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When someone asks you about pulling kids out/HSing...

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...what do you tell them research?


We started out doing this so I don't know what all is going through your head to prep for pulling them out and the different world of HSing.


Here's my list, add to it!


*Check state laws.

*Deschool for a bit while you get your footing. Homeschooling does NOT have to look anything like "school" or even "school at home."

*Start with a read aloud and a good daily routine. When that's good, add in one subject at a time.

*Check the library for homeschooling books.

*Join the WTM forums!



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Sadly, I no longer offer advice or help. I know that sounds cold, but I found that most of the people that asked were looking for hand holding. They wanted my phone number so they could call me constantly, "How do I teach this? How do I teach that? Can I bring Susie or Jonnie to your house for free to be tutored in X since you already do it anyway?" etc. I was going crazy dealing with the inappropriate requests for assistance.


So, now if someone says, "I want to homeschool, what do I do?" I say, "Well, just go to the internet. There are lots of online resources you can access to help you get started or buy a book." Then I smile and end the conversation.


From your list, I would take the deschool advice off there. That works well for some and not for others. Only give very general "here is where you find out about X" advice. Otherwise, they can come to the forum where things are pretty anonymous so we don't care a lick about how stridently we voice our opinions! :D



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Honestly? I never give advice. I don't think anyone has ever asked me to outline the process step-by-step, but the only thing I've ever done is to say that I have been very happy homeschooling and that it worked for us.


I also don't point people to this forum :tongue_smilie:. I don't want to encourage someone to follow me around on here. I like thinking I'm anonymous, even though I'm totally not and anyone who knows me IRL can easily discover me here if they try.

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First, I don't recommend de-schooling to anyone. Instead I suggest they start with a light load that just covers the 3Rs, let the other areas be interest led, and get more structured with those after they have their feet under them. I suggest finding individual programs they like for math and the parts of language arts they are most concerned with. I suggest reading TWTM for suggestions for resources, and also visiting my favorite online curriculum store and browsing through what they offer for various subjects, and looking at the samples, to get ideas about what they like and don't like.

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I tell them to look at their state laws, and I suggest they read anything and everything they can about educating at home. I especially suggest something like the Clarksons' Educating the Wholehearted Child, because it has a good overview of a lot of different styles. I tell people that after a while, they'll start seeing some of the same names, terms, etc. over and over, and they'll start nodding along with some of them. Then they can read more in depth about those specific topics.


If they're in my area and have questions, I answer the best I can, to a degree, but I generally direct them to my evaluator.

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This scenario has occurred for me a few times now:


1. Someone asks for 'help' with homeschooling.


2. I type out a HUGE email with information, links, etc.


3. Said person does not respond or even say thanks


4. I later find out via Facebook or someone else that said person has decided to put kid in public school/enroll in a charter/change kid to another school/etc. etc. etc.


5. I am miffed because they wasted my time.


SO. . . in the future, when this happens, I will give vague information, direct them to some preliminary resources and tell them to contact me if/when they have further questions.

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I don't typically give advice to strangers either...but this is my SIL. She is asking so I'd thought I'd pull together some resources.


If it was a SIL or sibling, I would recommend they understand the laws in their state. If they lived in MD, I would give them the name of the umbrella I use. If they wanted to know what I specifically use for any subject, I would tell them the name of the resource and briefly why I like it. Lastly, I would tell them there are millions of resources on-line they could research. This is how I learned about hsing. I did not have one friend or relative who homeschooled when I began. I vaguely knew two ladies at church who homeschooled, but I got most of my info and formed most of my philosophy from the web.


Personally, I'm not a big believer in "deschooling." I think the more clearly you establish a routine, the better; kids who have been in school should not think the new program is that they just play their DSis for five hours and read "Harold and the Purple Crayon" before bed. YMMV, of course.

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When people say they're considering homeschooling and specifically ask if I have thoughts or resources, I generally tell them to read The Well-Trained Mind and either The Unschooling Handbook or Free-Range Learning. Get the wide picture, you know? I also will suggest resources like games or books if they ask.


The question I get more often is from people who are interested in afterschooling - but don't even necessarily know that's a thing. They just aren't completely happy with their child's school and know they want to supplement with something and know homeschoolers know the sort of educational fun and supplemental things out there. I've had that question from friends in my wider circle a few times now.

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Well, I haven't had anyone ask me advice IRL, but when I was looking at homeschooling, a friend let me browse through her materials, explained different things she had done through the years, and generally, was a great sounding board for my concerns. I didn't use ANY of her favorite materials, but holding those items in my hand really helped me solidify my path.


