To homeschool OR not to Homeschool? What curriculum to use and How MUCH will is cost?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by irresistible_grace, Jan 26, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

    We talked about homeschooling long before we ever had children. The last four years have flown by so fast and our oldest child is ready to start school. Meanwhile, I'm ready to throw in the towel! Public school seems so easy but doesn't appear to be of any (spiritually) worth. If we are going to homeschool, what curriculum should we use? How much will is cost (time & money)? Is anyone using Covenant Home Curriculum? And, is it worth it?
  2. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    What follows is from my wife, Kay. She isn't a member of the PB, but when I saw your post I asked her if she'd be willing to sit down and type some thoughts to you. These are her words, her thoughts and feelings:

    I personally loved Covenant Home curriculum. I did that with our first 2 years of schooling to the 'T'. However, it is pricey and once our second child began school we could not afford it. I still use it as the backbone of what I create for our curriculum as we have 3 of our 5 doing classes with mommy.

    I don't know how to address your 'time' and 'money' question. Covenant Home does cost money, but you can 'make it up' yourself off ebay and or even I rarely pay full price for any of the books we use. I always hit the CBD sales in the summer for any consumables when they offer free shipping discounts. Your time is a whole different issue. Homeschooling means no time for yourself all day long. It means answering school questions while in the bathroom. It means pens and pencils that break, it means sharpeners that break, it means dry erase boards (recommended) and the supplies for that. I personally do a lot of printing off the internet for free handwriting pages or anything that you can find free ;-) Notebooks and erasers... be sure to hit any back-to-school sales you can, for sure. Even set money aside for it during the summer.

    It can be completely exhausting to teach your children at home. Don't let anyone pressure you on this issue. There will be days when it takes every ounce of will power to just get them to sit down and color a page of 'red' stuff. I have found that boys need more creativity with schooling because their attention levels are very small. My daughter can sit and bust her school out in a fraction of the time. So you may want to account for the child's personality as well. If your children are very close in age, may I suggest Tapestry of Grace as they get beyond the basics of elementary. That system has a common backbone learning grid and you tailor each child's tasks to their learning level. But, I will also tell you that I love it!!! I would not give it up, even on the very horrible days of still juggling mommy duties, discipline, and teaching. I love the light that comes on when they 'get' something new. I love being the one to teach my kids to read and sharing stories with them. I get choked up each time my oldest tells me "you know mom, i love you being my teacher." It is rough, but oh so worth it. May God bless you on your educational journey.
  3. goodnews

    goodnews Puritan Board Freshman

    Jess - my wife and I have never wanted to homeschool but were forced into it this year. My oldest daughter is bright (like her mother) and needs to be challenged. In kindergarten and first grade she was challenged somewhat and we let her stay in public school since my wife taught there and would help ensure her quality of education, even though the county we live in does not have a good school system. This year, the economy made the class sizes much larger. And, the county decided to cater to the less advanced students, threatening teachers who didn't get those students "caught up." So Gracie was left daily to fend for herself and was used by the teacher as a tutor, without learning much herself. All this is to say we decided to homeschool and haven't looked back. We can't afford private school and haven't heard good things about the local ones anyway. I don't know much about the various curriculums offered. But, some states offer a publicly funded, home school alternative(we live in GA, although I've heard NC has it too). The curriculum is free, and the twice weekly computer lectures (done by public school teachers) are also free. We just pay for the books. The curriculum is advanced and challenging. And, we simply subsidize the curriculum with our own Biblical teaching/catechism/Scripture memory, etc., to ensure she gets all we want her to get. As with any homeschool curriculum there is a good bit of a time commitment on the part of the parents. But, the cost is minimal, and we get the be the ones who dictate her spiritual learning.
  4. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

