To Home-School or Not ??

Updated on August 06, 2012
L.B. asks from Lima, OH
27 answers

Hi there. I need advice. My husband and I are pretty determined that we want to home-school. My son will be 5 in a week, so he technically could be in kindergarden in August. We also have a daughter that will be 3 in July, and a 5 mos old, too.

So-here are my questions?
How do we even begin to get started?
Who do you contact to get info?
What do we do to still keep him active with kids his own age?
He has been going to pre-school 2 days a week -- but now all those kids are going off to "school".
How do you balance everything - with 2 other younger kids in the house?

Looking forward to your responses! THANKS!

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L.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

I visit a few bloggers who are homeschooling moms and most of them have kids at home too. lmk if you would like the websites. :) L.

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L.J.

answers from Cincinnati on

Dear L.,
First of all I commend you for wanting to homeschool your children. I have homeschooled since my daughter was 3 and now she is 16.
I started out with a curriculum called "5 in a row". You would read to your child 5 days in a row and teach them a certain subject each day. If you want a more traditional
curriculum, many go with Abeka. It is more intense and time consuming. Sunlight/Sunlite (I'm sure about the spelling) is a read aloud program as well with all the subjects. If you are on a low budget, you can even go to the library and find resouces there.
If you live in IN, you might want to go to IAHE.com (Indiana Association of Home Educators) and they will be able to give you direction. You can also sign up for their free magazine called the Informer. They also have a homeschool convention every year. If you live outside IN, you will want to investigate what the rules are for homeschooling your child. In IN, all you have to do is keep a record of whether they are absent or not.
As far as socialization is concerned, if you attend church, get involved with their children programs. The library has library book programs. When they get older, they can be involved in drama, sports etc.. There might even be a homeschool group that meets in your vicinity where you can glean from their experience and even be able to help others.
I hope this helps. If you want more info. write me back.
L. J

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T.S.

answers from Indianapolis on

I say NOT. How can a parent replace several people with degrees and often decades of experience in every subject? They can't! And many parents don't have a teaching certificate so they shouldn't be teaching; they wouldn't let just anyone who decided to teach into a school to teach, so why should just anyone who wants to homeschool be allowed without some sort of objective testing for minimum qualifications? And what about the missing socialization?
Ugh. I think it's a serious detriment to development--just an opinion. As it is my kids are in school and I have teaching to do as I help them solve problems & complete homework. Leave it to the experts but stay involved.

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E.D.

answers from Cleveland on

I don't have any advice for you as to how to home school, but it seems like you have to get everything together pretty quickly. It seems to me that your son will be required to start school in a few months if you don't have a plan in place.

I will also say that my sister-in-law home schools her kids and they are the smartest, most well-behaved children I know. Just make sure you are giving your children lots of opportunities to socialize through sports, activities, playgroups, and classes. Make sure you are also giving them opportunities to think and question and that you are not insulating them too much. You are putting a lot of responsibility on your shoulders, you must observe your children carefully and make sure they are progressing both academically and socially. It’s a lot to take on and your will be the one in charge of all these aspects of their life.

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K.B.

answers from Columbus on

First of all-Congrats on deciding to homeschool- we homeschool as well- I could not imagine doing anything different. First of all I would look up all of the information that you can about homeschooling online, and they have plenty of books out there about it as well. I would try to contact a local homeschooling support group. Each state as well as laws around homeschooling. I do not know what state you live in- but all of the laws are different. I would put your son in activities that he likes with children his own age. Also I would try the local Zoo- they have classes for homeschooled children. So do other organizations. You balance everythingjust one day at a time. We hold to a schedule- that works for us but you may need something different. Also I would recommend- www. Home-school-inc.com. You can keep track of all of the books you are using- as well as lesson plans and field trips. Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions- i would be gald to help.

A little about me- Stay at home mother of 4 children and 10 weeks pregnant with my 5th- the ages of the children are 8,7, 2 1/2, 11 months.

