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Homeschool Basics 101
Table of Contents

What is homeschooling?

What is education?

How do I get started homeschooling?

Are parents qualified
to teach their children?

What if my spouse does not
want to homeschool and I do?

What about socialization?

 How does homeschooling differ from government schooling or government charter schooling?

I have nosey neighbors & relatives.  How do I protect myself?

What laws apply to homeschooling?  Is it
legal to homeschool?

I need to work.  Is that possible with homeschooling?

How much does
homeschooling cost?

How much time during the day does it take to homeschool?

I am attending my first homeschooling curriculum fair.  Any recommendations? 

Can I homeschool someone else's children or my grandchildren? 

Why is it called a
government school?

Homeschooling Basics 101



1)  What is homeschooling?

The dictionary defines a home as at the heart or center of one's life.  It is a place where one can rest and be safe.  School, on the other hand, is defined in the dictionary as a place for teaching and learning with a group of people holding similar beliefs or opinions for training.  Homeschooling, therefore, is a way of life that makes up an entire lifestyle.  Parents train up well-educated, thoroughly prepared warriors for Christ training them to listen and obey the Lord.  Children are educated with the standards and values consistent with the family as the parents assume their God-given parental responsibilities.  It is not turning your children over to someone else to be indoctrinated with their values.  It is the freedom to learn alongside of your children while bonding with them. Homeschooling offers the unique experience of family members learning from one another.  It is individualized learning tailored to the student's academic needs and learning style while meeting the needs of the family.  Making the decision to keep your children out of a group schooling situation while educating them at home is giving your scholars the benefit of a superior education without the drawbacks of an institution.

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2)  What is education? 

The dictionary defines education as the knowledge and abilities gained through training while changing a person's nature.  It is training children to search for answers to their own questions and giving them the love for the adventure of learning.  Sharing knowledge and training in righteousness is the gift parents give their children in order for them to survive in adulthood.  These lessons in life in the home (beginning with the Garden of Eden) is the responsibility of each and every parent.  Parents love their children and want to guide their learning in the preparation for the future.  It is the method in which we obtain knowledge and the wisdom to utilize that knowledge in the real world so that we may better serve Christ.

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3)  How do I get started homeschooling?

Pray.  Relax.  

Discover the learning style of your spouse and yourself.  How do you learn?  Do you and your spouse learn by hearing? seeing? hands on? a combination?  More than likely, your child's learning style will probably be very close to you and your spouse.  Watch your child and make an assessment. Realize, of course, that this is only an initial assessment that will, most likely, change. Next, talk with your spouse to discover what bored you both while attending school. Now, watch your child. What bores your child? Try not to do the things in a way that promotes boredom for you or your child during homeschool.

Begin to review the various methods of education (e.g., classical Christian education, classical education, unit study, eclectic, etc.). Which appeals to you? Do not be surprised if various parts of each method may be appealing. Chances are you will find many pieces from each method that is appealing to you. That is not a problem. Take those areas that are appealing and adopt them to your own style.

Pray.  Relax.

Decide on what your educational goals for the year will be with your spouse. Go to your pastor or librarian and ask them for help in connecting you with other homeschoolers in the area.

Look at curriculum. This may be accomplished by attending a curriculum fair or meeting with other homeschoolers in your church family. Schedule appointments with other homeschooling families taking your husband and children with you if possible to look it over. Many times, homeschoolers will allow you to borrow some of their things to review at home. Buy less curriculum than you think you will actually need and work with it for awhile. Make assessments as you go along and change if necessary.

Pray.  Relax.

Contact your state congressman and ask for a FREE copy of your state's homeschooling law.  You may also want to contact Home School Legal Defense Association's web site for a quick review of the requirements for your state.

Remember what you hated in government school or private school and do NOT repeat it. Be sure to ask your spouse to learn what he/she hated. Do NOT repeat!

Try to figure out why you love certain academic areas. Ask your spouse what academic areas he/she enjoyed and try to figure out why. Repeat.

Pray.  Relax some more.

Realize that you can make changes immediately when you homeschool. You are the headmaster. You are already teaching your child through this process. What you ask? You are teaching obedience and trust in God to meet the unique needs of your family.

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4)   Are parents qualified to teach their children?

Yes.  Parents know their children better than anyone else in the world.  Parents know the subtle changes of expressions of their child and what they mean.  Parents know what their child is actually communicating depending on the tone of voice accompanied by gestures of the child.  Parents are willing to take the time to help their child.  God specifically gave a particular child to a set of particular parents.  He would not have given those children to parents if they were not qualified to train them.  Moreover, God gave parents the injunction to teach them as they walk by the way, as they lie down, as they sit, as they rise up, etc. (See Deuteronomy 6).  Homeschoolers quickly learn that they are trusting God to meet the academic needs of their children and the needs of their family.  It is an act of faith and trust.  It is trusting God to train warriors for Christ and that He will supply our need.  History is filled with famous homeschooled youth like George Washington, Thomas Edison, Abigail Adams, and more.

