"So You're Thinking About Home Schooling"
Chapter | Interviews | What
People Are Saying | Buy The Book
So, you're thinking about homeschooling. Congratulations! Even considering
taking a road less traveled requires courage. May I walk the first
few steps of this journey with you? It often helps to have someone
beside you who has "been there, done that." Let me assure
you up front that the homeschooling path is not as daunting as it
probably seems to you at this moment. Fear of the unknown is always
the scariest part.
I promise I will stay with you long enough for you to feel confident
in whatever decision you ultimately make. Yes, you heard me correctly-I'm
not assuming that you will end up choosing to homeschool. Homeschooling
is not necessarily the best option for everyone. But I do believe
it is such a fabulous alternative that no one should reject it without
first looking full into the face of it.
Many people have a preconceived idea of what homeschooling is all
about. They think that because they don't fit a particular profile,
they are excluded from seriously considering the option. But the
truth is that there really is no such thing as a typical homeschooling
family. Think about it: Any family who is willing to go against the
flow of the traditional public school setting is already thinking
outside the box. You're probably just a bit off-center yourself.
I like that in a person.
So what does the average homeschooling family look like? That's
kind of like asking, "What does the average person look like?" Well,
we have two eyes, a nose, and a mouth; apart from that, we all have
a distinctive look. The same thing is true for the face of homeschooling.
You will find a few similar features: for example, parents who want
a good education for their children and feel there is no one with
a more vested interest in teaching their child than themselves. Beyond
that, each family is unique.
What's so funny about the notion of a "typical" homeschooling
family is that most of us don't even look the same from year to year.
We may begin by homeschooling an only child and graduate with a full
house. At any given time, our primary goals may be preparation for
higher education, building character, developing closer family relationships,
or an emphasis on real-life learning. Most of the time we are enthusiastic
about homeschooling; at other times we feel like failures at it.
Not only is the face of a homeschooling family often changing, but
the makeup is even harder to describe. Probably the most common combination
is a working father and stay-at-home mother with multiple children.
But you might be surprised at the number of single mothers, full-time
dads, teaching grandmas, traveling families, and former public school
teachers who have chosen to homeschool, many with just one child.
And forget trying to figure out how the typical family approaches
home education. There are as many different philosophies, curriculum
options, and teaching styles as there are reasons for homeschooling.
Did you know that many homeschoolers never open a textbook? For many,
their most important tool is a library card. A family may be passionate
about the principle approach, the Charlotte Mason method, online
academies, or unschooling. Or maybe like me, they try a little bit
of everything until they find the perfect style of learning for each
child, only to have life happen and force them to try something completely
new the next year. Try watching our family to figure out what the
face of a homeschooling family looks like, and you'll quickly become
The bottom line is, you have to find what works for your family.
In order to do that, you need to know what's out there. I could give
you a list of curriculum companies, teaching methods, and homeschool
statistics. But there are already dozens of books on homeschooling,
full of impressive facts and information. These are written to address
I'm guessing that it is for the love of a child that you are even
reading this book in the first place. That is why I have chosen to
speak to your heart, using stories.
Beginning with my own, I want to introduce you to fifteen families
in unique situations who have all chosen to homeschool for different
reasons, using a variety of learning methods. You will notice that
although our family purposefully homeschools from a Christian world
view, the homes in most of the other stories could be of any faith
or no particular faith at all. Same goes for the curriculum choices
portrayed here. Some curricula are obviously written from a Judeo-Christian
perspective; others focus primarily on higher education or great
You may be surprised to learn that public-school bashing is not
high on my list of priorities. Granted, many of the families in this
book reflect disappointment in one or more aspects of public education,
but the majority of reasons represented have more to do with unique
home-life situations. I have no personal experience with the public
school system, and my only experience with a private Christian school
was fabulous. So no, I'm not anti-traditional school. I'm pro-homeschool.
That is why I can't wait to introduce you to some of my homeschooling "friends." I
use quotation marks because although I consider to be friends the
more than a thousand parents I interviewed via e-mail and the nearly
one hundred I talked with on the phone, you would not actually recognize
any of them in the following stories. Each family portrayed here
is a composite, made up from bits and pieces of the stories of actual
people, in verifiable situations, teaching tried-and-true homeschooling
Remember, this book is not a "How to Get Started" manual,
a compendium of laws and statistics, or an exhaustive curriculum
resource guide. It is a "Let's rap lightly on the door of homeschooling
and peek inside before we decide whether we are ready to move in" kind
of book. My hope is that by the end of the book and the parade of
homes, you may identify a family situation and teaching approach
from these stories that resonates with your personality and philosophy