Could You Be an Accidental Homeschooler?

Could You Be an Accidental Homeschooler?
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While some families know from the start that they want to homeschool, others arrive at the decision somewhat “accidentally.” Accidental homeschoolers make up an underrepresented number of families whose children were first enrolled in traditional schools but – for many different reasons – it didn’t work out.

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What Are Accidental Homeschoolers?

I remember the conversation that first made me aware of accidental homeschoolers. A mother called about our curriculum and said: “I don’t really believe in homeschooling but I have to try it. The schools haven’t worked out for us and I only want to do what’s best for my kids…” I was speechless as she explained that she had never intended to homeschool and that it became her last option after a process of elimination.

In later conversations with long-term Time4Learning members, I realized that this gateway into homeschooling happens more often than I thought. Veteran homeschoolers often forget that at first, homeschooling was a solution to a problem; not a lifestyle or philosophical choice. And although their stories and challenges are radically different, the end goal is the same. Do any of these stories sound familiar?

  • My kids were brought up knowing the difference between right and wrong, but they’re easily influenced by their peers. Last year I met with both teachers and school administrators about the “morally casual” behavior they were picking up in the classroom. Instead of action, my concerns were met with excuses and the typical “we’ll look into it” response, which just wasn’t enough.
  • Our school’s budget is tied directly to FCAT scores, so teachers teach to the test but don’t include the concepts behind the material. My kids are conceptual learners, so every night, I’d find myself re-teaching what they should have learned in the classroom. Finally, I decided that it would be better (and less stressful for everyone) to do it myself.
  • I pulled my son out of school because he has ADHD complicated by some health issues. His class had 36 students in it, so his teacher spent more time babysitting than teaching. And because the only kids who got attention were the trouble makers, my son started picking up bad habits.

Parents who call me during these difficult times are generally in panic-mode. They feel overwhelmed, unprepared and backed into a corner. The endless array of curriculum descriptions, methodologies and wildly-enthusiastic homeschool websites are hardly helpful to a parent wanting an answer to what seems like a very simple question: “How do I start?”

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A Getting Started Guide for Accidental Homeschoolers

As more and more new homeschoolers started calling me for guidance, I wondered how it was possible that – with thousands of homeschooling websites out there – nobody had already answered a question that obvious.

Since Time4Learning has many experienced homeschoolers, I gathered some of our seasoned members to create a much-needed“Welcome to Homeschooling Guide.” I asked them to answer the questions they had when they began homeschooling, and to include tips and advice that they wish they had gotten. Here are a few excerpts:

  • Understand your child academically. When starting to homeschool, many parents’ first instinct is to go shopping. Instead of buying expensive curriculum that might not work, make your first priority getting to know your child academically. We recommend spending two weeks working with your child across all subjects. Once you know what works and what doesn’t, it will be easier to choose an approach.
  • Learn the laws. Know and follow your state’s legal requirements. Use resources such as Time4Learning’s state-by-state section in their parent forum, where you will find state specific information, links to authoritative sites, and a place to ask how to interpret all these rules.
  • Use the right materials for the right child. Every child has different learning needs, so we suggest avoiding any program which claims to be THE COMPLETE SOLUTION. New homeschoolers usually start out by trying different curricula, and often end up mixing and matching.

As a parent who understands the importance of a great education, I’m proud to be able to offer a solution that can turn “accidental homeschoolers” into “happy homeschoolers.” Visit Time4Learning to learn how our online homeschool curriculum can help your family.

Reasons to Homeschool – Is there any Data?

The 2003 Federal NCES Study of Homeschooling is one of the primary sources of data on homeschooling in the US. As background, this study is the source of the often quoted statistic that 2.2% of the K-12 student population is being homeschooled, up by 0.5% from four years earlier. Projecting forward a constant rate of growth, this projects that in 2008, there will be a 2.7% of the K-12 population being homeschooled. But, since the rate of growth appears to be increasing, the increase might be on a percentage basis, and most people agree that these statistics understated the homeschoolers, it is likely that 3% are now being homeschooled.

This same study asked for the main reason for homeschooling and 47% were apparently homeschooling without having truly planned to do so (based on summing those who homeschooled since they were unhappy with the school environment and those who were dissatisfied with the school’s education).

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A Great Homeschooling Program and Partner

Time4Learning is a great homeschooling partner. Time4Learning is a business that strives to treat each member personally. We answer every email daily (always on weekdays, usually on weekends). We provide ongoing technical assistance on using our program and an active forum where parents can discuss their homeschooling ideas.

Our homeschooling program provides children with their own login where their progress thru the homeschooling curriculum will be tracked. Each unit is made up of animated lessons, interactive activities, unit assessments, and integrated printable worksheets for reinforcement.

Time4Learning is a great homeschool curriculum choice. Some parents use Time4Learning as supplementary, others use Time4Learning as the primary homeschooling curriculum. Time4Learning has curriculum for homeschooling children in Preschool, Grade School, Middle School, and High School.

Time4Learning’s homeschooling website provides a comprehensive language arts and math curriculum and includes science, social studies, and art in most grades. Foreign language is available as optional extra education for an additional fee.

Secular homeschooling

While Time4Learning has many Christian homeschoolers and non-Christian homeschoolers, many people want to know where Time4Learning is positioned on the religious versus secular homeschool scale. Time4Learning is a secular homeschooling curriculum which is standards-based. There is no single religious focus to the curriculum; there are mentions of a number of religions and holidays. In one point, a Native American story presents a traditional Native American story of creation. There is also a discussion of Darwin as a historical figure.

Homeschooling – How to Blend Fun with Education

Time4Learning helps homeschooling parents build interesting diverse days. By shifting from computer-based lessons to discussion, or from paper and pencil exercises to art projects, children stay engaged and benefit from different teaching methods. Variety keeps children motivated and attentive throughout the day.

Today’s families have many choices for homeschooling: different curriculum, websites, programs, lessons, assessments, and worksheets. Time4Learning’s online learning system combines in one homeschool curriculum interactive lessons, multimedia reinforcement activities, printable worksheets, learning games, and assessments with reports. Homeschooling families across the country (and world!) are using it enthusiastically.

Some Helpful Tools and Resources

Welcome to Homeschooling Guide – Are you new to homeschooling? This guide was written by seasoned homeschoolers to answer some of the difficult questions new families often struggle with.

Curriculum Lesson PlansAn overview of the number of lessons that are included for each grade and subject. All students have access to at least 2 (and in most cases 3) grade levels of curriculum for each subject, so they can move ahead or review at their own pace.

The Lesson Activity Finder – One of the many helpful tools that Time4Learning offers its members. The activity finder is a shortcut that makes it easy for parents to preview lessons or find extra practice for their child. You can visit our hints and help section for more information about the activity finder.

Lesson Planning WorksheetWondering how many lessons to have your child do each day? Estimate the number of activities per day using this easy to use, printable worksheet.

Online Parent’s ForumReach out to homeschoolers in your area, join discussions, ask questions and trade ideas on our online community of homeschooling parents. Having the support of seasoned homeschoolers can really help make your homeschooling journey a success.

Sign up for Time4Learning and gain access to a variety of educational materials, which will engage and challenge your child to succeed. Make Time4Learning a part of your children’s homeschool resources.

I want to Learn More about Time4Learning’s homeschool curriculum or how to use the program for afterschool enrichment.

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