How to Home School

Updated on February 01, 2010
K.T. asks from Cary, NC
34 answers

I am actually a teacher and have spent the last 10years in the classroom. I am having second thoughts about keeping my children in public education, especially as I see my oldest ( a 4th grader) continue to struggle. I have a hard time balancing my dedication to the classroom and the needs of my husband and 3 children. I keep thinking and rethinking home schooling, or darn-it starting my own school, but I do not even know where to begin... I would love to hear experiences. The good, the bad, and the ugly!!! Is this feasable or will I lose myself amidst the demands? How do the children do socially? How do parents know all the "rules" for homeschooling? Is there a lot of red tape? HELP!!!

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So What Happened?

I want to first thank everyone for ALL of your responses. Our family has had a bump in the road, so as of now, I am still considering Homeschooling. I am still responding to many of you, but I wanted to just send a general thanks for all of the advice and honesty. I have done some "quickie" homeschool stuff over the weekend... the baby in his high chair coloring, me working with our 4 year old, and Daddy working with our 9 year old... We all had a great time. All of you that know that prayer works, keep my family in your prayers as financial woes are hitting us VERY hard, but I do beleive that GOD is in control...thanks again and I will be intouch with many of you!
"bee" blessed!

More Answers



answers from Nashville on

Hi K.,

I'm sure you are going to get a lot of passionate responses for and against homeschooling. I homeschool and love it. My children are thriving. They love learning, exploring the world around them, and building relationships with others. I have worked hard to make sure that the are critical thinkers, intrinsically motivated, and compassionate people.

However, there may be some who homeschool and probably haven't loved the experience. Same with public schooling. Some probably love it and some have hated the experience.

I'm not going to try to convince you for it or against it because it is very important and private decision for your family, however I will make a few suggestions.

1. Build relationships with homeschooling families in your area. There are support groups in most major cities where you can connect. There are a lot of myths about homeschooling and this will help you separate fact from fiction.

2. After you have had some conversations with homeschooling families, try homeschooling on the weekends. Maybe just one day for a few hours. Do a fun subject that your kids will enjoy, like - dinosaurs, birds, or planets and just enjoy discovering together. This will give you a chance to try it out.

3. "Home"schooling doesn't mean that its always done at home with mom and the kids. We spend as much time out of the home as in the home. Most communities offer classes for homeschoolers. You are free to be as creative as you can to create learning opportunities for your children. Search for homeschooling classes in your community now to get an idea of what your children can participate in. Check Libraries, YMCAs, Museums, and Nature Centers.

4. Talk to your kids about what they want to learn and their interests. Start making a list of the things that they want to learn more about. Also talk to them about what they want their school to be like.

5. Formulate a vision and mission for your child's education. How do you see your children in 10 years. What traits do they have? What is their attitude toward learning. Even if you do not homeschool this will help.

Most of my friends that homeschool have a background in education. We love teaching, learning, and discovering. It is not unusual for an educator to become a homeschooler.

We have formed a small co-op where once a week the children learn together. This has given my children the opportunity to form wonderful relationships with other friends that value and honor them. Perhaps you could start a co-op or homeschool tutorial.

As for the red tape, it depends on the state. There are usually many different options on how to register. You should speak with a few homeschooling families in your area before you register.

If you have any other questions or want to talk email me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I'm sorry but I have to disagree with Brenda. I know several people who are homeschooling and I know a couple in their mid twenties that were homeschooled. They are currently very successful in their jobs and graduated from college with no problems what so ever. They are very social people and some of the most impressive young people I have ever met. The other family I know has two of the most outgoing children I have ever met. They stay involved in church activites and their local athletic association. The outcome of your homeschooling experience is totally up to you and your children. The problem is public schools are not what they used to be. I have a 14 yr. old and a 3 yr. old. I now plan on homeschooling the younger one. I am a very involved parent and have become very frustrated over the past couple of years with the school system. There is a lot of information on line that can give you the information your looking for. You can also do a search for local homeschool groups in your area that get together. My friend goes to the one in Wake Forest so I'm sure your area has one. Also utilize the public library. I found several books on homeschooling that were helpful. The possibilites are endless as to what you and your children will be able to do together that you would normally be able to experience.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Hello, K.! I hope you are doing well. Please do not listen to the negatives out there about home schooling. People just don't know what they are talking about. I have been homeschooling my children since Kindergarten. My daughter is now in the 6th grade, my first son is in the 4th grade and I'll have a kindergartener next year. I absolutely LOVE it. We start about 9 a.m. every morning and are done by 12 Noon. We love being together and learning together. Everywhere we go is a learning experience for our family!

As for the red tape, please find in your area, a local home school association. They will help you with the rules of home schooling in your area. Each state is different. If you don't have one, please contact me and I'll help you find one. I am in Lancaster, SC and we have a wonderful association that runs from our town. It covers anyone in SC who wants to home school. The only general guidelines that I have is that I need to school 180 days, keep a journal or teaching planner of our activities and curriculum and maintain a sample of my children's work from year to year for college. I teach about 9 subjects (a lot more than public school) -- Math, reading, history, science, Bible, spelling, English, handwriting and then an elective -- this year our electives are art, typing and Spanish. We just finished art and are starting on typing and then will do Spanish in January. My children are well balanced and have friends who go to public school and friends that homeschool. There are support groups but we are just now getting involved with those for the activities. Our family loves the flexibility of home schooling. Just 2 weeks ago, we went the Myrtle Beach for the week! No other kids were there! We have gone to Seaworld (haven't done Disney yet) in the middle of September when all the school kids are in school and it isn't so crowded! There are so many curriculums out there to choose from based upon the type of learning style you want to use. I personally like a Christian curriculum that does not teach evolution, but we have learned about evolution and why we believe the way we do.