  5. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Homeschooling does take work, but it is well worth the effort. It actually becomes a natural part of the family's ebb and flow in a short time. There are a variety of methods to use and some of the best don't use a 'box curriculum'. The first couple of years the boxes can be helpful, but you will most likely find that you can do it more cheaply and, most importantly, more effectively for your child as you get to know how they learn. Remember, the goal of teaching a child, whether it is in a school or at home, is to shape the child's heart and character. Knowledge is actually secondary, even in a brick and mortar school. There is normally no better method of discipling a child than to 'educate' them at home.
  6. Scot

    Scot Puritan Board Sophomore

  7. proregno

    proregno Puritan Board Freshman

    The first book I recommend to all who consider homeschooling, is the book by RC Sproul, jnr: When You Rise Up - A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling. See book info (table of contents and sample chapters) here.

    The main reason for the recommendation can be found in the following words of a reviewer:

    "For many years we attended homeschool conferences and followed a few of the latest homeschool fads. We learned some very helpful things about how to do academics, and we were often encouraged by the many fine folks we met. But as the years flew by, we realized that what we needed was not a better math or phonics program. We needed more wisdom about how to raise children to pursue wisdom, not just knowledge for its own sake. We noticed that many of the star speakers at homeschool conferences were emphasizing the technical aspects of teaching academics, but the foundational reasons for homeschooling were being neglected. That is why R.C. Sproul, Jr.'s book, When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling, is such an important treatise on the subject."


    "No matter how long you have been homeschooling, you should continue to refresh your education about why you are teaching your children and how to go about your important job. When You Rise Up is an important tool for this purpose as it strips away the extraneous details that distract us from the bottom line, and it gets to the heart of the matter, which is reaching the hearts of our children for the glory of God."

    If you are convinced by the 'why', the 'how' in God's gracious providence will follow. The 'how' can change from time to time, the 'why' stay the same and is the inspiration to be faithful to our covenant promises to teach and admonish our little ones in the fear of God (Deut.6:4etc).

    ps. Another advantage of the book: you can listen to 'You Rise me up' song, when the children have you 'down and out' after a hard homeschool day ! :encourage:
  8. Dwimble

    Dwimble Puritan Board Freshman

    One little comment about this, just in case someone takes this statement literally and believes that he or she will truly be schooling the child all day long and doing nothing else. I haven't met anyone yet who has to homeschool their child anywhere near as many hours per week as that child would have to be in a public school. And what's more is that they generally learn MUCH more and much faster than they would in school. Granted, it will take you many more hours than if the child was off at school somewhere and you had all day to yourself, but it won't take near as many hours as they'd spend in school.

    Depending on the child and his age, anywhere from an hour to several hours per day is sufficient. Nothing like the roughly 8 hours they'd spend in public school every day from K-12. It is incredible how much time is wasted in schools just getting all the kids to line up for this, settle down for that, listen to the instructions, and so on. And then there's all that time required to teach them to "reduce, reuse, and recycle." I mean, they've got to have their priorities. ;)
  9. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

    Please tell Kay I said, "THANK YOU SO MUCH!"

    ---------- Post added at 08:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:47 PM ----------

    Thank you, Pastor Jacobs!

    ---------- Post added at 08:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:50 PM ----------

    Thank you, beyond words!

    ---------- Post added at 08:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:57 PM ----------

    Thank you, Pastor Underwood!
  10. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I can think of precious few good reasons to send a Christian child to be educated in public school, and most of those reasons involve multiple debilitating illnesses in the family and a church family with no members willing to lend a hand in schooling. The apostasy rate after high school among public-schooled Christian children, no matter which study you look at, is always reported somewhere between 75-93%, while the rate for home-schooled Christian children is down there in the single-digit percent range. Please pray and think about this carefully (Well, obviously you are already doing that, given this thread, so no worries there :)). If you have the option not to send your child to public school, please don't.
  11. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    Just a clarification - I think this depends on the child. I have 3 siblings ( we were all homeschooled) and 1 of us took A LOT of time. My mother had to work with him all day and sometimes my father would come home and have to continue with him into the evening. There were a number of issues at work in the situation, but homeschooling can be back breakingly hard.

