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How will homeschooling affect my family?


Homeschooling can be life changing. Ideally, it creates personal growth for both parents and children. Parents get a second chance to discover your own special genius while you helping your children discover theirs. Nothing you ever do will have a more profound effect on your child and your family's future as homeschooling.



How can I organize my time between homeschooling, chores,work, etc. (without losing my mind?)


Remember that homeschooling is like adding another part time job onto what you are already doing. It's important to be gentle and kind with yourself. Appreciate all that you do, find an organization method that works for you, and make sure that you schedule in time for yourself. As they say, “if mom isn’t happy, then no one is happy.”

Here are some suggestions from veteran homeschool moms:

1) “Walk around each room in your house and ask yourself honestly, “How do we use this room?” If you use your dining room for studying, then store your study materials nearby so they’ll be handy. Create learning centers in your home – a music center, a science center, a quiet reading area.”

2) “Each week I look at my calendar and mesh together my curriculum goals with my kids outside activities and then plan my meals around those two things. Surprises still happen occasionally but at least most of the week will run smoothly.”

3) “Due to the fact that I have to work outside the home our homeschool is very structured. I do the bulk of the schooling in the morning before I go to work and then my husband takes over in the afternoon with reading and seat work. Also, with my husband being retired he takes on the cleaning of the home and the kids all help with keeping their rooms clean.”

4) “My office & school room are in the same room. I often get my children onto independent school work and then do my own work. I also will leave the room for short periods--ex: clean the bathroom for 15 mins. while son finishes math.”

5) “Sometimes housework will suffer. You sometimes have to let that happen, because your child's education is far more important than dusting the house.”

6) “I have found that once I came to terms with the fact that it's okay if you homeschool in the afternoons or the weekends my life was MUCH easier. When I tried to stick to a traditional schedule my life was SO unorganized.”

7) “We follow a very loose schedule. We do a subject a week, so we will do math one week, then history, science then language arts. There are certain things they do everyday, writing in a journal, free reading, art projects, and other projects that they have chosen to do.”

8) I use a daily schedule or agenda. During the heart of the school year, when all outside activities are in full swing, I schedule our day in 30-minute increments. The schedule isn't set in stone, but does guide us through the day. I make doctor appointments and other errands for times that we will be out for a scheduled activity. That minimizes the time it takes to get out of the house and the time it takes to settle back in once we get home. Having a printed schedule for daily and weekly chores is vital to making sure everything gets done at some point during the week. I have set times

scheduled throughout the day (after breakfast, before lunch and after school is done for the day) to pick up, do a few small chores and generally get the house in order. I get up about 1-1/2 to 2 hours before my children each day. This gives me an opportunity to have some quiet time, exercise, eat and shower before they arise for the day. Oh, and having a set wake-up time for everyone helps to get us off to a good start.”

9) “I HAVE to have a routine. The laundry must be started before school begins, the kids have to have their chores done before they can have free time, and Fridays are house-cleaning days. School is mostly finished by lunchtime and afternoons are spent picking up and doing any extra schoolwork, then it's time to play until dinner. When Dad gets home, we're ready to eat and spend time with him. This routine keeps things relatively predictable throughout the week.”

10) “We turn chores into schooling events. With the little ones this is simple because we sort the laundry by color, size, count the amount of clothes ect... Everything we do we try to make a learning experience so we can cover several subjects per day. The joy of homeschooling is not doing things in the traditional manner and the kids just love it.”

11) “I try to make it a family affair as well, for example, break up the day and say, let's break for a dishwasher load, or let’s fold clothes while we discuss this project. And, of course, when things are done early I reward with a field trip or movie, something fun. They enjoy museums and field trips and do not realize I am teaching them, say, at the zoo. Everything can be explained in a way that ties in the school learning. My kids have scored in the upper 90th percentile for years!!!”

12) “I get up really early in the morning, and try to have a routine for my chores. I get most of my housekeeping ideas from www.flylady.net. By doing a little bit of cleaning every day, I rarely have to do a big cleanup job. Also, I don't obsess over having a clean house, because that's just one of the sacrifices one makes when committing to keeping the children at home. I plan supper in the morning, so that I am not in a hurry to get dinner on the table when my husband gets home, and we can all sit down and eat as soon as we are finished with our evening activities.”

13) “Get help! Who said you have to do it all. Hire a housekeeper or a mother’s helper to help with the chores and cooking, join a babysitting co-op, trade cooking for tutoring. Think of what you are not spending on private school tuition. And lower your standards. Who said you have to be perfect? Perfect is boring.”

Action Steps: Be kind to yourself. Our children are with us for such a short time. In the long run, will it matter that the house is less than perfect? Everyone has their own tolerance for messes and chaos. Honor your own level of tolerance. If you work best in a structured, tidy environment, thenset up a schedule that works for you. If you work best with more freedom and flexibility, that’s okay too. The key is to not try to be someone you’renot or to try and live up to someone else’s expectations or standards. Set up a routine that works for you. Do you want to get all your studies done Monday through Thursday and then end the week with Field Trip Friday? Want to set up a daily or weekly chore and cooking schedule? Tell your children, “We need you. We can’t possibly work, homeschool you and run the house without your help. We all have to pitch in.”


