Homeschool Graduate: Now What?

If your homeschool student isn’t the type who wants to immediately head straight to college out of high school, don’t despair this does not mean you have failed in your job! As a parent, your work during high school includes planning for and providing the best possible education for your child so they can learn the life skills that they need, preparing them to be ready for a variety of different possibilities, and then encouraging them to pursue the work skills and things they’ll need to know in order to function in their job, whether that includes college or not. In the midst of the variety of different options for high school graduates, distance learning and working are two great alternatives you might want to look into.

Although it seems very trendy today, many people will be surprised to learn that distance learning is not a new phenomenon; it has actually been around for decades. Years ago, people did distance learning as well. They would mail in their tests and their papers instead of emailing or faxing them, but it was really the exact same thing. Resources for distance learning have been around for a long time. One of the books we used for distance learning is “Bear’s Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning,” which was published for the first time decades ago! There are many reasons that distance learning might be a good fit for your student, including finances, work schedules, and environment concerns. For more great information, I recommend the book “Accelerated Distance Learning” by Brad Voeller.

Education is not just a matter of climbing up the ladder; it’s also about what you’re going to do after you’ve climbed up the ladder–where you’re going to work. Many students will decide that they want to work after high school. I have a friend whose teen-aged son said he was going to work and not go to college. He got a job working at a local fast food restaurant and he loved it. He was getting higher and higher in management as a teenager, and finally decided that he really wanted to own a business. He quickly found out that this required a business degree, so he decided that he wanted to go to college. He easily passed the college entrance exams, because his mother had taught him everything he needed to know during high school. The message here is that you always need to be prepared remember that kids will change their minds! You just don’t know what the future is going to hold; kids mature and change their minds and the next thing you know, they want to own a business of their own and they need a degree. If you’ve prepared them in high school, then they will be ready for whatever they ultimately choose college, distance learning, work in whatever order they need it! That’s success in homeschooling!

Homeschooling Methods: From Charlotte Mason to Classical Education

Homeschooling? Unschooling? Charlotte Mason? Waldorf? Part-time? Full-time? The variations within homeschooling can be overwhelming. But don’t worry — it’s not as scary as it first seems.

Consider these common curriculums and educational philosophies used by homeschoolers. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but does cover many major programs and should help you feel more comfortable deciding what kind of homeschooler you are.

Unit Studies

In unit studies, one subject is intensely focused on at a time. This can teach the ability to both compartmentalize and synthesize information. Examples are doing an in-depth study of the presidents of the United States, or spending the month before a vacation to the ocean studying the sea and weather patterns. Unit studies can also use a child’s interests to study a broader subject; for example, studying fashion trends through the ages in order to see how major events in history affected day-to-day living.

Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason method is based on the work of British educator Charlotte Mason. She believed that “education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” She believed that atmosphere makes up one-third of a child’s education, that cultivating good habits makes up another third, and that children should be taught living, practical ideas rather than dry facts.

Waldorf

Waldorf education aims to educate the whole child, “head, heart, and hands.” Waldorf tries to encourage a genuine love of learning in each child and incorporates arts and activities to create students who are able to create meaning in their lives without external help.

Montessori

The Montessori method focuses on student-directed learning that aims to support a child’s natural way of learning. Montessori involves one-on-one attention and teacher observation and emphasizes all five senses rather than just the visual and auditory senses used in reading, listening, and watching.

Multiple Intelligences

Multiple intelligences education is based on Dr. Howard Gardner’s eight areas of intelligence and learning styles: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. Each individual has strengths in one or more of these intelligences, and the multiple intelligences method involves discovering those strong areas and teaching through them (for example, a student strong in bodily-kinesthetic, or touch-related, knowledge will be most likely to learn by doing, whereas a linguistically-strong child will learn best through reading, writing, and playing with words).

