Frequently Asked Questions About Homeschooling
Q: Should I homeschool? Is homeschooling right for me/my family?
A: Each family should prayerfully consider the option to homeschool and seek the Lord’s will, as well as godly counsel, for their particular situation. Although we believe that homeschooling is the most similar to a Biblical model of educating children, we are open to the idea that not every family may be called to homeschool their children. Among the most important questions to ask yourself when considering homeschooling are: “Do I have the time and willingness to homeschool my children?” “Do I have the financial or other resources to obtain curriculum for my children?” “Do my spouse and I agree on homeschooling our children?”
Q: Is it legal to homeschool in California?
A: Yes. It is completely legal to homeschool in the state of California. Please continue to pray that it remains so.
Q: How do I get started homeschooling my children?
A: Step one is always to pray for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you and your family and each of your children in this new lifestyle. A suggested step two would be to obtain membership in, and legal advice from, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Step three is to research and purchase (or borrow or create) your children’s homeschool curriculum. Step four is to develop a lesson plan or schedule of lessons for your school-year. And step five, if your children are currently attending a public school, is to legally withdraw them from their school(s). Then just get started doing it. Take it one day at a time. Pray continually. Trust your God-given parental instincts. Keep records of grades and work completed. Find a good homeschool support organization that your kids can make friends in and that you will feel comfortable with. Most importantly, enjoy it.
Q: What is a homeschool retreat?
A: A homeschool family camp or homeschool retreat is a great way for the homeschool family to “get away from it all” together and enjoy God’s creation and the fellowship of like-minded Christian Homeschooling families, who will usually come from all over the region in order to attend. Some of these camps host a weeks’ worth of activities and crafts, combined with one or two educational (but fun) offerings such as Creation Science or Bible History, etc. and some offer a more relaxed “on-your-own” schedule. A favorite among the SDCH families is Hartland Christian Camp, located in the Sequoia National Forest. Visit their website at www.HartlandCamp.comand click on their link for Homeschool Family Camps.
Q: What are homeschooling conventions and homeschool conferences?
A: A large homeschool convention or conference is the best way to see and explore lots of different text books and curricula in person and then have the opportunity to purchase these items with no shipping fees. These events usually last all weekend and take place in large banquet halls or conference centers. They can be costly but are a great benefit, especially to those new to homeschooling. There are also usually several hired guest speakers at a homeschool convention or conference who have many years experience in homeschooling. Attending their speaking sessions can inspire or encourage you and provide answers to many of your specific questions about homeschool, such as “What is my child’s learning style?” “How do I homeschool my high school student?” “How do I homeschool a special needs child?” “How can I homeschool several children all at once?” “How do I prepare my homeschooler for college?” “How do I prepare my preschooler for homeschool?” and more.
Q: What is a used curriculum sale?
A: A used curriculum sale is a great place to buy homeschool books, manipulatives, curriculum and other class supplies that have been gently used and are being sold at half or less than half the cost of new items. These sales are usually held annually by a local homeschool support group.
Q: How or where do I get a curriculum for my children?
In addition to buying curriculum directly from the vendors’ websites and catalogs, you can also easily search the internet for homeschool curriculum that is free or very inexpensive to download. You might also like to visit a local teacher supply store or purchase some items from a used curriculum sale or a homeschool convention as described above. Other places curriculum and supplemental materials can sometimes be found are Friends of the Library and used book stores, thrift stores and even yard sales! Homeschool curriculum used to be quite difficult to find but in the last decade the popularity of homeschooling has grown greatly and so has the availability of homeschool curriculum.
Q: What is a homeschool co-op?
A: A homeschool co-op is an opportunity for several several homeschool families to get together and teach their children in a small group setting. These co-op days may happen once or twice per month or as often as once a week. The classes or workshops offered may include Art, Drama, Choir, Preschool, Physical Education, Knitting, Literature Studies, Book Reports, Cooking, Geography Club, History Lessons, Science Labs, and more. Smaller co-op groups might gather in a homeschool family’s home, while large co-ops usually find a church to rent or use public facilities in a recreation center or library. Except for possible fees to rent the facility and occasional materials costs, co-op classes are typically free to the co-op participants, the only requirement being that a parent of each family participating takes his or her turn helping to teach or lead the various classes. SDCH has offered a great, low-cost homeschool Co-op Days as well as Troop meetings and field trips. Please see the calendar for any current offerings or offer to organize one that fits your families needs!
Q: What is a homeschool PSP?
A: The term PSP (formerly called an ISP) stands for Private School Satellite Program. It is a program for homeschool students usually offered through a private school. Each PSP is unique in what it offers to their homeschooling families. The most basic PSP will usually keep the records of the homeschool student and file the Private School Affidavit on behalf of the homeschool family. Some other PSPs will also offer a class day one or more times per week and provide testing and other activities or services. PSPs can range in cost from as little as $100 per school-year to as much as $1000 or more per school-year, per student. Although SDCH does not offer a PSP, as a way to help our members save money we do offer any interested SDCH member free assistance in filing their Private School Affidavit form and in setting up their homeschool record keeping system. Email the current chairperson to set up a time to get together.
Q: What is a homeschool charter school?
A charter school is an independent publicly funded school. Charters file with their local/state Department of Education. Charters have greater accountability but also more flexibility than traditional public schools. Since each charter chooses their focus and mission will be they all differ in what they offer. Some are distance learning only, some have on-site classes one or more days per week and some are a combination. Curriculum is free (although some charters will provide funds to purchase your own within state guidelines. Meetings with your facilitator may be weekly or monthly and records differ with each charter. Some charters even provide funding for outside enrichment classes. As you can see there really is no one answer. We suggest researching the charters you may be interested in and taking to other families who have used them.
Q: What is Distance Learning?
Distance learning means taking classes on the internet. This can be one class or many. They can be part of a public or private school, while there a few that are independent. These classes can be a one time class or cover a semester, They can be free (as in a public institution) or you may be charged a fee depending upon who is offering the class(es).