J.D.

answers from Columbus on

When my oldest was born, I felt sure I would home-school him. However, when the time came finances required me to work more thatn full-time, so we put him in the local private school. We were very pleased with his progress. Unfortunately when we enrolled him in sports we noticed that he seemed to be behind the public school kids socially, as was another girl who attended his school. It was a very small school and there was only one class for each grade so the kids got comfortable with each other and weren't required to meet/be exposed to new people.
The following summer we attended a family reunion, and noticed that my cousins kids (who were homeschooled) were even farther behind my son, socially-even though they attended homeschool programs every day of the week.
I truly feel that homeschooling CAN (theoretically) be a good thing, it's just that I have yet to personally see the positive effects of it.
-we have since moved and our kids attend one of the top rated schools in the nation, in which they are excelling...and my cousins kids have been enrolled for the past 2 1/2 yrs in public school, their parents can not believe the progress they have made, compared to when they were being homeschooled, they are doing quite well, but unfortunately ARE still behind the other kids socially.
It seems like you have already made up your mind that you will be homeschooling, I wish you luck and lots and LOTS of patience
~J.

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J.R.

answers from Columbus on

Your title says to do it or not but the body of your post sounds like you've already decided. I'm voting no on homescholing and I feel stronlgy about that. Here's my pov.

As a teacher with a master's degree and 8 years teaching experience, I would never homeschool my children (I have 2 and one on the way). I cannot create a school in my home. I'm thinking first and foremost of the social aspect of a school and the benefits of being around lots of different kinds of people (children and adults). I don't think you can recreate that through periodic (even daily) out-of-the house programs at community centers, churches or YMCAs. One of the most telling predictors of success (lifelong success, not financial success) is emotional intelligence or more simply put, people skills. People need to be around people, and lots of different types of people, in order to hone that skill.

Secondly, in my experience, all of the students that I taught that had been homeschooled before coming to public school had social issues. They weren't as accepted by their peers and had a hard time fitting in (or even finding a small group of friends). Being away from the public school and then coming to it did them no favors. Unless there's a change in universities in the next few years, most (all?) students will have to take part in whole group education in college, and if not then, then as participants in their professions.

Thirdly, I do think there is some value in allowing degreed profesisonals handle education. Unless a parent has a degree in education and some professional knowledge of child development/ learning pedagogy, etc, I think it is best to leave education up to people who have been trained to do so.

I don't mean to offend in my post but feel compelled to share my point of view as a parent and former educator. Regardless of what you decide, I hope you are comfortable with your decision and more importantly, that your children get the best education they can.

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D.S.

answers from Columbus on

Hi L.,
I want to be the voice of your children for a minute. So many moms decide to homeschool for various reasons, and yet, very few of them (none that I've met) actually research the "other end" of the decision.

I was homeschooled from K - 6th grade and hated every second of it. My parents finally let me go to school in 7th grade, but I had to get all A's and B's or else they would bring me back home. To say that I was behind both educationally and socially would be an understatement! And my mom did her best! We were part of multiple homeschool groups and were always doing things with other kids (at church 3 times per week, always played outside with neighbor kids, etc.) but it's not the same. To this day I have to work very hard in social situations that come so naturally to everyone else.

Another thought is that at some point your kids will surpass your knowledge. Even if you're a highly educated individual, like myself, there are some subjects that are not your specialty, and that's another area that was so hard for me to adapt - my mom was not great in science, so I went into school very behind and to this day I have a hard time with it.

And your kids will get made fun of. I was constantly made fun of by other kids when they found out I didn't go to "normal" school. Even adults would look at me weird after asking why I wasn't in school when my mom would take us out for errands during the day. Now is this a reason not to do it? No, but ironically a lot of parents decide to homeschool to keep their kids away from "bad influences and mean kids."

Of course this is your choice and only you know what's best for your kids. I just wanted to let you know what a possible outcome might be (the other homeschooled kids I grew up with feel the same way). If you have any questions please don't hesitate to send me a message!

J.K.

answers from Dallas on

Very good answers. Thanks all for sharing your opinions.
Keep it up.

