Questions focus our thinking. Ask empowering questions like: What's good about this? What's not perfect about it yet? What am I going to do next time? How can I do this and have fun doing it? ~ Charles Connolly
People question the wisdom of homeschooling. We live life out of the norm of society. We don't send our children to school.
- How do you homeschool, and why would you?
- Aren't you sheltering your children?
- How can you teach your children all they need to know?
- How do your children learn social skills outside of a school setting?
- How can society be assured that you are properly educating your child?
We question. We question the status quo, the norm. We question established wisdom. We question ourselves. We question for our families and for our children. Our questions can be universal in nature; afterall, we share the decision to live life with our children without school. Yet, we do not always come to the same conclusions, nor would we want to. This is one reason we choose to live life without school. We value individual choice and the freedom of choice. That includes the freedom to be imperfect and the freedom to make mistakes and possibly learn from them.
Below we address Questions that you have asked, that others ask, that we often hear about life without school.
Questions from Readers
I have a 16 year old daughter who has struggled with school from basically day one. She is in the 9th grade, I recently withdrew her from school looking for different alternative schools for her to attend, even thought about sending her away to job corps. She is a very intelligent for her age and has always made good grades on her end of grade tests. She would fail all year and score high at the end of year. She doesn't like the classroom environment at all. She was diagnosed with ADHD around age 7, and we have tried medication several times, but she is old enough now and refuses to take it. I am looking into homeschooling her in order for her to get her diploma. I have come across a lot of websites that says that a GED or diploma is not required to get a great job, but I have learned from experience that not having one makes it almost impossible to get a high paying job. I am 34 and dropped out at 15. My question is how to go about starting,and is there a certain amount of time it takes to homeschool her in order for her to receive a diploma? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Should I Homeschool My 16-Year-Old?, by Tammy
You've asked a lot of questions here, but it basically boils down to this one question: How do I help my daughter succeed?
There are several issues that you need to consider before you can find the answers to your concerns. The answers will most likely come from within you, and from your daughter's heart. The information you get here or anywhere is simply a way for you to find the answer you already have ...
One question - - - I find myself feeling like I need to defend how she learns to family and close friends (they find it hard to understand - some have commented she must just be a "lazy" learner), they often say I need to push her to be on level with peers. How do you deal with unwanted comments and advice - especially that "look" -the judgemental one? I do a good job of changing the subject or moving on with a quick answer - but some are so persistent.
"She's smart, but lazy." "He's living below his potential." These are some of the comments a parent of a right-brained learner may hear about their child in regard to their learning process. This creative learner is often later in developing the areas of reading, math computation, spelling, handwriting, and writing. But, there are reasons for this timing in the development of these areas based on their strengths and how they learn and process information. And there are reasons we subconsciously place judgments upon these children and how they learn....
I've heard a lot about unschooling, and about letting your child pick what they want to learn. Please don't yell at me, but how are they supposed to figure out what they like if they never get exposed to it?
Questions About Exposure, by Linda
Question 1: If you unschool, what guarantees that your children will be exposed to the subjects that might get them excited?
Question 2: What if the perspective that is presented is not complete, accurate, or even truthful?
Question 3: What about topics that are rarely, if ever, covered in public schools? How do people ever discover those topics?
My kids are extremely different from each other. What's fuel for one is Kryptonite for the other. It's hard to manage. I've been leaning towards unschooling more and more, but I'm concerned about my son. He's so very different than my daughter and I. I'm wondering how to homeschool someone whose view of the world and whose needs and likes are so fundamentally different than mine.
It's hard to put into words what I'm asking, but I think I'm nervous/perplexed about how to listen to his signals, etc., when I'm not convinced I hear all of them.
Being with each child in their zone is difficult - draining, really, when you add up trying to do my best for them each day. With lesson plans it is easy to feel like I've checked off the boxes and therefore I'm safe. I know it's a hollow comfort, but at least it's a comfort, right? lol
Making It Work, Not Child-Led, by Tammy
I have three children, and each child has a distinct personality. And, each one’s personality is different from my own. To make it more complex, my husband’s personality is different from all four of us. How can five people, with their own way of dealing with learning, stress, people, sleep, food, and everything else, live together under one roof?...
I need help motivating my son to read for pleasure. He is finishing up 6th grade and has never read a book on his own since we began homeschooling 2 years ago. He loves for me to read to him and although I enjoy this too and would continue even if he were reading for pleasure himself, I can't get him to read without absolutely making him. We have subscribed to magazines that should interest him and he has access to many, many books at home. I do not have him to answer questions after reading as he did in PS, but I am thinking this was the burden that killed any interest he may have had. Any suggestions?
