Posted on Leave a comment

Secular Homeschool Rising: 5 More Homeschooling Truths

I recently read an article entitled “Homeschooling on the rise as concerns about public schools grow” by Diana Alvear of FOX 46 Charlotte posted on February 9, 2019. Major news station aside, plenty of truth can be found here. To supplement my previous post, 5 Homeschooling Tips: Truths from My Homeschooling Journey, here are five more truths relating to secular homeschooling.

Truth #1

sec·u·lar, /ˈsekyələr/, adjective
1. denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis

Homeschooling is on the rise 1. Specifically, secular homeschooling 2 is one of the fastest growing factions of homeschooling. Perhaps it is a product of the dissatisfaction with the bureaucratic public school system (top-down approach) and overcrowding 3 and underfunding 4. And it’s not just homeschooling–microschools, hybrid homeschooling 5 (also called part-time homeschooling), and other alternative schools 6 are on the rise. Instead of waiting around for the government to fix the broken education system, or holding out hope for school districts to somehow magically accommodate and encourage students of all abilities — while also responsibly managing student behavior — we have taken it into our own hands because it’s faster, less problematic, and less of a hassle.7

Truth #2

The article touched on several reasons for homeschooling due to public school system issues.8 Concerns with bullying, school safety, preference for interest-based or child-led learning, and teaching a love of learning instead of teaching to the test are at the top for many homeschoolers. So many more reasons to homeschool9 exist, especially if you have a gifted or twice-exceptional child10, each one unique to each family and even each child.

Truth #3

It’s not the teachers’ fault, of course. Most of them are doing their best in a system which doesn’t take into account their input or the parents’ input because they are “just the teacher11” or “just the parent12.” Or the classes are way, way too big13 and they are simply too busy managing the behavior 14of kids who sit all day at a desk, sometimes without snacks, bathroom breaks (seriously!?), recess, PE, STEM, music, art, and all those things that really stimulate the mind and regulate the body.15

Truth #4

Child-led and interest-based learning are at the heart of many homeschoolers motivations. This naturally melds learning with life.

People who don’t have much experience with homeschooling like to tout the perceived hardships of homeschooling; for example, one is being “stuck at home with your kids all day.” Despite the name, however, most homeschooling doesn’t actually take place at home.16 While many homeschoolers use a curriculum of some sort, most simultaneously see living and learning 17as inextricably intertwined. Subjects are taught holistically and not merely items to check off a list (though you can certainly do that if that’s the way you operate). Also, homeschoolers can dive deeper into topics of choice, going much further than public school minimum requirements18, and much of the learning takes place in museums, libraries, and real-life experiences such as grocery store trips and visits to different businesses. For me, any hardship (like actually having to take my kids along to these places–gasp!) is worth the trade-off when I see my kids asking to learn chemistry at age 7 or a new language at age 8 or just knowing letters and colors and numbers and trying to write at age 2.

Truth #5

Socialization19, 20 — I think I can speak for most homeschoolers here — is a non-issue, especially if you find the right support group or co-op. My kids are out in the world socializing21 with everyone, people of all ages, genders, races, and religions. The school system is especially hard on introverted and non-neurotypical learners, topics we cover frequently in my online community. Kids who only know how to carry on a conversation with people of the same age or peer group are the ones I worry about. As a product of the public school system, I speak from experience.

The freedom Texas homeschoolers have22 is much more than most states, and I’m grateful for that. As a homeschooler and as a parent, I can say without a doubt I’m the one who knows what’s best for my child, and that’s what I have always advocated for and will continue to do–road less traveled or not. I hope that everyone will, because our kids deserve it. If you’re still on the fence about homeschooling, get the facts23, bust those myths24, and click here25 for a well-thought-out list of Pros & Cons of homeschooling.

Check out my Facebook page and join the community to continue the discussion.

Locals should also see Southeast Central Texas Homeschool or find out more on our Facebook page.

Sources & Resources:

  7. (sic)
Posted on

Infographic: What Giftedness Really Looks Like

In a previous post, I shared a few of my experiences with others and my twice-exceptional son. I got a request to expand on that topic by pointing out a few learning disabilities that can mask giftedness. Before I do that though, I thought it best to list some of the behaviors and characteristics you may notice in your gifted child so you can have a starting point of reference. Continue reading Infographic: What Giftedness Really Looks Like

Posted on Leave a comment

5 Homeschooling Tips: Truths from My Homeschooling Journey

(Previously titled “Homeschool Truths,” reposted from my personal blog.)