My Page : http://www.trainup.com/

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J.L.

answers from Columbus on

I have kids in public school and one in a public e-school for the first time this year. I have found that the e-school is a great way to take the best of both worlds--we have a rigorous cirriculum, she has teachers who are the experts, and she has my support at home. They do all the planning, so it is easier with my little one still at home. We use Connections Academy, but there are several to choose from. It has been a fantastic experience for us--she has gone from never reading independently, to always having a book in her hand. Anyhow, just some more data to input in your search. Good luck! Anything you decide will work out because you're a caring mom---there is no one right solution, just one that works for you.

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A.C.

answers from Dayton on

I see you've had a lot of responses on this touchy subject. I too have considered homeschooling my children. Many have raised the concern of children being behind their peers. I was a homeschooled child from about 6th grade on. I insisted on going to school for a semester in highschool to see where I stood in comparison to other kids that weren't homeschooled. This request was for my own personal verification and my parents facilitated it knowing I would do well. By the time I left public school I had straight A's, something that came easily to me. I 'slept' through some of my classes because they were so easy and when a teacher called on me, I always had the correct answer.

You don't have to be a teacher. My mom wasn't a teacher but had our progress assessed by a teacher yearly to make sure we were advancing at the levels we should be. It CAN be very stressful to the parent to make sure your kids get the education they need. Other parents won't have that stress since they can rely on someone else to take on the responsibility of educating their child. I saw my mom stress every year before assessment. Now, it's so much easier with programs both online and offline to keep your children up to date and where they need to be. My mom added extras that school can't offer to enhance and expand our learning.

Every child responds to homeschool differently. My mom homeschooled three children. The youngest had only gone to kindergarten and the middle through second grade. Each one of us had a different way of learning that didn't work for the other. Some children are self-starters and others have to have someone always at their elbow pushing them to get their work done. I can understand the concern some have about socializing. Again, it depends on the child. I remember as a teenager wishing I'd had more opportunity to interact with others my age and my mom did her best. I don't feel I'm in any way 'socially stunted' by not being in school. Enroll the children in activities such as sports, an art class or gymnastics if you're concerned about the socializing aspect. There are a million things you can do!

I guess this all boils down to what you think is best for your child. You have many years to enroll them in school if you're concerned you can't give them the education they need. Yes, they will get looks when people hear they were homeschooled but you can get looks for anything you decide to do that doesn't follow what is the 'accepted' course of action! Different isn't bad, sometimes it's better!

Homeschooling with smaller children in the home may be a bit difficult but remember that you have an ENTIRE day! You can start the younger ones on something educational while you teach the older one, giving them an early start. Schooling doesn't have to stop on weekends or in the afternoon and everyday things can be an excellent opportunity to learn. The younger children will interrupt but other children interrupt in school. Good luck and I hope you find the info you need!

Here's a website that can help: www.ecotohio.org/home.php

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K.G.

answers from Terre Haute on

I loved homeschooling my kids and they were so much further ahead than public educated children.

Getting started.... all things depend on what state you live in. Some consider it illeagle while others have no problem with it...just file a copy of your lesson plans with the school district. so....figure out what the "rules" are for where you're at.

Join Homeschool Leagle Defense.

READ!!! Check with your local library. If anyone knows.. they will know who homeschools in your area and can recommend some reading or introduce you to someone. Find a Hmschool support group.

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D.J.

answers from Columbus on

Hi! I am a mother of 3-ages 11, 8 and 5, all in public school. I have a teaching degree, but only 1 yr. experience, plus substituting for several years. I GREATLY ADMIRE anyone who decides to homeschool. Contrary to what people believe, you do not need a teaching degree to home school. I work with 2 women who homeschool and I've learned some people are better at it than others. There is a group for homeschoolers that can supplement the curriculum for subjects such as art & music. Also, when kids reach middle & high school, you can enroll them in language classes or higher level math or science if you are not comfortable teaching those subjects. I believe my friends pay a reasonable fee for those classes.
The biggest argument I hear for not homeschooling is the social part-I don't agree. People I know who homeschool keep their kids socially adept through their churches, sports, music lessons, library programs, metro-park programs, etc. There are a slew of programs around Columbus that are geered towards homeschoolers, especially at the elementary level. My best advice would be to get involved in several homeschooled group and seek help & ask questions of other families who are experienced with homeschooling. They are more than willing to steer you in the right direction. With the help of the web also, you'll have more than enough information to help you homeschool. Good luck & remember you know your kids best! Debbie