Classical Education

Classical education utilizes three age groups or learning periods, called the “grammar period” (which focuses on the building blocks of education, memorization, and and rules of basic math, phonetics, etc.), the “logic stage” (when cause-and-effect relationships are explored and the child is challenged to ask “Why,” engage in critical thinking, and synthesize ideas), and the “rhetoric stage” (when the student learns to use language to clearly and powerful explain his/her ideas, and begins to focus on areas of knowledge that draw his/her interest; this stage can sometimes involve internships, apprenticeships, college courses, and other forms of higher/specialized education).

Thomas Jefferson Education

Thomas Jefferson Education, also known as “Leadership Education,” also follows three periods: the “foundational phases” (which focus on core values and love of learning), “educational phases” (which teach study skills and discipline; at this stage students engage in a mentor-guided program such as an internship or setting and reaching a personal goal), and “applicational phases” that exist after formal schooling and last the rest of the student’s life (during which the student focuses on contribution to community, and acts as a mentor or community leader). Thomas Jefferson education focuses heavily on love of learning, commitment to values, and seven keys to great teaching.

Accredited Curriculum/Long-Distance/Internet Schooling

This type of homeschool, sometimes referred to as “public school at home” is highly structured and uses state-approved curricula that mirror the curricula being used in public schools. The parent acts as teacher and there is usually a satellite teacher or mentor that the student reports to. Examples include K12.com, LUOnlineAcademy.com, and various university-affiliated high school programs such as Penn Foster High School and BYU Independent Study.

Delayed Schooling

This type of schooling follows the belief that children are not ready for formal schooling until the ages of 7-9. This approach encourages play and natural curiosity in the early years and moves toward more formal learning as the child reaches age 7 (with flexibility depending on the child). This philosophy, though sometimes challenged, is becoming commonly accepted even in some mainstream schools, particularly in the U.K., and is fairly common among unschoolers.

Principle Approach

The Principle Approach to education, which is based on the writing of Rosalie J. Slater and Verna M. Hall, looks at all subjects and information through a Christian worldview. The Bible is used as a major textbook and the student creates notebooks that incorporate both school material and his/her thoughts and meditations. The Principle Approach uses “the 4 Rs,” Research (finding God’s word and identifying religious principles), Reasoning (discovering cause and effect relationships), Relate (applying information to the student), and Record (writing down or otherwise recording the student’s applications and impressions).

Faith-Based

Similar to the Principle Approach but more flexible and not specific to any belief system, faith-based homeschooling incorporates both secular and religious knowledge, and religious beliefs and the family’s values are worked freely into learning and discussions. Though this intermingling is a natural side effect of being homeschooled in a religious household, faith-based education more obviously connects academic knowledge to religion. Spiritual beliefs and experiences are considered as or more important to the child’s education as secular knowledge, and the parent actively seeks to incorporate religious beliefs into the student’s curriculum/educational experience.

Learning Centers

Though not often used full-time as a replacement for public or private school, many homeschoolers find it useful to supplement their curricula with courses and/or tutoring at learning centers such as Kumon, Sylvan, and Huntington. These centers can be especially useful as a student approaches college, as many of them offer ACT and SAT prep courses.

As always, homeschooling is a deeply individual individual matter that should be altered to fit your family. As long as your homeschooling method works for you, keep it, love it, change it as needed, and enjoy the adventure.

Ten Myths About Homeschooling and Anti-Homeschooling Excuses

Prospective homeschool parents have to face fears, doubts and myths that keep them from taking the decision to homeschool their children. This article is an attempt to do some myth-busting, dispel the fears and disqualify the anti-homeschooling excuses that prevent many parents from the awesome experience of homeschooling their families…(yes, not just the kids, the parents get HOME schooled too!)

1. I don’t get on with my kids/ My kids have bad attitudes/ My kids won’t listen to me.

This, to me, is one of the best reasons to homeschool. Instead of running from discipline issues that need to be tackled, loving parents need to embrace opportunities to teach and train their children to be respectful and obedient. They need to learn to reach their children’s hearts, not just apply various methods of behaviour modification and punishment, but actually build heart-to-heart relationships with their children.

Ignoring a problem issue or expecting a teacher to deal with it, does not show love and commitment to children. They will test their boundaries and they need parents to care enough to establish and enforce boundaries. Homeschooling facilitates plenty of opportunities for parent-child relationship-building.

