Thursday, April 5, 2007

the beginning

My homeschool journey began when Punkin #1 was about 3 years old. I had just read an article by Ayn Rand entitled "The Comprachicos" in a collection of her works called The New Left: The Anti-Industrical Revolution. I knew I didn't want my baby girl's mind to be stunted by modern education. I also vividly remembered the 13 years of misery I endured in a small town public school. I would never wish that on my own child.

I knew I could never stand by and allow her special and absolutely uniquely precious inner-self to be destroyed before my eyes. Then and there my mate and I decided to homeschool.

Then it became- how?????? How in the world do I set about educating our precious punkin????

I looked at many recources, searched the library and B&N for books, methods. Reading anything and everything I could get my hands on it. I came across the Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. I couldn't believe how fortunate I was. A method of education based on building subjects from the ground up, preschool through highschool. Complete with book recommendations, cources of study and schedules.

I breathed a sigh of relief. At last I had a starting point. Whether or not I followed it to the letter, which I don't, at least I had a place to start.


tina said...

I'm curious about home schooling....any links or information would be great. I have a step-daughter that quit school and hid it from her father.(she doesn't live with us)When we found out, she told us her mom was home schooling her. Does it cost a lot of money and how do they do testing etc...Oh, she brought over a folder type book that she was to study and answer questions in the back and I realized it was "religious" oriented!

look_an_atheist said...

Hi! A little disclaimer, I am NOT an expert. I think the most important thing is to find out what laws the state she lives in has about homeschooling, especially about starting in the middle of the school year. You will want to find out what she needs to do so she isn't reported truant.

Here is a site where you can start checking into the state homeschooling laws.

There is often a lot of legal mumbo jumbo that can be hard to wade through.

There are also yahoo groups specializing in homeschooling in a particular state where you can go and pick their brains as well. :-)

With homeschooling it is VERY easy to get religious curriculum. Most of the people who homeschool do so for religious reasons and there is LOADS of material out there with varying degrees of religious content.

Once you clear off the legal issues about reporting, then you need to find out what her state requires for homeschooling itself. Some will require a certain number of days per year, some will specify content but you choose the books, some will require annual testing, report card submissions etc....

The key is not to be overwhelmed but to take it one piece at a time.

Also it depends on how old she is, if she is old enough she may not be required to go to school anymore. Some states it is 16. If that is the case than you do not have to worry about reporting her you can just concentrate on her education.

Another good idea is to go to the library and find books about homeschooling and just start reading. Things that sound appropriate you can follow up on with the internet or additional library titles.

As for money- it depends on what you want to use for curriculum. There are several books dedicated strictly to low-cost homeschooling alternatives. It does NOT have to be expensive.

There are a variety of companies that provide testing and the one you pick will probably depend on her state's requirements and the one best suited to her.

Does she want to go to college or just get her G.E.D.? Do you have a local community college nearby?

If you would like more info. I would love to try and help, but need a few more details to be really specific.

I hope that helps a bit! I would love to hear more.

tina said...

Well to say the least we were not happy about the religious part, but the work looked fairly easy and she could work at her own pace. But you see, the problem we have is that we don't think she will keep at it. I was really wondering how we could find out if she is still homeschooling. She is 15 and her mom let her quit public school because she said the teachers were dumb. Well, who knows if they were or not, but I am interested to know if she is still homeschooling and how can we get her grades and results of testing? Are we going to have to ask her or is there another way to find out, kind of like conferences.(smile)We live in Michigan. Thank you so much for the information though, it will be helpful if my daughter decides to home school her son.

look_an_atheist said...

It sounds like you are in a really tough position. You want her to get a quality education and you're not sure that she is getting it with a folder of religious-type worksheets.

I just checked into Michigan online and let me say, I wish I lived in Michigan. WOW are the homeschool laws lenient.

Michigan's Compulsory School Attendance Law
MCL 380.1561, Section 1561(3)
: "A child is not required to attend a public school in any of the following cases:
f) The child is being educated at the child's home by his or her parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program in the subject areas of Reading, Spelling, Mathematics, Science, History, Civics, Literature, Writing and English Grammar."

Compulsory attendance - between 6 and 16 years of age.

Application- You do NOT have to request a Non-Public School Membership Reporting Form

Parental Qualifications - (3f) No requirements

Testing - None

Curriculum - The state does not regulate the content of the basic courses.

Reporting - None required

Families choosing to home school under exemption (3)(f) are not required to do any type of reporting to any school official. If you are sent a SM4325 form, you do not have to return it or make any type of response. The MDE has stated that, "If the home school family has not registered, the Department will consider the home school family to be operating under the exemption (f) solely." There is also no law requiring that any information be provided to the local or intermediate school district. Therefore, a home school existing under (3)(f) has no responsibility to provide any information to local school officials.

To begin a home education program you simply begin home schooling. You do NOT have to ask permission, get a license or even a permit. You do NOT have to request a Non-Public School Membership Reporting Form (form SM4325). You must provide your children instruction in the subject areas of Reading, Spelling, Mathematics, Science, History, Civics, Literature, Writing and English Grammar."

There is no way for you to check on her progress through an outside agency because they do not have to report their schooling to anyone.

As for her schooling it depends on how much involvement you are able to have. If you get to see her (like weekend visitations) you can provide a learning rich environment and learning experiences.

If you don't get to see her very often, you could try and find out what her interests are and follow an "unschooling" approach to furthering her education even through the mail. Which... if you aren't familiar with homeschooling probably meant nothing to you.

Unschooling- child led learning, where the parent takes what a child is already curious about and expands on it, and thoroughly explores the topic.

If you tell me what kind of timeframe you have for interactions with her I can maybe point you in the right direction.

I wish I had an easy answer like call 1-800-test-score and you could find out if she is still succeeding.

Best of luck!

tina said...

Wow! Well, that sums it up. She had decided last year or so that she did not want to be here,for reasons that I really don't need to go into. (she was bored here and liked being at home where they partied all the time)We don't see her on the weekends but my husband calls her two or three times before actually getting a call in return, which is usually on a holiday, go figure. I don't think we will actually get an honest answer as to if she is continuing her education. She can legally quit at sixteen anyway, her birthday is next month.(she will be 16)I want to thank you for that information though, it may come in handy at a later date. I just couldn't find much in the way of answers to my questions. But you did come through and I thank you for it. I think your child will love being home schooled with such a great teacher that cares so much.

Dani said...

Again - I want to applaud you for loving your children enough to homeschool them.

For you or Tina - Here are a couple links you might be interested in:

- Free Homeschooling Curriculum Materials

- Homeschool Legal Defense (HSLDA)

(Not that it really matters, but this first post of yours is on my birthday.)

Glad to have found your blog!

Jenny W. said...

Arizona (where we live) has a similarly easy homeschool environment. We had to file a form saying we were going to homeschool, and we have to be sure to cover a short list of subjects. That's it.

Fiery Ewok said...

Hi Jenny W! Thanks for stopping by my blog. :-)

AZ sounds like another nice place to live for homeschooling!

I wish MN was a little bit more open with some of its requirements.

I'm sure there is a saying here for me, something about a bed being made and then sleeping in it... :-)

Yahooooey! said...

Athiest Homeschooling in gerneral, and particularly with a believer step-father....

Fiery said...

Helly Yahooooey! Warmest of welcomes to my blog!

Best thing for kids is to give them a rational approach to life. Reason based, use your brain, THINK, sort of education.

Telling them the truth about things, especially when they ask. Encouraging them not to be comfortable with information that doesn't make sense.

Fuel their curiosity and their burning desire to KNOW things.

Best of luck with your homeschooling!