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New York City
June 2002

Thinking About Homeschooling?
By Christine Webb

Families come to the decision to homeschool in a variety of ways. For some it is a lifestyle decision; for others it is an education choice. Deciding to homeschool can be a little daunting. It will take research, insight, thought, discussion and perhaps a little courage, but it is a commitment that is made each year for hundreds of thousands of children across the nation.

Homeschooling offers families the opportunity to provide a loving environment in which their children can mature and learn. The benefits of homeschooling include the strengthening of family life, providing a superior education geared to their children's individual needs, learning styles, personalities, and interests, and the flexibility homeschooling provides.

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Laws and regulations vary from state to state, and interpretations can vary among school districts. A copy of your law can be found in your public library, on the Internet, or from a local homeschool support group.

To get information about homeschooling in your state, contact your state or local homeschooling support group. The support groups usually have copies of the state law, information about getting started, lists of activities and resources, and many offer a newsletter as well.

To find out which approach to use, read, ask questions, listen carefully and observe. There are as many homeschooling styles as there are homeschooling families. The approach you choose should fit comfortably into your lifestyle. This decision will depend on your philosophy of learning, the structure of your family's life, and the types of resources through which each of your children learns best. Households that thrive on schedules are often most comfortable setting a regular time each day for homeschooling activities. Others approach homeschooling as an integral part of what they do each day, with no set schedule. A child who likes textbooks and workbooks might use a ready-made curriculum. For a more wholistic learner, you may choose to use the library, museums, and life experiences as your primary learning resources. Resources will vary in time commitment, philosophy of learning, and expense. Be prepared to do some experimenting to find the combination that works best for each child and understand that as children mature or situations change so, too, might your approach.

If your child wants to learn something you can't teach, they might successfully opt to self-teach, or to get together with other students to form a study group around a particular subject. You can hire a tutor or barter for help with another interested family. Classes over the Internet or via television, videos and computer software are increasingly available options for many families. Some students choose to take classes at a community college. When searching for teachers, don't overlook friends, or businesspeople in your community█most people are delighted to have a young person around who is sincerely interested in what they know and do. (More on homeschooling next month).#

Reprinted with permission from Home Education Magazine, PO Box 1083, Tonasket, WA 98855

 

Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email: ednews1@aol.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2002.


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