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B.M.

answers from Dayton on

L.,

I know how you feel! I am sooo torn on this choice! I would love to homeschool and decided to give it a try this year instead of sending our daugter who turned 5 in December to a preschool again. At first my daughter was very excited about school at home but that quickly ended! It was a struggle after about October to get her to do what I asked her to do and we both ended up very frustrated! I tried to get involved with a homeschool support group and co-op but found everyone was not as friendly or helpful as I had hoped. I felt as if they already had their friends and were not very welcoming to new members. My daughter also did not like co-op. I also had my daughter in swim lessons, music class and art classes, reading at the library, ect for socialization and felt we were in a constant run! We adopted a 8 month old little boy in December and I have been so busy with him adjusting and getting settled that I felt my daughter was getting bored at home so I ended up sending her back to preschool 3 mornings a week last month.I don't know that I can homeschool? I really wish I could but I feel you need a strong support system and I have no friends or family who homeschool and we are from a small church with no homeschoolers there either. At this point we have decide to send our daughter to a private christian school for kindergaten this fall but I still am having a hard time accepting this! I feel like maybe now that we are settled with the new baby I should give it another really hard try. I have seen studies to prove that children excel in a homeschool setting. I will be praying for you in your journey and wish you a better experience than we have had so far! You have the right to educate your children as you wish , that is what is so great about America! I know you will make the right choice for your kids. Best wishes!

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A.M.

answers from Youngstown on

Hi there, just wanted to resopond to some of your questions. First of all, you will need to contact your school district and determine which paperwork you need to fill out in order to be approved to home school. There is a timeline for this prior to the beginning of the school term, I believe. Also, you may want to go on the Ohio Department of Education website and search "Home Education". I tried pasting the link but it wasn't working, sorry! There is a wealth of information on this site regarding what you will need to teach, resources for you, etc. Also, it may be very helpful for you to use the IMS (instructional management system) in order to find appropriate lessons in each subject area for your child's grade and ability level. The lessons are often lengthy but have printable materials and are very "hands-on" and fun. You can also search this system for specific content standards so that you can be sure that you are hitting all of the content standards each year in order for your child to pass the end of the year assessment.
As for time management, I would structure specified time for "school" each day based on the schedules of the entire family. If you have 2 other little ones running around and nobody home to help out, it's going to be crazy unless you plan specifically. For example, conduct an introduction to the day's concept in a given subject area in the morning while your youngest is napping and your middle child is snacking or playing independently. Then plan for independent practice of the skill while everybody's awake and your attention is needed by the two younger kids. Finally, as for getting the social aspect taken care of, joining extracurriculars (soccer, gymnastics, swimming) and attending activities at the local library for children on a consistent basis would be a great start. Hope this was of some help. GOOD LUCK!
A.

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J.P.

answers from Cleveland on

My son is only one. But I can understand your wish to home school. I have told my boyfriend that if we still live in the area we are at now when he's old enough to go to school we are home schooling him. There are 2 very good computer based home school programs that I know of. Ecot and Treca. Both can be found online and I know people who have used both with success. Not only will he learn everything that he has to know for school, he'll also learn some great computer skills in the process. They both do K - 12. The only non-computer based schooling I know of is based out of Arizona. But when he finishes 12th grade they don't give him a diploma, he has to take the GED test. A friend went thru them and was very upset to find out that after all his work he didn't get a diploma, only his GED. They didn't tell him until he finished all the work. My niece went thru TRECA and graduated earlier than she would have at school. My other niece is in it now and finished her 10th grade stuff in a month because you work at your own pace. It's a great program. Good luck. As far as keeping him active with other kids even though he's home schooled, that's easy. There's all kinds of group activities, though I don't know which ones are available where you live. Boy Scouts, Indian Guides, there's also a group that is for home schooled kids. They meet once a month or whatever to go on "field trips" so that the kids can get their much needed social skills. Hope you find what works for you.

