Q: Why do you homeschool?
There are a variety of reasons one may choose to homeschool. Often there are multiple reasons for any family to choose to homeschool their children. The following are some of the many reasons commonly given for homeschooling their children. These are in no particular order.
- I want to spend more time with my children.
- My spouse works out of town or is gone during normal school scheduled days. Homeschooling allows our family the freedom to do school work on the days that work best for our family and allow us more time together as a family.
- My child is struggling / excelling in school. I believe I can give them the help / challenge that they need to be his most successful self.
- My child’s interests are more artistic and creative. There are few creative arts options available in public schools. I would like my child to focus on her giftedness.
- My child has been diagnosed with ADD / ADHD. The school wants me to put my child on medications. I would rather help my child work through this than put them on medications with severe known side effects. (Or perhaps the medications have been tried and one’s child already had severe side effects from him.)
- My child has a disability (physical or learning). I would like to work with my child at home to help focus on her strengths and help build her confidence and capability in the areas in which she is weaker. Or my child’s disability was causing her to struggle emotionally due to ridicule by other students.
- I do not approve of the type of “socialization” that goes on at schools. I want my children to be respectful to adults. I want my children to dress modestly rather than provocatively.
- I am very concerned about the progressive mindset in schools today and the misinformation and disinformation being given to students. I would prefer to give them a more balanced point of view.
- I want my children to grow up strong in their faith. To do that, my child needs a strong foundation in the Bible and a Bible-based curriculum.
Q: What about socialization?
There are positive and negative types of “socialization.” If you mean, “Will my child feel awkward and shy around other children and adults?” “Will they be confident and able to communicate and carry themselves well?” For the vast majority of homeschooled students, the answers to those questions is a resounding, “Yes!” For students who do not do well in social situations, putting them in a public school will only exacerbate the problem for them in most cases due to teasing. They may wind up even more in their shell in those situations.
Most homeschooled children interact with their siblings and their parents. That means that if you expect them to be kind to one another and respect you as parents and other adults, they will learn to do so. They will learn to speak appropriately to adults because they are interacting with adults (you) on an ongoing basis.
Not only this, but if you have more than one child being homeschooled, the older child can help you by helping to tutor or mentor your younger children, or even keep very little ones entertained for a bit while you prepare a meal or help another child with an area in which they are struggling. This develops strong relational bonds between the children. The older children can also help sympathize with a younger sibling who may struggle in an area similar to themselves. That is a huge blessing to have an older sibling who can cheer a younger one up and let her know that she will get it and she will do fine, just keep doing her best and it will come to her in due time. He knows this because he struggled, too, but he was able to learn the material. No matter how many times Mom says the same things, sometimes hearing that affirming message from an older sibling makes all the difference. In the homeschool community, even if you are just starting to homeschool your oldest child or your only child, other homeschoolers can offer the same message of hope and encouragement.
These are opportunities for developing leadership skills in your older children at home. They help reinforce what the older children have already learned. They learn how to teach others and share information. They also get to practice good parenting skills and may even grow to have sympathy for you when they see younger siblings misbehave in a way that he outgrew, but understands now why you had to correct his behavior when he was younger. The younger children benefit because they see how to treat one another with respect and can even help with their nieces and nephews, if given the opportunity, and continue the process of developing leadership skills in the home.
Next, most homeschooled children are active in a variety of different extracurricular activities. Sometimes that can be an issue unto itself due to all the travel time and commitments of so very many opportunities available for interacting with others in their age group with similar interests.
- There are sports activities such as baseball, basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, swimming, dance, and more. Most of these are available for younger students in Clifton and surrounding communities, but there are opportunities for the the others in Waco through various channels, including a newly-started homeschool athletic team for middle and high school students.
