Frequently Asked Questions
A great place to go if you want to join a homeschooling group is Facebook.
I know a lot of people aren’t big fans of Facebook (and fair enough), but if you’re new to homeschooling, Facebook is a really great place to connect to those in the community who are homeschooling.
You can simply type in your area, followed by ‘homeschooling group’ or ‘homeschool group’.
Also try variations of this like ‘home educator’, ‘home educating’ or ‘home schooling’.
If this doesn’t work, broaden your area a little and see if the homeschoolers in your area are listed under a broader homeschooling area.
(This is like zooming out on a map).
If you’re in Australia, all the work has been done for you at this link.
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Are you concerned you don’t have the right homeschooling qualifications to teach your child? Have you ever wondered if you have to be a certified teacher to educate your kids at home?
You will be glad to know that you usually need no qualifications.
I think there are definitely good characteristics to have if you’re thinking about how to homeschool, but generally, you don’t need any qualifications.
Instead, the best characteristics to have are love, patience, kindness, and gentleness.
The reason you don’t need homeschooling qualifications is that parents who have teaching qualifications don’t produce children with higher homeschooler academic outcomes.
The HSLDA said this on this topic:
Whether either parent was a certified teacher did not matter:
Certified (i.e., either parent ever certified)—87th percentile
Not certified (i.e., neither parent ever certified)—88th percentile
You see…there’s no difference if you have a teaching degree or not!
You will make an equally good homeschooling teacher with or without teaching qualifications!
You might also like:
- Homeschool Socialization: Home Schooling and Socialization Argument Killed!
- Reasons to Homeschool Your Child: Advantages of Home Schooling
Each state in America or Australia has its own homeschooling requirements. Some states have strict requirements like New York, others have moderate or low demands. There’s also a number of states like Texas that have NO requirements.
Some states have incredibly tough requirements and make it very difficult to homeschool. These states include New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. I believe it’s almost easier for parents to choose a structured, traditional homeschooling curriculum in these states as you won’t be worried about regulations so much.
Some states have low regulation requirements like Utah, Georgia, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Others make it easy to homeschool as they don’t require anything. States like this include Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. In these states, you can choose a curriculum that appeals to you and fits your child instead of being dictated to by state requirements.
To find out the guidelines for homeschooling in your state, head to the HSLDA website. The HSLDA has updated and accurate information on this topic.
There are a few steps you need to take before you launch into homeschooling. These are:
- Deschooling – a period where you have fun with your children and relax for a few months before starting formal study
- State requirements – you can find information about homeschooling laws by state on the HSLDA
- Homeschool method – what educational method you want to employ (traditional, classical, and Charlotte Mason are most popular in homeschools)
- Curriculum – what homeschooling curriculum is the right fit considering #2
- Homeschooling groups – an important place for homeschoolers to socialize and parents to get help
- Set goals – this is most easily done with a homeschool routine and schedule. Set monthly and yearly goals.
There are a few minor considerations it’s helpful to look at also. These include:
- the environment – setting up a homeschool room
- technology – lots or little?
- free or bought curriculum – what’s the pros and cons of each
- how much does homeschooling cost?
- how many hours should I homeschool?
While it’s useful to look at a lot of things before you start this educational journey, don’t stress if your homeschool doesn’t look like others. Homeschooling is often a unique thing and takes on the flavour of the parent’s and children’s interests and preferences.
The biggest tip for homeschooling successfully is to have fun and enjoy your kids!
Make sure you check out How to Begin Homeschooling. It will give you more detail on the above steps.
The way a homeschool operates depends on a few things. My personal observation has shown me that every homeschool is different. This depends on parents personalities, their educational philosophy, curriculum choice, creativity, and many other things.
How Does Homeschooling Work?
They’re all very different, so I’ll tell you about my experience.
30 years ago my parents drove to a homeschooling curriculum warehouse and purchased a year’s worth of curriculum every year for their three children. We used Abeka, Rod and Staff and a few other curriculum choices.
Every day we had a set amount of formal homework which included core subjects like Math, English, History, and Science. We did these with our parents help for the first few years, then learned how to do our work on our own. We spent about 3 hours doing formal work a day (which is the average homeschool hours people do these days), did our chores, and then had free time to pursue our interests.
We had many social events during the week including, church, bible study, homeschool co-op, and other social events like having friends over or going to their place.
There was also a lot of extra-curricular activities on offer such as cycling, soccer, table tennis, art, and singing.