Whoever said homeschooling is a journey hit the nail on the head. Going into it, I hadn’t a clue what I was doing or what it was really like. Sure, I’d researched the logistics, chosen my curriculum, read all the blogs, and talked to several people. But not even my thorough investigation into the homeschooling life could have prepared me for the truth of what lie ahead.

1.  Homeschool Burnout is Real

My wake-up call came in the form of homeschool burnout. It’s real folks. Of course, I had read all about it. I’m diligent like that. If you spend any amount of time Googling “homeschool burnout,” you’ll think you know all you need to know about the subject. Wrong. You can read everything anyone has ever written about homeschool burnout and still not fully grasp the weight of the situation, the hopelessness, the anxiety, the fear of failure. But you can bet your sweet bippy you’ll know it when you feel it.

2.  You May Try to Pick Your Homeschool Style, but Sometimes it Picks You

After only about a month into our homeschooling journey, burnout hit me like a ton of bricks. I was trying to fit us into the “school at homehomeschool approach, which only works for certain types of kids. It did not work for my talkative (read: know-it-all gifted/twice-exceptional), hands-on, fidgety son who just resorted to argument whenever I opened my mouth.

He was six. It was ridiculous. (Update: It is less ridiculous now that we’ve learned more about each other, but there is still frequent sighing and eye-rolling going on. I won’t confirm by whom.)

3. Homeschool Co-ops are the Bees Knees — If You Find the Right One for Your Family

When I first started homeschooling, I didn’t have any homeschooling friends to bounce ideas around and to socialize with. Not only did I have to deal with all of that and my failure to teach (or so I had convinced myself), but also I had a newborn on my hands. It was isolating, even for me – the introverted, socially-awkward bookworm who prefers solitude to multitude. No matter who you are, it helps to have cohorts. As long as you find the right ones, which leads me to my next tip.

4.  You Gotta Know When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em

I desperately needed to make some changes. I needed a tribe; so, knowing no other homeschool moms in my area that shared my philosophy, I purposefully sought them out online. We ended up joining a homeschool co-op that met twice a month to go on field trips. I switched curricula to a more project-based/kinesthetic/unit studies approach vs. traditional textbooks and worksheets. Lo and behold, my first grader is thriving! My sanity is also intact. (Update: My now 8 y.o. is doing even better academically, and our days are filled with much less complaining, arguing, and drama. Additionally, we have since learned that the co-op we originally joined, and another we tried after that, did not suit my family’s needs or philosophy of life. Had we known what we know now, we wouldn’t have tried to force ourselves into something that was clearly not a great fit to begin with, no matter how nice and welcoming the people are. Hindsight is 20/20. Since I’ve yet to find a more fitting, specific-to-homeschoolers group in our immediate area, I’ve created my own: Southeast Central Texas Homeschool.)

5. It’s Cool To Unschool, Especially When Your Baby/Toddler is Wreaking Havoc on Your Best-Laid Plans

Another “obvious” tip I learned was to school when the baby/toddler is napping, eating, or playing by herself. It was hard for me to let go of the rigid schedule I had set for us and to go with the flow, but babies/toddlers don’t follow anyone’s schedule but their own, and they are extremely demanding of time! (I seemed to have forgotten this between kid #1 and kid #2.) I still have goals laid out for the day, week, and year; however, if I find it’s just not working that day, we simply unschool and “catch up” later.

Even though I now have a toddler to contend with, our days have become more rhythmic. I’ve found that homeschooling really is a lifestyle, and capitalizing on those teachable moments is truly a necessity. There have been several times where we had to veer away from our designated curriculum due to illness or otherwise, and when we came back around to it, my son breezed through the material because we already covered it numerous times in real life!

Truths From My Homeschooling Journey

Whether you’re new to this homeschooling thing or you’re simply curious about the lifestyle, let me share a few final bonus tips:

  • Reading as much as you can about homeschooling beforehand is good.
  • Seeking guidance from those who have gone before is even better.
  • Expecting the homeschool journey to be a wild ride is best of all.

The truth is, while you will most certainly cross some rough terrain, you and your child(ren) will be more resilient and knowledgeable about each other and also the world in the long run. If you enjoyed this post, check out my community website!

Posted on Leave a comment

I’m Not (fill in the blank), I’m Gifted

Real Life

The dentist asks my seven-year-old son what grade he’s in, and he stares at the wall behind her, wondering what she means exactly

You know the look.

Does she mean what grade level am I on, and if so, which subject? Should I say I’m homeschooled? Why does she want to know? Does she even know what homeschooling is about? Am I gonna have to explain that to her? Continue reading I’m Not (fill in the blank), I’m Gifted