2. I am not well-educated/ I can’t teach subjects like Maths and Science

Research has shown that the level of education of homeschooling parents is not a factor determining successful homeschooling. Even parents that dropped out of high school have successfully homeschooled their children all through high school. Parents who did not have a good school career are often able to fill in the ‘gaps’ in their own education as they progress through various concepts with their children.

Homeschool curricula are designed to be used by parents that are not trained, professionals and for students pursuing self-study. In most cases, clear instructions are given, parent guides and solutions are provided. Some curricula even provide instructional DVD’s where a teacher teaches the new concepts for the benefit of both the parent and the student.

As a last resort, homeschoolers can also do what school-going children do if they battle with a subject – they can go for private tuition.

3. I can’t afford it.

With all the options and choices of curricula available plus free resources available on the internet, there are no grounds for this excuse. Most homeschooling families survive on one income and still give their children a good quality education.

At the very worst, you can limit yourself to spend the same amount as it would cost to have your children attend school, without the extras like school clothing, lunch money, contributions to fund-raising and other school-related expenses.

Since most of your money will be spent on books and materials which can be re-used with younger siblings, you can get a lot of value for your money.

4. My children just LOVE being with their friends

If your children prefer being with their friends, than with their family, perhaps they have already developed an unhealthy peer dependency. This might not seem to be a problem at preschool or primary school level, but just wait until they hit the teen years!

As an alternative, homeschooling enables children to build good relationships with both their parents and their siblings. When their identities are strongly rooted in their families and they have good family values, then children are better able to develop healthy friendships outside the home.

Homeschooling enables parents to choose the social interactions that their children experience. Parents can keep them from negative peer group pressure or bad influences until the children are old enough to gradually be exposed to them and are mature enough to make good decisions and build good relationships.

Homeschoolers don’t just stay at home. They also socialize- just not during school time!

Research has also shown that in general, homeschoolers have better social skills with a wider ranger of age groups than school-going children, whose social interactions are largely limited to their own age group.

5. I don’t have the patience

When I first started homeschooling, I read somewhere that you only get patience if you need it!

The same is true of other character qualities that homeschooling parents need such as perseverance, humility, self-sacrifice, compassion, diligence, etc.

It is through homeschooling that our characters are shaped, moulded and matured and we become equipped to do what we are called to do.

6. I am scared of failing.

I often tell my children that, “Courage is doing what we have to do, EVEN WHEN WE FEEL AFRAID.”

It’s amazing to me how many parents are afraid that they might mess up their children’s education, but they seem to have no fear that some teacher might mess up even better!

When you see how many children suffer for various reasons in the school system, it is even more amazing that parents are willing to entrust their precious blessings to total strangers for 6 hours of the day or more!

As a parent, you love your children like no teacher ever will, you have their best interests at heart and you are able to give them a tailor-made education, suited to their individual needs.

Unless you are not committed to successful homeschooling and dealing with the parenting and discipline issues that may crop up, there is no reason why you should not do an equal or better job than a paid professional.

Now, I am not saying that any parent can be a school teacher – no, I think one does need special training to teach a class of 35 plus children that are not your own in a school situation…but I do believe that committed parents can do a good job in homeschooling their own.

7. Will I cope? I am stressed out already.

Many outsiders see homeschooling only as an added responsibility – the burden of the academic training of their children. However, to give it a different perspective, homeschooling is a lifestyle that brings a lot of flexibility to a family’s day-to-day life. This might be just the thing to help a stressed out parent cope better with the demands of a family.

Since everyone is together, not rushing out in different directions, life is usually simplified. Children are home and can be trained to help out around the house too.

Sometimes a parent may initially need to stop certain outside activities or commitments, like additional church programs, sports or hobbies. However, this is not always the case and many homeschoolers are equally, if not more involved in their communities than non-homeschooling families.

Sometimes these activities just need to be re-scheduled to accommodate the homeschool lifestyle.