My parents registered to homeschool at the beginning of every year. They had inspectors visit their place and look at the work we were doing.
If my parents had questions, they could often ask other homeschooling parents who were good sources of information. Everyone helped everyone.
Do parents have a relaxed personality?
If you’re a go-with-the-flow sort of person, you’ll likely find homeschooling more fun compared to other parents. This is because there are always more boxes that can be ticked (and probably always more textbook pages that can be filled out).
Parents like this don’t mind if some things don’t get done. They don’t mind if things are left until the next day. They’re also not too flustered when there’s a roadblock – because 1) there are plenty and 2) there’s always advice and help on hand through curriculum providers or other homeschooling parents.
If you have a more strict personality, it can be hard to leave a textbook page unfinished. This can cause friction with children if they’re bored or tired. It’s important to try to be relaxed in these situations and return to the material again.
How does homeschooling work when parents choose different homeschooling philosophies or methods of education?
If parents choose a:
- traditional curriculum, children do work as they would in a school for a few hours of the day. This can be comforting, especially if you’re just beginning homeschooling as it’s familiar ground.
- classical curriculum, children get a rigorous education learning Latin, logic, debate, and the Classics
- Charlotte Mason curriculum, children get a great academic background (less rigorous than classical education) while engaging with nature.
- eclectic homeschool, the world is your oyster.
How does homeschooling work when parents choose different curriculum?
Some curricula are quite easy and quick. They give children the bare bones of an education. These can be great choices if you want to spend more of your time teaching children extra-curricular activities and subjects.
Other programs are long and rigorous. Children emerge with an amazing knowledge of grammar, history and life. However, they often spend longer at their desks than the previous group.
You can check out the full list of popular homeschool curriculum choices here.
Creative personality or not?
How does homeschooling work when you have a creative personality versus a not-so-creative one?
Some moms love to encourage glitter glue and paddle-pop sticks around the house. They don’t mind if things get messy. Others ban the glitter entirely, enacting a strict cleaning schedule.
Either is fine, but this is also a factor to consider when considering what a homeschool will look like.
Indoorsy or Outdoorsy?
Do you love to be indoors and watch movies or go for a hike in the great outdoors?
If you’re outdoorsy, this side of your personality will shine if you homeschool and you’ll find you spend a lot of your day outside. (Check out a Charlotte Mason Homeschool if you’re an outdoorsy type. She has lots of great information on nature engagement.)
Routine or Not?
Most homeschooling parents have a routine which they follow everyday. In a lot of homeschooling routines, parents also have a schedule which contains information about when and what their children will be studying that day.
Homeschools generally have a lot more free time as they do only do an average of 2-3 hours of homework a day. Despite this, there is plenty of evidence suggesting homeschoolers perform above average, compared to their peers in public school.
Homeschooling can cost as little or as much as you want it to. This is because you can get the best or homeschool on a budget using second-hand curriculum. Or there are some great free homeschooling curriculum options (Easy Peasy is my #1 free choice).
On the other hand, you can go for something like BJU which is one of the best Christian homeschooling programs around today. But, it’s not the most inexpensive option and will set you back around $800 per student per year for a full curriculum.
When you homeschool, you also need to consider extra-curricula options such as:
- the cost of sports and sports equipment
- art classes
- music classes and music equipment and
- field trip costs
Depending on how lavish you’re feeling, a good violin could set you back a thousand dollars. On the other hand, a basic unit costs around $50.
I’ve heard of some people saying they homeschool for around $200 a year using free curriculum, recycling to the max. On the other hand, others say it costs them $5,000 a year.
Having said all this, the cost of homeschooling for one year averages out to be around $2000 a student per year. You can significantly reduce these costs by reusing old homeschooling books and bypassing the optional lessons, like swimming or art lessons.
Homeschooling is the education of children at home by the children’s parents or tutors. Homeschooling is not school at home. That is, homeschooling isn’t meant to be the replication of school at home by parents. Rather, it is far more individual than that.
With homeschooling, there are many educational methods parents can employ (see 10 Ways to Homeschool) and so a home education looks very different depending on the parents and the children.
Keep in mind that homeschooling is also not an online school. It is a free curriculum that isn’t inhibited by outside influences and so it is also not accredited. Once a program is accredited, children are essentially doing distance or online education.
To read more about homeschooling see What is Homeschooling (and the Homeschooling Definition)?