The #1 easiest thing you can do to take back your life: yes, Virginia, it's the home schooling thread

The lockdowns kicked off lots of people trying to start backyard gardens or baking a loaf or two of bread at home. Everyday someone tells me that they're trying to learn these new skills in case the world ends, oblivious to how these meager activities are just scratching the surface, if that.

However, not many of them talk about the biggest, most important thing you can do to drastically change your family's life...that's home schooling your kids. Here's why it's so life-altering, imho...
  • You know exactly what type of conversations your kids are having
  • You get to vet who your children spend their time with
  • You decide and guide your kids on what they spend their time doing
  • You don't have to worry that your children aren't being prepared to handle the truth about the world
  • You can cut globohomo propaganda down to a minimum in your house
  • You strengthen the relationships with your children and your spouse in unimaginable ways
This adds up to: you stay the primary influence in your family and so you become a community in your own home.

Our home schooling journey began like most families. We weren't sure we'd have the time or the energy and everyone criticized us when we decided to give it a try. Here's some myths we got bombarded with and why they're not true...
  1. Your kids won't be socialized and they'll end up weird - Our children go to a lot of activities where they interact with kids of every age. Some of the time is structured and some isn't. If anything they learned how to socialize better and faster by having these mixed groups. In clownworld it's plain stupidity to say that children are being socialized at any public or private school, imho.
  2. You won't have time in your busy schedule - we've found that it takes approximately 5 hours to teach ahead of what schools can do in about 40 hours. That's how inefficient modern schooling is. While our kids often had a golden hour in the morning your home school schedule can be whenever you want. We've done field trips on weekends, reading at night, etc. Every moment became a teaching opportunity.
  3. You don't know every subject or about childhood development - have you met teachers in America? Reading a couple internet blogs can put you ahead of them. However, we found we also learned (or re-learned) alongside our kids and that taught them how to appreciate how much you can teach yourself.
  4. You'll have to spend a lot of money on materials - we occasionally bought educational materials or paid for other things we need but officially we probably spend $100 or $200 a year. Hardly breaking the bank.
Is it tough? Yes. Is it worth it? 100%. This is some of what we learned along the way that made things easier.
  • Make home school a priority every week so it gets done no matter what.
  • Get a curriculum. It makes it easier on the days you're feeling burnt out, even if the work seems obvious to you or me.
  • Start early. We have a rule that kindergarten starts at 4. You get less pressure and a margin of error.
  • Always work ahead and use every moment to teach, whether you're in the garden or balancing your checkbook. Kids are sponges.
  • Find a good home school group. They're always filled with slightly nutty people but the kids love it.
  • Break up home school tasks between what you and your spouse are good at.
But most important: never let anyone tell you you made a mistake. We home schooled all our kids and it was the best decision we ever made in getting away from clownworld.

I'd love to hear about your experiences or recommendations, RVFers.
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
I think I'm probably the most radical homeschooler I know.

Some folks would call what I do "UNschooling" but I don't really like that, because it presumes that the contemporary education model is the only thing that counts as "schooling" in the first place... which I don't think could be farther from the truth. I think of it more as the "mama duck" model, where my ducklings basically trail behind me everywhere I go, learning whatever they need to learn along the way.

I remember how AWFUL I thought public elementary school was, and then when I was in my early teens I actually started digging into and learning about how the public school system was formed - and why.

If the government can carry out a massive social engineering experiment using as many of our children as they can get their grubby hands on, while posturing as "experts" and telling us it's the "best" thing for our children even though they actually have no idea what they are doing beyond trying to mold every youth into whatever shape works best for THEIR designs, no matter the cost...

So can I. Especially because the children in question are actually mine.

One thing I see parents ask (I think I saw this asked somewhere else on the forum recently), is "don't you need to register with/notify the school district anyway?"

The short answer is "no."

The long answer is that many states/localities have a notification requirement, but that's just a piece of paper you're supposed to send them once a year. Mail gets lost all the time, and (at least where I live) there are too many glaring errors in the district/school bulletins for any of the staff/administration to reasonably assure anyone that it's not THEIR FAULT it's missing. :blush:

And that's only IF anyone ever has a reason to question it/look for it. If you keep them out of the whole "system" (no govt. welfare or "services," etc.), probably nobody is ever going to ask or look. At least as long as your kids seem reasonably happy, capable, well-behaved, well cared-for, and so forth.
 
