Homeschool InfoArticles, Meanderings, and Thoughts from the Homeschool Community
Individual needs are well met in a homeschool environment BY SALLY KEYS When it comes to providing the best education for your child, you want to make sure that they have the best resources possible. That is one of the reasons why more and more families opt for...
I walked by a soccer practice the other day and witnessed a coach yelling at his players. The children seemed to be about 10-12 years old, certainly not yet teenagers. He was pretty demanding, I’d hate to say foaming at the mouth, but it definitely seemed that way. As the coach shouted at his players, he prompted them to do various calisthenics and exercises. I was only walking by so I wasn’t able to take in too much, but in my observation I heard commands such as:
Families have been homeschooling since the dawn of time. The reasons we do so now are varied yet we are all under the same umbrella of home educating our children. Over the years the trends change and homeschool group notice an influx at certain times of the year or during education regulation or curriculum changes, such as the Common Core issues in New York that are still playing out as of January 2014.
Common Core is nothing new. It’s just the latest round of “fixing” public education by proposing new standards, tests, etc. The modern standardization movement goes back to the Nation At Risk report 30 years ago, and its biggest push was in the form of No Child Left Unstandardized a dozen years ago. Yet homeschooling regulation hasn’t gotten stricter over that time. There was concern in the wake of No Child Left Unstandardized that “they’re going to come for the private schools next, and then they’re going to come for us”.
Your child hears a really great saxophone solo on the radio, or hears a beautiful classical flute piece on YouTube. You want to provide a good musical education for your child, but you realize that there are few to no resources for instrumental music, unless your child plays piano, guitar or violin. Lessons on any of these instruments are great because it provides a solid harmonic background and rich musical experiences, but what if your child wants to play the flute? Where can you go to find information or services for this?
Once upon a time all children were homeschooled. Around 150 years ago, states started making public schooling mandatory and homeschooling eventually withered out or became illegal in certain states. It wasn’t until the late 90s that all states made it legal again. Today, with more than 2 million homeschoolers, it’s the fastest growing form of education in the country.
Homeschooling in New York City may seem like a rarity but it has become quite the movement. Even I, a native New Yorker, originally thought of homeschooling as something done in more rural areas. Instead, many New York families have chosen to pull their children from public school and use the vast wonders of the city as their classroom. There are museums, science labs, historical sites, various cultures and cuisines. So much, that years worth of curriculum could be covered without traveling beyond a few subway stops.
Dark, damp and chilly mornings remind me of nudging my daughter awake, telling her not to dawdle but to get ready for school. On those mornings, she’d stumble, bleary-eyed out of bed, hair a knotted mess, shoulders slumped, breathing still slow as if she could fall back to sleep right there on the way to breakfast.
New York’s home education regulation (section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education) consists of several pages (at least four if you still want it to be legible) and lots of text. With all that material, it is easy to lose track of what actually needs to be submitted to the school district. The following is a listing of the documents which must be submitted with a brief description of each. It is always a good idea to send correspondence to the school district certified mail, return receipt requested so that you have proof that it was received.
It inevitably happens at some gathering where friends and relatives are part of one big family; the issue of home education arises. Generally the subject of regulations and government homeschool oversight comes up after they know my son for some time and see how social he is. It’s usually after comments about what a nice kid he is… how polite, good manners, great at negotiating the problems that arise when the kids are playing and an argument breaks out and other qualities of character.
For most Americans, homeschooling seems rather odd. Why bother with it? We have had public and private schools with us all of our lives, as have our parents before us and their parents before them from time immemorial. Why not stick with what works? The thought would be touching, if it were historically accurate. It isn’t.
Overcrowded classes, standardized testing, harried or inept teachers and administrators, service cuts, chalk shortages, lack of attention to individual needs … Welcome to another school year.
Now picture this: A couple of siblings sitting in their cozy living room, reading, painting, learning math, studying the flora and fauna of their backyard, and having their academic needs met by a teacher who knows them well.
The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US Railroads.
Why did the English build them like that?
Parenting four kids aged 10 to 17 is exactly what you’d imagine – lots of laundry, dishes and driving. I’ve actually got a little more than that because all four are home educated. So the bad news is that I spend evenings and weekends writing out assignments, lists of chores, driving schedules and meals. The good news is that the very lifestyle of home education gives me what I need to keep at the drudgery.
In the spring of 1990, I sat facing the public school psychologist across a conference table. He came to discuss my request that my soon-to-be adopted, foster daughter be placed in the ‘four-year-old program’. Normally, a child of her age would enter kindergarten, but I requested the test because I had noticed her difficulty in some areas of learning. He had just finished testing Diana and brought her to the room where I was waiting.
There could be a hundred and one reasons why you’re here. In the end, it’s all about the children…
Whether you have always thought you would homeschool or you were thrown into it with little other choice or anywhere in between – this is a place for us to meet, greet and support one another. Although the primary goal is Long Island Homeschool and Home Education, there might be some areas of national interest and some off topic articles for discussion. This board is provided as an opportunity for the homeschoolers of New York and Long Island to use as a venue in sustaining their community – a gathering around a common goal.