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Some common homeschooling questions

I often get emails asking me about homeschooling, so I thought I’d take a post to answer some of the most common ones I receive.

How do you handle homeschooling kids of different ages? They certainly learn things differently, so how do you handle it? Any suggestions or tips for sharing?

That can be a challenge! And it would be a HUGE challenge if homeschoolers tried to replicate the classroom experience at home…there aren’t enough hours in the day to personally teach every subject to every kid. However, I don’t do that. Once my children are able to read and follow directions, they’re able to do a large portion of their schoolwork by themselves. Of course, I’m available for questions, and I correct their work and help them go over wrong answers.

Another thing that helps is to do some subjects with all four kids…for instance, we’ve did our 50 States study together and we’re studying the U.S. presidents together as well. Of course, Joshua gets more out of this than Zoe does, and I give him harder work than her, but we’re doing the bulk of the activities together.

I know you homeschool, and I’m not too familiar with how that process works in the long term. I feel it could be brilliant for kids while they’re young, as schools are often overcrowded and underfunded, but what are your long term plans? Will you home school until your kids enter high school? Beyond that even?

As of right now, I plan to homeschool my kids through high school. However, in the high school years, I plan to have them start taking some classes at our community college, to give them some classroom experience and also because they can get high school AND college credits for those classes.

I know you said that for now your children are not allowed to go to school, although they have no desire to. However, if in the future they changed their minds would you ever be willing to send your children to school and allow them to choose for themselves?

That would depend on a lot of different factors…the maturity of the child, the reasons for them wanting to go to school, the school they wanted to go to, etc. I’d be very surprised if any of them wanted to switch to regular school, though…my siblings and I never did! 🙂

Are you concerned about how homeschooling will affect college applications or their social life? The kids seem to have a lot of cousins and neighborhood friends which is great, but do you worry that they might be missing out on learning about other cultures and ideas?

Nope! Applying for college does not seem to be difficult for homeschoolers, especially now that homeschooling is becoming more common.

As far as the social concern goes, I’m also not worried about that. I’ve had no trouble socializing and neither have my siblings or my homeschooled acquaintances. In fact, as a teenager, adults often complimented me on my conversational abilities. 😉

Homeschoolers do get out and about more than a lot of people think, and I actually believe that homeschooling provides some social advantages over age-segregated school…being around people of different ages and stages during the day offers children the opportunity to learn to relate well to people outside of their grade level.

I agree that peer pressure, cliques, and things like that are a big issues. Everybody experiences it, albeit to different extents. However, I feel there are many positive aspects of peer interaction. Collaboration, competition, companionship, and so forth are all things I gained from school. Eventually your children will enter society even if they don’t enter the work force. Do you ever worry about whether or not they’ll be able to keep up with the competition that is necessarily present in our world? In the real world schedules are not always so flexible; school teaches you how to manage your time. In the real world even if you are confident in your abilities to learn something from a book there are certain things that cannot be learned from a book. The world has over 6 billion people, do you ever worry that raising your children in such an isolated environment will not prepare them for real life??

In a word, no. I truly, truly don’t worry about any of these issues. I know from my own personal experience and from observing the experiences of other homeschool graduates that adjusting to “the real world” is not a problem.

My brother worked from the bottom up and now manages the east coast IT systems for a large restaurant.

My homeschooled brother-in-law owns computer consulting business.

My sister graduated magna cum laude and was a successful nurse (she now manages 4 children!).

My other brother graduated with a degree in business and now manages a hotel.

We’ve all managed to relate to people (we’re socialized!), excel in the workplace, and do well at college. And there many other successful homeschool graduates out there as well.

As something of an aside, I’m not sure school actually does teach people to manage their time. There are definitely poor time-managers who graduate from regular school (and by the same token, homeschooling doesn’t necessarily guarantee a graduate who manages their time well!)

I think school allows you to experience things that I don’t feel could be possible at home. Do you ever worry that without the larger resources school provides your children are missing something?? For example in most scientific subjects the lab portion of curriculum is an essential part of learning; wouldn’t you find it difficult to obtain a frog or pig to dissect, or chemicals to perform chemistry experiments with?

Actually, my mom managed to obtain all those animals for dissection even back in the day when homeschooling wasn’t nearly so common. 🙂

Plus, for people who don’t wish to take on dissections and such, there are SO many opportunities for homeschoolers to outsource bits and pieces of their childrens’ education if they so desire…there are co-ops and tutorials for homeschoolers, and a lot of community colleges will let high schoolers take classes right along with regular college students.


I guess I could sum up my answers to a lot of the questions I receive in this way: Nope, I’m not worried!

Since I’ve already been through the homeschooling process myself, I don’t experience a lot of the, “Oh, no! What if I’m royally screwing up my kids???” fears that a lot of new homeschooling parents do.

I’m delighted to have been homeschooled, I’m thrilled to provide this same opportunity to my own children, and I feel confident that they’ll be just fine.

If you’re not a homeschooling parent, but are on the outside looking in, I’d love to share that a lot of brilliant, effective people were educated in non-traditional way (hey, even the Jonas Brothers were homeschooled!)

I know it might seem strange to imagine that school can work at home, especially when you’ve only ever known school in the traditional school building form, but it can!

And I know it might be hard to imagine that people can turn out socially normal without being in a classroom, but I promise, it’s possible. 🙂

Thanks for sending in those questions, everyone! I’m always happy for the opportunity to share my thoughts about and experiences with homeschooling.

(P.S. I feel it necessary to acknowledge that there are some people who homeschool badly, just like there are some schools that don’t educate very well. In my experience, though, the vast majority of homeschooling parents are truly dedicated to educating their children well, and it is that type of homeschooling that I’m proud to support.)


Today’s 365 post: Oh, grilled peppers! How I love you.

Joshua’s 365 post: The New Color (uh, actually not. Censored by Kristen.)

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Ashley Wright

Saturday 3rd of September 2016

Great post! I am surprised to see so many comments. This tells the popularity of homeschooling. I have been following your blog from log but commenting for first time. Looking forward to read more interesting post from you. Thanks!

Mary Ellen

Friday 18th of November 2011

I was talking about households with two parents. Of course a single Mom for example wouldn't have that choice.

Mary Ellen

Friday 18th of November 2011

Oops, meant to say being paid for WITH OUT credit cards.

Mary Ellen

Friday 18th of November 2011

Homeschooling families usually do have one parent who stays home full time, yes. That does not mean we don't make sacrifices to do so or that it's easy. This is a choice to have one parent stay home and in the end you can do it if you really look at your budget. In my case we have three children and I stay home full time. My husband and I make the choice to stay in our condo (which we've owned for 10 years and completely re-did) versus buying a larger home which would make it impossible for me to stay home. For awhile we were a one car family. I got rid of the housekeeper and buy almost 100% of our clothes at Target. We are choosy about which activities our kids do and if they are within budget. More important they aren't being paid for with credit cards(we learned the hard way with this one too). There is so much more I could say on this subject but bottom line is you do have a choice if you're willing to make the decisions to live on one income. Mary Ellen


Friday 18th of November 2011

Well, I would say that there ARE people who don't have a choice to matter what they do, it won't work. Single parents are usually in this boat, for example.

That's not to say we don't sacrifice in order to be able to do this...we definitely do! But the ability to sacrifice and make this work isn't something everyone has. :)


Friday 18th of November 2011

I use the group study a lot....It is much like the old one room school house. It saves money, time, and it is fun too.

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