|CT's own writer, homeschool mom of three, Jenny, shares insightful and supportive information about the day-to-day realities of family life while homeschooling. Don't miss these short reads!|
Three Homeschooling Traps and How to Avoid Them
By Jennifer Coe
Starting this fall, many parents will be bringing their children home and homeschooling them for the very first time. In some cases, this decision will have been made after months of planning. In other cases, it will have been an urgent, family choice made after bad experiences in the public school environment.
Whatever has gotten you to this place, you have chosen to attempt your hand at educating your child yourself.
Homeschooling is amazing.
In my own personal experience, I believe I have saved my sons from a lot of peer-pressure, unnecessary academic testing and the daily grind of being educated in an environment where there is very little time to access and build upon their own unique qualities.
While all this is true, homeschooling can be extremely emotionally draining, time consuming and a real experiment in being constantly flexible. And when I say flexible, I mean like Gumby flexible.
Below I will present some of the traps that we moms can fall into. Don’t worry – we have all been there.
Read more here!
|So You've Decided To Homeschool? Start by Deschooling|
|Insight From Homeschoolers|
|What Curriculum Should I Use?|
|This website offers you free reviews of many curricula options. You can review them after sorting by categories or specific publishers. Individual reviews for each curriculum will go a long way toward helping you select the best fit for your child. |
|Homeschooling For Free: It Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune!|
|Link to the free CHN resource; a newsletter containing educational websites, free curriculum information, and other academic links - a must see! |
|Methodologies: Many Ways to Learn|
|There are many ways to homeschool successfully; multiple methodologies – more commonly known as learning styles. Despite the myths, homeschoolers don't sit at the kitchen table from 9AM-3PM every weekday. Public school students typically do actual pencil-to-paper work approximately 60-90 minutes per day. The rest of the time involves other activites. That's why it's easy for homeschoolers to complete their work in a full morning. Others take a ‘learn from life’ approach and explore many and varied opportunities out in the world. |
It’s probably fair to say that many new homeschoolers tend to gravitate toward using a curriculum for the convenience of having lessons planned out for them. Also, it gives an added sense of security that they aren’t “missing something” when they are feeling like a novice at homeschooling.
Take some time to review the information we’ve gathered for you about homeschool methodologies.
The main categories are: Unschooling, School at home (curriculum), Charlotte Mason Method, Classical Education, The Well Trained Mind, Distance Learning, Eclectic Homeschooling, Montessori Resource & Method, Unit Studies, Self-Directed Learning, Waldorf Method, Additional information on homeschooling methodologies: Methods and Styles Directory.
|The Legalities of CT Homeschooling|
|For a lengthy FAQ that you can read to answer most, if not all of your questions, click here|
For general information on CT education law as it applies to homeschooling, and the procedure for you to begin, the details are here.
|Procedure for Beginning Homeschoolers Who Are Leaving the School System in CT|
| 1. If your child is enrolled in school, you need to withdraw them. We suggest you do so in writing and be certain to retain a copy for your own records. We suggest delivering it to the district superintendent, certified copy,return receipt requested. If not, then go in person to deliver the school a copy and have a staff person (secretary,for example) sign “receipt” of a copy that you keep for your own records. Until you do that, your child is still enrolled and thus can be found truant if not in school attendance. What should you write in a withdrawal letter? View a sample letter here.|
2. Now that you have withdrawn your child, the school district might ask, or tell you that you should, or must, file a Notice of Intent form. You can view a copy o fthe ONLY NOI form that any school district should be using as it is the ONLY approved and agreed upon document from the 1990 meeting between the State Board of Ed and homeschoolers. View here and scroll down the page to read a sample NOI.
It is possible that they are misinformed, but the fact is that the NOI is absolutely not, nor ever has been, required by law. The NOI is a Suggested Procedure that was developed as a result of a meeting in 1990 between the State Board of Education and a group of homeschool parents. It is considered a“compromise” document. Therein lies the confusion of it being a “suggested”procedure and also saying on it that you “must” file it. Be clear: the law does n-o-t mandate the filing of the NOI. It is parental choice.
3. One scenario: you have chosen to file the NOI. If, and only if, the school district contacts you at the end of the school year to participate in a Portfolio Review (PR), you must comply as it is on the NOI form that you will do so. If you have chosen NOT to file the NOI, you do not have to do a PR.