As for college, my sister-in-law is a professor in Washington DC and she said that her best students were home schooled. They don't need their work spelled out for them. They work independently and don't need much instruction from the years of practice they had at home schooling. Most of them have already read books in high school that college students are now reading.

Please weigh your options and find out what is best for your kids. I know of homeschool parents who put their kids in public school at 9th grade. Some put them in and then pull them back out. I plan on doing this all the way through because that is what my husband and I feel is best for our kids! Like you said "I love teaching . . . but I love MY children more" It is all out of love! Please contact me so we can discuss this further. If you respond to me I'll give you my personal e-mail so we don't have to go through this site.

I am praying for you and your family in making the decision that is right for you all! R.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Asheville on

Hi K. T.,
Home schooling is a lot easier than you think. I home schooled our son from K-5th grade. We used the ACES (Accelerated Christian Education) and it is very easy to use. I did encounter some struggles with the higher math and science skills. Look on line for a program. They are a lot of them out there. There is also great homeschooling groups that you can associate with. The one back in Idaho that we where with went on field trips, and had social events for the kids to participate together in. Most courses you get will have a diagnostic test to begin with that will point out gaps in your sons education and tailor the curriculum to them so you can fill in the gaps. They also offer once or twice a year testing that your child takes and then you send in for grading and you get a report comparing them to the national average. CAT test is one of them, same as the school use. Good Luck. B. E.



answers from Memphis on

Red tape will vary from state to state. There are pages with compilations of state laws available on the internet.

I would start by reading a couple of books. At least one by John Holt, and one by John Taylor Gatto. John Holt is the father of homeschooling- he coined the word- and both he and John Taylor Gatto were educators by trade. Especially given your background in traditional education, I would not skip this step!! You need exposure to a new paradigm. Otherwise, you may have a lot of the same struggles you have now, just transferred into a home environment.

Will you lose yourself? Well you will certainly grow in new directions! Whether you make time for your needs, for time alone, and time to pursue your own interests- and what your needs actually are as opposed to your desires- well they are a very changeable thing, changing from season to season and even from day to day. You may have interests blossom which you'd all but forgotten about, or you may have some sitting on the shelf just waiting for you to find the time.

Socially, the children do better in my opinion with some regular playdates. You may do more driving than you do now, or the same amount but for different reasons. They will make new friends as you network with other homeschoolers in your area. Your kids won't be automatically burdened with afternoons of homework, and will be free to play any time you are willing to let them. They will also tend to relate better to older children and adults- they will become at ease around more than just their peers, and they will often have a much wider group of friends than they would in a school setting, where most of their friends are kids their own age who are assigned to their classroom, and maybe some kids who live nearby.

HTH- good luck on your journey!



answers from Memphis on

I can speak as a parent of middle schoolers who have been in public, homeschooled and private school. I pulled my daughter from public schools after a very difficult classroom situation and homeschooled her last winter. My son is in his second year in private school and my daughter joined him this fall. You know your children better than anyone. Public school can be good, but often is not a good fit for some children, many times due to the behavior of others. There are many children who are homeschooled who are better behaved and more well rounded than those in public schools. It's the parents, not the school environment that teaches a child to follow rules intially. My daughter after being in public school last year had been retaught much of what she wasn't getting in the classroom. I will tell you that my child has beena straight A student in public school and my concerns were dismissed. I was having to teach into the evening what was not taught at school, so I figured I might as well pull my child and teach during the day. Homeschooling for us was a good experience. I had to retrain my child that it was ok to ask the teacher a question if you don't understand, that is their job. I was able to provide some education that I value that the school system doesn't teach since it's not on the standardized tests. Also, I was able to teach history without it being the politically correct version that leaves much out. My children come first for me. They are both getting a well rounded quality education and are excelling academically.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I think you should read something like "The Homeschooling Handbook" by Mary Griffith. It shows that there are many ways to homeschool and many kinds of homeschooling, and also outlines the legalities and how to find out more information.

Also, I was homeschooled as a child and never had ANY problems with socialization--there are lots of ways to socialize outside of a classroom, and I think the idea that you have to socialize with ONLY those who are within a year of your own age is misguided. I definitely had more friends who were outside of that, and that was beneficial to me. Additionally, I scored very high on my ACTs and got a full ride to college. Just FYI. It was a good experience for me. Good luck with finding YOUR right path no matter what that turns out to be. =)



answers from Clarksville on

Hi. Go to This website is full of information and will also tell you all the laws for your state. Every state has different homeschool laws. I have used both public school and homeschool and see benefits to both. Homeschool is not hard. There are many programs to choose from that make it so easy. Having a background in teaching makes it even easier. If you do decide to homeschool don't measure homeschool on your first year. The first year is the hardest because you are new to it and you will have to find your groove. It becomes easier as you go along. God Bless~



answers from Houston on

This is my first time on this site because I want to homeschool my kids. I really do not know where to start. I read the statement and I am so glad that IO came to this page. I believe in prayer and hope. I have a 6th and 8th grader and the 8th grader wants to be homeschooled and I was thinking that it was going to cost too much money. I am still at a lost as to where I get started and what steps do I take. My roommate wants to do it and I am all for it. Can someone help me me out and let me know what is the first step to take, Thank you, Shane



answers from Nashville on

I don't have any personal experience with this, but I, too, am keeping it as an option. The rules will depend on your state, so check those out. Most areas have homeschool organizations to get advice and resources and to give the chance to socialize. In our area, the homeschool organization even runs a basketball team that plays some of the other schools.

