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When They Ask, "Why Do You Homeschool?"

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, June 02, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 44 June 2, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!


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Notes from Heather
-- Why Do You Homeschool?
Helpful Tip
-- British Library Manuscripts
Resource Review
-- Getting Started with Latin
Reader Question
-- Homeschooling a Grandchild
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

When People Ask the Question "Why Do You Homeschool?"


This week on our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group a member asked
for help in what to say when asked "Why do you homeschool?" Two
of our regularly contributing Notebook readers -- Mary Beth Akers
and Jim McGinn of www.homeschool-guide.com -- gave some great
answers. I thought I'd share them here for everyone to read!


Jim wrote...

Here's roughly the short version of what we say:

"We chose to home school for the social benefits. It's really the
social, emotional, and spiritual development benefits. They were
enough to convince us to home school, but they are 10 times better
than we thought they would be! And the academic benefits are awesome,
too! Our son has never been to school. Home schooling is so awesome!"

Whatever you say, make sure you say it with enthusiasm and confi-
dence. Look them in the eye. Remember that you have chosen an
awesome thing for your children.

Sometimes I also add that the big negatives of home schooling are
money, time, and effort. Money because one parent can't work full
time, because they are home doing the schooling. Time, because even
though I am not in a paid job, I can't do whatever I want - my job
is home schooling, so I don't have the extra time of someone who is
not working in a job. And effort, because it does take effort to
find programs, to review and re-learn what we have to teach, to
deliver the programs, and to do it again each year, as they progress
to a new grade level.

The negatives can sometimes help people to see the real pros and
cons of home schooling.

"(For most children, there are no negatives, and) the social bene-
fits are so awesome, it's absolutely worth it. And academically,
one-on-one teaching is so much more powerful than one adult trying
to teach 30 children, our children can't help but learn a lot more
than they would in a large class. And this is what we have found
happens. They learn so much more than their school friends."

I hope this helps you a bit. And remember that home schooling really
is awesome for your children. You are doing this for your children,
and what uninformed people think doesn't matter. You are not going
to hurt your children for anyone, especially because some opinion-
ated people happen to not understand what you are doing and are
questioning it. You are doing this so your children have the best
education available.

You probably won't convince too many of them about home schooling,
but hopefully you will discourage them from annoying you as much.


And Mary Beth wrote...

Q: Why do you homeschool?
A: I believe the final product will be of higher quality.

Q: How long do you plan to homeschool?
A: Until my children have taught me everything I need to know.

Q: Do you have a college degree?
A: Yes, but I've repented.

Q: How will your children get into college?
A: The same way everybody else does, if they decide to go.

Q: Don't you realize how much you are costing the school
district by keeping your kids out of school?
A: Don't you realize how much you are costing the taxpayer by
expecting the government to educate your children? Don't
you realize how much we will have saved the taxpayer by
keeping all our children at home for twelve years? Besides,
I always thought that the school was there for the benefit
of the children, not the other way around.

Q: Aren't you concerned about your children's social skills?
A: If I want my children to learn table manners, do you recom-
mend I take them to the local public school cafeteria? If
I want them to learn kindness and courtesy and consideration
for others, do you recommend the local school playground?
Would my 11-year-old (or whatever age) learn better social
skills from me, or from the other 11-year-olds in the

Q: How do you homeschool?
A: First, we determine the learning style of each child. Then,
we assess each child's unique gifts, aptitudes, areas of
interest, strengths and weaknesses. Then we set both short
and long-term goals for each child based on those determina-
tions as well as our family's values and priorities. Then
we study all the different approaches to education: Principle
Approach, Charlotte Mason, Classical, Thomas Jefferson, Unit
Studies, Unschooling, and Eclectic. Then we are able to
build a custom-designed, self-developed, individualized
curriculum for each child. Any more questions?


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

'Turning the Pages' - The British Library's Online Gallery

"Whether you're teaching art, literature, music, science, history,
geography, or some combination of these subjects, the library's
interactive online exhibit of antiquarian books -- some merely old
and others certifiably ancient -- enables you and your students to
explore authentic masterpieces as a group or individually, in the
classroom and at home, as if you were actually holding them in your

Each book or manuscript on the Turning the Pages site is accompanied
by a short scholarly essay that explains the work's significance
and elaborates on its history. There is a virtual magnifier, which
resembles one made of conventional glass, that you can slide over
the pages to get a closer look at details, and, in some cases, an
audio component is also included. For example, Lewis Carroll's
original Alice's Adventures Under Ground, which he wrote and illus-
trated as a gift for his young muse, Alice Liddell, is read aloud
in its entirety. And Mozart's Musical Diary features audio clips of
the notations (written in the composer's own hand) you can play as
you're viewing the page.