    I'm not a homeschool Mom, but almost everything Kay said are things I've heard my mother say.

    That especially rings true. I've seen moms who had no business homeschooling (and who suspected as much) get pressured into doing it by others. Its a total disaster for you and for the kids. I loved being homeschooled and I'm so glad my parents did it. It was definitely the right thing for me and 2 of my siblings. But honestly, it would have been better if my 3rd sibling had gone into some kind of conventional schooling program. We've all discussed this and my parents have said that that was a mistake they made and that if they had to do it again, they would have taken another option.

    I don't mean to be discouraging, becuase I'm really a huge advocate of homeschooling. Its the best thing my parents did for me. But its also hard and I think its best to go into it with open eyes. My mom (a physical therapist who has worked 12 hour shifts) told me it was the hardest thing she ever did.

    ---------- Post added at 05:40 AM ---------- Previous post was at 05:38 AM ----------

    Oh, but Michael, I do want to note that for most kids, you do spend much less time. Until I was in 5th grade, I was done by noon. It wasn't until high school that I had to do work until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. By my last year, I was taking physics and calculus, so I was working until at least 4, but when you think of the amount of homework that public school kids have to do, that's really not bad.
  12. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    However long it takes, how ever hard it is, who cares? If those are factors you shouldn't have had kids.

    Last night my last two at home were at the table doing Junior College homework. Deborah, who's 16 just started, and was doing biology, and David who just turned 18 (my FB page has a short video from last weekend's MMA tourney where he got gold :) ) was doing criminal justice. I asked Deborah how her biology class went, which is the first time she's ever been in a non homeschooling situation. She said it's great, and she's glad to see evolution is a true theory, and is so logical. She said it with her normal smooth humor, and only the other parents of older kids here can tell you what that did to me. The basics got put there by church and homeschooling, and the combination of personal vindication and boiling over gratitude to God Almighty just can't be described.
  13. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    You wouldn't want wolves to raise your children, right? Or American popular culture. That is what you would be getting by allowing your child into most public schools.

    We use Sonlight and we like it.
  14. Dwimble

    Dwimble Puritan Board Freshman

    Our main reason for choosing to homeschool our daughter (as opposed to putting her in a public school) is simply this, that even in a public school where the teachers and quality are exemplary, it is still roughly 40 hours per week of teaching the children everything from a completely secular, naturalistic point of view. From the public school perspective, God is something for a religion class and has nothing whatsoever to do with English, History, Mathematics, or anything else. But in truth, God is at the center of ALL these things, and the child should be raised seeing God's hand at work in everything...from astronomy to zoology.
  15. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    This man wins the prize!!
  16. fishingpipe

    fishingpipe Puritan Board Freshman

    Jess, feel free to call Stacie any time. I can't put to words how blessed we feel to be able to teach our own children. Public school is not an option for us for pretty much the same reasons mentioned above. Christian school might be an option if something happened to us that prevented us from teaching them ourselves. But we strongly believe that raising our children is our responsibility, not someone else's.

    We didn't use a curriculum for our boys from K-2. Stacie developed her own. (She is certified K-6 in NC.) We now use 2-3 different curriculums for the 4-5 grades our oldest two are in, depending on the subject. Stacie's experience teaching in the public schools for close to 10-years caused her quickly to understand that much (most?) of the systems and methodology they used in government education would not work in a Christian homeschool setting. At least not in ours.

    In terms of cost, we are able to educate them for far less than we would sending them even to a relatively "affordable" Christian school. Usually a few hundred dollars a year. I'm sure that will change as they get older, but right now it is not oppresive to us financially. Besides, Stacie is very crafty and can do quite a bit on her own in terms of resources. (She is a couponing master, for instance.)

