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Homeschool Basics 102
Table of Contents

What do we do if our children
are less than enthusiastic
about homeschooling

My child attends school.  May
we switch to home education?

Isn't homeschooling just for religious fanatics?

What are homeschooling

Where do homeschooled
scholars make friends?

What about testing?

How do I meet other homeschooling
families where I live?

How can I be sure of teaching
all that needs to be taught?

What is the difference between
a Christian education and a Humanist education?

Why do homeschoolers
say that homeschooling
is a way of life?

How do you deal with harsh criticism from others about your decision to homeschool?

How do you teach
subjects you are weak in?

How do I handle those that say "That's great for you, but I could never do that!" or "I just would not have the patience!" ? 

How can I promote homeschooling?


Homeschooling Basics 102




What do we do if our children are less than enthusiastic about homeschooling?

First, do not focus on the negative.

Focus on those things your scholar is interested in like history, a good story, math, science, etc.  Talk about the various things that can now be accomplished since you have decided to homeschool that would not be possible if your child attended government school.

Most children really enjoy the sense of security and well-being they experience during homeschooling.  They recognize the sacrifices made by the parents on their behalf and truly appreciate it.  You may want to consider attending a homeschooling graduation ceremony.  These ceremonies tend to be much different than government school graduations.  The homeschooling parents give their diploma to their scholar with words of encouragement just for that child.  Then, the homeschooled scholar discusses the joys and struggles of homeschooling along with thanking the parents for their sacrifice.  These are truly moving experiences.

If the parents are committed to making the stand to homeschool, the children will follow the parents leadership.  If the parents express excitement and joy about homeschooling, so will the children.  The parents set the tone.  It is okay to let your scholars know that you are a wee bit anxious.  In fact, your scholars may really appreciate it.  Praying as a family about the anxiety and casting your concerns on the Lord is a witness your children will not soon forget!  You will actually be role modeling how important it is to step out on faith!


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2)  My child attends school.  May we switch to home education?

Of course you may switch to home education!  Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and the territories.  Why should your scholar be suffering from boredom and any number of other things in the government school?  You do not need to let the government school steal your children!

In this way, your scholar has the opportunity to catch up on all those things the government school did not teach as the government school teachers had to be more concerned about crowd control than education and academics.


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3)  Isn't homeschooling just for religious fanatics?

First, let us answer this question with a question:  Isn't government schooling just for religious fanatics like humanists?  Government schools have outlawed various forms of Christianity while promoting other religions as long as it is not Christian.  Christmas and Easter vacation are now referred to in many places as winter and spring break. Christmas carols are prohibited as well as government school students NOT being allowed to wear any item that reflects a Christian worldview.   Students have been prohibited from passing out candy canes, Christmas cards and many other items at the Christmas season.  Woe unto those in government schools that would say "Merry Christmas" or even suggest having a nativity scene!  Many government school high school students when presenting speeches at graduation ceremonies are pulled aside and strictly told they are not to mention the name of Christ or any other Christian symbols.  Christian government school students have been reduced to artificially sneezing at the podium where the speaker is so that the audience may respond with "God Bless You!"  Many more examples could be given with respect to the anti-Christian bigotry and prejudice that is experienced at government school not to mention the mockery, belittling and bullying Christian students receive while at government school.

Private Christian schools can be cost prohibitive for many families with homeschooling offering a viable alternative.

Homeschooling is for those families that are concerned about excellence in education for their scholars.  Most families in the homeschooling community are Christian, yet they welcome all who care about their children's academic pursuits with open arms.  

You may just learn to discover that you might find pleasure in the company of your children rather than the prevailing viewpoint of "getting the kids out of the house and out from under my feet!"


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4)  What are homeschooling co-ops?

Homeschooling co-ops tend to be groups of like-minded homeschooling families that set aside a certain day of the week for either academic pursuits or extracurricular activities that is time limited.  For example, a co-op may opt to meet one time per week for 5 weeks to learn about the various aspects of colonial life in the United States. Depending on the co-op, will determine what academics and/or extracurricular activities are offered.

Homeschooling co-ops are interesting and fun.  Groups of homeschooling families get together to tap the talents of moms and dads that are good in a particular area whether it is math, history, art, geography, culture, grammar, science, etc.   Co-ops are as individual as those making up the group.  Many meet for a specific period of time like one time per week for six weeks.  In this way, homeschoolers have the ability to meet together, enjoy one another's company and tap the talents of parents or community leaders.

A health class may be offered with a ...

1)  dentist taking one day for 1-2 weeks to explain the importance of dental hygiene, the function of various teeth, the importance of the tongue/throat, etc.
2)  physician assistant explain her function in a hospital/clinic and discussing generalities of health
3)  medical doctor, depending on his/her speciality, discussing health from his perspective
4)  optometrist discussing the care and function of the eyes
5)  etc.

