4 Must Have Books For Homeschooling Parents

Every homeschooling parent knows that a well stocked library is one of their greatest assets. In addition to great pieces of literature and reference books, however, there are also wonderful books on the topic of homeschooling itself that are must have additions to the family library.

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy

One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a homeschooling parent is finding the right curriculum. You want one that matches your educational philosophy and that also works with your child’s learning style. This book makes this process of picking one among the many available choices so much easier. It’s a must read for parents at the start of theirhomeschool journey or for any homeschooling parent who wants to make a change in their home education.

Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of The World

Susan Wise Bauer is the author of several books on classical homeschooling. Her Story of the World series are well loved by home educators. They help parents create a living history experience for children and I enjoy them too, which is no small thing considering history was my least favorite subject in school!. The Story of the World books also have companion workbooks for those who wish to employ them alongside the volumes.

John Holt’s Teach Your Own

John Holt has been called the “father of unschooling”. His name is frequently mentioned among homeschooling advocates and pops up on message forums and websites for home educators with frequency. As a former public school teacher turnedunschooling advocate, Holt has penned several wonderful books on the topic of how children learn, why the public school system is failing, and encourages parents to trust their child’s learning process. Reading Holt gives you confidence that as a homeschooling parent you’re capable of educating your child and preparing them for adult life better than anyone else can.

The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas by Linda Dobson

This one is another favorite among homeschooling parents. One of the ongoing challenges homeschoolers face is how we can teach our kids the most important subjects: reading, writing and math every day without boring ourselves and our children. This book offers hundreds of ideas that will keep things fresh and interesting for you as you teach your kids at home. It will also assist you in meeting your individual children’s needs since they differ in ability and learning style.

There are many other awesome books for homeschooling parents, but these are four of my personal favorites.

Homeschooling – Pros, Cons and Useful Resources

Homeschooling is a controversial topic which occasionally causes heated arguments. Irrespective of whether you are for or against this type of education, homeschooling is increasing across all states. In 2003, 2.2% of children were taught at home. Over the next four years the numbers grew steadily until by 2007 there were 1.5 million kids (2.9%) being homeschooled.

There are a number of reasons why parents consider homeschooling to be the best option for their children. The type of environment in which a child is taught is the most important factor for the majority of parents. A survey conducted in 2007 about parent and family involvement in education, (part of the National Household Survey), established that 88% of respondents whose kids were taught at home had concerns about the way education is provided in public schools. An equally high percentage (83%) preferred homeschooling because it meant they could provide religious or moral instruction in such a way that their own beliefs were addressed and satisfied.

Many kids with physical or learning disabilities are being taught at home as well. Indeed, the number has increased by 36% since 2003. The reasons for this increase are not clear. Could it be that some parents feel their kids are able to learn at their own pace without undue pressure when taught at home? Many feel it’s easier to make mistakes, and learn from them without embarrassment, in one’s own surroundings.

Others who advocate homeschooling point out that because there is no contact with potential bullying, kids develop greater confidence when they are working within their home environment. This may be one reason why more girls than boys receive homeschooling. Homeschooling is also used by parents of very bright kids who suspect that their offspring would be held back if they were taught in a mixed ability class. It is interesting to note that parents involved in homeschooling are more likely to be college educated.

Those who oppose homeschooling frequently comment on the fact that kids do not have as many opportunities to socialize with their peers, which could impact their long-term development. There is also a risk surrounding a lack of recognized safeguards that protect against potential abuse. The cost of providing sufficient teaching equipment is also very expensive and therefore some think that homeschooled children are having to make-do with fewer resources, or work with material of a lower quality than those found in public schools. In addition, in some states, there isn’t any oversight of student progression due to lack of compulsory or regular testing.

Legislation concerning homeschooling overcomes the latter argument to some extent, although the level at which there is oversight varies from state to state. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, expect parents to obtain achievement tests so their child’s progress may be regularly monitored. In this case, someone other than the parent must administer the test in grades 3, 5 and 8. Other states, such as Alabama, insist that each child be linked with an ‘umbrella’ school. The umbrella school oversees the homeschooling programs and answers to the state. A third type of involvement includes the state making specifications regarding part of the curriculum. For example, Nebraska expects all homeschooled students from K-5 to devote at least one hour per week to stories and/or music about American history and heroes. Nebraska also insists on implementing a monthly fire drill.