    There's so many directions you could go. Use this time to explore, reach out to homeschoolers, and find what's best for you and your little ones. If you decide to homeschool the support is widespread. Give it a strong look!
  17. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    The choice doesn't have to be either 'send my child off to public school' or 'homeschool on my own.' There is a plethora of public independent study charter schools which allow you to use your ADA money and still educate them at home. (For example, all 4 of my homeschoolers take weekly piano lessons at the county's expense.) Why not let your tax dollars go to work for your own children!
  18. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    Mom having a nervous breakdown isn't good for anyone.
  19. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    There are so many ways to educate children, and for us, homeschooling was the only option. In addition to the advice given above, may I suggest you take some time to determine what is your philosophy of education. Ask yourself some questions:

    What worldview do you want your children to have?
    Are you interested in forming their character, are you interested in educating their minds, do you want to teach them to think for themselves?

    I don't think you can even think about what curriculum to use until you answer these questions for yourself.

    I highly recommend homeschooling, and I strongly suggest that before you start you decide what you want to accomplish for your children. The more vague you are about that, the more frustrated you will be down the road.
  20. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I agree completely with Kathleen that there are some folks who really shouldn't be homeschooling. Even within a family, you sometimes see a parent-child combination that just doesn't work for schooling. But all of us as parents have a responsibility before God to rear our children to honor and glorify Him whether we home school, go to a private school, or even a combination. (Some Christian schools can be extremely accommodating to the home school community.)

    Let me encourage you to consider that the decision you make for your first year (outside of starting in the public schools) will not determine what you do in subsequent years. The difficult years for home school generally begin as you push up through middle school and beyond. Then you will get to where a block of work essentially must be done. Early on, you can be much more relaxed. If you want to use a set curriculum, fine. If you want to enrich your child's life with excellent literature, plenty of craft/coloring/painting time and hands-on practical experiences ("See! It takes two half cups of flour to make one whole cup ... do you want to measure next?") the literacy and numeracy skills are likely to follow easily. Now that I've home schooled all grades, I can promise you that your child will not end up in the federal pen because you made the wrong choice for reading in the second grade! Relax.

    These early years are absolutely crucial. My 5 and 7-year-old are constantly asking me questions about God, about family, about who-goes-with whom in relationships and so forth. Do not for a moment believe the public schools are neutral on these issues or that you can "supplement" outside of school hours. In fact, after starting out homeschooling with a very strict schedule and classroom-like curriculum, I've become convinced that young kids learn more from their home than they do from any other source, if indeed they are spending a lot of time in the home. Is reading important to you? Are you curious about what's out in creation? Do you study God's word? These things will speak more loudly to your child than anything else out there.

    Be aware that your student will be enrolled as a public school student.You will come under much greater scrutiny if you choose to "withdraw" and school on your own. A major home school organization will not give you legal assistance if you go this route.
  21. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you SO MUCH!

    ---------- Post added at 09:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:10 PM ----------

    Thank you, brother. I know I could learn so much from your lovely bride. I miss you both so very much!
    BTW - We'll be heading through Sanford on Feb 12th on our way to Fayettnam.

    ---------- Post added at 09:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:15 PM ----------

    I am thankful for all of the replies to this thread. I only said that I was ready to throw in the towel because I thought I had to know which curriculum to to use! Public school has never really been an option for us even though it seems like the easy option. Because, I'm reminded again and again, "the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many."

    ---------- Post added at 09:27 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:24 PM ----------

  22. nicnap

    nicnap Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If the Lord gives us children, my wife and I plan on homeschooling them. That being said, I just want to break in with a small dose of reality. Homeschool is not not the fix of all things in the family/culture/society, etc. Unless the Lord blesses, homeschooled children can turn out as pagan as publicly educated children. (It's the same with food ... organic food is not the fix to health; if the Lord doesn't bless it, no matter if it's loaded with preservatives or if it has never been near rBGH, it will cause cancer.) Why? Because we are all affected by the fall. I absolutely believe that homeschooling is best, but to hear some (not necessarily those on this board, but within the realm of Evangelical and even Reformed Christianity) talk, it is the answer to all the societal woes.

    Okay, back to my normal lurking.