I've found is a great place to get books for free (if you have books to trade) and they have dozens of homeschool books there -- I got some for my son to do extra help in problem areas over the summer.

If you feel led to do this, it could be the right thing, especially if your kids are having trouble in the system. Homeschool kids can be social and creative and get extra help where they need it. I truly believe it's the best option for a lot of people and since you are trained as a teacher, that will be a nice bonus.



answers from Nashville on

Hi K.,
You seem to me like the perfect family to start homeschooling - although there really is no best "type". Homeschooling is extremely flexible, so you can adapt it to your own unique needs, be it a child with a learning disability, if you also work outside the home, or have children of all different grade levels.

This is my first year homeschooling. I wish I had started sooner. Not that they didn't get good enough education there - it's just that with homeschooling you can give your child(ren) the best education for them, customizing to their learning styles and preferences. As a teacher with plenty of years of experience under your belt, I have no doubt that you can do this successfully.

I know that everyone is different - but I don't think you're going to lose yourself along the way. I have actually found myself (and I wasn't even looking). It's taken me 42 years to know what my true calling was - not only as a mother, but as a teacher to my precious children.

Is homeschooling for everyone? Of course not. Some parents have to have some personal time. If your husband is not home very much to help you, you are not going to get too much of that. I thought that losing my personal time would be the biggest adjustment, because I was used to working out whenever I felt like it at the gym, getting my nails done, going shopping, having brunch with friends, helping out at my children's school, and visiting with my sisters or parents during the day. It seemed like a lot to give up in a way. But what I have found is that our own family unit has become more tightly knit and we are closer. I am getting to know my children like never before (and have seen a side of my husband that endears me to him even more). I have learned to get my own personal time while also sharing it with them. If we are going on a field trip, we will run by Target and pick up what I need on the way back. They understand that I have things I need to do, too. Plus, my husband watches them more on the weekend, giving me a little more personal time then. And I have had a few girls' nights out on the weekend.

Many people feel that their children are missing out on many of the social activities that a traditional school provides. Our daughters play team sports, are involved in our church, play with the children in our neighborhood and make friends at the homeschooling coop that meets once a week. My daughters will be in a spelling bee this week and will be entering poems in a contest. A science fair will be held in a couple of months (all of this through the coop). So they are doing the same kind of stuff that traditionally schooled children are.

What is the downside? Sometimes we get a little too close for comfort, and the girls can get grouchy with each other from time to time. Sometimes they get in a nasty fight or two, but these things happened when they were in school, too, last year. They are both girls and they are 2 years apart.

On another good note - we save so much money. I don't spend money as needlessly. Our lives are simpler. We eat a home more, and the girls are more involved in day-to-day operations of our household. We save a ton on gas, too. They get a lot more physical activity during the schoolday. They eat healthier food, always freshly prepared, and not overcooked.

Homeschooling does take some patience and preparation. I spent two months getting their curriculum together over the summer. It has paid off because now I have the entire schoolyear's work ready for them to do. And I am not an overly organized person. I just realized that was one of the most important things I was going to have to do. You don't even have to do what I did, though. I have talked to several parents who "unschool" and take things on a day by day or week by week basis successfully.

I like that we can sleep in and not have a hectic morning. I like that we can choose our vacation time, and take off whenever we wish.

Also, I don't know the laws for your state, but I have a list in one of my homeschooling books. There shouldn't be a lot of red tape.

I haven't yet met anyone who homeschools who wished they hadn't. And I also haven't met any children who were doing poorly academically or socially.

I know this was long - there have been many helpful responses to your questions, and I hope you will get some of the answers you are looking for.

God bless,



answers from Louisville on

Hum, as a seasoned mother of a 19 yr who was never homeschooled and a soon to be 6 yr who is homeschooled. All I can say K. is that "I can tell the difference" I have to say since you asked our 'opinions' that I have to DISAGREE with Brenda !50%. Since everyone is entitled to their own opinions and with all due respect I will leave Brenda's comments alone but I will point out that today's children, and you might have seen this yourself, the lack of motivation, there is NO respect for the teachers or anyone in authority, it is a dog eat dog world out there amongst our children...
Today's homeschooling is NOT what it was 15-20 years ago! Not my any means. More and More 'educated' parents as most people attend college today, are homeschooling their children. Many too numerous to count STATE EDUCATORS such as yourself are now staying home to homeschool their own children.

Socialization, IS NOT THE PROBLEM anymore... someone who is still thinking that way is ASSUMING. Kids are involved more so in a wider variety of activities thus making them a well rounded individual. Yes, on occasion there will be SHY or withdrawn children. Gosh in this day in age I dont' want my child to talk to strangers. (period) Often I find people who find out we HS (Homeschool) are more curious as to what we do and when we do it.. Well when a child who is home can learn at his or her pace it builds confidence (which a lot of PS/Priv. School) children still lack. It also allows them to develop a desire to learn and have fun while doing it.

I also as I stated I can tell the difference... Let me explain that a bit further. I personally can SEE the difference in most but NOT all children that are HS. Many who are HS have the respect that other children that are not HS lack. They lack the respect of ANY and ALL authority.

HS don't have to 'impress' anyone they develop character and become self confident children that can get along with anyone despite an age difference.
Let me clarify, that NOT all HS families are the same that many are as different as the next. Remember diversity makes the world go around.

Many depending on where you live are so plugged in. I live in Louisville, KY and it is HUGE here. Many HS families are of diverse backgrounds and faiths. There is a huge 'Christian' HS community as well as a large secular HS community.