In addition to the Carroll and Mozart volumes, Turning the Pages
displays the personal notebook of Leonardo da Vinci; the Luttrell
Psalter, an illuminated book created in the early 1300s that offers
fascinating depictions of medieval life; a sixteenth-century medical
anatomy text filled with exquisite engravings; the first atlas of
Europe, assembled by Mercator in the 1570s; the dazzling Lindisfarne
Gospels, the 'pinnacle of Anglo-Saxon art'; and the oldest printed
'book' in the world (actually a scroll), the Diamond Sutra,
published in China in 868 and discovered in near-pristine condition
in 1900.

The Turning the Pages interface has an elegant design, and the site
is very easy to use. The books are three dimensional in appearance,
and no, the site's title is not just a catchy name: The pages do
turn when you 'grab' them with your cursor, just as if you were
going through a real book." [Excerpted from an article by Douglas
Cruickshank, former editor of Edutopia.org]

-- Rick McGarry, www.livingstonparentjournal.com


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Resource Review

Getting Started with Latin
Author: William Linney
For more information or to order: www.gettingstartedwithlatin.com

Over the years I've spoken with many homeschool moms who desire
to teach Latin, but, having no background themselves, have no
idea how to start. "Getting Started with Latin" takes away all
the questions and reasons for fear. William Linney has created
an amazing program that is specifically designed for homeschoolers
and self-taught learners of all ages. The program's 134 lessons
introduce Latin in a gentle, easy to understand manner. Truly
bite-sized lessons take only a few minutes in the early stages
and not more than 30 minutes as one progresses to the end of the

Lessons are written in a friendly tone and everything is explained
so clearly. This program is an excellent introduction to Latin and
will serve the student well who desires to go on to further study,
but also is a great stand-alone course for the learner who just
wants a basic understanding of how Latin works. In addition to
introducing new vocabulary and grammar concepts, the author also
includes interesting explanations of various Latin expressions.
Translation exercises conclude each lesson, and are perfect for
review/reinforcement of previously presented material. An answer
key and pronunciation guide is provided in the back of the book.

In addition to the well-written text, Mr. Linney provides free
audio downloads of teaching tips and pronunciations of the Latin
words and phrases for each lesson on his website. These can be
listened to online, burned to CD or placed on an iPod, making it
easy to review Latin on the go! In fact, the website is a great
resource, featuring downloadable lectures by Mr. Linney regarding
teaching and learning Latin, samples of the book and more.

Getting Started with Latin's concept-upon-concept approach, pre-
sented in bite-sized lessons, are perfect for young learners (with
mom's guidance); upper elementary and older students will find they
may move through the course at a more rapid pace, slowing down to
review as needed. As I began reading the first few lessons, I
found myself thinking, "I could do this!" Mr. Linney has done an
excellent job of making the teaching parent feel comfortable and
confident from the very first page.

-- Cindy Prechtel

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I'm a grandmother, and really concerned about the education
where I live. I'm considering the possibility of home schooling
my grandson who is 4. Getting started is the issue I'm having.
Much of what he knows I taught -- until the daycare he attends
asked me not to because he knew more than the other children
(of, course I didn't stop!). How do you start the home school-
ing process? I'm in Tennessee." -- Marvella

Our Readers' Responses

"God bless you for your desire to educate your grandchild. Start
with prayer. Ask God for wisdom and guidance. Look for someone
to back you up. Your husband. The little boy's parents. Don't
rush in. Wait and see and you will find what works for both of
you. In the meantime read to him. Let him cook with you. Take
walks together and talk about trees, birds, flowers, etc. Keeping
a close loving relationship will give you a foundation to build
on. Heather's website is a great resource:


There are other homeschooling grandmas out there. Do an internet
search. Talk to others about your desire. I Thessalonians 5:24
says, 'The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.' "
-- Lesa


