Once we decided that we were going to homeschool, we had to decide how we wanted to accomplish this goal.

I am not new to the idea of homeschooling. I have a lot of family members that have chosen to homeschool. Their children are all shining examples of why homeschooling can be just as good and in some cases better than a public or private school education!

Don’t take that the wrong way! I am not saying everyone should homeschool! I am just saying that when someone starts trashing homeschoolers I always use my family as an example of how it can work! My cousin  graduated from MEDICAL SCHOOL! He was homeschooled from Kindergarten all the way through to 12th grade! Went to college on partial scholarships!  Now he is married, has two adorable little boys and serves his country in the military as a doctor! What better example of successful homeschooling can you get than that? His younger sister graduated from one of the toughest nursing programs in the country this past spring! Another one of my cousins also graduated from nursing school as well and one just started college and wants to be a CSI. All of them are shining examples of how if they family is dedicated to the goal that it can work and works well!

What I did not realize was that there are LOTS of different types of homeschooling!

There is traditional homeschooling where you buy a curriculum, several different curricula, or even make up your own and teach your children at home.

There is “un-schooling” where life is your classroom. Wikipedia  says that  “Unschooling is a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. There are some who find it controversial. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities, often initiated by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child.”  I personally had to check that one out a lot. The idea made sense, but I just wanted to make sure I understood the concept.

The latest variation of homeschooling seems to be the online school. There are so many different variations of online school. There are private schools offering their curriculum online. There are companies offering curricula that have no attachment to a specific school. There are companies that are contracting with various states and school districts to offer at home public and charter school curricula online. That means you are still technically part of the public school system.

How do you pick the right one for your child? What are the pros and cons? Well that answer is endless, but I will share a few of my thoughts on the matter. Here is a list of some things to consider when deciding what type of homeschooler you want to be:

1.)    How old are your children? Are you starting with Pre-K or Kindergarten or are you like me and starting half way through their academic career?

2.)    Are you financially ready to spend the money to buy a curriculum? Depending on what curriculum you choose, whether it is a traditional curriculum that you order or pick up in an education store, you can easily drop a few hundred and even over a $1000 on a curriculum.

3.)    Do you feel like you are ready to be your child’s educator? Do you have the support of your immediate family? I ask this question because having the support of your spouse or significant other makes a huge difference.

4.)    Are you motivated to do be on a basic schedule and reach the goals needed to make sure your child is receiving the education he or she deserves.

5.)    What topics do you want covered or don’t want covered in the curriculum? Example: some people want to add a religious aspect, others want no religious influence and some homeschoolers I have met want to make sure that there is nothing related to sexual education in their curriculum.

6.)    Are you willing and able to take the extra steps to find and attend extracurricular activities to cover music, art, P.E., foreign languages and sports? Some curricula have some of this built in and some don’t. Most of the time, you will need to research and find out what activities are available to homeschoolers. I can tell you there are literally HUNDREDS of groups, co-ops, classes, activities and events in the Metro OKC area for homeschoolers!

Those are just a few things to think about.

Next time I will tell you all about the type of homeschooling we choose for our son and why! I will also share some of the pros and cons we have discovered since making our choice.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Wow – that’s interesting how the options for homeschooling have expanded over the years! As a Family Law attorney, another evolution that I have found interesting is that judges in Oklahoma are prohibited from taking a parent’s preference to home school or send to traditional school into account when making a custodial decision.

    That ‘unschooling’ has me a bit confused. Interesting concept with some valuable lessons, but are any of them passing the necessary tests to go on to higher education?

  2. Kami McManus says:

    Laws vary in every state, and so I can’t answer that Shel. Not all states require home schoolers to take standardized tests and many home school lobbyist type groups, support groups and other such group that support and encourage home schooling post study upon study and research that says home schoolers are holsing their own or in some cases out performing their public school classmates on state tests when they are taken or on college entrance exams, but I haven’t seen one yet that tells us how many of those home schoolers are “traditional” or “unschoolers” and so on. Unschooling has me a little confused as well, mostly because it seems to mean different things to different people. Nothing wrong with that. It is often the case with many things. From all the different home school and virtual school groups I have been on over the last 3 yrs, it seems to have many meanings. For some it just means not following a set curriculum and just focusing on anything or everything their children show an interest in. To others it just simply means making sure that nothing about their day resembles a “traditional school day” which could mean anything from a not have a set schedule to making sure their kids are comfy and in environments that they believe promote learning. It seems to me that unschooling is a pretty broad topic and covers many sides of home schooling. Then I have read and seen articles and interviews about families that call themselves “radical unschoolers” because they take unschooling to the extreme that most people hear about and question. I personally still do not know enough about their lives to even give an opinion about it. Articles in the mainstream media and interviews done by them tend to be very one sided and do not give you a big picture and it only gives us a snap shot of one day of these families lives. Like you I would be more curious to know how the children are doing when it comes time to make those big life choices about college, career and so on. Did THEY feel prepared for whatever choice they made? If so, are they doing okay? If they then I would say that their parents’ choice on how to home school worked just fine for them and who am I to question it? I have people question our choice for our children all the time. I have people question me about home schooling in general and thankfully I personally know some amazing success stories to share with them to show that it can work. But as I have said before and I am sure I will post many times in the future, it is not for everyone and it may not be the right choice for everyone and there is nothing wrong with that. If a family chooses to home school and then decides it is not the right choice for them, there is nothing wrong with that. You never know if you do not try.