Learning to adapt and put family first is often a good thing. I know of too many people whose children are treated like second-rate citizens for the so-called good of the community, so that parents can find approval from their own peer group for their good deeds and commitments!

8. We have such a nice teacher/school.

There certainly are some very nice teachers and schools with good results and good reputations. However, does the teacher or the school’s values match your family values? Will the nice teacher always be the one to teach your child?

Often a school is legally bound to teach a curriculum which may be in conflict with your beliefs. No education is neutral. If you don’t know what your children are being taught, perhaps you should find out the underlying belief system.

No matter how nice the teacher or the school, only YOU have an intimate love relationship with your child and ultimately you are responsible for your child’s education, whether you delegate that responsibility to a school or not.

9. I need more stimulation/ I can’t just stay home / I love my job.

As career-workers, many of us initially find our identity in our job, satisfaction in the approval from our co-workers, boss or simply the pay check at the end of the month.

Choosing to stay home as a wife and mother demands a shift in one’s mindset and accepting that at the end of many days and months there is no tangible reward. You come to realize that raising well-educated, confident and secure children is one of the greatest achievements that one can strive towards. For many of us, its obedience to a God-given calling.

Although the stimulation may be of a different kind to that of a job, homeschooling can be very stimulating for parents as it offers you the opportunity to learn and explore topics of interest along with your children. It affords you the time to enjoy educational trips, tours, outings, co-ops, crafts, hobbies, sport and even home-based business opportunities.

(Many homeschooling parents, like me have website-based businesses that earn them a good income and they get to work at their own pace! See links below.)

10. My parents, in-laws, friends, neighbours or church, etc. won’t approve.

For some reason, we all like to have the approval of others, especially those whom we respect and with whom we have intimate relationships. However, if you and your spouse are in agreement that homeschooling is best for your children, you need to have the guts to stand up for your convictions.

To many non-homeschoolers, homeschooling is a foreign concept and people don’t understand why you are NOT just doing the done thing and sending your children to school.

Sometimes people feel that by your choice to homeschool, you are silently judging their choice of schooling and rating it as second best, so they attack your choice because attack is their best defence.

Ultimately, you are responsible for your children, not your family and peers…and a good answer is to tell others that you feel your choice is best for YOUR family but you realize it may not be the same for other families. You don’t even have to explain your reasons!

Many homeschoolers have had to face criticism and skepticism from outsiders, yet in the end, the ‘proof has been in the pudding’ as they say. Many times, after a few years, others have seen the good fruit of a homeschooling family and they have earned the respect and support which was lacking at first!

Home Schooling Benefits and Help

Some years ago a grandson came to live with me who have problems at school. He had bad attention span and was noisy in class. That, however, was only part of the problem. He was also bowel incontinent and at the ages of 6-8 years that was hard for teachers and students to put up with. After he was sent home within an hour of arrival on various excuses I decided to home school him.

As my education level was high having degrees from university the task was obviously not going to be that hard. In fact, it was so easy and so enjoyable for both of us that he picked up quite rapidly. He was attentive and easy to manage. Explaining things to him on a one on one basis meant that he readily absorbed the lessons.

There was also a lot of help available out in the community. There were even gatherings with other home school students. They could play games and interact as they would in a play-ground or class-room. The parents got along as well.

If someone is in a situation where the alternative to home schooling is a bad situation, then don’t hesitate to take it on. Anyone who has been to school and passed through primary with no trouble will have a great experience refreshing their memory and expounding on their knowledge.

Books are also available for parents to use to help students. They get the same text books as in a class-room with the added advantage that lessons can be ongoing once a subject has been introduced. It is surprising how many questions come up from time to time over dinner or when relaxing that add to the knowledge bank.

Children who are home-schooled in Australia are usually ahead of the pack when it comes to qualifying later in life. If someone is thinking about it then my advice is to give it a go. After all what do you have to lose?

Three Benefits Of Homeschooling Your Children

Are you reluctant of enrolling your child into a public school because you have heard of bad stories and reports of what the kids there go through? How about giving your child an education from your home? In this article I will list three benefits of homeschooling your children. Keep reading to learn more!