The long answer is that many states/localities have a notification requirement, but that's just a piece of paper you're supposed to send them once a year.

I may have been the one you're referring to. I'm only familiar with our state requirements. If you don't ever register them, they can never graduate HS then though, right? So then, no college, assuming it exists in the future and that's a route for them?

You make an excellent point on how, if they can do it, you can do it better. For "unschooling" have you used any curriculum or not really?
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
I may have been the one you're referring to. I'm only familiar with our state requirements. If you don't ever register them, they can never graduate HS then though, right? So then, no college, assuming it exists in the future and that's a route for them?

You make an excellent point on how, if they can do it, you can do it better. For "unschooling" have you used any curriculum or not really?
I buy the Harcourt Family Learning "Complete Curriculum" books (simple and cheap), which basically have the same style of worksheet that I remember using during my time in public elementary school. They sit on the shelf so I can point to them if anyone ever tries to claim that I'm not providing an "equivalent education." They do a handful of the worksheets maybe once or twice a year. So far they've never needed books for learning anything.

In terms of registration being required for high school graduation/college admission... worst-case scenario, register them at some point in their teen years when it actually becomes relevant. Same way you would if you were moving into the area from a place where there was no notification requirement.

At least where I live, though, parents can technically award homeschool highschool diplomas. Many parents still prefer to have graduation through the district on record, but it IS a technicality that doesn't make a lot of difference unless the student is looking to get into a prestigious college/degree program where transcripts matter. You don't need a high school diploma at all for community college, though.

I joined a homeschool program through the local school district when I was 14, then enrolled in community college courses through the "Running Start" program when I was 16. The way my situation ended up playing out with logistics and timing, I was TECHNICALLY a "high school dropout" at 17 when I had to switch over from the Running Start program to traditional financial aid.

The college didn't care that I didn't have a high school diploma, wasn't in the running start program anymore, or that I was flagrantly ignoring/neglecting to do ANY of the documentation/quantification that could have earned the credits required for a high school diploma. The college cared that I scored high enough on the entrance tests for admission and that they were getting their money. :blush:

The "homeschool counselor" I had, the same person who roped me into going to college in the first place, was perhaps a little miffed that I just didn't do any of my highschool work and didn't care about it, but it didn't really matter in the end, for two major reasons:

- Nobody has ever asked for "proof" that I graduated high school, or where I graduated from.
- They ended up changing the law anyway (and I think this is becoming more common), so that now if you get a two-year college degree, the state basically automatically considers you a high school graduate.

I threw both middle fingers at the public school system REPEATEDLY and refused to do their work and documentation... and I got the credential anyway. So they can suck it.
 

Ah_Tibor

Robin
Woman
Some counties will cover community college classes for HS students. It's worth getting one's gen eds out of the way and save some $$$. I received grants my first three semesters (fam was on the lower end of the income scale). I also did correspondence for high school which probably mutated into some kind of cyber school (they had a goofy chat room that I never used and one could call a teacher for help over the phone, this was circa 2002-2005).

I think the biggest takeaway from homeschooling that you will only get out as much as you put into it. I also think it's helpful to be part of some kind of social structure. I had no regular friends for a few years of my childhood and as a teen a lot of my socialization was via the internet, even with people I knew in real life. My parents kind of half-a**ed some things. I don't know.

My husband and I want to homeschool but I would like to be involved in some kind of group or co-op. I think there's so much more avaliable for Orthodox families now. It's nice to see honestly (as opposed to when I was a kid and there was only a very small group of us at my church, with no social stuff going on). My husband's church had a huge Sunday school that did a lot of activities but he doesn't have a lot of very fond memories there otherwise, lol
 

Dr. Howard

Peacock
Gold Member
I buy the Harcourt Family Learning "Complete Curriculum" books (simple and cheap), which basically have the same style of worksheet that I remember using during my time in public elementary school. They sit on the shelf so I can point to them if anyone ever tries to claim that I'm not providing an "equivalent education." They do a handful of the worksheets maybe once or twice a year. So far they've never needed books for learning anything.

