Online Public School Vs. Homeschooling

Homeschooling is growing with leaps and bounds! It is natural that because more and more people are homeschooling that many of the states are trying to jump in and get some of those children back. This is called online public school. Some of the online public school options are K12 or Connections Academy. When you decide to make the decision to homeschool a parent may consider an online public school as an option. Here are some of the pros and cons to online public school that may help you make that decision.

Finish reading at the Southeast Homeschool Expo

5 Online Resources to Help with Math

In the few years I have been homeschooling, and have helped mentor new homeschool families, I have heard of one common struggle-teaching Math! Whether it be geometry, algebra, multiplication or something else, homeschool families tend to hit a wall often while teaching (or learning) math.

My first few years I switched math curriculums a few times before finding one that fit for our family (CLE Math but now Teaching Textbooks). However, even though the curriculum is great, I have still had to supplement with some online resources. As a homeschool parent it is important to know what is out there in terms of teaching Math, and where you can go to get help if needed. Head to the Southeast Homeschool Expo for some online resources to help with math.

The Top Homeschool Statistics You Must Know

As a parent, your children’s education is one of the top priorities in your life. You want to make sure they get a balanced and excellent education that prepares them to be a mature adult who can thrive in society. If you’re on this site, you’ve already considered homeschooling your child. To make your job I’m going to go over the data surrounding homeschool statistics so you have a clear and accurate picture of the effectiveness and popularity of homeschooling.

The Popularity of Homeschooling in the United States

2 Million Children are educated through homeschooling in the United States.   According to a 2007 survey of parents by the National Center of Education Statistics, there were three major motivations behind enrolling their child in homeschooling. 88% of percents were worried about the school environment. 83% of parents had a desire to provide religious and moral instruction and home.   73% of parents said they were dissatisfied with the academic instruction provided at other schools.

Homeschooling Statistics
Homeschooling Statistics

Parents were also asked which of the above reasons were the most important.   The leading reason according to parents (36 Percent of them) was the need to provide religious or moral instruction.

The Benefits of Homeschooling-

Homeschooling also has many academic benefits. Homeschooled students typically score 30-37 percentile points better than public school students according to research by Dr. Brian Ray. That means that the average homeschooling student is in the top 13-20 percent of students.   Your home schooled children are at a massive advantage as compared to public school students. That’s an incredible and shocking advantage.

Another homeschooling study by Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner shows that homeschooled children who were homeschooled for their whole education showed the highest achievement. That means the sooner you start homeschooling your child, the better their eventual performance will be!

Are you worried about the cost of home schooling?   According to Dr. Ray the average cost of homeschooling per year is only a measly $546.

Another interesting aspect of homeschooling is that the child’s race barely matters. Minority children benefit tremendously from homeschooling. Peer pressures and negative school environments in less-advantaged areas give children in those areas severe disadvantages and those children can benefit the most from homeschooling. If you have a minority child it may be worth thinking about the effects of a public school education on your child.

All in all these homeschool statistics prove the point that homeschooling is an excellent alternative to public school education. According to peer reviewed studies and research home schooled children perform far better than their public schooled counterparts.   It makes perfect sense, considering the large range of problems in the public school system, as well as the teacher to student ratio. It also makes more sense that you educate your child, as you know your child far better than any teacher can. Not to mention a teacher’s attention is divided between dozens of other children under his/her care.

Sources-

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21568763-home-schooling-growing-ever-faster-keep-it-family

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009030.pdf

Dr. Brian Ray, Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America, National Home Education Research Institute, Salem, OR, 1997.

http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp#ii

Image from-

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Motivations_regarded_most_important_for_homeschooling.png

 

Homeschool Recordkeeping

What does homeschool recordkeeping look like in your homeschool? Are you one who has lines of neatly organized portfolios sorted by grade? Do you have a plastic tote with stuff just thrown inside? Or are you somewhere in between? I will be honest and say that I have been on both sides of that scenario ;)

Homeschool recordkeeping can be overwhelming, especially when you have more than one child, and have NO clue what to keep. We are starting our 5th year, and with three kids, the clutter from homeschooling paperwork was piling up fast. So, here is what I have decided to keep-and not to keep!