Benefits Of Homeschooling – You Protect Your Child From Negative Exposure

When your child learns from home, you are able to protect your child from a lot of negative exposure that children usually go through in the public school systems. Research has shown us that a lot of violence can happen in public schools. Fights can break out there. Not only that, but there is a lot of peer pressure and many kids end up picking up bad habits such as joining gangs, dealing drugs, smoking weed and more. If you homeschool your child, he or she will not be exposed to such environments. Now besides all the negative peer influences, the public education system may sometimes be detrimental to the students. I will elaborate on how that is so in the next paragraph.

Benefits Of Homeschooling – Your Have More Control Over Your Child’s Learning Process

When your child takes lessons from home, you control how your child learns, and what he or she learns. The public education system can be quite rigid in that it does not pick out each student’s preferred way of learning, and hence, not all students will be able to learn well or score well in their examination. You need to know that different children have different preferred learning styles, and it is important that you know your child’s preferred learning style. Some children learn better through getting hands on experience, others can pick up concepts through auditory learning, and there are still others who learn better visually. Find out how your child learns better and tweak your homeschooling curriculum to suit that learning style.

Benefits Of Homeschooling – Your Children Could Grow Up To Be Better Than Those Who Went To Public School

Scientific research has also shown that children who have been homeschooled grow up to be more street-smart than those who graduated from public school. Maybe this is because the students in public school are more focused on getting good results that they are more logical and theoretical, whereas those who were homeschooled enjoyed their learning process and were able to spend more time with their parents while they were growing up.

I hope you have been convinced by these benefits of homeschooling. Do take some time to think through what you have read today.

Home School Methods – What Do Parents Use to Homeschool?

There are as many ways to home school as there are people out there that home school. Basically most people will range somewhere in the broad spectrum between “school-at-home” and “let the kids play all they want and they’ll learn what they need to know”. You need to know your style and the temperaments and learning styles of your children to be able to come up with an educational philosophy that you can both live with.

Children can learn with workbooks and they can learn with games. Some children love to work through a textbook and don’t want to be bothered with games while other children may complete a workbook but not remember anything they did.

There are all kinds of terms that are used to describe the styles of home schooling such as Eclectic, Classical, Unschooling, Traditional, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and Unit Studies.

Homeschooling does stretch a parent but it doesn’t have to bend them out of shape. Each parent needs to evaluate what type of learning methods they feel comfortable with in teaching their children. Some people wouldn’t feel comfortable using anything but a structured curriculum that tells them exactly what to say. While others would feel very stifled to have to be tied to a curriculum that told them exactly what they had to do.

Homeschooling is mostly about relationships. If you have a great relationship with your child or work on relating with your child, you will be able to work through any curriculum struggle by communicating.

Children need some boundaries in their day. They may not learn anything by playing around all day, but then they may not learn anything by completing a workbook page either. They need some structure that they are required to follow and be held accountable if they step outside those boundaries. When you have some “have tos” in your life it builds character and makes the unstructured times more fun.

Random Facts Versus Whole Science Approach to Homeschool Teaching

When it comes to learning science, most of us were taught in the public school system, which is a big proponent of the random fact teaching methodology. In other words, science was a single subject taught in a vacuum separate from other subjects. When it comes to teaching difficult or complex subjects such as science, it makes more sense to take a holistic approach. Here’s why.

The Science Random Fact Junk Drawer

There has been much news lately about the American education crisis in regards to a lack of interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines. The United States is falling behind other developed countries when it comes to new technologies and discoveries, mainly because it is producing fewer graduates with related degrees.

One of the reasons for this lack of interest in STEM disciplines is due to the way kids are taught. Students often learn a bit of science here and a bit of science there without being provided any logical way to connect the dots. This collection of random facts can be likened to your junk drawer at home – you know there’s a screwdriver in the midst of all those rubber bands and paper clips and batteries and gadgets somewhere, you just can’t find it amongst all the clutter.

