Monday, August 11, 2014

Dealing with Opposition from Those Against Homeschooling

With at least 2 million children being homeschooled today, we don't hear half as
much opposition as back when the movement was new, but still, many do question the validity of homeschooling as a respectable alternative to formal education, and worse yet, some will point fingers and claim you are doing your children a disservice.

When the criticism comes from a stranger, it is fairly easy to ignore, depending on how confident you feel about your choice. If the criticism isn't easy to ignore then you probably should read some of the better books about homeschooling and check in with your homeschooling support group. You will feel better and the next time criticism comes, you may just have a question for the finger pointer, such as "Why do you think that public schools do a good job of socializing children?" Regardless of whether you have a comeback or not, once you are confident in your choice, the criticism from the typical nay saying strangers and acquaintances will run off you like water off a duck.

However, when those against your homeschooling are friends or family, the opposition is much more difficult to deal with because you can't just walk away, end of subject. Often times it's just that they don't know even a small percent of what you know about homeschooling. You may just need to provide some literature to assuage their fears. Be sure to include articles that dispel myths, such as "homeschoolers can't get into college" or "homeschoolers miss out socializing."

Give them fact sheets that exemplify homeschooling success. You can create these by putting together facts you have uncovered in your homeschooling research. Fact sheets will more likely be read than a stack full of printed out articles.

Remind the doubters that homeschoolers are accepted into colleges, many colleges, including Harvard, and that on average homeschoolers do better on
college entrance exams.

Also include on your fact sheets results of studies, such as ones that point to homeschooled children's emotional and social happiness. On the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale, for example, half of the children attending public or private schools scored at or below the 50th percentile in self-concept, while only 10 percent of the home-schooling children did so.

With the help of Google put together a list of famous homeschoolers, like Thomas Edison and children who win essay and spelling contests.

If you live in a state that requires periodic testing, show them the scores. Even if testing isn't required, you may want to do this just to have in your homeschooling file. While some of us feel that too much weight is given to test scores, many are more convinced by homeschooler's test scores than anything else. If your children perform well on tests, then those scores and the fact that the children appear happy and busy with outside activities will likely carry enough weight to put worries to rest.

Should the criticism still continue, just chalk the homeschooling issue up to a scapegoat for the criticizer's own issues, and refuse to discuss the matter any further. Then relax in the confidence of knowing you are giving your children a wonderful gift.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Is Homeschooling Right for my Family?.

This is a good question to ask, especially with the emphasis on "family," because
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homeschooling can impact a family's life in so many ways.

The financial impact can be a major factor when it means one parent giving up a job and income. After all, with most mothers (and fathers) working outside the home, the public school system also serves as childcare.

Most who homeschool are mothers in two parent families, where the couple has decided that it's in the child's best interests to do without the extra income in order to homeschool their children. However, more and more parents are finding ways to work at home, making homeschooling a very possible reality for families that require two incomes and for single parents.

A parent who does work at home and wants to homeschool must still ask the question, "Is homeschooling right for my family?" because achieving a balance between a home business or telecommuting job and child rearing and schooling can be challenging.

However, for many homeschooling families, the rewards far exceed the stresses. Also, the stresses can be eased with a good support team, such as a local homeschooling group where parents may form a teaching and/or childcare coop of sorts. Others have help from grandparents or older siblings. Some may just need short breaks and find that time when the child is at a supervised activity outside the home (many homeschooled children are involved in outside activities such as special interest classes and clubs).

Still other families find that balance of work and homeschooling through running a family business where children can take part, such as one family who ran a board game store where their kids had lots of fun playing the sample games with other kids as well as helping out at the register and with stock.

When asking yourself if homeschooling is right for your family, do keep in mind that your business may not be of interest to your child. The key is finding a balance that allows your homeschooled child to thrive in a loving and accepting home while reaching his or her intellectual potential and having his or her social, emotional and spiritual needs met.

Sometimes out of determination to homeschool, parents will change their own career course and find that they are much happier too.

Another important area to look at when considering if homeschooling is right for your family will be the reasons you want to homeschool and how your child feels about it. For example, if your 7th grader is doing fine in school and enjoying school, then it's probably best not to force homeschooling. However if your child is open to homeschooling (and if the child understands that homeschooling doesn't mean being cut off from friends), and you want to homeschool, then it’s probably going to be a positive experience.