February 26, 2018

Homeschooling 101

By Julie Samrick

When Brendan started preschool at age three, his parents were as excited as he was.  Their bright little boy would get to do lots of messy, fun, hands-on projects with kids his own age.  But it wasn’t long before his preschool teacher noticed that Brendan was far ahead of his peers and predicted that a traditional school setting might not be for him. She was right.

Read more of my latest article at Sacramento Parent  Wherever you live, this article gives tips for how to get started in homeschooling and if it’s a good fit for your child.

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  1. Heather Stokhaug says:

    I always love to see articles about homeschoolers! I just wanted to point out that funding has actually decreased at Visions and at South Sutter to $1600 per year, due to state budget cuts. Parents do not receive that as a lump sum. Families basically have an “account” that they use to purchase curriculum and pay for activities.
    Also, as long as you go to an accredited Charter High School Program, state colleges will view your students as they would any other high school graduate. Even students who file a Private School Affidavit so that they can independently homeschool are welcome at many private universities. Most middle and high school parents I know who continue to homeschool, utilize the junior college system for courses that are above what they feel is their ability for instruction (particuarly math).
    I think it’s important for parents to know that their children do not need to be profoundly gifted to benefit from homeschooling. Homeschooled children come in all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Anyone can homeschool. Any parent can be an outstanding teacher.

    • Thanks, Heather! And you’re right- what I took from my research is that homeschooling is a great alternative for all types of kids and families, especially if traditional school isn’t a good fit and that could be for many reasons.

  2. Julie, thank you so much for writing this positive article about homeschooling. As Brendan’s mom, sharing our family’s experience wasn’t meant to highlight him or our specific reasons for homeschooling, so please don’t be thrown off by the “why” of how we chose this path. My intent is to share how homeschooling has filled an educational need in our family and to offer advice/support to anyone else considering homeschooling.

    We are in such a fortunate area of the country where homeschooling is not isolating or something families have to take on by themselves. We are supported by the best public school districts and teachers, are given all the resources (financial, differentiated curriculum, and otherwise) necessary, and have a wealth of social and enrichment activities during the school day. It IS very possible to do this even without a teaching degree. It requires a lot of love, a commitment of time and enthusiasm for your children’s education, and a significant amount of continuing research/reaching out for support, but the return on your family connection is priceless.

    I think it’s also important to note that most of our homeschooling children also fully interact in the community with brick-and-mortar children for sports, religion, arts/theater/dance, etc. just as much as anyone else. It’s no different than friends being in different classes during the school day. There isn’t one type of child who thrives best with homeschooling, either. We have close friends who are dynamic social butterflies, along with a few who are shy. Some are gifted, some are struggling and/or need the one-to-one interaction for other reasons, and many others would easily fit in a classroom setting but the parents want more for their education. Homeschooling is a big term but can be successfully fit to nearly any child’s interests. That’s it’s great appeal.

    I wanted to respond to another post (I no longer see?) about how to start. I would begin by contacting the local public charters to get more information. Most are on summer break but are responding to information requests. http://www.fcusd.org/CharterWeb/ or http://www.viedu.org/ are for the Folsom Charter and Visions. Different charters offer slightly different support approaches. For example, Visions’ funding is different than Folsom’s. Folsom offers less in out-of-pocket reimbursement, but arguably provides more in terms of curriculum, it’s lending library, workshops (free), and field trips. I also highly highly recommend reading The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. That and other books from the library can give you a sense of direction if you are contemplating this for your family.

    Please let me know if I can help in any other way!

  3. Oh, one more thing…. I would respectfully disagree with the comments about colleges not accepting homeschoolers. Through our homeschool communities, there are many homeschooled children being accepted at Stanford, Berkeley, and other UC schools, MIT and the Ivy League schools, and hundreds of others across the country. Wes Beach is a well-known college advisor who has a book about this, and is speaking at the Homeschool Convention in Sacramento next month.

    There is also an increasing number of high school options for homeschooling in our area. Natomas, Shingle Springs, and Lincoln all have programs that have strong college-prep programs for homeschoolers.


  4. My wife and I have thought about homeschooling a lot. I fear that my son will miss out on so much by not going to public school. He might not get the same experiences of bonding with other children that he needs and often wants (we are older parents in our early 40’s because of fertility problems.) Most of our friends do not have young children and he often wants the social interaction I can’t give him being a stay-at-home dad.

    I also fear the that the school system has changed so drastically, since I was in school,l that he won’t be happy and might not get the education he needs. I can tell you that my son is bright. He challenges me all the time by “pretending” he doesn’t know things to see if I am paying attention. He also gets easily bored and distracted.

    I know there is a new emphasize on educational styles now that tends to overlook boys. The thought is they are easily distracted and disruptive (yes Julie I am talking about one of your posts, “Where Have All the Respectable Tv Dads Gone?” ) Knowing all of this it makes it very hard for a parent that wants the absolute best for their child. I feel like the odds are against my son either way I go…..sigh

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