4. Now that I’ve withdrawn my child, what do I have to teach? You have to follow the CT law on education. The Duties of Parents states, “Sec. 10-184. Duties of parents.School attendance age requirements.All parents and those who have the care of children shall bring them up in some lawful and honest employment and instruct them or cause them to be instructed in reading, writing, spelling, English grammar,geography, arithmetic and United States history and in citizenship, including a study of the town, state and federal governments.”It does not tell you when or how to instruct those topics. It simply states that you instruct them on those topics. Each school district, public, private or home school, has the legal right to choose their curriculum. Homeschoolers call this“learning style or method”. You must instruct in those subjects, but you choose when to do so and by what method. For support in those areas, please read the CHN webpages on learning styles and curriculum.
Typical Course of Studies (scope & sequence) for all grades is available online for free.
|Can My Homeschooled Child Play Sports|
|Homeschooled children can play sports via Park and Recreation departments in their town. There are towns that also welcome children from neighboring towns, too. YMCA's offer competitive swimming. Other homeschoolers may form sports teams. Gymnastics (competitive or not), ice skating, roller skating, skiing, golf, snowboarding, fencing, martial arts, adventure & ropes courses, bowling & archery are among some of the sports that homeschoolers have learned to play. If there isn't a sports related group meeting regularly in your area, start one! Local groups have casual outdoor or indoor gym games, too. |
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) requires student athletes to be bona fide students at the public school they represent. Therefore, homeschoolers typically are not welcome. Here's a copy of their rule book. That said, a homeschooled student can participate in public school sports are subject to the approval of the school board. A rare few districts have included homeschooled students.
|WHAT TO TEACH IN ALL GRADES: A GUIDELINE|
|How Do I Know What My Child Needs to Learn in Each Grade?|
|The CT Common Core standards are not a curriculum, but a set of standards that are equal across the nation. They are controversial, nevertheless, despite the pro/con debate about Common Core, they are at least a reference point for homeschoolers.|
Here are some other sources that list typical grade level subjects.
World Book Typical Course of Study - Grades Pre-K to 12
This is probably the favorite resource of homeschool parents for "scope & sequence" of subject areas.
Pre-K to Grade 5
Time 4 Learning Curriculum Overview - Grades Pre-K to 12
|FROM HOMESCHOOL TO COLLEGE|
|Will My Kid Get Into College?|
|Simple answer: YES! Colleges love homeschoolers because they do very well and are engaged in learning. |
Here is a bare bones information article about high school to college academics and transitioning.
|Special Needs Children & Homeschooling|
|The CHN website has a page dedicated to special needs homeschooling. There are also resources that would be appropriate for special needs homeschooling that are integrated throughout the rest of the website, so please don't limit yourself to this section. |
To chat with other families of special needs homeschooled children, be sure to join the CHN Yahoogroup and FB pages where other parents will be happy to help share their experience and wisdom.
|PARENTAL WORRY AND DOUBT: IT'S NORMAL|
|Common Concerns for New Homeschool Parents|
|The major concerns for parents teaching young children is how they will learn to read. For older children, there’s worry over how their child can get into college with a high school diploma. For most children, parents aren't aware of just how busy a homeschoolers' social life is! Another concern is the common lack of support from friends or family when a family starts homeschooling. You're not alone if you're concerned about these things. We assure you that tens of thousands of homeschoolers across America have successfully been through these issues and come through the other side just fine. You will, too. |
At our website, there are excellent support articles for nervous parents. Please be sure to read the ones that are of interest to you.
|CHN offers homeschoolers free support & information |
|CHN is a non-profit corporation comprised of volunteer parents who are on the organization's Board of Directors. We encourage you to network with other homeschooling families and area support group, co-ops, and varied events. The fastest way to do that is to join the Connecticut Homeschool Network facebook page. You can also connect with others via the CT Homeschool Network Yahoogroup. |
There are museums and educational stores that acknowledge the CHN membership card by giving the bearer of the card discounted prices on products and services. You should ask them before visiting or making a purchase what the terms are. To print out a CHN membership that you will sign to certify that you are currently homeschooling, click here.
Still have questions? Visit our comprehensive website. Post your question to the CHN facebook page! We’re here to help!