Choosing to homeschool is a major decision. Although homeschooling has been around for many years, it is still not as familiar as “going to school”. Families contemplating homeschooling can experience apprehension. Questions arise from doubts within and individuals without. This article is designed to answer some of those questions and give parents the confidence and encouragement they need to train their children at home.
What about socialization?
The word socialization has its roots in the word social. Socialization is commonly understood to be the ability to relate to others of varying ages and interests in an amiable manner.
When children are placed in a public school setting, they relate to only a fraction of the population – their peer age group. Exposure to other age groups is quite limited and thus socialization is narrow. We have all seen examples of children who cannot answer a simple question from an adult or do not know how to enjoy and play with someone younger. Children who are schooled at home, however, are not bound by rooms and peer age groups. Homeschoolers tend to be able to experience life outside the confines of age and place where their awareness of others and others’ needs is awakened.
The mail carrier, who would normally go unnoticed, becomes a friend to look forward to seeing each day. Likewise, the clerk at the store becomes someone to greet with courtesy. Not only does research show homeschoolers are often more appropriately socialized than their public school counterparts, but people who know homeschool families can generally attest these children interact very well with others.
Will my child learn everything he/she needs to know?
Today, there is a multitude of curriculum choices available for homeschooling families. This, coupled with the parents’ desire and commitment to provide a quality education, adds up to a successful formula. Excellent books and resources, such as Robin Scarlata’s book entitled What Your Child Needs to Know When, the WVDE website lists the state’s grade level standard, and a browse through some curriculums can help establish learning points for each grade level.
Am I qualified to do this?
According to WV state law, anyone with a high school diploma or equivalent may legally teach their children at home. Current research indicates that the parent’s level of education has a negligible effect on the education level of a homeschooled student. God can accomplish wonderful things through dedicated and committed parents who are set on having their child succeed.
Is it legal?
Homeschooling has been legal in WV since 1986. CHEWV encourages you to know and understand the WV State law. For your convenience, visit the WV Homeschool Law page on our website for the full text of the law.
How do I do begin?
If you are investigating homeschooling for the first time or not sure how to begin, CHEWV has developed the following steps to get started. These steps are not necessarily meant to be sequential, although some steps may best be accomplished before others.
1. Investigate the Legality
- Know the requirements of the WV Homeschool Law
- Submit a one-time Notice of Intent (NOI) including all children of compulsory age (age 6 as of July 1). If another child is added later, another NOI will need to be submitted for that child only.
- An annual assessment must be completed annually for every grade level. Assessment reports are only submitted to the county in grades 3, 5, 8, and 11. The deadline for an assessment report to the county school board is June 30. Assessments for all other grades are to be completed annually and kept in your records for at least 3 years.
*It is recommended that all notices and reports be sent via registered/certified mail to alleviate any question about when documentation arrived.
2. Prepare Your Child to Learn
How does your child learn? Just as we all possess individual personalities, we also have different learning styles.
There are 3 basic learning styles.
- Auditory – by hearing
- Visual – by seeing
- Kinesthetic – by doing
While each person may have a bent or preference, that does not mean all learning should be focused toward this bent. Learning should be built upon all three methods, so each style or ability is developed fully within the child.
It is helpful to know your child’s learning style in choosing what kind of curriculum to use in homeschooling. For example, if you have a kinesthetic learner, he will become frustrated with a curriculum that consists primarily of workbooks (visual).
Many have found the three following basic tips are helpful in making your day more enjoyable and successful:
- Teach Obedience – A child needs to understand that he/she must carry out Mom’s instructions. Many child training books and good blogs are available if help is needed.
- Develop Listening Skills – Teach your child to be attentive and listen completely to all instructions given before acting upon them.
- Develop an Excitement for Learning – Be enthusiastic, not apprehensive about learning together. Ask questions; pique interest; read extensively
3. Set Priorities and Goals
Goals give you a road map, so you know where you are headed and don’t get side-tracked. Homeschooling brings an added responsibility in your life. Prioritizing your day’s activities and events and developing a schedule will help in fulfilling your goals.
What goals do you want to accomplish by the end of the year?
- Subjects to cover
- Character issues to address
- Mastery of subjects to achieve
Keep your goals simple and tangible, so you can see your accomplishment each time you reach a milestone. On my first day, my goal was simply to move through each subject and make it to the end of the day! I am now nearing the time when my goals are more long term. When I begin a year now, I try to keep my goals and priorities pointed toward the end of high school and what will need to be accomplished by then.
Our ultimate goal is to raise children who will love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and mind and love their neighbors. We strive to train up children who will be able to stand – with us and without us.
Continue Getting Started: Part II