How do I homeschool different age children at the same time? (Especially with a baby or toddler in the house!)


Here are some suggestions from veteran homeschool moms:

1) “We use a rotation system. I have 3 children aged 12, 10 and 7 and while I'm working with one the other two are either working together on flashcards, an educational game or having free time. I combine lessons as much as possible. It's amazing what the younger ones pick up from the older kids lessons. We do a lot of reading aloud, we again use a rotation system with each child and I reading a chapter.

2) “When my children were all small, I would homeschool the oldest while the babies were napping.  Any toddlers had a box of fun toys and such that was only taken out during school time. Now that all my children are teens, my solution has been a home satellite program with each of them having their own taped classes. That leaves time for my youngest to have my whole attention. The others bring their work for me to check after they are done.”

3) “Sometimes toddlers just want to be like the big kids and will sit and do "worksheets" like the big kids at the table. Sometimes we will "read a story" and they don't care if it is out of a science book or that their brother is reading as long as it has pictures and is read with excitement. Sometimes a baby is just happy that everyone is on the floor with them, just have a clipboard for the kids that are writing. If the kids are learning the same subject the younger ones benefit because they will pick up some of the more complicated stuff from the older child's subject matter. I like playing games, board or question games, the kids can play when they are different ages, we will let them pick another card if they haven’t learned that yet but one of the older kids will answer it if they know, then if it comes up again the younger ones might remember anyway.”

4) “We actually teach / work in separate rooms when it comes to the different ages. While I may be working on a task with one, the other is doing some independent learning.”

5) “I have a basket of toys, books, crayons, etc for the 2 year old to do 'school' while we do. I get down on the floor to teach so that the little ones can gather around me and color or whatever they are doing and I am still accessible to the older ones for questions about subjects. We have also taken to doing more of a Unit Study approach with as many subjects as we can and use hands on activities that the littles can do as well.”

6) “I set out an agenda that has me rotating between each child and the toddler. The older children rotate between time with mom, working independently and occupying the toddler.”

7) “I will find something to occupy my youngest such as flour or rice in a container that he can drive his cars through or paint or even markers on the dry erase board.”

8) “I try to keep special "fun" books for the little ones that they can only use during "school" time. I also work around naps etc. I read aloud to all of them while I rock the little ones. That way we're still getting in our reading. Some days I do have to resort to bribing with a treat or two!”

9) “I teach up to the highest child's level. Our oldest is now 19 and in college, our youngest is ten. Math in particular... our middle child yesterday needed help with Polynomials and how to find the greatest common factor, we sat the youngest down and asked her to listen and participate, but to not worry whether she "gets it" or not because this will simply reinforce the information when she is learning it.”

10) “I complete weekly assignment sheets for those in high school. For my upper elementary I make out daily assignment sheets and then work with them as needed. I then fit in the early elementary in the time frames that the olders are working independently. For preschoolers I keep them close by working on things they enjoy. I have found that a great store of stickers from the educational supply store are well worth their cost for keeping little hands occupied.”


Action Steps: Do any of these suggestions sound like they might work for

your family? If so, then take action and put together a special homeschooling

box for your toddler filled with stickers or workbooks or rice/sand for their

cars to drive through. Or a basket of toys, books and crayons. Use a rotation

system in your schedule or add more unit studies to your curriculum. Are

there books that you can read a loud to the entire family? Do you want to

divide the kids up so that each studies in a different room? What will work

best for you?



What about socialization?


Your child will not become a social misfit. Quite the opposite, children do not need to be socialized in a large group of same-age children to become well adjusted socially. Children taught at home typically encounter people of various age groups more frequently than their same age peers in an institutionalized school setting. In addition, the primary role models for homeschooled children tend to be mature teens and adults, helping children to learn appropriate social skills from those who already have them. Children who attend institutionalized school settings typically spend most of their day around other children of the same age and maturity level so the child does not learn to socialize with others outside their own peer group.

Most parents want their children to learn their social graces from adults, not other children. Homeschoolers have healthy relationships with people of all ages from the retired couple next door to their soccer coach. They can enjoy friends at 4-H, scouting, dance martial arts or any other activity.



Can a child who has been home educated enter/return to public school?


Yes. Any student who is within compulsory attendance age has the right to enroll in public school. Current district policies and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) standards govern the grade placement of any transfer student.


How are home school students placed when they enter or re-enter a Lake County public school?


Students will be placed academically according to their performance based on portfolio assessment, standardized test scores, and other evaluation criteria as deemed necessary by the Superintendent.


How do I make sure that my child is at or above grade level?


Different schools have different grade level expectations. In Waldorf schools, for


example, students are given time to mature and not encouraged to read until they are in

the 2nd grade. Some private schools expect their preschoolers to be reading. Catholic

schools and public schools also have different grade level expectations for their students.