In government schools, teachers must be more concerned about crowd control and do not have the luxury of learning those nonverbal details (i.e., facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, body position, etc.).  How may a government school teacher each year actually get to know a child in the classroom when there are 29 or more students before a new crop of students arrive the following year?

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5)  What if my spouse does not want to homeschool and I do?

Prayer is the number one thing to do that is often overlooked.  The hearts of many reluctant spouses have been changed through diligent prayer.

Frequently, when a mom wants to homeschool, she will go online to research homeschooling and asks questions locally.  Generally, the mom will find other people to help her.   Unfortunately, the dad is left out and often does not "get it".   He has never known anything but the government school or private school system.  Since the father was not involved in researching homeschooling, he is understandably worried about such a radical way of educating his children.  Therefore, it is important to research those questions that dad is most concerned about and get reasonable explanations for each question.

What worked for many is attending state homeschool conference.   Reluctant husbands and wives have the opportunity to meet other homeschooled parents and are reassured about this thing called homeschooling.  The conference speakers like Doug Phillips, Chris Klicka, and Reb Bradley are good, but the mens' workshops and visiting with other dads is really what helps husbands feel homeschooling is "okay".

Another thing to do is to visit your local government school and request Educational Objectives for your child for the next upcoming school year.  Then, to compare/contrast the government school objectives with those available for homeschooling.  This, too, helps the reluctant parent to realize that homeschooling far outstrips the training of government school replacing it with real educational academics.

Doing some type of "school" activity or subject with the children during the summer break will give dad a chance to see first-hand how great homeschooling really is!  Some families decide to take 1-2 years as a "trial" period and, then, realize homeschooling is not at all frightening but an enjoyable experience that has allowed their families to become closer knit.

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6)  What about socialization?

How often did your government school teacher say to you, "Girls, stop talking, we are not here to socialize!"  Besides, how can healthy socialization occur in a government school classroom with 30 or more inmates of the same age for eight or more hours a day?

Socialization is one of the main reasons WHY so many opt to homeschool.  A brief glance at a newspaper quickly reveals the dysfunctional socialization that government school promotes with articles on sexual abuse, physical abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, bullying, violence, death, and more.  Government school tends to damage a child's social skills.  

(We are Losing Our Children by T.C. Pinckney)
Research indicates that 70% of teens who are involved in a church youth group will stop attending church within two years of their [government] high school graduation ... the primary reasons [for Christian youth not attending church within two years of government high school] are, first, our failure as Christian parents and churches and, second, the intentional, persistent, and highly effective effort by anti-theists to use [government] public schools to lead children away from their parents and from the church.  

Part of the problem with government school dysfunctional socialization stems from an artificial environment where a child is placed with same age individuals.  This does not occur in any other environment other than government school.  

It is important for young scholars to learn how to communicate well with others of varying ages.  Frequently, homeschooled youth (especially at the high school level) notice the inmates from the government school tend to have extremely superficial, limited conversations.  In fact, one high school homeschooled student described a conversation of other government schooled students her same age as similar to the movie "Ground Hog Day" where the characters in the movie keep waking up to experience the same day over and over again with no variation.

Homeschooling offers a unique opportunity for scholars.  In fact, a parent may have so many activities planned for their scholars with other homeschoolers they may become worn out! It is important to decide which activities your family can handle!


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7)  How does homeschooling differ from government schooling or government charter schooling?

Freedom and liberty.  

Homeschooling is much different than government schooling and government charter schooling since it is made to meet the individual academic needs of the student.  The parent is able to strengthen the weaknesses of the scholar while expanding on the scholar's strengths.

Both government school and government charter schooling prohibit any discussion of or participation in any Christian events (like Christmas celebrations, Easter holiday, etc.). Homeschooling is not controlled by thought police that are concerned about what a scholar prays or does not prays.  Instead, homeschooling encourages the scholar to be all he or she can be regardless of personal beliefs.

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not:  for of such is the kingdom of God.  (Jesus)
      Luke 18:16

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.  (Jesus)
      Luke 17:2

Government school teachers do not have the luxury of approaching a topic one scholar in the class is having difficulty with or is extremely good at since there are 29 other government school inmates in the class.  There is simply no time.  Those youth caught in the grasp of the government school that are either struggling with a topic or are extremely good at another academic subject are simply lost in the shuffle.  For the government school child that is "lost" the government school teacher may only hope that the child will "pick it up" the following year.  More often than not, a government school teacher does not even have the time to communicate to the government school parents those academic areas that the student may be lost in or may excel in because there simply is not enough time when a government school teacher has 30+ children in the classroom.

