We have been a homeschool family for about four years now (preschool through second grade) and I have been asked countless questions. I try not to take offense to some but rather use it as an opportunity to educate. Not very many people choose this route of education for their children, therefore they make assumptions.
Here we go:
1. How long do you plan to homeschool?
This is the most popular question I get. And my answer has always been the same, “I don’t know.” There could be many challenges thrown our way in life where we would have to put our children in public school. I am grateful that there is always that option in case something happened. I could get terribly hurt or sick, our finances could plummet, my kids may chose to go to public school, and many other factors. I can’t guarantee anything when it comes to this. If I had it my way, I would love to continue homeschooling until my children graduate.
2. What kind of social activities do your children receive?
This one blows my mind. I get that this is a common concern with homeschooling but it gets under my skin sometimes. Yes, we do “social activities” but not near as much as a public school student would get. Is that wrong? Not in my opinion. I talk with my children 24/7. They are receiving verbal communication with other people. What I love most about homeschooling and socializing is that I get to choose who they socialize with! I get to choose their groups of people they communicate with. I know that they are hearing and speaking with people who will build them up and be kind to them. We spend time in Girl Scouts and church. Our children do not need to be around twenty children their age daily in order to have socialization.
3. What curriculum do you use?
The curriculum we use is the LifePac series by Alpha Omega Publishers. We have continually used this curriculum since Kindergarten. I did a blog post on this in the past. You can find that here. We love this curriculum! It is affordable for us and its student-led. Being student-led really helps me as a teacher. Jessica is able to do the majority of her lessons alone with little help from me. Kindergarten involved more of my time, but after she learned to read, she was able to do a lot of it independently. I plan to use this curriculum for as long as it works for us!
4. Do you homeschool all year?
Yes and no. It mainly depends on our year. Most of the time, we do! BUT…we take more frequent breaks than public schoolers. The LifePac curriculum is broke down into 10 units (except Kindergarten). One unit typically takes one month to complete. The way we break it down is easiest for us but doesn’t have to be this way for everyone. We do one unit the first three weeks of every month and the fourth week is our “break week” before starting the next unit. Week 1, 2, & 3 we do one whole unit (all subjects). Week 4, we rest and I prepare for the next unit. So we typically will do a unit starting in August and go all the way to May. Then we do a light break throughout the summer. Honestly, my children will learn year round because I use every opportunity to teach them when the conversation arises.
5. Do you like homeschooling?
Yes! I LOVE being able to stay home with my children and teach them what I feel is important. My husband feels the same way. It helps so much to have a spouse who agrees with this way of life. I love being able to use my degree to teach my own children. I love being able to teach my children from the Bible! I love to know where my children are at all times and how they are learning. If they are struggling on a subject or topic, I am the first person to know and the first person to help them. We are able to learn at their pace and we can always slow down or speed up depending on their current knowledge of a topic. I feel like they learn 100% better from their mom than they would with a different teacher and a classroom full of kids.
Do I always enjoy it? Honestly, there are times when its hard. There are times when my patience has vanished. There are times when I don’t feel motivated but I do it anyways. It’s become my job. I invest so much time and energy into my children’s education that it becomes overwhelming at times. I know that their future depends solely on me. I don’t take that lightly. I would never want my children to look down on me for not teaching them something they should have learned. But, every job well done can be stressful. It’s just part of it! The advantages outweigh the disadvantages and the stress is worth it to me!
6. How do you do it all?
I can’t help but laugh every time I hear this one. I am amazed too! I have no clue how I do it all. Maybe its the coffee and prayers!
Our school days typically start around 8 or 9 in the morning. We always get dressed before school. We aren’t the PJ homeschoolers. It usually takes 3-4 hours to complete the days school work. Some days more, some days less. Since LifePac is student-led, I am able to do bookkeeping for our plumbing and rental businesses while we home school. It involves a whole lot of multitasking but I somehow manage. After school is finished, I switch roles and do housework while the kids play. The afternoons are spent with family. We never do school work in the afternoons. Another benefit of homeschooling, no “homework”! Technically, all of our work is homework but we just get it all done during typical school hours.
There are days when I don’t do it all. The house sometimes looks pathetic. Laundry that needs to be folded just has to wait a whole week. Dishes have to wait until nighttime. The floors just get cleaned when I have spare time. But that’s because I feel like their education is more important than daily folded laundry or an always spotless floor.
7. How can you stand to be around your kids all day?
I sometimes take offense to this question. I probably shouldn’t but it sort of makes me think that my kids are just horrible to be around all the time. I absolutely LOVE being with them all day! I always wanted to be a mother and I knew I would be like this when I became one. My husband knew as well. It doesn’t bother me. Instead, I sometimes ask “How can you NOT want to be around your kids all day?” I find joy with my family. I involve them in everything I do. I cook, they cook. I clean, they clean. I play outside, they play outside. We do life as a family!
8. Why do you homeschool?
We homeschool because it works best for our family. Easy as that. We feel like our children learn best when they are learning from us and getting one-on-one instruction. We love the advantages of homeschooling. Our children are rarely sick, they are always safe at home, they are learning from their parents instead of someone else or other children, they are not bullied, and they learn about God everyday! There are 10x more advantages than disadvantages from our standpoint.
9. How much does it cost?
This question just depends on what curriculum you decide to use. I believe that you could manage a free curriculum for preschool and kindergarten. It would be more difficult to manage a free curriculum for higher grades. You would spend many hours searching sites to get free worksheets and things to print.
We use Alpha Omega’s LifePac series. You can read more about their curriculum here. They offer sample pages in each subject to look at.
Their Kindergarten set is the cheapest at $98.95. The kindergarten set only involves 2-subjects: Math & English.
Their First Grade set is probably one of their more expensive sets at $413.95 because it comes with several reading books and five subjects.
Their Second Grade set is $314.95 for the complete set of 5 subjects.
I typically buy new curriculum each December when they have a Christmas sale. This year, I will be purchasing the Third Grade set valued at $314.95 as well.
Each curriculum is priced differently. There are more expensive brands and there are some that are lower. This series fits our budget and works well with our children.
10. Is it difficult to get started?
Nope. In Arkansas, its rather simple. All you have to do to get your child started is register them and start a curriculum! If you live in Arkansas, you can click here to fill out the notice of intent. You have to register before August 15th of every year. They have a form you can submit online or one by paper. I always register online sometime in July. Later on, they will send an email sometime in August that your form was submitted and registered.
If you have found this helpful, please leave a comment! If you have more questions, I would love to help you! I love talking about homeschooling!