Homeschooling - The Stay at Home Dad Solution
When you hear someone say, "We're Homeschooling our child," what images go through your head? For me it was kids running around in homespun clothes, eating organic oatmeal out of hand-carved bowls. But upon further inspection, I realized homeschooling is an option that fit our situation perfectly for our family, and we didn’t have to learn how to operate a loom or anything!
A little background on me first. I was 56 when I left the workforce consisting of 3 different careers (Military, Restaurant Management, and Radio Production) and my wife became a Nurse Practitioner. Our daughter was entering the 2nd Grade in a school system that was below average on many levels. Good friends of ours were homeschooling their 4 kids and showed us how simple it is to get started. I have the temperament and patience to be a teacher (I had often thought of becoming one) and now I had the time to do it!
Requirements to Legally Homeschool
In many states there are just a few rules or guidelines, this site is a good source to learn about your state. : https://hslda.org/content/laws/ In my state, Tennessee, the main requirements are 4 hours a day for 180 days a year. More on that in a minute. Most states require that you become a member of some sort of umbrella organization that reports attendance and grades to your local school board. These can vary from stand-alone organizations to church groups and the like. For a nominal fee, membership allows you to obtain the next step: Curriculum. Sounds daunting, but really simple, "curriculum" is what your child will be studying.
There is a plethora of curriculums available from Kindergarten to High School provided by your umbrella organization, or from numerous agencies and companies. A quick Google search will give you a good start. I chose Veritas Press for most of the subjects I teach; Math, English, and Spelling.
How does it Work?
Now that on itself is simple to follow, but the real joy, and source of so much flexibility, is the 4 hours a day/180 days a year requirement. It can be any four hours, consecutively, broken up, at any time. Is your child into sports? Practice and games count towards those four hours. Shopping with the kiddos at Walmart? Have them add up the total, guess what, that counts! Go to Sunday school?...that counts too! There is soo much we do that can count towards the school day.
It's the flexibility that has proven to be the so gratifying as a parent. You don't need school uniforms, I call our school PJ Academy because that's our school uniform, there are no In-Service days, you can pick your vacations and time off. No need for Doctors notes and there are no fundraising candy, wrapping paper or lawn chairs to sell!!
And the very best part of it all? Spending quality time with your kids! There is nothing so rewarding than to see an alien concept (Math or Adjectives) being understood by your child!! You can decide what and how your child is taught. You are in control. Is that to say you can skip math altogether, teach Zorastic Fundamentalism instead of science… No. Keep in mind that as long as you stay at or above the minimum requirements for the state, you good to go. Working with your umbrella organization will get you started in the right direction.
Details, Details, Details
In future articles, I will discuss the issues brought up by the naysayers...OOhhh your child will never be socialized....What about standardized tests?.... What about team sports?
I will happily cover those topics soon! All in good time, all in good time.