What is homeschooling???

By definition, a child is homeschooled if the education is parent directed, customized to his or her needs, primarily home based and it must meet state legal requirements. This is the general criteria the Home School Legal Defense Association uses as part of its definition. Click on the link for more information from the HSLDA's pamphlet.

"Homeschooling" is used very loosely nowadays. It is NOT unschooling. It is NOT a virtual school. It is NOT simply taking your child out of public school and handing him or her a stack of books. Homeschooling your child, your student, is an intentional educational act. A homeschool parent spends his or her days teaching full time, typically within the family's home. YOU become a teacher. YOU make a decision to prioritize your child's education. YOU dedicate yourself to equipping your child with the information needed to become an educated and virtuous person who will graduate into lifelong success.

Virtual Schools - This is NOT homeschooling!!! Virtual schools are the same as completing an online degree or certification in college. They are not parent led, and require the same amount of parental commitment as one who sends a child to public school. A parent can choose to have a hands off educational approach with the virtual school model just as a parent of a public school student can. Like public schools, these courses are led by state certified teachers. Grades and standardized tests are used for quality control. The downside of a virtual school is that there is no in-person quality control. A parent will not have as much feedback from a teacher who only sees the child online through chat and video. Again, this is NOT homeschooling. Homeschooling a child requires all of a parent's focus and dedication.

District Provided Curriculum - There are many school districts that will provide the public school curriculum to families for use at home. This may or may not be homeschooling. It is homeschooling if the parent takes that curriculum and teaches it to his or her child. It is not homeschooling if the parent expects the child to work through the curriculum alone. It's important to make the distinction because homeschoolers, by definition, are being taught the curriculum by a parent in lieu of a state or private teacher.

Unschooling - This model is intended to let a child pursue his or her own interests through a home based atmosphere. However, it is still not technically homeschooling. Parents who homeschool intentionally "lead" their student. This includes a core education as good, or better, than the state requirements. Unschooling can sometimes be so elective heavy that the core subjects are neglected. Homeschooling requires parents to make hard, uncomfortable decisions for their children. This includes adding core subjects to the homeschool curriculum, regardless of whether a child is interested in the subject or not. That's not to say that a family who classifies themselves as "unschoolers" are not homeschooled. The distinction is whether that family is allowing their children to only pick fun electives, or are also including the core curriculum - even the subjects that a child does not typically want to do.

It’s important to make the distinction between these different education models, and to separate “homeschooling” into its own category. Homeschooling is a very specific educational model that is parent intensive and requires anywhere from 3 to 12 hours a day of teaching at home - depending on student age. Traditional homeschool students have parents who diligently research curriculum options and are then taught that curriculum until high school graduation. They are awarded a diploma at the end of the journey and typically have great success in college.

Are you ready to homeschool? Reach out to us and we will talk to you about local options that will give you confidence as your child’s teacher and help you become part of one of the many micro homeschool communities in lower Southwest Michigan.