Discipline problems by a few students in government school may disrupt the entire classroom with discussions following that particular behavior for days and, perhaps, weeks afterward! Unfortunately, the other students in the government school classroom must be put on hold until the discipline problem is resolved.  

Discipline issues in the homeschooling environment tend to be less and tend to be dealt with swiftly and to the point with no "red tape".

As children get older so much time is wasted in the government schools changing classrooms.  In fact, if the time is added up just for the changing of classrooms, this could exceed an hour per day.  Then, when you add on how much time it takes to line up for various activities (prep rallies, waiting for the bus, etc.), the time wasted is enormous.  This does not happen in the homeschooling environment.


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8)  I have nosey neighbors and relatives.  How do I protect myself?

One of the best ways to protect yourself is by obeying the homeschooling law in your state.  Be SURE to contact your state congressman and ask for a FREE copy of your state's homeschooling law.  You may also want to contact Home School Legal Defense Association's web site for a quick review of the requirements for your state.  Many homeschoolers join Home School Legal Defense Association for extra protection.

Documenting what you do is also another simple, easy way to protect your homeschooling endeavors.  You may want to consider making a portfolio for your student.  Get a three ring binder one for each of your children.  Place dividers in the binder marked math, science, literature, grammar, etc. and have your children place whatever work they do in those academic subject areas in the binder daily.  Mounting photographs of your children working, at field trips, during labs, etc. on special acid-free paper and placing same in a page protector in that child's portfolio is helpful.  In that way, the child's portfolio becomes a scrapbook of what the child did during the year as well as protection from nosey neighbors and realtives.

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9)  What laws apply to homeschooling?  Is it legal to homeschool?

Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states and the territories.  Contact your state congressman and ask for a FREE copy of your state's homeschooling law.  You may also want to contact Home School Legal Defense Association's web site for a quick review of the requirements for your state.  Moreover, there are many European states that have legalized homeschooling as well.

The better question to ask may prove to be:  "Is it legal to government-school?"  After all, there is NO provision in the United States Constitution for the federal government to set up, and run government schools.

      John Stuart Mill
         19th Century Economist
         author of On Liberty, Principles of Political Economy

A general state education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another, and the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in government.

For more research in this area, you may want to check out the following books by the late Dr. R.J. Rushdoony, the Father of Modern Homeschooling ...


Intellectual Schizophrenia
by Dr. R.J.Rushdoony, Ross House Books, Vallecito, CA, © 1961

This book provides the philosophical groundwork for homeschooling and private Christian schooling and more.  The appendix provides a must read article on the result of the first review of the first 12 experimental government schools in the USA in the late 1890s.  A real eye-opener!



The Messianic Character of American Education by Dr. R.J.Rushdoony, Ross House Books, Vallecito, CA, © 1963

The book continues to provide the philosophical groundwork for a distinctively Christian education along with short biographies of each and every government school pusher. This is a must have.



The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum by Dr. R.J.Rushdoony, Ross House Books, Vallecito, CA, © 1981

This important book continues to explain and teach how each subject must be from a distinctively Christian worldview in compliance with the command of 2 Corinthians 10:5. A brilliant, must have book!


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10)  I need to work.  Is that possible with homeschooling?

There are many widows and divorcees that homeschool yet must provide for their families by having gainful employment as they are the soul support for their family. The biggest issue is commitment to providing an excellent education for the children God has blessed you with.  The next issue would be scheduling.  Sit down and make out a schedule that will fit the needs of your family.  Remember it does not "have" to be mom that teaches.  Older children can help younger children.  Can grandparents or other relatives be involved?  Chores will need to be split up among the entire family.

Do you work inside or outside of the home?  Can your job be done entirely or partly at home?  Can your children join you at work (as many homeschooling librarians are able to do)?  How flexible is your employer (if you have one) about your schedule?  Will you children be left alone?  Can a relative watch your children?  Is the person that is watching your children teaching them or supervising their schoolwork while you are at work?

Some children go to work with their mothers or fathers.  In some towns, there are MANY family run businesses.  Not only do those that run them have the opportunity to bring their children to work, but encourage their employees to do so as well.  Some just do not approach their employers with the idea and feel like it could never be acheived.  Yet you never know until you try.  Dentists, medical doctor's and eye doctors offices are seeing more and more doctors and staff bring their children to work with them and homeschool them at the office.

Another thing that is happening more and more is job-sharing.  Two people split the same job.  Instead of working an 8 or 10 hour day, you may only work 1/2 while someone else works the other 1/2.  Or you may work 3 days a week and the other work 3 days.  This is becoming very frequent in corporate America.  If you pick up one of those "Working Mother" magazines in your doctor's or dentist's office, you will find a great variety out there.

