Who Are These
What'd They Do?
|In the initial stages, we faced a multitude of
challenging issues that raised a host of questions. The first answer we sought was for a
good, working definition of homeschooling. Our definition of homeschooling refers to a
situation where a student in grades K-12 is not enrolled in traditional public, private or
parochial academic institutions. Instead, the student is taught by a parent or parents
and/or by their designee(s).
Since each state has its own legal requirements for authorizing the homeschooling process,
plan on doing your own research. We began our homework at the local board of education.
They were quite helpful in explaining our district's policies as well as directing us to
several academic planning assistance resources. This early, fact gathering phase placed us
in the roles of PacMom and PacDad foraging our way into a homeschooling information
subculture and consuming bits and pieces of knowledge along the way. In a surprisingly
short time, we could see the big picture and found it quite reassuring that we were not
alone. In time, we got the hang of it and worked our plan.
|The following is a list of 20 questions I
have distilled over time. Some responses reflect information gained from my unique
homeschooling experience and may or may not universally apply.
1. Is it legal? Yes. The requirements vary by state.
2. Who do you have to ask for permission? Nobody.
Most states require notice of intent to homeschool and some sort of yearly assessment.
This is not a "permission thing."
3. What about the socialization?
Be creative and
open-minded. Remember, all socialization is not good; Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gasey, and Jeffrey Dahmer all went to
school. Look for holistic, positive, stimulating opportunities to engage your kids.
4. Can homeschooling be done collectively with other families?
5. Do kids enjoy it? Some do. Ours
6. Are lots of people doing this? Yes!
7. Does it work? Yes!
|8. What are homeschooled
students taught? It depends. There are
commercially produced curricula/ae (sorry, my Latin is rusty). However, Charles and I
created our own curriculum. We used our experiences at Dartmouth and Wellesley to
establish a baseline for secondary academic preparation. One of the advantages of
attending extremely competitive colleges is the awareness of how the admission process is
supposed to work and what prospective students and their parental units should expect.
9. How much does it cost? It depends. But even
with a 12-month academic calendar, Masters/Ph.D. candidate teacher/tutors, SAT tutors and
extensive travel, this was infinitely cheaper (okay, not actually "infinitely",
it can be measured, but you get the point) than private school! Also, remember there
are lots of ways to homeschool effectively, and they all do not require large outlays of
cash for tutors. And besides, the Columbus Metropolitan Library system was our most
utilized resource for books, periodicals, videos and research-and it's free, complete with
a terrific HVAC system!
10. Can they get into college? Yes!
|Still More FAQs
|11. Do the parents do all the
teaching? Not necessarily.
12. Can any family do this? No. I know that might not be the anticipated response, but it is an
honest one. Parents need to meet some baseline requirements. You should enjoy the company
of your kids (this is kind of a biggie). Loving your kids is not the issue. I hope and
pray that all parents love their kids; and especially anyone even considering
homeschooling should love their kids, I mean they are ours after all. But, loving someone
and enjoying their company almost all day, everyday are distinctly different things!
Parents also should be fairly well organized and disciplined. This does not mean rigid and
dominating,by the way, and, of course, the rationale and desired outcome of homeschooling
will determine how much organization and discipline is required. And most importantly,
parents should enjoy learning, as good teaching seems to mandate a genuine love of
13. Is it hard? Yes!
14. Are there homeschooling groups and
|Yet More FAQs
|15. Can the kids participate
in the arts? Yes! Our kids participated in the
arts on lots of different levels. They've had tap classes and roles in community theater
productions of "Really Rosie" and "Peter Pan." (More kudos to Columbus
Parks and Rec!) They've also been in professional performances of BalletMet's
"Nutcracker" and OperaColumbus' "Turendot" and "The Magic
Flute." The kids have participated in Suzuki violin at Capital University's Community
Music School and have been members of the Pastoral and Teenage Choirs of the Church of
Christ of the Apostolic Faith. Saturday art classes at the Columbus College of Art and
Design and an ongoing apprenticeship with Mr. Roman Johnson, an internationally exhibited,
80+ year-old, African-American artist, have strengthened time spent visiting art
museums around the country. And while all of the kids have not done all these
things, supporting each others' art activities is just another way of supporting the arts.
16. Do they get a diploma? Yes
and no. Our kids got diplomas--I made them. That's the "yes" part of the answer.
The "no" part is that it, the diploma granting that is, has
absolutely no significance to anyone but us.
|17. Does the mother do all the
work? It depends. Each family's situation is
different. I did most of the organization, but I certainly didn't do most of the work.
18. Do the kids become clones of their parents? Some do; ours definitely did not!
19. Can homeschooled students
play sports? Yes. That's one of the best reasons
I can think of for cities to have departments of parks and recreation. Our kids have
enjoyed golf, tennis, swimming, tae kwan do, and fencing lessons, all courtesy of Columbus
City Parks and Recreation. And talk about socialization...they met and played with kids
from all over the city, not just within their own rather insular, suburban community! They
also played competitive football with a community league team. Again, they were engaged
with kids they otherwise might never have met.
20. Aren't some homeschoolers crazy? Absolutely,
but they probably would be crazy regardless of the educational option exercised.