- A plethora of activities can be enjoyed through 4-H. It’s not just “sows, cows, and plows.” They offer photography, plant identification and range management, junior master gardeners, shooting sports including archery and .22 rifle competition training, fashion show, consumer decision making, food science, plus showing animals for those who want to do so. Each of these offers leadership opportunities, as well. The students also learn Robert’s Rules of Order for conducting meetings. They do all this while learning new things, having fun, and making new friends. Oh, and by the way, there are a large variety of scholarship opportunities available through 4-H.
- Scouting activities through various organizations are also options for students to learn new skills, make new friends, and have leadership opportunities. Several BACH families have come together to offer a Quest club program for families with children of all ages.
As for the negative types of socialization, there are many and public schools tend to have those in abundance: students wearing immodest clothing, obsessing over weight and appearance, teasing, mocking, disrespecting adults, scapegoating, etc. Some also use public school classes as a way to fly under the radar by not answering questions and relying on peers to do so for them. They are not required to step up and out away from their comfort zone because others will step up instead.
What types of socialization do you prefer?
Q: How do you get “accredited”?
Homeschools are not “accredited.” Only schools are accredited by organizations. There are even universities that are not accredited. Some because they are so poorly run, but many others because they choose not to pay the fees and such to receive “accreditation.” Additionally, there are various accrediting agencies throughout the United States. One university’s accreditation with one agency may not transfer to another school that was accredited through a different group, for example.
One does not need to be “accredited” to teach one’s own children or even to have them graduate. Yes, homeschoolers DO graduate from homeschool. There are some who choose to get a GED, but most get actual transcripts from their parent’s record keeping, including ACT and / or SAT exam scores. Yes, we even have diplomas that can be provided.
Important note: A diploma is not what is important for graduation. The transcript is. A diploma is a piece of paper that one can hang on a wall. The transcript is used for college entrance, certain job applications or business licensing agencies, and so forth.
Q: What are the requirements to homeschool in Texas?
If your child has never entered the public school system. You may just begin homeschooling your children when they are ready to begin school. You do not need to send a letter of notification to the school district in which you live or any other authority. You may choose to have a letter that you keep on file in your home that asserts that you homeschool your children with an effective start date.
If you currently have a child in public school, you will need to write a letter to the school’s principal to let him or her know that you will be pulling your child out of public school on a given date and that you will be homeschooling your child. You may receive a call asking if you are in fact homeschooling your child(ren). This is because some schools in Texas have chosen to show that students who dropped out of school were “homeschooled” rather than have their drop-out rate increase.
You should NOT have repeated calls from the school district, visits from a truant officer or any other school representative, police officer, or child protective services regarding your decision to homeschool your child(ren). If this happens, do not let them into your home without a warrant and contact your homeschool legal defense team immediately. Explain the situation and they will ask you to hand the phone to the person who is there and they should leave after speaking to your legal counsel.
You are NOT required to go to the school to sign special forms or meet with the principal or other administrators at the school in person. If they tell you that is required, it is not. You are NOT required to show any person in the school district your curriculum or turn in any grades, test scores, samples of school work or any other reporting material in the state of Texas.
Q: Do I have to turn in reports to the school district?
No, you do not have to do any state mandated tests, turn in samples of schoolwork, or any other type of reporting to the school in the state of Texas.
Q: What curriculum do I use?
The type of curriculum (or curricula) you choose to use depends on a variety of factors:
- What type of teacher are you and what are your goals for your homeschoolers?
- What type of learner(s) are your children. Be aware that what works for one may not work for other children in your family. It is nobody’s fault. Each child is gifted in different ways. By learning how your child learns, you have the ability that no public school does. You can choose to educate your children in the way that works best for each child and yourself.
Q: Where do I find curriculum?
If you are just starting homeschooling, I highly recommend going to a book fair in your area. In the North Texas area, there are two in particular. In May, the Friday and Saturday before Mother’s Day, is the Texas Home School Coalition Convention and Book Fair in Arlington at the Arlington Convention Center. Another occurs in August in Plano, Texas. It is the North Texas Home Educators Network book fair and conference. Go to their web site for dates and information.