10 Questions About Homeschooling {and my answers to them}


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You’ve heard me say before that often very interesting homeschool questions lead people to my blog – and very comical ones. Today, I’ve got another round of questions about homeschooling brought to you by the keyword searches that lead people to my site.

Homeschool Q&A

1. Can I skip a reading curriculum and have my children read more living books?

The answer to this question really depends on your kids. Some kids pick up reading almost effortlessly, while others really need step-by-step instruction. Definitely once your kids are reading fluently, I strongly favor just reading lots of great books.

However, each of my kids needed that foundation of explicit reading instruction to lay the groundwork. I wish All About Reading had been around back then. We tried lots of different reading curricula because the same thing didn’t work for each of my kids. Brianna had great success with Sing, Spell, Read, and Write.

Josh and Megan did well with Scaredy Cat Reading Level 2, but Josh, who proved to be severely dyslexic, didn’t achieve reading fluency until we found Lexercise for online dyslexia therapy.

2. Can I teach my kids whatever I want If I homeschool them? Can you do art and music the second half of the year in homeschool?

Because they’re similar, I put these two questions together. Generally speaking, in most states you can teach your kids whatever you want when you homeschool. That means that you can do art and music – or whatever – the second half of the year or whenever you want to.

Many states do have guidelines on what subjects you have to teach, but you can include whatever you want beyond those subjects. For example, in Georgia, state homeschooling laws require that parents teach reading, language arts, science, social studies, and math. There are no stipulations on how those subjects are taught or what materials must be used to teach them.

Homeschooling laws vary from state to state, however, and some states do require that curriculum plans be submitted for approval. Check your state’s homeschooling laws to be sure that you’re in compliance.

3. Can my kid go back to school if I homeschool?

Yes. The requirements for enrolling a formerly homeschooled student may vary, but it can be done. From what I’ve witnessed with other families, it’s much easier to enroll homeschooled students in public school prior to 9th grade, but I have known students who have started both public and private school in high school.

Check with your local school system to find out the requirements if a return to public or private school is a possibility.

4. How does a homeschooling mom get housework done?

I’ve answered that question before. Check out Getting It All Done: When Homeschool and Housework Collide.

5. Do blogs count as high school credits?

I’m assuming that the questioner is asking about student-written blogs. None of my kids blog, but if they did, I’d certainly give them credit for it. Blogging can count for high school credits in English/Language Arts or for an elective credit in journalism, creative writing, and/or computer technology.

I’ve known parents who have used blogging in lieu of traditional reports. Instead, students would research their topic for science, history, or whatever, and write a blog post about it. Other families have family blogs in which parents and kids take turns writing blog posts and work together to maintain the site. Any of those scenarios could easily be counted toward credit in their related subjects.

Question and answer

6. Do homeschoolers believe In dyslexia?

Yes, homeschoolers “believe in” dyslexia. We also believe in ADHD, autism, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, and any number of special needs. The fact is, if your child has a learning difference, it’s not too difficult to believe in.

Many homeschooling families choose not to seek an official diagnosis or treatment and/or choose not to use medication. Some strongly avoid labeling their child.

As the mom to kids with various combinations of dyslexia and ADHD, I have found having a diagnosis helpful in understanding their needs and seeking treatment and behavioral modification options. For us, a label has been a useful tool without becoming a crutch.

My son, who is severely dyslexic, had fantastic success with Lexercise. I honestly don’t know where we’d be today without their online dyslexia treatment.

After years of trying to deal with my daughter’s ADHD, we have discovered that she is one of those kids who really needs medication to focus. She was literally in tears her first day on meds because for the first time in her memory she could focus on what she was doing.

7. Do homeschool kids do work every day?

A homeschool schedule really depends on the family. We homeschool year round, using a six weeks on/one week off rotation. Some families school year round using a 4 day school week schedule. Still others follow a more traditional school schedule. I know a family whose school week is Tuesday through Saturday due to their work schedule.

So, yes, most homeschooled kids do work every school day, but their school days may not be a typical Monday through Friday. School doesn’t necessarily happen from 8 AM to 3 PM for homeschooling families either. In fact, my teens’ homeschool schedule has them rarely even starting school before 11 AM.

8. Am I ruining my kids by not doing well homeschooling?

This is a tough question because doing and not doing well can be so subjective. My thoughts for my own children were always that I never wanted the fact that they were homeschooled to be a hindrance to whatever they choose to pursue in life. I wanted our homeschool to prepare them for their future education and jobs by laying a firm foundation in the basics, allowing them to pursue their passions, and teaching them how to learn.

Chances are, you’re doing just fine. However, if you truly feel that you aren’t doing well homeschooling and there is evidence to support that, it might be wise to look into alternative solutions. That may mean tutoring, dual-enrollment, co-op classes, or a traditional school setting. I would encourage you to discuss your options with your spouse or, if you’re single, a trusted friend or relative who will give you balanced, loving input.

9. Can a homeschooled student graduate high school with only 2 math credits?

In most states, the homeschooling parent decides the graduation requirements for his or her homeschool. If this is the case in your state and 2 math credits meets your graduation expectations, then, yes, your student can graduate with only 2 math credits.

However, the general expectation in most states is 4 math credits. Graduating a homeschooled student with only two may hinder his admission to college. I try to align our high school graduation requirements with what area colleges would expect to see. This is true even if my kids don’t plan to go to college because I agree with what Lee Binz has to say on the subject:

1. Teenagers change their minds.

2. If my kids don’t go to college after graduation, our homeschool is the highest level of education they’re going to receive. I want to make it a good one.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to do all the typical math courses. For your student, a consumer math course might make more sense than trigonometry, for example.

10. Am I doing enough?

It’s so normal to worry if you’re doing enough or not. I’ve often heard it said that the fact that you’re worrying about doing enough indicates that you most likely are.

There was a time when I knew we weren’t doing enough, so I completely changed our curriculum. For a little while, the kids complained about the extra work, but they soon got used to the new demands and I was confident that we were, in fact, doing enough.

I think, if you’re honest with yourself, you generally know if you really aren’t doing enough. If you aren’t sure, however, there are ways to assess the workload in your homeschool. Consider asking a trusted homeschool friend, researching general benchmarks for your kids ages/grade levels, or consulting a typical course of study guide.

Chances are you’ll decide you’re doing plenty. If not, it’s easy to make adjustments. Homeschooling is an ever-evolving process as your children grow and mature. It’s reasonable to expect that there will be times when adjustments will need to be made.

What questions do you have about homeschooling? Leave them in the comments and maybe I’ll include them in a future Q&A session.

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday and the Hip Homeschool Hop.

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2 Comments

  1. Other than the idea of putting “traditional school” on the table as a viable option for any child, I very much agree with your advice, Kris. And in regards to the blogging question: Blogging is arguably a better way to handle the writing aspect of a child’s learning than simply writing stories and reports to be filed in Mom’s desk somewhere. The reason is that blogging provides kids with a real potential audience, and that’s what communicating in writing is all about (i.e., having one’s written thoughts and ideas actually read). Part of the reason kids disdain writing is they fail to see that it has any purpose beyond checking off a box in the curriculum guide. But when kids (or adults, for that matter) know they have a real audience, it helps motivate them to write well. It sounds like the person asking the question thinks blogging is a cop-out from “real” writing, but we need to remember that “real” writing is meant to be seen by an audience.

    1. Yes, I very much agree with you about the benefits and motivations associated with blogging as real writing.

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