Here's my list, add to it!

*Check state laws.

This would be the first priority and depending on the friend, I might send a link to a website.

*Deschool for a bit while you get your footing. Homeschooling does NOT have to look anything like "school" or even "school at home."

I think deschooling is important, but like others said, I wouldn't stop education completely. I would focus on the 3 Rs and make sure it gets done every day while encouraging interest-led books, documentaries, and activities.

*Start with a read aloud and a good daily routine. When that's good, add in one subject at a time.

This coupled with deschooling as outlined above.

*Check the library for homeschooling books.

Yes! Check out as many library books as you can, especially the WTM. I also liked "Day in the Life" books, plus biographies by veteran homeschoolers. I recommend books on pedagogy and public education. These are great resources for building up a bank of teacher skills. Buy the book(s) you find most helpful. I read through the WTM when planning for the next year.

*Join the WTM forums!

I wouldn't mention the forums. No one IRL (other than my DH) knows I'm on this forum. I like it that way!

* Schedule field trips

Our first year, I didn't take many field trips and I really regret that. This year, we school 4 days a week and on the fifth day, I do my best to schedule a field trip. We've done park days, homeschool get-togethers, museums, aquariums, etc. DH was supportive of getting a membership to a few museums, which, through reciprocal agreements, has let us visit other attractions when we travel. However, if we didn't have the funds, I would find as many free activities as I can. If we've slacked a bit on school, I use the extra day to get caught up.

* Support your child's interests

Outside of the 3Rs, I've encouraged my kids to find an interest. DS was wild about catastrophes for awhile, so he read up on tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and hurricanes, learning bits of earth science along the way. DD is biology-focused so I've read books to her on organisms ranging from cockroaches to elephants. Before they can check out free-reading books at the library, they are required to research and find books on an interest. This has helped build their research skills as well as enhanced their education.

* Find the Comfort Zone, for you and your children

No two homeschoolers educate exactly alike. The process can change from year to year, child to child. Don't be afraid to try different things, but...

* Don't switch curriculum too quickly

Before dropping a program mid-year, try to adapt it. Don't let the materials dictate your homeschool style. I think this is particularly important for math.

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I assess how serious they are first. Plenty of people have asked me over the years who are upset with their kid's teacher and haven't taken any steps to work out the problem. Usually homeschooling at that point is just a thought, not an intention.


If they are serious, I suggest that they join a state organization and a local group for the first year or two at least. And I outline basically how we've homeschooled over the years and point out that it is certainly possible and reasonable to do. So many have no idea where to buy materials, get help for harder subjects, etc.


And I give them my email with the caveat that I work and homeschool, so sometimes I'm slow replying.


Only once in years has anyone emailed me, and we went back-and-forth for awhile until her husband decided that she had to go back to work full-time.


The reality is that a lot more people talk about homeschooling than those who actually end up doing it.

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I don't typically give advice to strangers either...but this is my SIL.


See if your brother is on board first (I'm assuming SIL is brother's wife). Quite a few of our neighbours has asked about homeschooling but either spouse is not on board. So the children end up in either private school, charter school or after schooled.

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The reality is that a lot more people talk about homeschooling than those who actually end up doing it.


But I guess I don't understand what's the harm in saying, well, here's a couple of books I would recommend, here's a couple of things you need to know. If you really make the leap, we should talk more. If someone doesn't end up homeschooling, so what? I don't feel like I've wasted a huge amount of time. A friend asked a question. I answered. Isn't that just polite? Maybe I've helped someone make a better decision not too.

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See if your brother is on board first (I'm assuming SIL is brother's wife). Quite a few of our neighbours has asked about homeschooling but either spouse is not on board. So the children end up in either private school, charter school or after schooled.


If someone asks me about homeschooling, I'm not going to seek their spouse's permission to talk about it. It's perfectly normal that someone might ask for information before making a final decision.


I guess I don't understand the big deal about helping someone out and then having them make a different choice.

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I've done several workshops at my house and am currently developing them for future homeschool conventions on this topic. This is only a sampler or orientation. They are responsible for doing their own research.


First, I try to get them and their spouse to articulate to each other WHY they are considering homeschooling in the first place. I want them to clarify what they do and don't want using a familiar template-their own education. Then I get them to compare that to the options available. If they don't, then curriculum selection is nothing more than a crap shoot.

Analyzing Your Education


1. List/discuss the parts of your education that were useful and/or important to preparing your for life as an adult.


2. List/discuss the parts if your education that were not useful and/or important to preparing your for life as an adult.