The same holds true for kids learning science. For instance, if a child learns a little something about the earth and the moon and how the shadow of our planet can cause a lunar eclipse, that’s an interesting, but random, fact. You might also have taught your child some astronomy concepts and explained how the moon affects the ocean’s tides. Perhaps your child has also learned something about gravity and the moon’s gravitational pull. But if you are using many mainstream homeschool science curricula, those facts were never pulled together to show the student how the moon is at the core of all these facts and they are interrelated. That’s why it’s so difficult for many kids (and adults alike!) to make the leap between one science fact and how it impacts so many other areas of the world around us. This also makes it very hard to extract a random fact later because the child must rely on rote learning.

The Whole Science Teaching Approach

A better, more effective way to teach homeschool science is through an exponential approach. By helping kids make their own connection between subjects, they are much better equipped to draw broader conclusions. This is also a great way to encourage their natural curiosity and develop hands-on experimentation that offers exciting new discoveries in the child’s mind.

The whole science homeschool teaching approach is all about extrapolation. Once your student has assimilated some core concepts they are prepared to expand that knowledge and apply it to different, everyday situations.

For instance, let’s go back to that random fact about the moon’s gravitational pull on earth. That’s a physic concepts and that explains much about a lunar eclipse, which is a topic generally brought up in astronomy. Those same gravitational forces are at work when it comes to oceanic tide cycles, a topic that may be part of biology learning. By painting the bigger picture, a student can connect the dots between physics and astronomy and biology herself and become excited about learning more.

This approach also compartmentalizes and organizes bits of information so they can easily be retrieved at will and on demand. And it aids the homeschool science teacher, who often doesn’t understand the information herself, present complex concepts and help the student come to a conclusion that need not be foregone.

When it comes to teaching a difficult subject such as science, the homeschool teacher would be wise to use a whole science approach rather than relying on a random fact methodology.

Homeschool Laws

Homeschooling is permissible in all the states, however, there are different laws governing the process to safeguard children’s future and interests. 20% of the states do not have any laws and are free from any liabilities to contact the local officials. A majority of other states simply require local officials to be notified of the process. However, in a select few states, parents and children are subjected to varying assessment of their capabilities and progress to ensure the child’s development. Here are some homeschool laws that you need to bear in mind before attempting to homeschool your child.

Homeschool Options

There are different homeschool laws in different states. In some states, the parents can homeschool their child under a homeschool stature. In others, they come under private laws. Different states also allow umbrella schools and private tutors to homeschool the child. Furthermore, some states have diverse packages and options for a highly customizable homeschooling plan to offer the best solution to both children and parents.

Notification

Certain states require parents to notify government officials of the homeschooling plan or package. In other states, the homeschool law is different and parents are thoroughly assessed before being permitted to homeschool their child. Still, other states are different and require no notification procedure at all. Hence, the state also determines the type of homeschool law prevailing in the area and the laws that every parent will abide to.

Parent Qualifications

Naturally, you need to have a decent education yourself in order to be able to teach your child. Where it is not as important to prove your education in most states, certain states have homeschool laws in place that require parents to have high school diploma or GED to be eligible to homeschool their children.

Subjects

Moving on, certain states have even more thorough rules and regulations. They require children to have certain necessary subjects in their course. Also, they require that parents give their children a certain amount of time on a daily basis and can even provide instruction manuals for parents to follow. This allows states to ensure that every child is provided with fundamental knowledge, even if they are homeschooled.

Assessment

About half of the states have academic assessments that assess the progress of your child. This is only to ensure that your child is progressing. However, many states don’t have strict regulations and allow parents to bypass any such requirements. Also, many states don’t need a passing score for the academic performance of your child and can accept homeschool certifications, created by the parents themselves.

Clearly, there are different homeschool laws for different states. You would do well to have a look at all these different rules and regulations before attempting to homeschool your child. Having good knowledge of all these different laws will help guide your homeschooling accordingly. Plus, it will also help avoid many complications later on.

Homeschooling Pros and Cons – Learn About the Pros and Cons

Making a choice about your child’s schooling takes a lot of thinking and consideration. You need to decide what is the absolute best decision for your child. I hope that the following information about homeschooling will help to guide you in your decision making.