There is so much out there for HS the world is theirs.
Today's world is the way it is due to the LACK of FAMILY, meaning everything takes priority over family. Sure there is love and money but it takes more than that.

Look at the families of the 40's-50's-60's.. something they had we lack today.
I have to state that I love my children. I 'ENJOY' being around my children and they are my responsibility thus what I put into is what I will get out. I enjoy being with my children, we are close, they are NOT DEPENDENT but RATHER INDEPENDENT.

Want to know what makes me 'cringe' when I hear parents say 'I can't wait till they are back in school and out of my hair"
WOW, they can't stand to be around their own children? Why is that? They don't listen or have behavior issues... no respect.
Now, there are days when things don't go as planned or as smoothly as I would like them to, no one is perfect and we all have not so good days...I personally love teaching my child. I get to reap the benefits when she tells her dad or someone else what she has learned. We are not stuck learning a certain way I can teach her the way she learns best! We love hands on learning, of course we do our book work too. But many HS do a form of UNSCHOOLING and that is without books. I don't UNSCHOOL and don't know much about that form of HS. I do know that we are in our 4th year of HS and my DD is only going to be 6. Most of her peers started Kindergarten this year, we are doing First grade, as she is an accelerated learner, I suppose is the best way to describe her.

They can 'think' on their own and learn from their mistakes without ridicule or embarrassment. They aren't exposed to the peer pressure to be someone they are not.
They feel comfortable talking to adults and know how to be self disciplined when needed. To make good decisions, now keep in mind they are still in 'training' but most High School aged HS are that and so much more.

I wanted to point out one more thing, and some one made a statement about the children 'TALKING TOO MUCH"
I must say, that children talk as it is part of their personality. I attended a school building all of my life and that was many years ago, and I am a talkative person. Always have been and always will be. I have learned and the children may need to learn to have some discipline in knowing when to talk and when it is necessary to be quiet, that too comes with time and age. After all for some children both in school or HS the world revolves around them... not a good thing but a reality. So children who talk shouldn't be condemned or made to feel bad about it, they just need a gently redirection or one could say, is it a question about what we are talking about or can it wait? Maybe you being the adult could exercise more patience or give that gentle redirection. :)

As far as HS, no one knows your children like YOU. I am a firm believer that ONE must do what is best for YOU and YOUR family.

I know many question HS without a degree for those who haven't obtained one in the educational field but I have to beg to differ. When one goes to college (and college isn't for everyone) one has to have self discipline, motivation, be responsible and have time management as there are many distractions in college, we all know that.

I think the parent who is passionate about educating their child at home is just as good as someone with a different degree or no degree, do you know why? The passion and love for one's children motivates the parent into doing whatever possible for the children to succeed and become respectable citizens in today's world. If she feels comfortable about teaching something, then she will educate herself in order to provide the educational environment that is best for the child.
If she for whatever reason doesn't feel comfortable teaching a particular subject there are so many options for HS families today. For example there is a mom who is an Engineer and very good in Math. I know she tutors and teaches those who need the higher math areas that are needed for certain fields in college.

There are more "TEACHERS" out there teaching their children that what others think. IT is the NEW schooling Option and many are doing it.
It is one of our many freedoms in this country. So why not. :)

I am involved in a Educational Co-Op, involved in leadership in various other areas regarding HS.
It is about getting involved and plugged into your homeschool community.

I can go on and on and would love to share more with you.

You will hear the negative but if you want to get your questions answered and learn more go to
The Homeschool [email protected]
Join and there are a ton of forums and something for everyone. There are HS families from around the world.

I am Creekermom there. :) Come on look me up.

BY the way, there are so many resources out their you can easily HS cheaply until you learn and find the curriculum that works best for you and your family. Remember you know your child better than ANYONE. :)

Good luck with whatever you decide, HS isn't for everyone but we Homeschool and love it!



answers from Jacksonville on

UGH!! I had a whole response and my computer zapped it.

First if you are in NC go to The NC dept of Non Public education. I sent them a letter of intent and they sent paperwork to me that day. The turn around was instant for snail mail and I had my card in 2 days.
We struggled for years with my 3rd. She has been in public school in CA and VA, in private schools in VA and public in NC. I pulled her this year in 5th grade. I worry about the "socialization" but really when it comes right down to it she will be fine. I have three other kids and on my block we have 35 children under 15.
My daughter was still wetting her pants in 4th grade. She had stopped laughing and was so sullen. She now is dry and laughs and is so much happier. If a child is in a happy environment they will learn. I was sick of the 27 kids in a classroom and the teacher not having the time to explain certain lessons because of the sheer amount of chilren and material they had to get through.
Homeschooling has been a blessing for us n so many ways. I use a curriculum from the Christian school in VA for Grammar, called Shurley Grammar and I am using Singapore Math. I do not use Saxon Math. It is very repetitive and doesn't move very fast. The girls had it in VA. A friend of mine uses the A Beka math.
There is a plethura of sights on the internet to help you choose.
I understand the other responders concern about the way homescool children behave. I have seen it too. They do behave differently but you have also had your kids in school. They will be fine. I also grew up in a house with two public highschool teachers. Homeschooling my daughter was not an easy decision but it was the right one.
We set up our days like that of the school here because she is familiar with it. We have "specials", PE, music, art, computer, Latin and Library in the afternoons.
Good luck and God Bless.