"Marvella -- it seems that you are already on the right track.
We teach these little babes from the moment we receive them into
our arms! As parents (and grandparents), we teach children first
to roll over, next to crawl; then walk. After that we teach them
to put their shoes on the correct feet -- and, finally, we teach
them to tie their shoes -- at which point they are off and running
on their own! It seems to me that 'school' follows many of the
same patterns offered above. We teach how to count, then we take
out little 'goodies' and ask, 'How many do we need for both of
us?', then we take the graham crackers, break them and divide them,
and we keep building upon that. Or, we teach the letters, then
the sounds, and then the magic of running our fingers over the
sounds to put together those first beautiful words. I suggest
that small children be taught precept upon precept. Let your
grandchild learn at his pace by teaching him meaningful reading,
writing and math with Grandma's love in hand. He will learn
science with you in the garden or on walks, physical education at
the park, history through your stories and well-chosen books.
READ-READ-READ to him (reading tastes best with chocolate chip
cookies and milk, don't you think?) The younger years are a time
for laying a foundation that can be built upon in later years.
These are the years to give a child the tools needed for indepen-
dent thinking. However, it is much more important to teach char-
acter and values at this age than any 'academic course of study'.
Good wishes to you... and blessings upon your wise decision to
further his education!" Kayla in WI


"Dear Marvella -- I am a grandmother of a bunch, and I am very
concerned about the education our children are NOT getting anymore.
Of course the daycare doesn't want you to teach your grandson,
because the system is more for down-dumbing our children.

Keep teaching your grandson. Go online and search out preschool
and kindergarten homeschooling. Go up in grades as much as he is
willing! But don't over burden him. If he wants to learn, give
him a few minutes of work at a time; if he wants more, as my 4
year old grandson does, give him more.

Though the mother of this 4 year old grandson is a school teacher
by the certificates she has, she doesn't teach in a school, or at
home. She's not in the picture right now, and I have him. I let
my 13 year old granddaughter do the teaching. She started with a
26-week course learning numbers and the alphabet. He loves doing it!

Now he goes around singing the alphabet song, and loves to write
his name, and other things we tell him to write. This is way under
where my children were at 3, but it's a start. He wants to learn!

If you want help finding websites, please ask. There are alot of
us online who homeschool, and we have resources. Try this one:


Then look for other places." -- Jan in MO


"Start him with 'Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons'.
If he is 4, you won't get through the whole book the first year.
Start over when he is 5 (Kindergarten). This time go through the
whole book and supplement with the Explode the Code beginning
phonics books. Then, in first grade, use Bonnie Dettmer's Spelling
for Phonics and Reading, supplementing with Pathway Readers when
the curriculum tells you to begin reading (she recommends these
readers, and they are excellent). For math, at age 4, just teach
him to count and to count out 'real' things -- like pennies, rocks,
etc. In Kindergarten, use Making Math Meaningful. In addition to
math and language arts, take him on field trips, on nature walks,
and read aloud to him. There are many great book lists to choose
from -- search for Charlotte Mason lists on the internet. As he
grows older, take some time to go to a home school conference or
go to a homeschool website like Home Educators of California to
get curriculum suggestion guides. There is a wealth of curriculum
and a wealth of help out there to help you choose the curriculum
that will work for you and your grandson. God bless you in this
honorable endeavor." -- Kathy in CA

[Editor's Note: "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons"
is indeed an excellent tool. However, all 5 of my sons were not
ready to read (or committed to the idea of trying!) until 8 and
9 years old at least. Have fun with it, but don't get discouraged
if they are not yet interested or they get frustrated trying to
grasp what you are teaching them. Just pull it out every 6 to 12
months and try again! When they were younger (6 and 7), we'd get
through 1 or 2 lessons only. We started over 2 or 3 times before
things began to "click" with them. Once they were ready they
flew through the lessons and were strong readers -- and completely
"on grade level" very quickly. Don't be afraid to delay! Keep
reading aloud for those early years. And don't quit reading aloud
at higher levels even when they CAN read for themselves. -- Heather]

Answer our NEW Question

"I home school my ten year old son, always have, but now it seems
like we are not accomplishing anything. He struggles in math,
hates to write, and just wants to play computer and video games
all of the time. I'm afraid he's not learning all that he should.
Any suggestions?" -- Angela


Do you have words of wisdom and/or practical help for Angela?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

Need Immediate Help?

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This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
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ear and encouragement.


[Note: This ministry is especially for Christian parents, but
all are welcome. Email Luanne@educationforthesoul.com if you
have any technical difficulties.]

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