How To Start Homeschooling: Answering The 11 Most Asked Questions

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Homeschooling has picked up popularity in the last decade. As more and more families research homeschool, more and more questions are being asked about it. Today I have a list of questions I’m most often asked, and questions I see in homeschool pages all over the internet. These are some of my favorite, thought provoking, questions! I could talk about most of these topics all day long, but I’ll try to keep it as short and sweet as I can today.

11 Most asked questions about homeschooling:

  1. Is it easier to have someone else do the teaching, or to do it yourself? In all honesty, I prefer to teach them myself. I don’t have this huge ego, I don’t think I’m smarter than anyone, really. But I have a child who is in public school. And my first concern when I considered homeschooling was the fact that I hated homework time. That’s when I lost my patience, I found helping them frustrating, and we both dreaded it! But, here’s the thing- she had just had a LONG 7 hours of school, I had a long 8 hours of work. She never brought text books home (in one of the schools she attended she wasn’t allowed to bring them home) and she couldn’t explain to me how she was being taught. So the fights came up because, in math especially, I would teach her one way, she would insist that it wasn’t the way she was being taught in school and then refuse to go along with me and figure out the answers. Now, I have any books they are using right at my finger tips, because I chose them myself. I know how they are being taught to do something, because I’m the one teaching them. We haven’t had the long 8 hours and then homework on top of it all. When we sit down to do our school work it’s mid morning, we’re well rested and still fresh, we are ready to go. I can see right away when they aren’t catching on to the instructions and information and I can change course almost immediately if need be. I hated homework time, but 99% of our homeschool days go off entirely differently.
  2. Do you choose a curriculum, or do you build your own curriculum? I tend to chose different types of curriculum depending on the subject matter, so in that sense I kind of build my own. I like to use Learning Through The Years, a resource book that lists off what your child should be learning by grade level. I like to go through a couple times a year and make certain we are staying on course and see what we need to work more on. With a resource book like that, you could create your own curriculum easily! We like using work books right now. He likes it because school goes by quickly, there’s plenty of videos and activities to supplement, and I like it because it gives me a starting point in teaching him, and makes me slow down and take one step at a time. Once you start looking through popular curriculum, you will be able to better judge which is best for you. And if a curriculum doesn’t work how you think it will, there’s always another one to try out!
  3. How long does it take to homeschool each day? The typical public school day is around 7 hours or so. Even for the little ones these days. So I’m not surprised to hear that a concern of homeschooling is the time it might eat up through the day. We’re busy in life right now, it seems like there’s always something we should be doing. But when you really start to break down a typical public school day, you can see where a good amount of time goes. When you factor in recess, lunches, time between classes and class room management, the full 7 hours isn’t going toward actual instruction. At home you can manage much more concentrated learning, in much shorter time. We tend to follow the 20 minute rule, with out even trying. Most pre-K kids can manage about 20 minutes of concentrated work (most days at least…) then adding on 20 minutes per grade level, so kindergarten around 30-40 minutes of work, first grade is close to an hour, second grade is around 1 hour 20 minutes- and so on. Towards the beginning of the year we cut it shorter while we work on getting into our rhythm and review, and at the end of the year, it’s mostly review, so we don’t need the full amount of time. But most days through the middle of the year are around 1 hour and 20 minutes. Keep in mind this is for book work, learning really happens all the time with out much effort. We just tend to call it parenting.
  4. Do they get homework? When you homeschool it’s almost all homework! As they get older, you might give them a project, or have them read a book and put together a report, little things like that that they can work on with out your help. When I was in public school, the only time I really had homework was when we didn’t finish something in school, and I almost always was able to finish everything in school, so I rarely actually had homework to do. So no, outside of extra projects you might assign, there’s not much extra work involved with homeschooling.
  5. Do they get breaks? When do you take them? A really awesome thing about homeschooling is that we can take a break whenever we feel the need to! Yes, you have to have a small amount of discipline to manage this and still get all the instructing done for each year. But usually you can take breaks whenever you want. Some families will homeschool in the dog heat of the summer, so that they can take breaks in the fall when the camp grounds aren’t as crowded. Some families loosely follow the public school schedule so that the kids are able to play with their friends in public school on their breaks. Having the freedom to set up your own schedule is a huge pull to homeschooling for us!
  6. What do you need to know to homeschool? Do you need a degree? We need to move away from this idea that you have to be an expert to teach anyone anything! When you homeschool, you aren’t just filling their head with what’s in your head and calling it a day. You are working more along the lines of teaching them to love learning, and how to find the answers they will need in life. There have been a couple stories now about successful adults who are quite intelligent who were homeschooled by a parent with less than an 8th grade education. I think at the very least you need to be able to comprehend what you are reading, know how to count, and be willing to learn whatever you don’t know right along with them. As long as you are willing to learn more, you will be able to homeschool your child. This is why they sell curriculum that’s already put together for you! To organize and help you teach them!
  7. Will they be able to get into college? Yes! And on many occasions, college professors say that the homeschooled students perform even better than the kids who went to public school. Some think this is because the idea of the class room is still novel to a homeschooled individual, and they never had the rigid rules that apply to public school classrooms and are not carried on to colleges. You can start putting together their transcripts in 9th grade. They can take the SATs by registering to take the test a a local high school. Many states require standardizes tests all through their educational career anyway. Michigan currently does not. But the SATs and the ACTs are available to any student to take. You can find many different study guides for these tests at almost any book store!
  8. How much does it cost to homeschool? This changes year to year, from family to family, and sometimes even from child to child. Our first year of homeschooling I spent maybe $50 for the year including our copy of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, our Comprehensive Curriculum workbook, and supplies like paper, crayons, safety scissors and glue. Most of this you can find at The Dollar Tree, or on really good sales at other stores during back to school time. There are many popular and free to cheap curriculum options that you can find in a Pinterest search, and Amazon also has fair prices on many curriculum options.
  9. How long is a homeschool year? Generally 180 days or so is a typical school year for any type of school. Lot’s of curriculum will take by week or day and will often equal out to this amount. Sometimes, it can be hard to really say because some families homeschool all year long. I know families who start a new year right in January, I know some who start in May or June in a new grade, and I know many who tend to somewhat follow the public school schedule. But usually, around 180 days is a typical year. It can also depend on state, some have more strict rules stating you need a prove that you did school work all 180 days of your school year. Currently Michigan does not have that requirement.
  10. Can they get scholarships? Yes! Has many ideas on getting scholarships for homeschoolers, the Penny Hoarder has a list of ‘funky’ scholarships that don’t even involve schools to qualify for including duct tape prom dress and tux.  Yes, homeschoolers do have proms available in most areas!
  11. What are the requirements to start homeschooling? There are literally 50 different answers for this if you live in The United States. Each state has it’s own laws on homeschooling. It’s important to know that it IS legal in all 50, but, some states are more strict with their rules than others. After you get through the legal aspect of homeschooling I do have this post for people who are ready to start!

When I was researching and learning more about homeschool, I had many of these questions myself! I hope I’ve given you useful answers to these questions! As always, please feel free to ask anymore you have in the comments section!

Happy Homeschooling!


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One Comment Add yours

  1. Great Blog Post! very Interesting! I love online school / homeschool
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