answers from Knoxville on

You can find out the rules for homeschooling in your state from your department on non public education. I homeschooled my kids until high school and it was a great success. The biggest problem I had was the fact that there were only two other families in town doing it at the time. We were all friends and we got together regularly for art, science and field trips, but it was a little bit of a challenge to get my boys involved with other kids. It was not impossible, however. They both played ball on a community league, they took karate, they had friends at church...and they learned to be friends with people of all ages instead of being stuck with just thier own peer group. Our town now has a homeschool group which has 75 kids in it!!! Anyway, I LOVED homeschooling and for the most part my kids did too. There were times they complained a little bit about not being around the other kids more, but the up side was we travelled alot and didn't have to plan vacations around school schedules. They learned to love learning, and how to study on their own. It was an extremely positive thing for our whole family, and I would encourage you to check into it. See if there is a home school group in your area - that would be the best place to start. Good luck!



answers from Asheville on

I was homeschooled as a child, and I am social enough. Just make sure your kids have friends in neighborhood to play with. Also, homeschool parents sometimes go out together for skating or something like that. Helps some. Also, I had my own homescool at one time. Not hard to do, just gotta buy your own supplies, books, pencils, paper, etc. The people you sign up through send you a paper you make copies of for roll call each day. Then most goes by the local school calendar and rules. Hope this helps. A.



answers from Knoxville on

Hi K.. I don't know what state you live in, so I wouldn't know who you would contact for the info to start home schooling. Anyway, here in NC, you have to file a "Notice of Intent" with the state education office in Raleigh. On this form, you will list the name of your homeschool, the # of children (living in your home) you intend to homeschool, their ages and if your husband will be helping you, then you list him also as the co-educator. There are state guidelines that you do have to follow to ensure that your children's education matches that of the public school system. You can purchase your curriculum via internet, snail-mail, and various bookstores/teacher stores. I would suggest that you contact your state education office (if you don't live in NC) to find out what their requirements are. Your children's education is very important and if you decide to go thru with the homeschooling, you will find that no matter how good you may think the school that they attend is, they will be lacking the basic foundations for most of the required subjects.My husband & I homeschooled for a year and unfortunately, was unable to continue due to our jobs. Good luck on the decision you choose to do.



answers from Knoxville on

We have homeschooled all of children in MO and are relocating to TN. In MO there are several support groups with planned outings, classes,musical instruction and field trips. I am sure that there are similar things everywhere. If you look up the HSLDA site (Home School Legal Defense Association) they have rules for all the states. It is also a good idea to join if you plan on homeschooling. As long as you let your children interact with other peers and adults outside of the family setting then they will get the socialization. Becoming involved with other homeschoolers and possibly recreational sports,church activities,choirs and youth groups are all good ways to include socialization. Some days make you want to pull your hair out and possibly the kids hair too. But when you have worked on something that your child did not get easily when it clicks and they get it, it makes it all worth while. I would encourage you to look at the financial end of it first. Can you make ends meet with only one income? Do you have enough money saved up if something should happen to that one income? If you determine that you can make it on one income will your children be willing to listen and work with you in a school setting for home education? Talk to the children to make sure they understand what it means to be a homeschool family. They can still talk to and see the friends they have now-if you will allow that- but they won't see them daily like they do now. Can you make the change to be with your children all the time? Also make sure that you pray about it. I am all for homeschooling and truly enjoy the extra time that I have had with my children. I also have many friends who say that they could not spend that much time with thier own children. It would be a big change but it could be the most positive and loving thing that you can do for your family. Good Luck and may God Bless you as you explore this avenue.



answers from Nashville on

I do not homeschool but may be able to answer some of your questions. Supposedly there are books and an entire curriculum out there now that you follow. You don't have to do it all on your own. Also, with all the breaks and everything in between learning at schools, homeschool days are apparently only from 8am to noon. If you have the discipline and your children will listen to you and learn, this makes for a good day. You still have time to get things done at home and they have more time to play then if they went to school. As far as social aspects, there are now play groups and field trips that are designed specifically for home school children. I think they meet once a week with these children and then field trips are planned together. You may be able to get online and do some research of home schoolers in your area to find out about these outings. YOu may even be able to call the school board in your town and ask if they know who you can call to get info. Lastly, I think your children will be great children, the only thing I see is that they "may" not be as tough skinned when they get out into the real world or as immune to illness. Again, I have NO experience with homeschooling, this is strictly my opinion. I am not a fan of schools lately as they are getting more and more dangerous and politically correct and taking away PE, Art, etc so if you are disciplined and if you used to be a teacher, I say go for it! You can always put them into the system by high school so they can start to integrate, network, and learn what life as a teenager is like. By that time, you will have taught them a good foundation for their decisions. Also, I would be willing to bet that if you can prove that you are educated enough, smart enough, and have a good curriculum, starting a school will be a great idea! I would keep it small though, small class size. One question I have though: how do you teach different age groups if you have different grades in your family? I have heard it all works out b/c you give them each their own study to do but I would think that then one is slighted when the other has your attn. Check into that question.

Good luck, let us know how it turns out! W.



answers from Lexington on

Every state has different laws about homeschooling. I've never homeschooled in Kentucky, but I did consider it. I think I found the information through googling "homeschool Kentucky." The laws aren't too bad here, not compared with other states.

My experiences were mixed. I have six kids. My oldest two homeschooled well. We were living overseas at the time. My third, though, refused to learn anything from me or even sit still. I tried when he was four, but never again. When we returned to the US, I put my other two in a private school, too.

My greatest success was with my fourth son. I homeschooled him through his first three years of high school. We moved twice during that time, but he is focused and was able to keep up with his studies. I was able to find professors who tutored him in math and science, my weak areas. After three years, though, I started having health problems. He was admitted to an IB high school and had only one foreign language credit to make up, which he did after school. Now he's attending a private college on a scholarship.