In terms of registration being required for high school graduation/college admission... worst-case scenario, register them at some point in their teen years when it actually becomes relevant. Same way you would if you were moving into the area from a place where there was no notification requirement.

At least where I live, though, parents can technically award homeschool highschool diplomas. Many parents still prefer to have graduation through the district on record, but it IS a technicality that doesn't make a lot of difference unless the student is looking to get into a prestigious college/degree program where transcripts matter. You don't need a high school diploma at all for community college, though.

I joined a homeschool program through the local school district when I was 14, then enrolled in community college courses through the "Running Start" program when I was 16. The way my situation ended up playing out with logistics and timing, I was TECHNICALLY a "high school dropout" at 17 when I had to switch over from the Running Start program to traditional financial aid.

The college didn't care that I didn't have a high school diploma, wasn't in the running start program anymore, or that I was flagrantly ignoring/neglecting to do ANY of the documentation/quantification that could have earned the credits required for a high school diploma. The college cared that I scored high enough on the entrance tests for admission and that they were getting their money. :blush:

The "homeschool counselor" I had, the same person who roped me into going to college in the first place, was perhaps a little miffed that I just didn't do any of my highschool work and didn't care about it, but it didn't really matter in the end, for two major reasons:

- Nobody has ever asked for "proof" that I graduated high school, or where I graduated from.
- They ended up changing the law anyway (and I think this is becoming more common), so that now if you get a two-year college degree, the state basically automatically considers you a high school graduate.

I threw both middle fingers at the public school system REPEATEDLY and refused to do their work and documentation... and I got the credential anyway. So they can suck it.

There are so many ways to 'break' the system once you step out of it, I agree. College even now has become worthless, and one of my forward thinking business clients has stopped hiring college graduates all together. He hires people that come out of "coding bootcamps" or 2nd career tech programs because the people that go into the programs already show that they are willing to think 'against the grain' and not just sign up for university like zombies.

We homeschool and my wife and I often have conversations about how there really isn't a need for 'advanced' math and science for 90 percent of the population. She and I both are public school graduates and are amazed at all of the things that we DIDN'T learn there. Public high schools, if they really wanted to equip people for "life" should teach classes on basic hygene, safety, first aid, nutrition, budgeting, home repair, electronics, driving, workplace safety and navigating the bureaucracies of healthcare, the police, taxes, banking. They teach none of that (well maybe driving) but those are all things that everyone from a dentist, to burger flipper, to single mom welfare queen deal with.

I recently took a basic 4 hour class on landlord tenant law, and small claims court procedures and wow, I wish I knew that when I was 18-25. It's not rocket science but is invaluable information.
 

Luna Novem

Woodpecker
Woman
My style of homeschooling falls between what is called "Charlotte Mason" and "classical". Charlotte Mason education is named for a British educator of the same name who believed students ought to focus on the beautiful and good. She put emphasis on nature study, "living" books (as opposed to textbooks), and short lessons. The classical method, on the other hand, focuses on passing the greatness of Western civilization down to the next generation. (No "diversity" nonsense here). They want to make sure kids understand the impact of Christianity on Western society and have familiarity with the Bible; they teach Latin and an understanding of how much we have inherited from it (and inherited from Greece/Rome in general); and they put a huge emphasis on quality literature.
 
I buy the Harcourt Family Learning "Complete Curriculum" books (simple and cheap), which basically have the same style of worksheet that I remember using during my time in public elementary school. They sit on the shelf so I can point to them if anyone ever tries to claim that I'm not providing an "equivalent education." They do a handful of the worksheets maybe once or twice a year. So far they've never needed books for learning anything.

In terms of registration being required for high school graduation/college admission... worst-case scenario, register them at some point in their teen years when it actually becomes relevant. Same way you would if you were moving into the area from a place where there was no notification requirement.

At least where I live, though, parents can technically award homeschool highschool diplomas. Many parents still prefer to have graduation through the district on record, but it IS a technicality that doesn't make a lot of difference unless the student is looking to get into a prestigious college/degree program where transcripts matter. You don't need a high school diploma at all for community college, though.