Many of these parents may already be in the co-op.  Some co-ops decide to focus on economics inviting local bank presidents, retired business men, economics professors at local universities/community colleges, etc.  In fact, I know of one co-op where a bank vice president has a six week course at one day per week yearly to teach about stocks, how to read stock market reports, etc.  Some rural homeschooling co-ops may have a 5-7 week course at one day per week on hunting including how to prepare the animal for the family, safety in the woods, proper care of bows and arrows/guns, how to hunt, etc.


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5)  Where do homeschooled children make friends?

Homeschooled scholars meet friends in the same places private schooled and government schooled students make friends church, 4-H, sports activities, dance classes, karate classes, music classes, volunteer work at homeless shelters, boy scouts, neighborhood children, etc. except, homeschooled students have more options for healthy socialization than government school peers since they are able to develop lasting friendships via homeschooling groups, homeschooling co-ops, homeschooling science fairs, homeschooling art fairs, etc.

Families are strengthened by the children being together versus being separated and put in contention with one another in a government school environment.  Siblings share similar interests and hobbies as well as learn to work together through many different issues, not only academics!  Siblings become best friends as God intended the family unit.  As the youth grow older, friends will come and go, but your brothers and sisters will always be there.


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6)  What about testing?

Some states require testing and do not require the results to be turned in while other states require testing in 3rd, 5th and 8th grade with only minimal results to be turned in (e.g., Pennsylvania).   Many states require no testing at all like Missouri, Wisconsin with the state requirement being to keep track of how many hours spent
teaching and not requiring the homeschooling parents to turn in the hours spent teaching.  Some states require that a form be filed indicating the number of boys and girls homeschooled no names or ages.  

The state of Illinois has homeschoolers operating as a private school which means no testing, no reporting, no counting hours or days.  The state of Illinois literally does not know the homeschooling family exists.  Moreover, if the State attempts to enforce anything along these lines, the state is in the wrong and HSLDA will come to the homeschooler's assistance.  As one Illinois homeschooling mother put it, "In the 13 years I've been involved in the homeschool community in Illinois, I have never heard of any homeschooler being asked for anything."

In any event, testing materials are supplied by a number of different sources.  Check out the Information Pages, under Homeschool Essentials for information as to how to contact testing material providers.

It is important to be aware that, statistically, homeschoolers score higher than average on skills tests than their government school counterparts.

Some homeschoolers test their scholars to determine strengths/weaknesses.  In this way, the homeschool curriculum may be tailored in such a way as to strengthen the weaknesses while encouraging the scholar to soar ahead on their strengths.  

Testing is also another way of character trait training.  Testing is an experience where the child is actively involved.  Character traits and qualities come to the forefront immediately some good, some bad.  Testing also aids the scholar to see his/her need for a Sovereign King and Redeemer.  When the test results come in they will see those weaknesses that need work and his/her need for an education.  This becomes especially important if your scholar tends to catch on to new subjects easily as the testing will check the child if there is any hint of being prideful or cocky.  Testing is a great object lesson to use to teach your children that God tests His people consistently except your scholar is VERY fortunate that their testing consists only of paper/pencil and/or orally!  Now is the time to prepare your children to be thankful for the testing because when they become adults, God will give them pop quizzes, mid-terms and finals and on His tests they are pass/fail!

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
      1 Peter 1:7
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
      James 1:3
Search me, O God, and know my heart:  try me, and know my thoughts:  And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
      Psalm 139:23-24

Yet, even with all this said, it is important to know that Standardized Tests cannot measure good judgment, creativity, obedience to God, service to others, etc.


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7)  How do I meet other homeschooling families where I live?

The first place to ask how to contact other homeschooling families is at your church.  Homeschooling is still a Christian grassroots movement.  

Community Ministerium
Moreover, most preachers meet once a week or every other week at a ministerium where they discuss concerns, issues, activities, etc., with other ministers from your area.  More than likely your pastor will not only know of other homeschoolers in your congregation, but will be able to connect you with homeschoolers from other congregations in your area as well.

Ask your local librarian about getting you in touch with other homeschoolers in your area.  Homeschoolers tend to highly utilize the local library.   Homeschooling groups are constantly forming and one of the first places they inform is the local library.

Home School Legal Defense Association
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) lists support group information for most states including territories, Canada, and Europe.  You may begin there and these larger homeschooling groups will connect you with a more local group.

Government School Boards
Interestingly enough, some government school boards may also provide information about other homeschoolers in your area as many government school board members may be homeschoolers as well!


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8)  How can I be sure of teaching all that needs to be taught?

There are many Scope and Sequence type lists of information that are available right on the internet to give you an idea of things to be accomplished and/or mastered for various grades.   Check out Love to Learn's Information Pages, under Homeschool Essentials for information with respect to scope and sequence type lists.