Keep: A few samples of each child’s penmanship at various stages throughout the school year

Don’t Keep: EVERY single tablet they wrote in, all year long!

Keep: Math tests and quizzes

Don’t Keep: All 10 light unit math books from the school year!

Keep: Random grammar sheets, tests or worksheets from various lessons during the school year.

Don’t Keep: Every lesson she completed this school year!

Keep: Pamphlets from field trips, church plays, and other activities

Don’t Keep: Coloring books, worksheets, and the like from field trips and Sunday school

Keep: An attendance log, tracking days that we have had school during the year.

Don’t Keep: An hour, by hour log documenting every.single.thing we have done.

Keep: Samples of my toddlers crayon scribbles, and first time cutting with scissors

Don’t Keep: Every coloring book he has attacked with a crayon!

Record keeping is something that all homeschool parents must deal with. You want to keep samples of your child’s work, but you don’t want to go overboard! Typically, the rule of thumb during the elementary years (So I’ve heard) is to keep samples for 3 years and high school records permanently.

I have decided to keep a small portfolio, per child, each year. That’s it. If it doesn’t fit, I toss it. This guarantees that I will only keep what is quality work, and what truly shows my children’s capabilities.

Find a balance that works for you. Record keeping will look different in each family, and once your child is in high school, record keeping will be more complex. But with a little time, you will find a record keeping system that will work for your family.

If you would like more information regarding recordkeeping, check out this article from Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

 

Frontline Moms and Dads

Lisa Cherry is the founder of our Frontline Moms and Dads blog. This blog is a little different. We tackle some of the “sticky subjects” concerned with parenting kids in a world gone mad.

I love to read posts that inspire my “homemaking side,” but I must admit I need some posts that equip me to lead my children through the landmines that are destroying young lives all around us!

In days gone by, church potlucks provided the forum for great meetings. Now, we meet on line. With not only a change in menu but also a change in spiritual climate! In case you haven’t noticed, it’s nasty out there. Today Christian values are the “Remnant”– not the mainstream.

Frontline Moms and Dads, we must sharpen our parenting skills and prepare our kids.

We will meet here 3-4 times a week. Our posts will mostly fall under the following headings:

Christian Parenting
Culture War
Sexuality
Restoration

As we share together, I am certain we will cry a little and laugh a lot. We are strong believers in Him and we will grow to meet our challenges!

Do You Have a Vision?

Do you have a “Vision” for your home school? It is important. Vision draws us forward when life bogs us down. Every home school parent knows there are tough days that sometimes drag into tough weeks. Vision is the Light that will beckon in the wearying seasons. In fact, a right Vision becomes a Legacy Light! Do you remember singing this song with your children?

“Be careful little eyes what you see,
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.”

The beauty of teaching young ones is that those lessons are the ones we often forget to practice ourselves. Teaching is a great reminder to implement! It is a pathetically simple truth that we see what we look at. When we allow our eyes to be drawn to difficulties or shortcomings (in ourselves or others), our eyes become filled with the negativity. As Christians, it is imperative that we make a deliberate choice to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Only with our eyes firmly focused on Him, will we live in the victory faith brings. The best foundation for the endeavor of home education is faith in the power and provision of God.

This life, this endeavor of intensive parenting we call home schooling, is a God-given assignment that demands a God-given vision. Vision is sometimes defined as “a clear, concise and compelling picture of what the future can be.” What is the vision you have for your children, for yourself, for your family? Is it a God-given vision that trumpets out truth like Jeremiah 29:11?

‘I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and give you hope.’

Or it is a vision infiltrated with personal striving and fear of failure?

We struggle to remember that faith is the substance of what we do NOT see. Sometimes as home educators, our eyes see only incomplete curriculum, hectic schedules and friction in our relationships. The illusion of the ‘perfect’ home school family taunts us with our imperfections. Those are the times we need to sing the childhood rhyme again and look to our Vision.