So, for me, it depended partly on how much the kid was willing to put into it. My third son just needed the constant socialization of others. At 22, he still does. But homeschooling is rewarding, if you have the energy and the focus. And there are many resources online. Just google.

I wish you the best.



answers from Raleigh on

Do it!!!!!!!!!!!!
Don't look back, there is so much more now then there ever was before. Tons of support! Especially with the internet for your resources, and support systems, connections.
You'll love it and the children will love it and I cannot come up with a deal breaker on why you shouldn't.
I'm so HAPPY for you and your kids!!
Have faith and do it!



answers from Raleigh on

Hello K.,
I am a future high school educator.. hopefully will have my degree in about 2 years (so excited!!) My goal has been to be a teacher for quite awhile now, but I too have thought about the prospect of home schooling.
Of course you can hear the bad and the ugly in the way of no social skills, lack of a professional who can diagnose problems in speech, hearing, behavior, etc, sheltered lifestyle.... well the list can go on.
BUT... I have done research into home schooling on several different occasions... and as they were for my college classes be assured it was true research.
While the initial startup and transition can be a little strenuous (what change isn't) the overall benefits certainly out weigh any negatives you will hear.
This is my second year at NCSU and I personally know 2 other students that were home schooled their entire educational career. One of the girls has 5 other sisters, all home schooled, 1 sister also attends NCSU and the other just recently graduated from another local college, the name escape me.
Since you are in Cary you might want to check out the CarolinaParent magazine: the 2008-2009 Ultimate Family Resource Guide gives information on homeschooling resources one of which is for Cary Homeschoolers : It lists other sites and the entire magazine is dedicated to track-out programs and camps and other such stuff that would be excellent social outlets, as well as educational.

The best education for all children should be given. If the system fails even one child, the CHILD has a RIGHT to obtain a better education. The PARENT has an OBLIGATION to find that better education. Unfortunately there is no one best system, luckily there are alternatives for parents to explore.

The homeschooling situation has to work for both you and your child. Some moms, with all good intentions, lack the necessary skill to be an effective teacher. By this I mean self-discipline, creative and different approaches to different subjects, subject specific knowledge. Where the mom lacks (or Dad, let's NOT forget him!!) there are avenues for help, i.e. recruiting an accountant neighbor to give math lessons, art lessons given by an art student, an english student can become a tutor. The child will have to be self-discipline and reminded that even though she is still at home, she is at school during a specified time.If homeschooling does not work FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILD you can always send her back to school. There is private, magnet (of all breeds), charter, montessori, and other public schools, different teachers within the same school. You probably know those choices already but sometimes its good to be reminded you DO actually have a CHOICE.

Good luck and know that you will not be alone.... you already have the capability and know how. You have the experience of dealing with red tape with how many other students. This will be red tape for just your children. Their futures can be bright and you can have a direct influence on it.



answers from Clarksville on

The red tape part depends on your state but the fact that you are a teacher already will be a big help. Even the toughest state regulations only demand you be a teacher. You can go to several Home school sites to get information. Just Google home schooling. Type in the legal aide for home school and you should get a great site for information that can be for individual states.. I home schooled all my children through high school. MY oldest is a minister, my daughter is a stay at home mom with her second child on the way and my youngest does the web site for the local news paper.



answers from Greensboro on

Hi K.!

I am a 2nd year homeschooling mom. My daughter attended kindergarten in public school, but for several reasons, I took her out and decided to homeschool for 1st and 2nd grade. I remember when I first decided to do this, I asked tons of homeschooling moms questions, and really got NO answers. I got a "it's really easy" and " you just have to know where to look for curriculum" and things like that, but never any suggestions.

So here's what I've found:

- In NC, there aren't too many rules on homeschooling. The best place to look for the laws/rules is at the website It's the state site for all rules for "non-public" schools. The most important rules are to register your school, keep attendance, and make sure that the child gets an end of grade test at appropriate times.

- Re: Curriculum- really, there are probably over a million different things you can choose from. As a school teacher, you probably know a little more about the types of "learning" (i.e. traditional, classical,un-schooling, etc, etc). I've heard those words a lot, but they mean nothing to me. If you want to explore learning styles, go for it. Personally, I found that just looking into the different types of curriculum was enough to tell me if it would be a good choice for my daughter or if it was something she'd just not do well with. Do your children learn better with hands on learning? Are they self motivated learners? That's the things I looked at more than anything. Also, decide what you'd like your kids to learn. Do you want to do a secular curriculum or religious?

- Socially- My child is super social. We are involved in a local homeschol group, which I highly recommend looking for one in your area. Our group does field trips fairly regularly, so kids don't miss out on those. There are also classes available to homeschoolers by several groups that will teach a specific subject or art one or two days a week that are great. If you can find a few homeschool families, they can typically let you know about these things. My daughter loves dance, and sports, and we're active in our church, so she frequently has social interaction with kids her age.

- Don't worry. If an idea doesn't work out the first time, it's not the end of the world. Look at this as an adventure for both you and your children, and know that sometimes mistakes lead to great success. Your kids can learn a lot from just seeing how you react in certain educational atmospheres.

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to send me a message!!

Hope this helps!



answers from Fayetteville on

Hi K.!