Yet, most homeschoolers realize their scholars tend to exceed the basic requirements listed on the Scope and Sequence lists due to the homeschooling environment. Moreover, homeschooled scholars tend to frequently work some grades ahead in some subjects.  The longer a family homeschools, the more the scholar learns.

Meeting with other homeschoolers face-to-face or on General Homeschooling Message Boards like the one at Love to Learn Place offers an opportunity to meet with other homeschoolers from all over the United States, Canada and Europe to gain different perspectives on homeschooling academic opportunities.

Another way you may want to check to see where your scholar is at academically is to test.  There are many pros and cons to testing, yet it does offer one concrete manner in which to gage where your scholar is at academically.


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9)  What is the difference between a Christian education and a Humanist education?

A Christian education is concerned with the Creator Triune Lord and places Him at the center of all subjects in conformity with 2 Corinthians 10:5:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2 Corinthians 10:5

imaginations may also be translated as "reasonings"

A humanistic "education" begins with the creature and is subject to the creature's will and whims.  Failures, weaknesses and error tend to be displaced on to the environment, society, or anywhere else except the individual.  Personal, individual responsibility tends to be diminished or shunned in a humanistic education.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human traditions and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Colossians 2:28


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10)  Why do homeschoolers say that homeschooling is a way of life?

Homeschooling, if considered accurately, begins the moment of life outside the womb.  Parents teach their children how to eat, walk, talk, manners, right from wrong, potty training and more.  We teach our children everyday in everything we do even if we do not realize it.  We are teaching at the dining table when there are family discussions on civics, economics, history, family life, etc.  Homeschooling is an expression of home life and how we interpret math, history, science, geography, culture, civics, and all things else

No matter what type of homeschooling style classical, eclectic, unschooling, co-op, etc. families begin to realize there are many teachable, educational and academic moments, minutes, and hours throughout the day.  Building on an addition to a home gives practical experience of algebra.  Doing laundry may become an exercise in chemistry for the older student and home economics for the younger scholar.  Family get-togethers offer invaluable experiences of learning what life was like for grandparents, great grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, in the past and present.  Participating in a national presidential, senate or local political campaigns gives first hand experience with respect to civics making textbook material become ALIVE rather than dull.   A trip in the car may turn into playing the Noun Game and the Verb Game for young scholars  while older scholars practice map/atlas reading skills for geography.  Making an evening meal for the family may be an experiment in ancient Greek or Roman cuisine, the middle ages eating habits, colonial America recipes or any other time period of history.  A trip to an amusement park demonstrates the practicality and joy of mathematics, algebra, geometry and science.

In short, homeschooling is not limited to what occurs at the local government school.  Homeschooling is not as narrow-minded and limited as government schools, but is as expansive and creative as the homeschooling family and ideas the homeschooling family receives from others.

Homeschooling is so much more than bringing a private school classroom into your home.   Many families incorporate many different grade levels as well as a preschoolers and toddlers into the homeschooling environment.  Younger children do very well working, listening and even just playing side-by-side with older students.   Coloring books are a great resource for topic related material for the younger sect.  The little ones play with the math manipulatives during school time.  By the time the little ones reach K-1st grade level, they are already very familiar with the math manilupatives and how they are used.  Oral reading becomes a family affair with Legos and playdough are invaluable tools!

Old addage:

See one, do one, teach one.

Another tool is to have older children occupy younger ones while the parent is working one-on-one with another child.  Not only do siblings bond, but gives the parent the peace to proceed with instruction.  This is not a time for them to watch TV, but a time for older scholars to play a special game or teach the little one a new activity.  The little ones thoroughly enjoy this time!  Depending on your neighborhood and ages, you may even be able to allow them to go for a walk down the sidewalk and back.

Training is probably the most work when teaching older siblings how to train younger scholars.  Yet, this aspect of the homeschooling life is so highly rewarding that the time and effort in training the older siblings is well worth it in the end.  By training children in what is expected and when, there is less crying and gnashing of teeth.


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11)  How do you deal with harsh criticism from others about your decision to homeschool?


Be firm.

Respond to harshness and unkind criticism with laughter and understanding.  Stay off of the defensive and go on the offensive with understanding and grace.  

Frequently, you are dealing with lack of self-esteem and self-worth, especially among non-believers.  Most individuals have been convinced they are incompetent to be parents.  They have swallowed the concept that only "experts", that frequently are childless and unmarried, are the only ones able to train youth.  Yet, interviewing government school teachers, parents of government school inmates, and the government school children themselves demonstrates the miserable conditions and unhappiness that exists in the dysfunctional world of government school.