Parents who have opted for homeschooling will explain they did not make their decision lightly. After all, they are investing their own time and resources to teach their kids over a number of years. If you’re interested in homeschooling, there is a wealth of information available that includes advice and support from a growing number of organizations. The Internet has made a tremendous difference. Parents new to homeschooling are now able to join online self-help groups and benefit from others’ experiences. There is also a considerable amount of downloadable free material in addition to commercial websites which offer an ever-changing program of tasks and progression tests across all subjects.

Homeschooling requires superb time management, sensible routines and time set aside for non-educational activities. Most parents will plan a year’s tuition with appropriate goals. A typical week could be four days of academics with one day set aside for field trips. Many parents join forces with other homeschooling families for field trips, thus enabling their kids to meet and interact with their peers, and overcome the criticisms that homeschooled kids do not have opportunities to socialize.

Here is an example of one day’s work for a ten-year old, taken from a self-help website:

Before 11.30am routine household chores and family meal
11.30am Religion, vocabulary
12pm Reading
12.30pm Math
1.30pm Language
2pm History
2.30pm Spelling
3pm Science or Health
3.30pm Social studies and Civics
4pm Writing
4.30pm Homework

Homeschooling is here to stay and the steady growth of online advice and resources will assist in this development.

Understanding the Homeschooling Laws and Legalities in Your State

Understanding the homeschooling laws and legalities in your state will prove to be a little confusing at first since no state is the same on how they treat homeschooling in terms of legitimacy.

In historical accounts, the right to teach your own children in the privacy of your home has long been debated in the United States. Several lawmakers, advocates, educators and parents; both pros and antis, have widely deliberated this issue ever since the onset of the compulsory education in Massachusetts on 1852.

Nowadays, the focal point of the homeschool discussion has already shifted from the question of its legality to the issues of less significant stature, such as the access to a state’s school funds, facilities, and other resources; the control for quality; college admissions; and standardized testing among others.

As mentioned, understanding the homeschooling law and legalities in your state may seem to be complicated but with enough research and patience, you will begin to comprehend the stand of your state in regards to homeschooling.

First, it must be said that homeschool is legal in all 50 states of the United States. In connection to the ruling handed by the US Supreme Court, it stated that the Amish have the right to keep their children out of public schools because of their religious beliefs. It was also stated that the parents have the fundamental right to educate their children in a way that is acceptable to their religious faith; as long as these teachings will not contradict any laws or it will not disrespect the fundamental rights of any person.

With this ruling, it was already implied that the right to educate their children in the privacy of their homes is their fundamental right as a parent.

After this, many other court rulings in favor of the parents’ wish to educate their children in home school were handed

Now every state has their own judgment in regards to this issue and each of these states have created laws and regulations to somehow manage this so ruled fundamental right. Understanding homeschool laws and legalities in your state can actually be summarized into three categories:

a. Regulations and homeschool laws in other states are based on their treatment of such as a private school. Examples of these states are California, Texas, and Indiana. In these places, homeschool laws are the same as those laws that govern the other non-accredited schools.

b. Another category, the laws are based on the unique ruling of the state in regards to the state’s compulsory attendance with a specific mention to “homeschool” requirements. States that have this treatment are New Jersey and Maryland among others

c. Last category, other states like New Hampshire, Maine, and Iowa have a specific ruling for homeschooling. These states often have different terms applied for homeschool like “home instruction” in Virginia; “alternative instruction” in South Dakota; and “competent private instruction” in Iowa.

It is known that apart from these categories, all the 50 states have a different way of treating homeschool and its students. Some may require less than the others and some have very stringent qualifications in order to be considered as a passable home school attendee.

These are generalized state laws that tackle private education. Try to find your specific state law regarding homeschooling in order to maximize the benefits that you can get from the state; not to mention the requirements being asked by your state from you.