I joined a homeschool program through the local school district when I was 14, then enrolled in community college courses through the "Running Start" program when I was 16. The way my situation ended up playing out with logistics and timing, I was TECHNICALLY a "high school dropout" at 17 when I had to switch over from the Running Start program to traditional financial aid.

The college didn't care that I didn't have a high school diploma, wasn't in the running start program anymore, or that I was flagrantly ignoring/neglecting to do ANY of the documentation/quantification that could have earned the credits required for a high school diploma. The college cared that I scored high enough on the entrance tests for admission and that they were getting their money. :blush:

The "homeschool counselor" I had, the same person who roped me into going to college in the first place, was perhaps a little miffed that I just didn't do any of my highschool work and didn't care about it, but it didn't really matter in the end, for two major reasons:

- Nobody has ever asked for "proof" that I graduated high school, or where I graduated from.
- They ended up changing the law anyway (and I think this is becoming more common), so that now if you get a two-year college degree, the state basically automatically considers you a high school graduate.

I threw both middle fingers at the public school system REPEATEDLY and refused to do their work and documentation... and I got the credential anyway. So they can suck it.

Thank you very much for this. My wife and I talked and it looks like you've provided us with some new options. As far as I'm concerned I want zero interaction between my kids and clownworld.
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
We homeschool and my wife and I often have conversations about how there really isn't a need for 'advanced' math and science for 90 percent of the population. She and I both are public school graduates and are amazed at all of the things that we DIDN'T learn there.
That's public school (and, TBH, most private and other similarly structured schools as well) in a nutshell: cram your head with stuff you'll probably never need, teach none of the most basic/fundamental things.

Einstein himself (I think... looked it up and I seem to be correct!) said "never memorize something you can look up" (or something along those lines).

I remember one particular point of friction when I was approaching high school age was that I had never memorized my "times tables" from 1-12. Why would I memorize it when the table already exists for reference? Or when it only takes a few seconds to do any of those simple multiplication problems in my head?

My mom, my stepmom, and a whole lot of teachers I came across were pretty affronted by my attitude. But I stand by it! Maybe I could have been less belligerent and not told those people to their faces that I was going to forget everything they tried to make me learn on purpose... but such is youth. :blush:

There is an existing thread on homeschooling.
Not that ladies can reply to!
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
I would take anything from (((Einstein))) with a large grain of salt. He’s a plagiarist and co-opted others ideas without reference. His quote you posted seems to support that.
Well, I take everything ANYONE says with a grain of salt... but I don't think the quote has anything to do with plagiarism. It's about not wasting space in one's cataloged memory on things that can be stored elsewhere, basically.

Whether Einstein had a propensity for plagiarism or not, it's a VERY sound principle.

The only things I end up committing to memory are the things I do often enough that "having it handy" is automatic. It's not worth packing one's brain full of information just because it is "broadly useful" or "objectively valuable." If it's not specifically useful for YOU, if it's not of value to YOU in your subjective situation and circumstances (or likely to be), you don't need it in there and would be better served by using that space for something relevant. :blush:

I did really well in all of my higher-level math classes, and enjoyed them well enough that I almost considered pursuing an actual math degree. But I didn't pursue a math degree... so now I can't remember a darned thing I learned in those classes. If I need to do anything beyond basic algebra (which I use regularly), I have to look it up again! And I like it that way.

It's kind of like... when I need a hammer, I go and retrieve it from the tool box. Then when I'm done with it, I put it away again. I don't carry it around in my hand all the time because I might need it.

Edit: but I might if I were a carpenter (or at least closer at-hand than I do now).

(And what I will probably NEVER FORGET, no matter how hard I try, is every single word of The Lorax. My kids asked me to read that book so many times, I don't need the book in front of me at all. Probably even to this day.)
 
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Hypno

Crow
We home schooled our son. Tried a little bit of everything from Charlotte Mason classical to unschooling to co-ops at the older years but mostly did unschooling. It really depends on the personality of the child. You have to find what interests them and let them run with it.

For example, I'm a decent chess player. I taught my son how to play at 4 1/2, and at 5 1/2 he beat me for real. By the time he was 10 I couldn't touch him, and at 12 he won a state title.

