Questions Most Often Asked
Why do families homeschool?
There are many reasons why families homeschool. Some school their children because they are dissatisfied with their local school systems. Some homeschool because their child has a learning disability that prevents their child from learning in the public school setup. Many Christians homeschool because they feel that this is God's will for their families. They take to heart Bible Scriptures that instruct parents about the teachings they are to do with their children. They are concerned with their children's character and spiritual development in addition to their academics.
What advantages are their to homeschooling?
There are many advantages, and many homeschoolers learn new ones each day by the Lord's grace. Some of those include:
Is Homeschooling Legal?
Yes! In the state of West Virginia, we fall under Chapter 18, Article 8, Section 1, Exemption B. There we find two options for homeschooling. Subsection a allows us to homeschool with the assistance and approval of the Board of Education's office. Most of us homeschool under Subsection b which makes us our own individual unity as long as we compile with four requirements. These are:
(Please note that this is a very basic summary of the requirements and that each person should obtain a copy of the law to read for themselves. This article is in no way a means for legal advice but a general answer to a commonly asked question.)
Are parents really qualified to teach their own children?
No-one knows you child better than you. No-one loves your child the way you do. God has given you your children and has directed you to teach them His Word. He equips you to handle the job. Your loving one-on-one instruction is more focused on your special learner. This keeps you on top of any misunderstandings or difficulties your child is having. This is impossible for even the best of school teachers. A room of 15 to 28 children prevents them to focus on just one child. Even if you haven't training on educating children, you are already much better equipped to give a higher quality of education just because of these mentioned factors.
But what if I haven't been in school for a long time and I'm not sure I remember everything they need to know?
Don't worry, most public school teachers do not know everything at first either. You learn right along with your children. Your curriculum will give instructions, and just like your teacher counterparts, you have the opportunity to read ahead and plan how to instruct your little ones. Furthermore, homeschoolers have many sources to gather information from. There are some wonderful magazines and books available. There are also conventions, workshops, seminars, and local and state support groups. The Christian has an extra advantage, for the Lord promises to give us wisdom if we seek Him for it. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5-7
What about socialization?
This seems to be a very common question, which usually baffles most of us who homeschool. Exactly how much socialization does the public school offer? Children are given a 45 minute lunch, with 25 minutes of that to eat lunch usually in silence. The remaining time is quickly used for lineups and single file marching to and from the playground. What time children do have to play is usually very limited. What they pick up from the playground in that limited time seems to undermine quickly teachings from Christian homes as children learn about fighting, cursing, selfishness, and various other playground skills. Most children are not given any additional recesses. In class the children are required to remain silent unless speaking directly to the teacher. The public has realized that socialization skills are not being achieved in their public schools and are trying to develop ways to improve upon this. The new buzzword for many is cooperative learning. Homeschool children are socializing all day long with either parents, siblings, neighbors, other homeschool children, or church members. The only thing we are missing in this arena from public school is the negative socialization that many of us count as an advantage to have eliminated from our children's lives.
But as Christians, don't you feel that your children should be a light unto the school system and influence those that are not from Godly homes?
We know that not all are called to homeschool, but those of us who are do not believe that children are equipped to handle spiritual battles that most adults will themselves never have to encounter. We do not believe that there has been enough time to build our little ones up with a strong spiritual foundation that will give them the tools to fight daily spiritual warfare they face in the public arena. Many of us have tried to work outside the home while our children went to public schools and know first hand the lack of time and energy to actually teach the Word of God on a daily basis. Many of us have also learned first hand how hard it is to teach little minds about our faith when the popular majority surrounding our children daily, with more active hours with them than we actually had, did not believe. We do not state that no-one could accomplish this feat, but we know we could not. The challenge therefore was how to obey the Lord in regards to our children and not homeschool. Many of us knew we could not, and thus we are homeschooling in obedience to the Lord's command in our lives. We feel this obedience will actually produce strong spiritual lights unto the future world who will be skilled in shining the Lord's glory. They will then be equipped to face temptations and follow the straight paths of the Lord, teaching others of Him, giving an answer in and out of season of their faith and hope, and thus leading others to obey the gospel.
How much time does it take?
Homeschooling is a life style. We are always learning and finding ways to turn everyday events into educational experiences. The actually textbook learning differs from home to home. The average seems to be about three hours a day. This does not include the time our children our reading, exercising in play, or exploring the wonderful creations of their Lord first hand. Many homeschoolers believe that this hands-on learning is where our children learn the most, but again, each home is different. The actual time depends greatly on how you schedule your day, your special child, and what additional subjects above the five core ones you wish to teach.
But I have more than one child. How can I teach them all?
Many subjects can be taught jointly. Language, Social Studies, Science, Bible, and various others can be done together with expectations being adjusted depending on the child's abilities. Math and reading are usually more focused for each grade level, but can be taught while the other children are working on assignments from their other classes.
What about going to college?
Currently, many colleges are actively seeking homeschoolers since our students are known overall as being mature, active learners, creative scholars, and highly prepared academically. Homeschoolers should prepare a thorough transcript of high-school level work, award diplomas, and specify graduation dates in preparing for college entrance exams. Occasionally, GED tests are required by some colleges.
But do they really learn as much as their public school counterparts?
On the average, homeschoolers score higher on the annual standardized tests than the public school children. In academic competitions such as national spelling bees or national geography bees, our homeschool children are often the winners above the best of their public school counterparts. Speaking academically, our children are learning as much or more than the public schools. If one considers all the valuable things they learn that is not considered academics, such a Bible and life skills, are children are learning far more than they ever could in a public school setting.
What are the negatives for some homeschooling families?