Homeschooling pros:

You decide what your child learns, and when they learn it. This is, I believe, the biggest pro for homeschooling. You decide whether you want your child to learn evolution or creation, Christianity or Islam or no religion, all of the choices are left up to you!

You learn along with you child. You and your child will grow closer to each other as you learn together, and spend practically all day every day together.

In addition to this your child will have your undivided attention compared to being in a classroom with thirty other students.

Homeschooling cons:

Your child will not have the same social life that they would have if they went to a different school. This is, I believe, the biggest con for homeschooling. Your child will not be as comfortable around people other than their family, because they will not be hanging out with other people on a regular basis.

You will need to make a big time commitment. You will be dedicating many hours each day to teaching your child, and therefore will not have as much time left for other things.

No matter what decision you end up making, I hope that you will give this important decision an incredible amount of thought.

Home Schooling Nine to Twelve Year Olds and Socialization

When home schooling a child between nine and twelve years old, there is a lot of pressure for peer pressure. Keep in mind that not all children undergo this pressure to be with and like their peers, while distancing themselves from their parents. These preteens still need plenty of attention, eye contact, positive reinforcement and praise, personal communication, and good interaction with their parents. Believe it or not, children at this age do still enjoy being read to. Keep having positive attitudes toward learning; focus on making learning interesting and engaging. Make sure you use positive constructive criticism with the least amount of academic pressure possible. Focus on providing a safe, secure learning environment that encourages love, acceptance and reassurance. This will, in time, raise their feelings of self worth and help them understand where their values lie.

At this tender age of hormones, mixed emotions, changing feelings, group planning in curriculum is suggested. Preteens prefer learning skills that have a reason or purpose in real life. For instance, instead of offering busy work in language arts, ask your child to write a letter to a manufacturing company in regards to a defective household product for you. Not only would this make the child feel important but the learning task would be a skill much needed in real life. When learning math, use real life examples with money and budgeting, perhaps even balancing a checkbook. Use graphs and charts to set goals with earned money and savings. Reading about science from a textbook is one way to learn the subject, but performing experiments or identifying specimens in nature is much more engaging. Daily and weekly chores are necessary to learn responsibility and accountability as an integral part of the family.

Remember to always model what you want to teach. Learn new topics together. Dissect a grasshopper for science, work on the family budget together, etc. Homeschooling allows parents to design a curriculum that benefits their children. Find out where your preteen has strengths and weaknesses and plan your curriculum around that.

Homeschooling and Socialization:

When parents talk about home schooling their children, the most common concern is regarding socialization. Parents are concerned that their children will not learn how to adapt to social situations. Unless the homeschooling parent decides to isolate their children completely from the outside world, this is impossible. In fact, children who are home schooled have more interaction with people of all ages, not just their age group. The average home schooled child attends more educational field trips during the year than the non home schooled child. In addition, home schooled children have more opportunities for after school activities, such as music lessons, sports, and hobbies.

Children who home school feel equally comfortable with younger children, peers, and adults of all ages. Children who home school have daily social interactions with the family, neighborhood and the community. Because of this, studies have shown that children who home school have higher self esteem. Children who attend school do not experience real world situations, while home schoolers are definitely more prepared for the real world.

The type of socialization that is experienced in schools is often negative. Large school settings harbor conformity, teasing, bullying, defiant behavior, popularity contests, and competition. No wonder home schooled children have higher self esteem; children at home are learning kindness, patience, sharing, respect, and understanding. These home schooled children are not exposed to peer influences which foster peer dependency. Peer dependent children show diminished positive socialization, such as self-worth, confidence, reverence for their parents, and trust in peers. Although home school children may play with other children in the neighborhood and experience this peer dependence, strong morals and values are being taught at home that override these negative experiences.

Home schooled children learn to listen to their own instincts and let that guide them to make their own decisions. Conforming to a peer social group that does not value individuality does not foster independent thinking, which is necessary for a successful life.