3. List/discuss anything you think should have been included in your education to prepare you for life as an adult, but was not.


4. List/discuss the parts of your education that were detrimental to preparing your for life as an adult.


5. Summarize what you think an ideal education is that prepares a child for life as an adult.





Then, I give them this rough, bird's eye view of the different ways people homeschool. (These categories and definitions are not set in stone.) I explain most people mix approaches, so they should focus on eliminating any that are clearly not what they want. That way, they only have to research approaches and curriculum that fall into usually 1-3 categories. It saves time, energy and money in the long run.




Eight Different Approaches to Education in the Homeschool Community

Most homeschoolers use a combination of two or more of these approaches. Homeschooling is inherently flexible, so these approaches can be adapted and modified in any way the parent chooses. This is a bird's eye view making very broad generalizations. Curriculum that falls into each category is listed. These are not exhaustive lists.



===Traditional School Approach ===

Typically uses prepackaged curriculum with a Scope and Sequence educational philosophy. Their daily and yearly schedules usually follow the 6 hour days of institutional settings and a 180 day school year with the summer off, but many allow their children to work at their own pace and finish early. Grading systems like those used in traditional school settings are the norm and aged grades mimic schools. Textbooks and workbooks are their primary texts. Fill in the blank and multiple choice answers are characteristic of this crowd. Children are generally taught the same information around the same age and proceed along the same path, although some may do so faster or slower.


Think institutional school.




Alpha Omega


Christian Liberty Press



=== Unschooling Approaches A and B===

This is a broad term that applies to two distinct groups.


Group A


Generally believes children are wired for learning, and their job as teachers is to avoid interfering with the learning process. Their job is also to provide access to learning (books, lab equipment, etc.) guided by the child’s interests. They do not necessarily think children need to be “taught†outside of answering a child's questions. Real life, hands-on projects and applied learning experiences are strongly preferred to other methods of instruction. Some will allow children to take classes of interest in an institutional setting-usually college.


Think Thomas Edison and John Holt.


Christian Unschooling (website)

Learning without Schooling Magazine

John Holt’s Books

Free Child Project (lots of links and resources)



Group B


These parents design every learning experience to answer the question, “When am I going to use this in real life?†by actually using almost exclusively real life, hands on, applied situations and projects. Only the real world here. They tend to be systematic and adult directed but are very careful to take additional time to follow a child’s interests some too.


No known packaged curriculum, websites, or magazines that address only this approach to homeschooling.



===Unit Study Approach ===

Typically these people integrate studies based on an era, historical event, person, character trait, technological development, or historical person. For example, if the Depression is the core of the unit study, Math (if possible), Literature, Science (if possible), History, Economics, and Writing will hinge on different elements of the Great Depression. This gives the student a multidimensional understanding. Each child in the family is given different assignments based on ability, but all study the same core theme.


Learning through History Magazine


Let the Author’s Speak

Timetables of History


===Living Books Approach ===

Only the best literature and writings on each subject are used. Think of it this way, instead of reading from a distilled over simplified textbook on the Civil War, these parents have their students read several of the books about the Civil War that an author of a textbook would read preparing to write the textbook. Now, think of doing that for Science, History, Economics, Literature, Art, etc. This crowd is also known for

nature studies, narration, and dictation.


Charlotte Mason

Karen Andreola

My Father’s World


Greenleaf Press

Let The Author’s Speak

Robinson’s Curriculum



===Classical Education===

Classical education has at least three distinct camps. They can be integrated as much as the parent prefers. They all have a strong preference for first source materials and use primarily Western Classics (Also called the Western Canon, or the Common Book of the Western World.) Some can include the study of "dead" languages (Hebrew, Classical or Biblical Greek, and Latin) although some are content with good English translations of Classic works while others opt for studies of Latin and Greek Roots in English.


Group A


Characterized by the Trivium. The 3 stages have many terms:



  • Stage 1 Grammar (facts)
  • Stage 2 Logic (cause and effect) All stages of formal Logic inductive, deductive, material, etc.
  • Stage 3 Rhetoric (application and persuasion) Formal argumentation is studied.


Formal Logic and Rhetoric are studied specifically. History is usually studied chronologically. Logic is studied formally, and Science is studied with experimentation, biographies, and original writings of the greatest minds. Classic works from masters throughout Western Civilization in all eras are studied. Some integrate History, Geography, Science and Literature into a more unit study approach.


Think Dorothy Sayers.