The intensity of home school life gives us a great opportunity to model ‘eye placement. ‘As parents, when we diligently look toward God (instead of relying on our strengths or fearing our weaknesses), we teach a vital lesson to your children. We teach–by example–the key to living victoriously is living in the Light of Christ. Truly, there is no greater joy than having our children walk in Truth. Keep your eyes on Truth!

Just Breathe

Guest Blogger: Meagan, Homeschool Mom

There was a social media meme making its way around the internet a few months back where a homeschooling mom was complaining to her friend about her day.

“There was yelling and screaming. The kids were crying, I was crying…” said the mother.

“Maybe you could start your day with Bible time?” suggested her friend, to which the mom replied, “That was Bible time!”

I remember laughing and shaking my head while reading this, because in more ways than one I connect with that crying, screaming, yelling mama and her kids. More often than not our day starts out with good intentions but then I get caught scrubbing the breakfast dishes or my daughter drags her feet while tidying her room. Before we know it the baby is up from his nap and we are still only three problems into our math work. At six years old my daughter still needs me to sit next to her for most of her work, but with her little brother trying to grab her paper, screeching because mama had the nerve to set him down to help Sissy with a problem, or crying because he’s hungry and mama just isn’t feeding him fast enough. Well, it’s hard to concentrate under those conditions.

Before you know it that 6 year old can’t hold her emotions in any longer. Suddenly, 2+3=____ is too hard for her little mind to grasp when ten minutes prior we were subtracting 7 from 20 without a problem. She cries and pouts, doesn’t want to write, doesn’t want to sit in the chair, or even in the room. It isn’t long and this mama is ready to cry and pout too!

I have found that this situation is not a unique one, in fact every homeschool mom I have talked to has been in one exactly like it or very similar. But what’s next? What do you do when you want to throw in the towel and tell the little guy to pack it up, they are going to ‘real’ school tomorrow? Do you yell and scream, and stomp your foot? Do you slam the workbook shut, grab Sissy by the collar, and stick her in the corner until she is ready to do her work without complaint?

Ephesians 6:4 tells us ‘provoke not your children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.’ So no, you don’t let your anger swell up and crash around you. But what do you do instead? You take a break. You separate yourself from the situation and have your own little timeout. In my house that means putting the baby in his crib with a distracting toy and sending my daughter to her room to read; then mama grabs a cup of coffee and just breathes.

Sometimes I open my Bible and read a passage, sometimes I pray, sometimes I even cry and wonder if I am really cut out for this homeschooling thing. But more often than not I just sit with my coffee in my hands and breathe. After a few minutes my thoughts start to become clearer and I can look at the situation for what it really was. I can think about what I can do to make this situation easier, and I go from there. I call my daughter back into the room and we talk about what we both did wrong. That’s right, I admit my mistakes! I feel it’s important for kids to know that parents are not perfect; it makes them feel less pressure to be perfect themselves.   Then we talk about how we can fix it the situation.   Sometimes she will ask me to write down some of the answers for her, she knows the answer but she hates to write and her hand gets tired. I will ask her to vocalize with me when her hand gets tired or she is feeling frustrated, because it’s easier to solve a problem when we are both calm and collected. This goes back and forth until we both feel that we have said our peace; then we always end our talks with a hug and a prayer.

After I have talked with my daughter and developed our game plan we go get her brother out of his crib. We’ll spend a few minutes playing as a family and get back to work. We start over and forget that the prior meltdown even happened. We move on, we don’t dwell on the negative, because if we don’t allow ourselves to move forward we will always be stuck.

Homeschooling is hard. As parents we are taking on the job of not only the parent, but also the teacher, mentor, counselor, lunch lady, janitor, principal…the list goes on! I wonder if I am messing up my children and their futures at least 50 times a day, and if we go two days in a week without having to take one of our little breaks I feel like we have accomplished something great! Yes, what we are doing is hard, but it is vital not to forget that it is also important. We are taking on all these roles because we love our children, and we want to give them the best we possibly can. We want to and we are. So next time you feel like the stress is getting too great, simply step back and take a break. Just breathe. Remember, even public school teachers get lunch and conference breaks throughout the day; and sometimes the best way to nurture our children is to nurture ourselves.

-Meagan