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J.C.

answers from Indianapolis on

for the 3 years before this school year, I did homeschooling only on both of my children. I just told them that I'd be their teacher instead of sending them to a stranger. I did both kids at the same time, just easier for me that way. There's a homeschooling group on yahoo thats great at giving advice back & forth, for when you need to vent, share activities with others, or for legal questions & concerns. I think its www.yahoogroups.com/groups/Indianahomeschooling but I'm not 100% positive on that. For us, we do the method called unschooling. As I'm driving down the road I take turns asking them random questions, "what's 4x4?" "Who is our president right now? Before him?" "how many is a dozen?" stuff like that. I make up papers that have problems on them to solve, use notebook paper to practice writing,... When we go to the store, I tell them, ok we have $5 to get bread, how much is it a loaf? how many loaves can I get? or I'll ask them, ok how much would it be for 2 gallons of milk? Since they're done with their work sooner in the day then other kids get home from public school, they have a little quiet playtime with just the 2 of them & then when other kids in the neighborhood get home they can play with them so they get socialization still. Also, the homeschooling yahoo group has a co-op where you can arrange playdates, group trips to the zoo or think-lab, stuff like that.

I do have my kids in public school this year because I'm also in medical school myself, but I work with them still when we're not in school.

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C.E.

answers from Indianapolis on

As someone who was both home-schooled and later attended regular school, I would definitely make sure this is something you want to be 100% commited to and you truly believe it will be good for your child. I will also say it is not the answer for every child since every child has different learning and social needs. Look online through your state for local home-schooling resources and do your research. The social aspect is very important to consider because often home-schooling has some groups or classes that can be taken with other children.

Personally I did not like being home-schooled at all and felt very isolated socially even though we met with other children once a week. I was relieved once I was able to start attending school with other children and someone teaching me besides my own mother. As a mother you can teach your children so many things, but there is nothing like other experiences and other people inspiring your child's mind. Good and bad things will happen in a school setting, but that is life. I felt better prepared for what life really held than my peers who stayed in home-schooling throughout their school years and were in for a rude awakening once they reached college and life beyond.

That is only my personal opinion and I would encourage you to seek out others who have had those experiences good or bad. It will give you a better insight to the effect it will have on your child in the future and beyond.

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S.J.

answers from Dayton on

Dear L.,

Good questions and I think there is one place to answer them all. You might look into the Robinson Curriculm (http://oism.org/s32p28.htm www.robinsoncurriculum.com) at the OISM.org. This is a most interesting approach to home schooling currently used by over 60,000 children. It is designed to teach your children how to learn so they don't need a "teacher" to spoon feed them. Children who have used the system are very successful in school and life.

The "socialization" aspects of school are way over rated. In most public schools the socialization aspects are trending downward. When your children are around adults with good behavior they will pick that up rather then get what they get from other children. Home schooling isn't for everyone but it does give you an option which may be very good for your children.

Those who say that having "teachers" with degrees and experience helps are coming from a POV that isn't supported by fact as much as bias. Some of the best teachers are not degreed but know their subjects and love to teach. Continue to check out the options and go with your heart.

God Bless,

S.

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K.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

Congratulations on your decision to homeschool. I have done so for my two girls for the last 8 years. My oldest is a junior this year and I pulled her out after 3rd grade. My youngest has never gone to public school and she is doing fabulous. First of all, you are already doing the first step by asking for lots of advice. Everyone goes about it differently and what and how you do this will depend largely on your own child(ren). You may have to sift through a lot of information, but you will find what works best for you.

I'll start off by saying that everyone chooses to homeschool for different reasons, so don't let anyone deter you. Our society is built around the public school thinking...schedules, vacations, etc. But, there are many groups out there to help you out. Some are just for support and some actually help each other with teaching. You didn't mention where you live, so I'm not sure what your state requires.

You can go online and check out your states department of education and find out what the State requires. Some just want you to register which consists of filling out a form basically stating that you are going to homeschool. Others want you to test just to be sure you are actually doing it!

Then, I would suggest you find a homeschool convention. Most states host one usually around this time of year. There are vendors for all kinds of cirriculum and activities plus workshops about getting started, etc. If you can't find a convention, try finding a group in your area. I'm sure you'll find something online, but a lot of times word of mouth is the best.

