18 answers

Please Help! I Want to Homeschool

My son is 4 years old now and I am considering to home school him due to the lack of good schools here in Panama city, fl. I am so lost and stressed. I don't know where to go in order to start this process and what all i need to get. :-( Do you have any tips or ideas on how you started it? Is it possible to work a full time job and still homeschool him?.

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Full disclosure: I am a public school teacher. I have many family members and friends who homeschool (including more than one working for my same school system). For some, it is a true choice. Others came to do it out of desperation. Their degrees of success have varied widely from a 15 year old who is now taking CC courses to children who are years behind and may never catch up.

Things to consider:
1) Will you homeschool (approximate a school experience with distinct courses, a set curriculum, and lesson plans even if your school day/year vary from the 7 hours/180 days norm)? Or will you unschool (follow your son's lead without a predetermined plan)?
2) Do you have full support of the other parent/your partner?
3) Are you going to be able to find work that fits around your son's education or fit his education around your working hours?
4) Can you join a homeschooling coop or other association to advise you and provide a peer group for your son?

8 moms found this helpful

Homeschooling is your full time job.

5 moms found this helpful

I think the first thing to realize is that there are many, many ways to homeschool, and that for some families, one way is best, and for other families, another way is best. There's no one right answer, and as your son gets older, your methods may change. There are a few things I'd recommend. First, look up any homeschooling charter schools that may exist in your area. These are actually public schools that will pay for curriculum materials and provide a supervising teacher, and then you will be your child's "learning coach." In other words, you are doing the day-to-day teaching, but there's a master teacher you will report to, to make sure you're staying on track, and the master teacher issues the grades at the end of the semester. One that springs to mind is K12 - in your area, it's probably called Florida Virtual Academy or something similar. We started off using K12, and while the curriculum itself is very solid, it wasn't exactly right for my kids.

I ended up deciding I would rather not report to a public school while homeschooling my children, and that my kids would benefit more from a Waldorf-style education (which is very hands-on and project-based, with an emphasis on the whole child, not just prepping for standardized tests). Therefore, we decided to use Oak Meadow curriculum. I think I paid about $500 each child for an entire year's worth of curriculum/art supplies, and we have been very happy with it. (I'm sure you could find the curriculum used on Amazon or somewhere, too.) I should note that I use Life of Fred math curriculum (not Oak Meadow), and my girls LOVE it.

Like I said, there are many ways to homeschool, and none is any more valid than the next. When you're starting out, I think it's best to keep things simple and don't get too stressed out about it. Learning should be fun, and homeschooling can be a fun experience for both you and your child. I would also recommend looking up your local chapter of the HSLDA (which is a homeschooling organization) - in our area, the local chapter has get-togethers and conferences, which are usually reasonable in price, and informative.

ETA: I love the people who don't homeschool and never have, but feel the need to tell you exactly what it will be like. Umm... no. I co-own a business and I work full-time. However, I work from home, so homeschooling works for our family. I have to structure my day carefully, but it works. What people don't realize is that homeschooling kids are often able to learn all that their public school counterparts do in about half the time. At home, we don't have problems with discipline, or with trying to transition 25 kids to a different activity. We don't have anti-bullying assemblies (well, we do, but it's more like, "Be nice to your sister!"). My kids don't have to wait in a lunch line. My 6th grader usually finishes her assigned school work before lunch, and then has the rest of the day to read for fun, work on art or music, etc. It IS possible to work full-time and homeschool. Just wanted to throw that out there!

