We don’t know if having the ability to read early is a sure-fire indicator that you should home school your child, but the indicators that our son needed a personalized curriculum were there. We started investigating homeschooling in earnest, since we had to rule out private schools for financial reasons.
Curriculum and Extra-Curricular Activities
For us, homeschooling meant customizing a lesson plan every year, but it wasn’t all done in a vacuum. By the time we started in 1998, there were already those who had gone before to pave the way. They had reviewed curriculum and even had written some themselves to fill a void; gave pointers on teaching techniques and field trip ideas; had sage advice; and held enormous curriculum fairs. When we went to our first fair in Harrisburg, we were delighted to see hundreds of other families there as well and instantly felt we had made the right choice.
Granted, not all of our curriculum selections proved the best fit. We actually purchased items that we never used. There is so much out there now that finding the right fit might be difficult at first, but once you find a curriculum with a style that best suits your child’s, you’re well on your way, since determining your child’s learning style is one of the first things to do when you make the decision to home educate. And don’t rule out your own learning style, either. We had the challenge of having an active, tactile learner, while we both were much, much more sedate.
And when it came to things we knew we couldn’t handle ourselves, we sought outside instruction: physical education classes at the YMCA; homeschool co-op classes; several youth clubs and programs at church; Cub Scouts; Boy Scouts, wherein he achieved the rank of Eagle with a Bronze Palm; and private music and fencing lessons. When Stephen turned 15, he was permitted to enroll in classes at the community college, where he went on to get an Associate in General Studies degree as one of the youngest in his graduating class.
What about socialization? That’s probably number one on everyone’s list who’ll ask you about your decision to home educate. Contrary to that image of sitting at the kitchen table all the time with books open, we managed to be learning outside our home most of the time. Stephen started volunteering when he was eight years old by shelving books at the community library. As he grew, he took on more responsibilities, including loading games on the computers and scheduling weekly anime features for teens. He also got involved in the library’s Teen Advisory Council and served in various official positions during his many years there. As an adult, he continued to work with the library’s “tween” program for pre-teens. His volunteering time wasn’t limited to the library, either. He took leadership and teaching positions inside his homeschool co-op, his church, his Boy Scout troop, and his fencing school, as well.
Now That We’re Done
We look at our thirteen years of home schooling as the best preparation we could give Stephen to meet the challenges he’ll face after graduation. Certainly, there were many bumps along the way, but the path we set him on was done with love and conviction.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about our homeschooling experience, we’d love to talk about it with you!
We Invite You to Explore Our Website
In addition to serving the homeschooling family, our website is focused on helping individuals and non-profit organizations turn their used books, textbooks, educational magazines, and educational toys and aids into funds that support their money-raising goals. It’s hoped that we can be a one-stop shop for both the consignor and the consumer! You can get an overall view of our website from its home page or by using the navigation bar at the top of this page. Enjoy!