The majority of parents want the best for their children and sacrifice to this end.  Yet, when they meet a homeschooled youth or family, the guilt they experience is enormous and may even be overwhelming.   Remember, when most of us are under conviction, we respond with harshness and anger due to our guilt (until we repent!).  Therefore, it is imperative to be kind without caving in or backing down to emotional blackmail.  Taking on the concerns and criticisms one at a time in a gentle manner (yet with backbone) will frequently have the arguments of these individuals fall to the ground as baseless.  By gently questioning, you will gradually be clarifying facts (objective) from emotional fears (subjective).

It is important to remember that no one likes to have past mistakes, errors or sins shoved in their face.  It is important to allow these harsh, judgmental individuals a way of retreat without YOU giving in to their groundless fears.  It is not uncommon for the most harsh critics of homeschooling to eventually change their minds and homeschool themselves!

Remember, your scholars are watching how you handle harsh criticism from others.  Let these people voice their concerns, but be prepared to stand up for what is right. Your children will learn from you patience as well as how to respectfully disagree and defend a position.

In the last analysis, "the proof is in the pudding."  It is not uncommon for the most harsh, judgmental people to say at a homeschooler's graduation that they are impressed with their academics and education.  Now is NOT the time to rub it in, but to say "thank you."


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12)  How do you teach subjects you are weak in?

There are many options to deal with subjects a parent(s) may be week in ...

1)  homeschooling co-ops
2)  homeschooling groups
3)  church members
4)  family members
5)  local college students

Some parents have opted to re-learn those areas they consider themselves weak in only to discover they enjoy that particular area of study!  Many parents realize that government school slanted and warped their whole viewpoint of a particular subject and made it a misery rather than a joy.  Most individuals, for example, cannot stand history until they begin to homeschool!  Why?  Government school makes history seem meaningless, miserable and a drudgery.  Yet, as families begin to homeschool they begin to discover the delights and joys of history.  In fact, many homeschoolers become history buffs!

You may want to consider obtaining a formal curriculum for that particular academic area along with the teacher's guide and learn right along with your students.  There is no need for you to learn the subject area first, but learn right along with your scholar.  What you will be teaching your child will be priceless.  Your behavior will be saying that one does not run away from unfamiliar territory, but conquers it with persistence, diligence and a good sense of humor!  This lesson is probably MORE important than the academic area you are weak in as it will stand your scholar in good stead when he/she reaches college!

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13)  How do I handle those that say "That's great for you, but I could never do that!" or "I just would not have the patience!" ? 

I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Philippians 4:13
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
      Proverbs 1:7
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
      Deuteronomy 6:6,7

Challenge this parent to really really pray and seek God's wisdom through His Word and not rely on "feelings" or the approval of others.  Be sure to remind the parents that have been intimidated by others that God is faithful and just.  When He instructs and calls His children to a task He will provide what is needed.  We simply have to trust and obey.

To make it easier on the parent, you may want to hand them Christian Education?  What's That?  (Christian Education PDF File print it! includes Table of Contents)).

Be honest.  Homeschooling requires time, effort and patience.  Let them know that when you experience difficulties you have a support group locally, online, at church, and/or within your family.  Since your family knows that homeschooling is right, your family will do whatever is needed in an honorable fashion to accomplish your goals.

If someone is overly harsh, you may want to use as your last option:  "Do I critique and criticize your life choices when you know we clearly disagree?  I do not tell you how to raise your children.  I expect the same courtesy and respect from you."  At times, some individuals will leave you no choice, but to respectfully disagree.  Again, this is an important lesson for your children to learn.


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14)  How can I promote homeschooling? 

It is also important for Homeschoolers to be visible and active in their churches and communities:  do volunteer work, visit nursing homes, participate in community events (such as Relay for Life, etc.), volunteer to read stories to little children at the library, do volunteer work in a hospital, assist with the Veterans of Foreign Wars on their Memorial Day poppy sales and other events, volunteer at the SPCA, etc.

You may even want to consider having a Homeschool Open House at your church, in your backyard, at the library, karate class, etc.  Make up "Welcome Packets" and include information such as required forms, state laws, encouraging articles and helpful web sites.  Include your name and telephone number so that the inquirer will have someone to talk to about homeschooling.  Leave some of these Welcome Packets at your local library that's the first place many people go when they are either thinking about homeschooling or are new in the area and want local information.  

The Local Ministerium In most communities, the ministers from various Christians denominations will meet together once or week or every other week.  Consider taking several "Wecome Packets" to the ministerium to be distributed to all the ministers.  Even if a minister is not supportive of homeschooling, he will link up his congregation members to a Christian homeschooling group.  Other ministers that are highly supportive of homeschooling may even offer to place a homeschooling flyer in the bulletin and to inform his congregation of the local Christian homeschooling group from the pulpit.

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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 Basicis 102?
If so, e-mail us your ideas by clicking

© Beverly Schmitt 1997-2004, all rights reserved
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