Many homeschooling families discover, over time, that the "extra" income that comes into the family when mom works is simply not worth the stress or sacrifices put on the individual family members or mom. Frequently, the costs of mom working can simply be transferred to the educational materials the family decides is needed for homeschooling. The costs of working can be quite high check out income calculator for yourself.

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11)  How much does homeschooling cost?

The cost of homeschooling depends upon the decisions of the homeschooling family, ages and number of children, family lifestyle, educational philosophy, how many field trips and extracurricular activities, curriculum choice, etc.

A quality education may occur while homeschooling on a shoestring or by spending money with canned curriculums.  It is not so much the cost of homeschooling that matters, but the motivation of the parents and their view of education.  Even with purchasing the most expensive curriculum, the cost is still less expensive than private Christian schooling and the taxes that parents have to pay to keep the dysfunctional government school system "operational".

Be sure to check out what your church library has to offer.  Why?  Many homeschoolers are donating literature, math, grammar and many other texts to church libraries rather than selling them used.  In this way, they are able to help homeschoolers in their church family.  In like manner, check out community libraries.  Spending money for a good phonics, math and literature programs can be invaluable.

Many homeschoolers re-sell the books they have used so they may purchase other homeschooling material for the following year.  In this way, a parent may be able to purchase those items that their church library does not stock at a significantly reduced price.

The real question to ask is:  "How much will it cost my child and our family to send them to government school academically, morally and spiritually?"

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12)  How much time during the day does it take to homeschool?

How much time do YOU want homeschooling to take?

As you are discovering, homeschooling depends on the academic needs of the student and the family.  Some families have fathers that work swing shift or at nights.  In order to have quality and QUANTITY, family time, homeschooling scheduling is arranged around the father's schedule.  

YOU will determine how much time it will take during the day to homeschool.
YOU schedule when homeschooling occurs.
determine if you want homeschooling to occur throughout the day or during a specific time period.

Many factors ages and number of children, family lifestyle, educational philosophy, field trips, extracurricular activities, curriculum choice, etc. will determine how long it takes to homeschool.  

Overall, for younger grades (kindergarten through 6th grade), takes only 1-2 hours per day if that long.  As children get older, the homeschooling day frequently extends due to athletics, music, jobs, dance, etc., that the homeschooled scholar participates in.

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13)  I am attending my first homeschooling curriculum fair.  Any recommendations? 

Be well rested.  Wear comfortable shoes.  Be well fed.

Before attending, make sure to look over several homeschooling catalogues.  Look to see what captivates you or that you are slightly interested in.  Discuss these options with other homeschooling families.  Make a list of those things you are interested in so that when you go to the homeschooling curriculum fair you may actually handle and look through these items. If you are fortunate enough to spend two (2) days at a homeschooling curriculum fair, do not purchase anything on the first day, but simply look at the items available and listen.


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14)  Can I homeschool someone else's children or my grandchildren? 

Depending on your State, yes you may homeschool someone else's children or your grandchildren.  

Many individuals at local churches all across the country have volunteered to homeschool children or assist others especially children of widows/widowers, military families, etc.  What a wonderful way to physically demonstrate the mercy Christ has shown these individuals by helping other families via homeschooling!  Witnesses like this speak volumes to non-believers.

Many grandparents are homeschooling their grandchildren or assisting with their education. This is likely to be a growing trend as people become more comfortable with the idea of homeschooling.



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15)  Why is it called a government school? 

First think in terms of your local public library.  Citizens are allowed to use the library.  They are neither forced to use the library or told what books they must check out of the library. Many librarys, in fact, strongly encourage book donations by its patrons.

Government schools, on the other hand, are not public.  Those that utilize the government school system are forced to adhere to the humanistic philosophy being taught in the government school, are forced to utilized textbooks that are frequently inaccurate and support a specific worldview, and unless the patrons families do not wish to participate in the government school system they must jump through many hoops.  If a student does not show up at the local government school, a government paid employee called a truent officer is frequently put on the task to find out why.  Moreover, the government primarily controls the government school curriculum and not the state or community where the government school is located.

United States citizens pay HUGE amounts of taxes each year to support government school even if they do not use them.  Those taxes are NOT optional.  They are mandatory.  Even though the local library receives some government funding, it is minimal and the local citizens have the option of supporting their local library without being penalized with heavy fines or jail.  Libraries encourage volunteerism and book donations, whereas the government schools really do not want parents that will question the government school system in the government schools.  Government schools frequently require fees for registration (which may be $50 per student), charges for poorly made and ill-tasting government school lunches, field trips that more often than not have no academic or educational value, special books, activities, projects, etc.  Government schools also have REQUIRED health related immunizations and physicals, that you may personally not be in support of.


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Curious about what the Bible has to say about Education? Check it out at Christian Education? What's That?
Request:  Would like to see anything added to Homeschooling Basics 101?
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© Beverly Schmitt 1997-2004, all rights reserved
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