This is one way to keep your son involved with other kids. But, ironically, socialization is very rarely an issue. We attend church, so most of my girls get their interaction there. But, they also took dance lessons and for a few years, we played soccer at the YMCA. Again, do a little research and I'm sure you'll find something.

Cirriculum is probably going to be the toughest challenge because there is SO much out there!! One reason I like to go to the conventions is to get a good overview. You can talk to the vendors and look through the materials to see what you like. Don't get discouraged if you have to try a couple of different ones, either. The first couple of years I tried different ones until I found one I liked.

As far as balancing everything, again, it will take some time to find what kind of schedule works for you. You may find that the 3 yr old will enjoy learning some things along with him! You can give her some simple letters and numbers pages if she wants. Anyway, one thing that REALLY helped me was to just turn off the phone for whatever time you are going to be working with him. Let the answering machine get it. You may be able to sit down with him while the baby is sleeping. Or, you might be able to give him one task to do and check on him a couple of times while you do something else nearby. Remember that you have control of the time. So, if you need to take a break, it's ok. I kept a notebook at first of the time we spent and how much they got done. You may want to do one or two subjects a day, or a little of each subject.

I would probably spend the most time at the beginning letting him learn to read...this takes more work than most people realize because we don't really remember learning to read! And, then I'd work on learning their numbers and math facts. Even if this takes you all year to do just that, he'll be ready to take off quickly after that.

I know I've been longwinded! If you want to email me directly feel free. [email protected]____.com this is something you want to do, you will be able to make it work just fine! Just take one step at a time, Mom, and you'll be great!!

Good luck!!
K.

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S.C.

answers from Dayton on

http://www.apologiaonline.com/conf/hs_sol.pdf

This article should put to rest the arguments about "dangers" of homeschooling. I heard him speak at a conference this past weekend, and he was wonderful. Good luck!

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D.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

There are home school co-ops that you can join in your area. Might want to google home schoolers in your area or home school co-ops or talk to another home school family in your area.

You could STILL leavne him in his per-school and create your own moms group in your area. You then PLAN specific activities - you can take turns, plan trips to the zoo, etc. That way, he can still be with other kids and still remain in his pre-school if you decide you don't want to take it on.

I WOULD set a limit on the number of moms/kids in the group. You don't want to get too big and you have to have a home that will accommodate all of them, too. I would think a group of five or six, maybe even seven would be great.

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B.M.

answers from Dayton on

L.,
I've seen both ends of the spectrum when it comes to home-schooling children, I worked at a public library for 14 years and we were on first name basis with most of the homeschooling parents. Some were very good, with well-behaved intelligent children who would be able to suceed in anything they set their minds to; but I also saw the other end- children who didn't behave, had no social skills, and would have been better off in the worst public school you could find because they might have learned something. Homeschooling is only has good as to what the parents are willing to put into it and be consistant with their curriculum. Now that I'm working in a public school system for the past 14 years we regularly have children leave to be homeschooled and later return, we can always tell how sucessful they were- if they are at least at grade level then good but many times my teachers say they are very behind their peers.

Good luck; by the way I would never homeschool my daughter who starts kindergarten in the Fall, instead I'll be her enrichment program exposing her to all the things that interest her and attempt to make her a well-rounded person.

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M.N.

answers from Evansville on

Hi L.,
I do not have any advice but I wanted to wish you luck! I admire parents who homeschool. I don't think I would be a good teacher. I do have a website for you though. The link is below.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeschooling/

If you have never heard of The Pioneer Woman here's a the run down. The link is to her blog, she has 4 kids all homeschooled. She has a section just for homeschooling. She has a lot of resources on her site and a lot of great advice.

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J.W.

answers from Dayton on

I know that many are very opinionated on home schooling. I believe this is that route we are leaning towards. I just wanted to let you know that I know a college professor that told me the students that were home schooled did better in class. They knew how to study independently and how to manage their time more effectively. Just thought that might give you some peace of mind.

I recommend keeping your children active in community sports, their are plenty of thaters around if they are into that. Also, you can find many home school networks. They learn socialization from you, not in school.

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide.

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