But he was slow to learn to read, late first grade equivalent, and then around 8 he had read the entire Hardy Boys series, mostly after "bed time" with a flashlight, and as a result he had a well-above average vocabularly.

Books on tape are great, especially for road trips. The Jim Weiss history series is outstanding but there are others. My son made it to the nationals in the History Bee without ever cracking a book, but that's how unschooling works.

Five big observations I take from homeschooling:

First, everyone comes to it for different reasons. We were members of two supposedly Christian home school support groups. But there was one family who was homeschooling their kids because there were too many Mexicans at their local elementary school. Another family was doing it because they had 4 kids and couldn't afford 4 private school tuitions. A lot of people homeschool if their child has learning disabilities. There are also people who homeschool because the parents' ideas don't fit the mainstream - this could be Fundamentalist Christians, but we also encountered a Wiccan group. Very few gifted students like ours.

The point is that when you encounter other homeschoolers, its very easy to assume everyone is homeschooling for the same reason you are. The reality is the opposite, and with society the way it is today the reason someone chose to homeschool is often a closely guarded secret (for example, their racist beliefs, own income limitations, out there religious belief's, child's disability).

The second observation is that habits are as important as learning. My son is a lot smater than a lot of the kids in his homeschool group, but there are one or two that are very successful due to their habits. They get up early, work hard every day, practice a sport or instrument, have a part time job with savings, etc.

On unschooling - have your husband look for ways to participate in homeschooling. I can remember taking our son to Home Depot with me when he was 2. I told him I needed his help to find things that are colored orange. If you are not from the U.S., Home Depot is a giant hardware store and with a monochrome orange color scheme. We had lots of fun. Everything was learning. We would ride the subway for fun for hours and look out the window. When he was 7 we went to Europe. I taught him how to read the Paris Metro map. At the Louvre, I gave him the map and told him we wanted to see the Mona Lisa, and he navigated us there. We also took vacations to national parks, Monticello, Chicago and NCY, and Historic Jamestown; all of these were add-on trips when visting family, weddings, etc. I coached his sports teams and showed him an example of leadership, sportsmanship, and service; he was the first "kid" referee in our church sports league and set an example for other kids to follow. I taught him how to build a fire, use a pocket knife, and swing an ax. Taught him how to start a business, investments, etc.

Third - kids learn as much or more from their friends as they will from you, especially in middle and high school. Invest in relationships with like-minded parents. Relocate if you have to, its worth it. We would drive an hour round trip to visit one family every weekend. Its worth it.

Fourth - have a backup plan. Homeschooling works for a lot of folks in the elementary school years, but gets more difficult in the middle and high school years. This is where flexibility, co-ops, and hybrid schools can be a good solution. We should have made greater use of them. In the high school years, often there are opportunities to take dual enrollment, AP or IB courses. Also, remember that life is what happens while you are making a plan. Our son had a crazy high school saga due to family and health reasons. Ultimately, he took enough AP and dual enrollment that he will enter college as a sophomore at a top ranked state school, with a full tuition scholarship to boot.

Five - homeschooling is not the easy option by far, as measured on any number of dimensions. Its really just a big experiment without a control to which you can compare it. Everyday I wondered whether it was better to go the traditional route or, for us because we could afford it, private school. My son is 18 now and I don't know if he was better off for it. In some things yes, in other things no.
 
We home schooled our son. Tried a little bit of everything from Charlotte Mason classical to unschooling to co-ops at the older years but mostly did unschooling. It really depends on the personality of the child. You have to find what interests them and let them run with it.

For example, I'm a decent chess player. I taught my son how to play at 4 1/2, and at 5 1/2 he beat me for real. By the time he was 10 I couldn't touch him, and at 12 he won a state title.

But he was slow to learn to read, late first grade equivalent, and then around 8 he had read the entire Hardy Boys series, mostly after "bed time" with a flashlight, and as a result he had a well-above average vocabularly.

Books on tape are great, especially for road trips. The Jim Weiss history series is outstanding but there are others. My son made it to the nationals in the History Bee without ever cracking a book, but that's how unschooling works.

