

General education and resources that assist with multiple subjects

Homeschool Geography

Homeschool History

Homeschool Math

Homeschool Science

Video Learning for Homeschool



Feel free to suggest a link - email takara@homeschoolsantafe.com


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