It's really hard for many people to believe that kids really will learn to read, and read well, if left to their own devices. Our system of educating children at school has taught us that kids need to learn to read by the end of First Grade. When I was teaching elementary school, I loved teaching 2nd and 3rd grade, because they came to me already reading....
I really appreciated your post, and wondered if I could ask your advice (or anyone reading the comments) for a single mom who so longs to be an unschooler/homeschooler, but has to work to support the two of us (4.5 year old daughter & myself). I had my own business for a while, web design from home, but the income was so erratic that I gave up and went to work full time. My daughter is now in preschool/daycare 40 hrs a week, and we are looking into local kindergartens. And underneath it all, I am grieving the loss of the way I want to approach my daughter's education. I would love if you could point me in the direction of any resources/ideas for one-parent families and homeschooling.
Unschooling as a Single Parent, by Becky
I didn't begin my unschooling life as a single parent, but I became one three years ago. Prior to getting divorced, I didn't need to work. My kids' dad brought home a regular paycheck, and I got to be a full time, stay at home mom. As we moved through mediation, custody, and child support orders, it became clear that I was going to need to find a job. We had always unschooled, and I hadn't had to work since they were toddlers. I panicked....
Many thanks to all the writers, readers and others who manage this site. I'm learning so much as i transition my family into unschooling. My son is almsot 5 years and my daughter is almsot 2. My husband is not available during the week but tries to spend time with us on the w'ends. The issue i'm facing is how are the logistics in unschooled homes? i.e. i want to read about how people with children in this age group have managed their homes, the desires of their children, their own needs, basics like managing food, bathing etc... alongside being ture to the children's lead. For e.g. my son recently had 2 molars extracted due to extensive cavities. This shocked us and him into brushing longer and more often and if unable to brush then atleast swill water in the mouth and swallow. Well since the memory of the operation has faded he has begun asserting his need to brush by himself and do as much as he wants vs. what we know is necessary. how do i help him understand the importance of our involvement in his oral hygiene till he is a little older? there are a miliion things that dh and i have done wrong (with good intentions) for e.g. never allowed him to regulate his own sleep etc... so over all this phase of asserting himself all the time is a deschool phase for him. but i'm struggling thru it. i'm obviously not experienced and am still deschooling myself. also in the midst of this managing my younger daughter's needs while helping an early reader... is hard. i think i'm rambling. sorry. hope you can direct me to some essays as i'm sure stuff like this is covered already. best, hema
In some unschooling circles, it is said that we need to "trust the children; that they know what they need when they need it." I don't believe that in the literal sense it is often conveyed, though I do believe it in the figurative sense....
I have been educating myself about homeschooling for a while now and I am very often here, reading and thinking.
I think homeschooling/unschooling is worlds away from what I have known, as I have grown up with a strict pedagogical mother, owner of a private school.
So up to a certain moment I thought that what my mother taught me was best - kids don't know what they want to, you should break them if they are stubborn, parents know best, etc. Anyway, I am on a new level now.
But I am also in a new situation. I don't live in my home country, meaning that at home we speak a different language. What do you think about homeschooling in this situation? I am a bit unsure of what is the right thing to do - how do I teach my child a language/tradition that is not my own?
And although it may sound funny to you, I still don't have a child, I just want to be ready...
Your question brought back fond memories of learning Russian with my older daughter when she was a toddler. The speed and ease with which she grasped that foreign language seemed a miracle, and learning with her was a delight. She is now 17 years old and still happily remembers a fair amount of what we learned together....
I have 3 young learners and a 4 month baby. I have developed a learning program for my older girls 7 and 5 1/2, yet my 4 year old always seems to be left out. How can I incorporate her into the program so that she benefits from the day and feels apart of the family?
How do you homeschool with younger children? Because the needs of each stage when they are young are so different, where does homeschooling fit in? How do you work with the older children when the younger children need me, too? I often hear questions such as these from new homeschoolers of school-aged children who also have one or more under-aged children in the mix...
How do you homeschool with younger children? Because the needs of each stage when they are young are so different, where does homeschooling fit in? How do you work with the older children when the younger children need me, too? I often hear questions such as these from new homeschoolers of school-aged children who also have one or more under-aged children in the mix....
Bettina & Marsha Answer:
Questions We Often Hear
As part of my volunteer work, I handle incoming questions about homeschooling from sources other than homeschoolers. Last month, I had the pleasure of talking to a teacher with legitimate concerns about how kids learn without school. This was part of our conversation....
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