Five big observations I take from homeschooling:

First, everyone comes to it for different reasons. We were members of two supposedly Christian home school support groups. But there was one family who was homeschooling their kids because there were too many Mexicans at their local elementary school. Another family was doing it because they had 4 kids and couldn't afford 4 private school tuitions. A lot of people homeschool if their child has learning disabilities. There are also people who homeschool because the parents' ideas don't fit the mainstream - this could be Fundamentalist Christians, but we also encountered a Wiccan group. Very few gifted students like ours.

The point is that when you encounter other homeschoolers, its very easy to assume everyone is homeschooling for the same reason you are. The reality is the opposite, and with society the way it is today the reason someone chose to homeschool is often a closely guarded secret (for example, their racist beliefs, own income limitations, out there religious belief's, child's disability).

The second observation is that habits are as important as learning. My son is a lot smater than a lot of the kids in his homeschool group, but there are one or two that are very successful due to their habits. They get up early, work hard every day, practice a sport or instrument, have a part time job with savings, etc.

On unschooling - have your husband look for ways to participate in homeschooling. I can remember taking our son to Home Depot with me when he was 2. I told him I needed his help to find things that are colored orange. If you are not from the U.S., Home Depot is a giant hardware store and with a monochrome orange color scheme. We had lots of fun. Everything was learning. We would ride the subway for fun for hours and look out the window. When he was 7 we went to Europe. I taught him how to read the Paris Metro map. At the Louvre, I gave him the map and told him we wanted to see the Mona Lisa, and he navigated us there. We also took vacations to national parks, Monticello, Chicago and NCY, and Historic Jamestown; all of these were add-on trips when visting family, weddings, etc. I coached his sports teams and showed him an example of leadership, sportsmanship, and service; he was the first "kid" referee in our church sports league and set an example for other kids to follow. I taught him how to build a fire, use a pocket knife, and swing an ax. Taught him how to start a business, investments, etc.

Third - kids learn as much or more from their friends as they will from you, especially in middle and high school. Invest in relationships with like-minded parents. Relocate if you have to, its worth it. We would drive an hour round trip to visit one family every weekend. Its worth it.

Fourth - have a backup plan. Homeschooling works for a lot of folks in the elementary school years, but gets more difficult in the middle and high school years. This is where flexibility, co-ops, and hybrid schools can be a good solution. We should have made greater use of them. In the high school years, often there are opportunities to take dual enrollment, AP or IB courses. Also, remember that life is what happens while you are making a plan. Our son had a crazy high school saga due to family and health reasons. Ultimately, he took enough AP and dual enrollment that he will enter college as a sophomore at a top ranked state school, with a full tuition scholarship to boot.

Five - homeschooling is not the easy option by far, as measured on any number of dimensions. Its really just a big experiment without a control to which you can compare it. Everyday I wondered whether it was better to go the traditional route or, for us because we could afford it, private school. My son is 18 now and I don't know if he was better off for it. In some things yes, in other things no.

Traditional school is now likely staffed by the extreme ideological left. So your son may be taught critical race theory, how he is racist and how he ought to be ashamed to be male.

Many people have children back from school with diametrically opposed values to themselves and are surprised their children have changed for the worse.

 

Camellia

Pigeon
Woman
My style of homeschooling falls between what is called "Charlotte Mason" and "classical". Charlotte Mason education is named for a British educator of the same name who believed students ought to focus on the beautiful and good. She put emphasis on nature study, "living" books (as opposed to textbooks), and short lessons. The classical method, on the other hand, focuses on passing the greatness of Western civilization down to the next generation. (No "diversity" nonsense here). They want to make sure kids understand the impact of Christianity on Western society and have familiarity with the Bible; they teach Latin and an understanding of how much we have inherited from it (and inherited from Greece/Rome in general); and they put a huge emphasis on quality literature.
This sounds fantastic! Would you mind sharing some of the resources you use? This is my first year homeschooling and I'm using The Good and The Beautiful, which is a traditional curriculum. I like the fact that it's open-and-go and totally fool-proof, which is essential for a newbie like me! I also started using Beautiful Feet for geography and love it. I'm interested in the Charlotte Mason and Classical methods, but I don't know where to start looking.
 
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