    ---------- Post added at 09:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:45 PM ----------

    Also ... sorry if this didn't exactly address the OP ... I think I was just on a tangent.
  23. bill

    bill Puritan Board Freshman

    If you decide to home school most states have required amount of hours a child must have in a year. Regardless of whether or not you agree it is the law.

    As for schooling I and my wife have my 3 soon to be 5 kids in public school. But that is work too. My wife is very active in helping out at school she talks to many of our kids teachers as well as many of the other teachers. Lots of time she will bake things for them. They don't all agree with our christian biblical world view, however, her witnessing in the public school has opened doors for after school bible studies with K-5 graders. Also she will meet with some of the troubled students and pray with them. (Don't tell me prayer isn't in school, it isn't in if christians take it out). It is lots of work also, but it is worth it. My kids doing just fine and my wife and I are always finding out what the kids are learning. It has been great for us and I would encourage any who are willing to be a witness to put there kids in school.
  24. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Bill I realise that your school system is better than ours, but you may want to keep in mind that your kids are a bit young to be missionaries.
  25. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    If you put one puts children in an institution designed to make them good citizens of the State who follow orders well, who can have their convictions changed according to the latest people in power, who are more concerned about fitting in than leading then one should not complain when that is what they become. That is precisely what the public education system was designed to do. There is nothing wrong with public education. It is fulfilling its designers schemes quite well and getting better at it all the time. As one wise man once said, 'If you send your kids to a Roman school don't be surprised then they come out adoring Caesar.'
  26. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Here are the basics for home schooling in North Carolina. I'm glad to see no set hours and that this doesn't start until age 7:

    Compulsory Attendance Ages: “Between the ages of seven and 16 years.” General Statutes of North Carolina § 115C-378.
    Required Days of Instruction: At least nine calendar months of the year, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations. § 115C-548 or § 115-556.
    Required Subjects: None required but annual standardized testing must measure achievement in the areas of English grammar, reading, spelling, and mathematics.

    And another interesting law:
    “It is the public policy of the State in matters of education that ‘No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience’, or with religious liberty and that ‘religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind ... the means of education shall forever be encouraged’.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-547.

    From the public portion of the HSLDA website
  27. TexanRose

    TexanRose Puritan Board Sophomore

    Not true in Texas nor in Indiana, the two states in which I've homeschooled/been homeschooled. Look into your own state's regulations before making any decisions.
  28. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Well said. It is amazing to me how fast this happens. We watched this happen a lot with my daughter's friends who've gone from being homeschooled in the lower grades to attend public school. I will add however, that the most of the parents were already homeschooling their children with public school in the back of their minds, so there was probably some pre-conditioning happening at home.
  29. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

  30. Dwimble

    Dwimble Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't know about "most," but definitely some require it. Texas, where we live, has no such requirement and is very friendly to homeschooling.

    Some other states such as Alabama, for example, have some laws that are a bit draconian in my view. I don't know how strictly they enforce those laws, but in Alabama homeschooling isn't even recognized as an allowable option. Your child has to be in attendance at a "church school" (although that can be in a home...which is how some can get around the law), enrollment and attendance of the child in the church school must be reported to the local public school superintendent ("on a form provided by the superintendent ... which shall be countersigned by the administrator of the church school"), "the principal teacher of the church school must keep an attendance register for each day of the school year," and other things.

    You can optionally go the "private tutor" route in Alabama, but that requires that the tutor be "state certified" and teach “for at least three hours a day for 140 days each calendar year, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.” And the tutor has to report all kinds of things to the state board of education.

    But here's the kicker, "If the local school district believes a family is not in compliance with the law, it must give the family 3 days’ written notice prior to instituting criminal charges." So ultimately, no matter what, in Alabama you are under the authority of the local public school district whether you like it or not.

    Alabama was just the first of several states I looked at. There may be worse, but that's bad enough in my view.

    I often ask myself, how did our country come to this?
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page