Classical homeschoolers do things differently than Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. In

the higher grades, college-prep students have different expectations than non-college

bound students. And if you are using a set curriculum like Keystone, Laurel Springs,

Time4Learning, Calvert, ABeka, Alpha Omega, Ablaze, Allied, Bob Jones, BYU,

Christian Liberty, Citizen’s, or Ed Anywhere, these all have their own schedules that they

follow. So there really is no one right grade level code to follow. If you think that your

child may eventually enroll in a school in your area, then my suggestion would be to

follow (preferably exceed) that school’s expectations.

Action Steps: Decide what your family’s grade level expectations will be. Below are some suggestions on where your child should be. Take notes of anything you particularly like. Do a Google search and put in the name of your state and then the words “grade level expectations.”

What Every 1st Grader Should Know  by E.D. Hirsh

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, by Susan Wise Bauer.

Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School by Rebecca Rupp.



May students participate in Florida High School online?


Yes. High school students in home education programs are encouraged to participate in this program. For more information access www.flvs.net

The Florida Virtual School is the first statewide on-line high school in the nation that provides on-line courses to all students in affiliated school districts throughout the State of Florida. It is a no-campus high school that offers interactive courses based on the Sunshine State Standards. It is a school that makes instruction available at any time and in any place convenient to the student.


Do I have to hold a teaching certificate to teach my child at home?


No. A parent is not required to have a valid Florida teaching certificate to home educate his or her child.


Am I qualified to homeschool?


You are qualified to homeschool your children if you love to read to them, love to spend time with them, love to explore the world with them, love to see them learn new things and, most important, love them.

More than anyone else, parents love their children, recognize their children’s weaknesses, and know their children’s gifts, preferences, and learning styles. This naturally makes most parents the best teacher for their children.



But what about actual results to prove that parents can teach their children?


Instead of being concerned about grades or test scores during a particular semester or school year, parents have a long-term interest in the success of their children. Studies have repeatedly proven that children who are taught at home score higher on standardized tests than their same age peers taught in institutionalized school settings. This is true whether the parent has a college degree, professional teacher training, or even a high school diploma.


Will there be expenses associated with home educating my child, and will I be responsible for all of them?


Yes, there will be expenses associated with home education: books, materials, and any other instructional materials you choose to utilize. All expenses for the home education program are paid by the parents.

Homeschooling materials have come a long way in the past few years. Our options now extend beyond private school curricula and used textbooks. Packaged curriculum can cost a few dollars to many hundreds of dollars. Used products are often available at used curriculum sales, online or from other homeschool families. There are many options and resources available if you just look around!




Will I need to file a notice of intent for my 5 year old kindergartner?


Five-year-old children who turn six after February 1, and who are being taught kindergarten at home, are not required to register for the Home Education Program. However, if a letter of intent is filed for a five-year-old kindergartner, then the parent must keep a portfolio, and the child must be evaluated.


Will Lake County Public Schools tell me what I should teach?


No. Once a student is withdrawn from the Lake County Public Schools and registered in a Home Education Program (HEP), the decision of what to teach, when to teach, etc. is the parent's responsibility.


How do I arrange for the annual evaluation of my child?


There are five options for evaluating your child:

1.  Selecting a teacher holding a valid regular Florida teaching certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level to review and discuss with the student the contents of the portfolio, or

2.  Having the student take a nationally-normed standardized test administered by a certified teacher, or

3.  Having the student take a state student assessment test, or

4.  Having each student evaluated by a psychologist holding a valid, active license, or

5.  Having each student evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the Superintendent's designee and the student's parent prior to the evaluation.

You will be notified by email when this is offered.  There is also a list of reccommended evaluators located on the Lake County Florida Student Services page.  The link for the list is https://www.lake.k12.fl.us/cms/lib/FL01000799/Centricity/Domain/48/Home%20Education%20Evaluators%202016-2017.pdfSLHE does offer testing at the end of the school year. 



What happens to my child's annual evaluation when I send it to LCPS?


The Superintendent is responsible for reviewing the annual educational evaluation of the student in the Home Education Program. If the student is not demonstrating educational progress at a level commensurate with his/her ability, the Superintendent will notify the parent, in writing, that appropriate progress has not been achieved.

The parent will have one year from the date the written notification is received to provide remedial instruction to the student. At the end of the one-year probationary period, the pupil shall be reevaluated. Continuation in a Home Education Program is contingent on the student demonstrating educational progress commensurate with his or her ability at the end of the probationary period.



What are the consequences if I do not submit an annual evaluation of my child to the district?


Florida Statute 1002.41(2)(c) requires the parent to provide an annual evaluation for each child. Failure to do so places the Home Education Program in non-compliance and the Superintendent may, after notice to the parent, terminate the Home Education Program and require the child to enroll in the public school of residence to meet the compulsory attendance law.


Do I have to teach my child myself, or are there other educational avenues available?


A family that has established a Home Education Program as required by statute may enlist the help of a tutor, the Florida Virtual School, correspondence courses, or other means to provide the sequentially progressive instruction.