I get many questions about homeschooling. One of the main questions is: Do I get my curriculum from the local school system or what?
It is a question that people ask genuinely. People are curious about how homeschooling works and what we do all day and what books we use. I, too, had many questions when I first began this journey of home education. With so many resources and opinions it can be hard to sift through it all and find what is right for your family.
The one thing I do know is we don’t do public school at home. Home education looks much different than a public (or even private) school education. Also, every single homeschool family looks different from the others. That is because it is an individualized education for each student.
There are many programs available that the government has developed to dip their toes into the home education realm. They have tried to convince many families that their curriculum is the only way to go (and to be legal). I know each state is different so please check with your state laws to find out what is legal for your family.
I have some knowledge and first hand experience with some of these programs. They are very rigorous (which can be a bad thing) and time consuming. My Kindergartener spent six hours in front of a computer with one of them. Yikes! It didn’t work for us and I immediately did tons of research to find an individualized program (using many different companies and curriculum).
Another false idea that people have (and admittedly I had this preconceived notion as well) is that we sit at our desks for several hours a day. Homeschooling may look like that for some families. For my family, we get most of our core subjects done in about an hour to two hours tops. This leaves the rest of the day to pursue personal interests. If they want to learn more about butterflies they can go outside and explore and draw pictures or read books. It is a lot better when they are willing to study about a certain topic more on their own.
We also don’t start school at a certain time each day. Now, I do try to start by 9am but sometimes things happen. We may start at 10am or we may have errands to run in the morning and not start until 1pm. It is called flexibility.
We go on tons of field trips. In public school they are limited to the amount of trips they can take each year. At most they will take three or four. We actually take about one field trip per week. We are involved in a co-op that is field trip based. Some of these field trips are simply going to the park to play with our friends. But it is so nice to get fresh air in the middle of a long week.
Home education is so unique even for each family but it is not public school at home. Although some families make it look that way and enjoy it, for the most part it is freedom to choose what your family likes.
The Ultimate Guide To Homeschooling by Debra Bell is an excellent resource if you are thinking of homeschooling or need some fresh ideas.