First off, let me tell you everything I say is straight from experience...I was homeschooled during grades 6-12, and my younger sister was homeschooled grades 1-12 and my Aunt homeschooled both of my cousins. I have also homeschooled a neighborhood kid, as her mother was unable to do it, I assist my sister-in-law in homeschooling two of her kids, and I plan on homeschooling my children. Actually, I am teaching my son preschool this year. I have also helped several others get started in homeschool. The easiest way to answer some of your questions would be for you to go check out That's the site for the state board's division of non-public education. It tells you all the legal requirements that you need to know for both homeschooling or starting your own school. If you decide to homeschool, your biggest hurdle will be choosing the right curriculum for your family. I have always stuck with Their prices are reasonable, and include everything you need for the entire year (tests, text books, teacher books, etc), aside from your basic supplies, of course. (paper, pens, pencils, etc.) They are highly accredited and will supply the high school transcripts for you come graduation time. Working with them makes it easier to get into the colleges of your choice as well. Some places require you to supply your own diploma and transcripts, so CLASS was the way to go for us. ClASS also tailors the curriculum to fit the students needs and levels, so if you have a 4th grader who is really on a 6th or 7th grade level in, they will place that student with a 6th or 7th grade level curriculum book. You can also choose from Christian oriented curriculum or non-Christian curriculum...whichever you prefer.
As far as socialism and social graces go...I really don't think anyone I know has lacked in that area. Most places now have homeschool groups in your areas, so you can all join up for field trips, etc. We have a large close-knit family, plus our church family, etc, so my kids have plenty of time with other children, and they also know how to behave!
While there is a little bit of red tape, as you will see at the state's website, there's really only a few small "red-tape" things to do...file your intent with the state, choose your school name, send in a copy of your diploma or GED, and keep up with attendance records and end of grade testing results. (180 days of school is required for one school year, average of 5 hours a day.)
Once you check out the state's website, if there's anything I can help you with or clarify for you, I'll be glad to. Just email me.
Good luck on your decision!



answers from Memphis on maybe God is trying to tell me something! I visited with a friend Sat who homeschools (but doesn't push others to do it), and she gave me a great book by Lisa Whelchel (Blair on "Facts of Life"). It's called "So You're Thinking About Homeschooling". It was very informative! I read the entire thing Monday Night , talked to my husband about it last night , then I get up this morning and see this post!! This is definitely something I'm going to look at little closer myself!
BTW, I noticed the only real negative post to your question was from someone who DID NOT H.S. her children and is married to a public educator (She might fear for his job if more people start H.S!!). To me, that has spoken volumes!! I think the first thing we as parents are responsible for is the blessings we have called our children, and making sure we do everything in our power to protect them and lead them in a life that's glorifying to God. I think H.S. brings us closer to that goal than someone else teaching our kids. Pray about this! Many blessings!



answers from Knoxville on

I think home schooling is awsome if the kids have lots of friends. My neighbors child was home schooled for quite sometime but she started getting kind of weird. She would just stand at the fence waiting for my daughter to get home so she could play. My husband would get home at 2 pm and she would be there for 3 hours just waiting for my child to play with her. She would often complain to me about being bored and wishing she had more friends. Her parents put her back in school. I know another mother who does it with a lot of success but she has her child in many other activites such as gym, piano and a church youth group. He is a very bright boy and his mom does a great job.



answers from Nashville on

I hope you are not exhausted from reading all your responses. That is a good sign! I home schooled my now college freshman, all the way through, but his younger brother, now in 6th grade, I only did it from 1st grade thru 4th. My youngest, a kindergartener, may never experience it.

The joy of your experience will depend on many factors. My oldest was a book worm, loved to read, had an easy time doing subjects on the computer or in a text book. He was very independent as a learner and is doing wonderfully in college so far.

My middle son did not do so well; nor did I. First grade was easy work, but he was so easily distracted and easily bored. It was very challenging to keep him interested. In second and third grade I had to switch curriculum in a couple of subjects more than once because it conflicted with his learning style. Great book for you to read NOW is The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias and her other book, Every Child Can Succeed. These will help you identify your child's learning style and give them the tools needed for success in their education. My middle son is bright, but our personalities conflicted big time. He was not obstinate or rebellious; just not focused. This was a source of frustration to me and I simply could not counter it.

We joined a home school tutorial that was a God send! It was a one day a week program where the students went to class like normal school, but it was all home schoolers. If you are a teacher and want to start something, this is an amazing option. If your community does not have one, check out Call their contact person and pick her brain. This tutorial only goes 7th thru 12th, but the one I taught at was K thru 12th called Legacy. It is no longer in existence. Really dig through that site because you may very well be in a perfect position to start one. Oh yeah, there is also They replaced Legacy and go K thru 12th, I believe. Having my boys there was a tremendous help. The teachers issued grades and assignments that we worked on all week. There was a nominal fee for the year and worth every penny. PLUS, if a parent taught (as I did 2 high school history classes), you get paid and that can pay the "tuition".

The reason I stopped...yes, I lost myself. That may sound selfish, but I did. I have a 5 year old who just started k-5 and the thought of doing this again for another 12 years was too overwhelming. We moved to an area that has a small school district and I have chosen to involve myself in their education. My middle son loves it this year and I love his teachers. He knows that at any time he begins to feel uncomfortable in his setting (ie. the influences of other kids) we will take him out. He is getting more independent and as he matures, he may do well at home. My youngest we may have to supplement some because public school assumes 5 year olds simply are not ready for certain things, but I know otherwise. He is bright and I don't want him getting bored.

I needed a break for a while to explore other areas of my life. I do not have a teaching degree - never been to college. I learned more home schooling than I ever did in school. I believe it makes for a more well rounded child because, if you get them into certain types of home school groups, they will not just be exposed to kids their own age, but kids (and adults) of all age. You are able to make their experience specialized, individual and organic. I started doing real estate part time while I pursue a bible degree (AA) from MorngingStar Ministries. After that, I will assess where my kids are and I may pick it up again. Who knows.