Tapestry of Grace

Classical Conversations

Memoria Press

Veritas Press

Teaching the Trivium

The Well Trained Mind


Group B


Characterized by the Mentor Model and sometimes called a "Statesmen" education. Morals, virtue, and character are emphasized above all.



  • In the early years children are allowed to follow their interests and learn good moral character while developing a strong work ethic.
  • The middle years are when the parent begins inspiring students by reading classic works by the best minds on the subjects and entering into apprenticeship situations with masters of certain skills.
  • The later years the students are mentored in apprenticeships in entrepreneurial situations for their future leadership roles and professional pursuits.


Think Thomas Jefferson.


A Thomas Jefferson education by DeMille

A Thomas Jefferson Companion


Group C


Also known as the Principle Approach. This is a method often attributed to how many of the Founders were educated.



  • Research the topic by looking up ideas


a. first source materials (original writings, documents, autobiographies, first hand historical accounts, etc.)


b. look up terms in dictionary (keeping in mind dictionaries that are specific to the era)


c. look up terms in your sacred writings or other sources related to your beliefs (Christians-Bible)



  • Reason through the material looking for the underlying principles.



  • Relate the information you have found through research and reason and apply it to your life.



  • Record your findings in a logical, systematic, and persuasive format.


Think James Madison.

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I was once asked. And after I spent a few hours over the course of a couple days writing up a very informed and thoughtful email she said, "thanks, but I just couldn't be around them all day."


Her kid was suffering from horrible allergies, rashes, and emotional upset from it at school.


I don't say much anymore beyond "Oh I know of a couple good books."

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First, ask her why she wants to homeschool. Are her reasons legitimate, or does the grass just look greener? State laws second. Then spend some time researching different methods, curriculum, etc. BEFORE she pulls them out of ps. Tell her to read The Well Trained Mind, but I would also recommend Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks, simply because she can learn what style might work best for her dc and/or her. I would also have her look into Charlotte Mason. She might also want to only start homeschooling one, if one child is struggling more than the others. I wouldn't de-school either, as it sets up bad habits, but maybe go w/ math and a unit study of some sort depending on the age of her dc.

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Strangers: I recommend TWTM and the forums.


Family and friends: The same, but with more hand holding. I have walked through this long distance with a cousin, dear friend, and now SIL. For all, I have started threads about the area they are from and then linked them to the thread. They can read it as is...or join for more support.


Local friends are welcome to come over, peruse shelves and see how we do a day of school.

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Well, I've never had strangers ask, but I have sat down with about half a dozen different friends who were trying to decide whether or not to homeschool. In each case, I gave them a list of questions and things to consider in advance, and then we sat down and talked. I don't advise anyone one way or another, but help them think through their particular situation and what the pros and cons of homeschooling would be for THEIR family temperaments and situation.


Things I suggest to families as a start:


- Pray about it

- Read about homeschooling -- check out a few books from the library

- Determine your goal(s) first -- why are you considering homeschooling

- Visit a homeschooling group, talk with other homeschoolers

- Possibly look at some curriculum, and at vendor catalogs and websites

- Surprise! Homeschool is not just about academics — but about growing character in YOU (and your children) -- are you ready/willing for that to occur?


Only after they have done some of that advance research and indicate they are still interested do I then get down to specifics with them:

- state laws

- required subjects

- educational philosophies / curriculum choices

- what to expect

- etc.


I'm happy to help, but notice, I am a question-asker to help THEM think it through. I say things like: "some things you'll want to consider...", or, "as you make your pro and con list..." If someone is not interested in putting in the work of researching a big decision like this, I am very leery of getting involved. But I never mind pointing them in the direction of where to get information. Lots of times on this board I write out long, informative, time-consuming posts with links, and... kill the thread. LOL. I don't take it personally; I just assume they came to some other conclusion. And my time wasn't wasted -- I can always cut and paste in the future for someone else. ;)

Edited by Lori D.
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My name and contact information is listed online in several places as I am a local leader. I receive 3-5 calls a week right now, more just before and after school breaks (or report cards). I first refer them to the state level support group for general information and questions about laws, requirements, and how to begin. The state group will send them a great informational packet for free and answer all their questions - by a staff that is paid to do it. I let them know if they are still interested and want more information about local groups and activities, or about different curriculums, to call me back then and I will be happy to help them make connections that way. Otherwise, I don't give lots of information anymore. For one, I don't always have the time. Two, what it gets down to for many people is 'how cheaply can I do this?". Out of the last 50 or so calls I have taken, only 3 have decided to homeschool and 1 was a veteran homeschooler moving to our area.

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