5 moms found this helpful

please understand that people who insist categorically that it's impossible to homeschool while working really mean it's impossible for THEM.
others can, and do make it work.
so please don't take the word of people who don't homeschool and are often hostile to the very concept.
that being said, working full-time while homeschooling is a big challenge, and you need to be prepared, energetic and all-in to make it work. i'm much more concerned about you feeling lost and stressed before you've even researched it than i am about your schedule. homeschooling IS a big commitment, and it's about way more than education. it's a family attitude and lifestyle, and you are going to need to be creative and flexible, with your husband right there with you, to make it work.
so in order to give you good information, you need to provide more details. what is your current work schedule, and what is your husband's? how much flexibility is built into that? is your son currently in daycare, and if so, for how long? how do you anticipate this working when you start homeschooling?
i worked part-time during my kids' entire homeschool experience. we handled it with a combination of networking with friends so that they could go to co-ops or have study days or just plain hang-out time with friends while i worked, or them bringing projects to my work with me, or them working independently at home alone when they were older (my kids were and are very responsible.) but my job was very flexible, and my kids were good about sitting at a table for a few hours at a stretch and swotting away at something. we also could bring books, snacks and gameboys so they had something to do if they finished early, or needed a brain break. not everyone has that degree of freedom in their work, or kids that relatively easy.
i suggest you google homeschool groups and co-ops in your area and meet up IRL with members and talk to them, get a feel for what's available. there's a huge difference in groups that are religion-based than secular ones. some are purely social, some very structured indeed. don't base your conclusions off an encounter with one or even three groups. think hard about what your parenting style is, what your family values are, and what you hope to get out of homeschooling.
also look up your state's laws and make sure you are in compliance. some states have very little oversight, others are quite restrictive. for example, in maryland i had the option of reporting to the board of ed with a portfolio of my kids' work for them to review (free) or using an umbrella organization and bypassing the not-homeschool-friendly BOE (anywhere from reasonable to very expensive indeed depending on the org.) i chose the portfolio option, which worked but caused me a lot of jaw-clenching moments. only you can decide if it's worth it to you.
PM me if you have questions.
ETA to the comment that homeschooling is sub-par because kids need to 'live in the world', that's exactly what most homeschoolers do. the stereotype of kids kept cloistered is laughably outdated. homeschoolers 'live in the world' far more than kids sequestered in artificial age-specific groups in choreographed 45 minute focus chunks.

4 moms found this helpful

no you cannot work full time and homeschool him.. his schooling is your full time job.

possibly if you work midnights and you could teach him during the day. and go to work on the midnight shift but I thinkyou would be exhausted...

I consider homeschool all the time.. there are lots of problems in the public schools but .. kids need to learn to live in the world and the best way to learn is to experience the world..

4 moms found this helpful

You have two years to figure it out and it's worth the research.

I homeschool and there is no WAY I could work and do an adequate job, but my oldest is in second grade and has a lot of structured academic work in addition to her music lessons and martial arts. We do Classical Homeschooling which is more time consuming than some of the other styles, but even unschoolers or cyber schoolers couldn't really swing homeschooling and full-time work I'm fairly certain. But you could supplement your son's education in the evenings if you got a hold of homeschooling materials (so many great ones available) that you felt were lacking in school. For instance, PA no longer teaches cursive, but we have handwriting books with cursive, and we could do lots of our literature and history reading in the evenings instead of daytime...there are excellent spelling workbooks and things...but honestly, on top of a full school day, supplementing seems like overkill if you aren't careful...

Anyway, kindergarten does not take too much time academics-wise, but what would your son be doing while you are at work if he's not in school? If you can solve that, you could homeschool him in just a couple hours per day at that age. My son is in kindergarten and with his daily reading, writing and math curriculums, he's done in less than two hours and the rest of the day is play and learning vicariously by listening to older sib's lessons and our adventures out and about. He's reading at a first grade level and getting good at writing and great at math, but you can only focus on it for so long in boys that age and then play is better. The work load didn't get "heavy" for us until first grade in my oldest. So you could research it and work up until your son is that age. Here is a good link describing the different homeschooling styles and how to get started. Charlotte Mason has outstanding reading lists available by grade online.

And honestly, even if your child has to go to a sub-par school, you can find a way to make sure he gets a full education within your scheduling needs. Many people have come up against that challenge and succeeded with determination. Try not to stress:


4 moms found this helpful

Lots of folks work and homeschool. Start looking for homeschool groups in your area. Local families will be your best resource.

At 4, he doesn't need school yet. Even classical approaches don't start kids till 6, so you have time.

Please do ignore all the schoolers who think it isn't possible. I know it's possible, because I know homeschoolers that work. It may require working a different shift than your spouse, but it is possible if you want it.

4 moms found this helpful

Florida is a wonderful homeschool state - I've been doing it for 7+ years. Graduated one kiddo already.

I would find a homeschool support group in your area (google "Panama City Homeschool Support"). Start attending their meetings before the year ends and you will very likely pick up some tips and meet some other moms.

FPEA (Florida Parent Educator's Assn) has their big convention in May. I would consider attending. http://fpea.com/ Lots of vendors there.

I worked part-time when my kids were younger but it was tough. That being said I've known people who make it work.

Start gathering info and you'll feel better.

It's a great lifestyle and I wish you luck!

4 moms found this helpful

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