Good luck to you!! Go to a home school fair this spring - that's when most of them are. Attend seminars or co-ops in your area. Connect now and that will help with the transition. I would love to hear what you think about all your responses!



answers from Jacksonville on

What about a compromise and home schooling your oldest, or all of them, for a year or two to catch up? But then it might be too hard to go back to work! I don't have anything against home schooling, but the handful of people I know personally who were/are home schooled seem to be lacking in one particular aspect of socialization: they talk too much. I am thinking of three very different people, one of whom is 11, and the other two are adults. They all talk so much that no one else around can get a word in. Most of what they say is drivel. I think they never had to be quiet, like in the school setting. For all I know that characteristic could just be innate to them, but certainly when we go to school we have to learn to not talk all day. They never experienced that, and have a constant stream of consciousness coming out of their mouths. So if your children have been in school at least some, perhaps they wouldn't fall into that trap (of never learning when to zip it).

Also a friend of mine with a degree in speech pathology said that she was once at the park with her small children and a group of home schooled kids came to play. She casually observed several undiagnosed speech disorders in the group of kids. Since they are not in school with professionals who would catch those issues and make referrals, they have fallen through the cracks so to speak and aren't getting the help that they would be in the school system. But as a professional you would be on top of that.



answers from Fayetteville on

I don't know how to home school; but I am a teacher too. My husband and I are trying to start a family. I teach high school and if your 4th grader is struggling, I'd recommend home school or to give him some extra tutoring.

I don't think the public schools are designed for success anymore.



answers from Memphis on

HHHMMM, I haven't even read your full post because the first response I read was from Laurie P talking about what is meant to be....She talked about a book by Lisa Welchel. It's funny b/c I've been in the same situation. Contemplating, thinking, over thinking, worrying, etc... and whatta ya know! I just picked that book up at the library last night and here I am reading this today. This isn't coincidence ladies!!!!! Maybe we should set a time and get together to research this together. My biggest fear has been (among many), can I do this? How will I give them outlets for friendship from other places besides just church?
I HAVE SOOOO MANY QUESTIONS!! SO MANY FEARS! I'll keep reading your posts to gather my strength more!



answers from Wheeling on

I home school my 7 year old. We use an online public school. We have a little more flexibility in scheduling things. We don't have to be home by 3:30 to get my son picked up from a traditional school. This makes our lives a little bit easier. Yes, we have to answer to teachers and etc. concerning schoolwork. I am not going to lie, it does get demanding at times. Socializing is not a problem especially after the school work is done each day. We try to do our work in the mid morning to make sure it is done. If it isn't and we have something to do we do it in the evenings. Oh part of the reason we decided we wanted to home school was because we can't afford a private education and we did NOT like our local elementary public school learning environment.



answers from Nashville on

I am the wife of a 35 year public school teacher; I do not advocate home schooling in any way! Children have to learn to live by rules and rigid learning. I know it is hard for a parent to digest as it was oh so hard for me; but home schooling will make your children anti-social and oh so dependent on you. I conducted tours in my place of business for years and you could tell so much difference in the children that attended public school and the ones that were home schooled. The public school children were eager and interested and the home school children were shy and withdrawn and had to look to to Mom for "permission" to even answer a question. I do respect the fact that you are a teacher and could give them the education skills but there are so many people that are allowed to homeschool with a high school education and it is my understanding that the credentials for homeschooling are very easy to obtain. Just say you want to and they give you the materials. As you know, public school teachers have to keep up and attend many hours at their own expense to be able to teach and I think it is a poor practice that anyone can homeschool. How do you know if your child is getting everything they are in public school and can oompete with the outside world when they graduate? It is a fear when they take college entrance exams and fall short and how will they manage going to college when they have been sheltered at home all those years. I vote no! I think you will be happier with them in public school and you in public school and having quality family time with them when they and you are not in school! Sorry I was so negative; but this is my feeling.



answers from Memphis on

Hi, K.. I am a homeschool mother of 7 years. I took my son out of public school because I saw him failing academically and socially. His self-esteem was at a scary low. He is now a senior in high school, and will graduate in May. The biggest thing is to get with an accredited homeschool plan. Type into your search engine.. homeschool. You'll find all kinds of resources, but you can also check around your town. We went with a christian-based homeschool plan, and it's been wonderful. I know my son would've been a drop out by now if he had stayed in school. You will lose yourself in some ways, but find yourself in other ways. You should find yourself a good homeschool association for socialization concerns. It can work with preperation. It's as strict as you want it to be. Learning styles can flourish at home. Just pray about it.Best wishes!!!



answers from Charlotte on

Hi K.,
I just wanted to say I admire that you're considering homeschooling when you are "in the system". Your openness to the idea is probably, imho, one of the best indicators of your possible success: you can look at things from different angles. And I know you're not alone in being a teacher considering homeschooling.

I admire most all teachers, wherever their location, but especially public school teachers given all the seemingly impossible demands we make of them. You have my gratitude.

My guess is, after struggling to balance your current teaching and your family's needs, you may just find it easier to explore a balance that works for you if you have more time in which to do so. No decision is permanent - if you try homeschooling and it doesn't work for you, you can always try something else. Would it be possible to get a leave of absence from work for awhile while you're "exploring"? (public school employee - yeah, right, A.! ;-) If not, maybe you can experiment with the actual academic part of homeschooling during winter break? I've noticed that many times, teachers have the interest and personality that has them automatically "teaching at home" from the moment their children are born - it's just their way of interacting.

I hope that whichever direction you choose, the journey itself is a wonderful one for you and your family. :-)

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