Since starting my personal quest to find information regarding homeschooling three years ago, I’ve inundated myself with knowledge on the topic and have learned a great deal about the process of schooling in Florida. In some ways it is easier than I had anticipated and in others, much more difficult. The difficult avenues I’ve ventured through a support group located in my county within Florida, but have found that anything I need is literally at my backdoor.
The first place I started was locating the laws for my state, which share that as a parent, you have the right to educate your child at home, regardless of if you hold a certification to teach in your state. This is actually true of most states within the continental United States, and I’m proud to be considered “responsible” enough to educate my children by the government. I’m not against the public school system, I just feel my children can learn a great deal from home, from myself, and often information not shared in public schools.
The second place I started was at my local library, scouring for information on the topic of homeschooling, starting out, what curriculum was beneficial, what learning style my son has, so that I could then purchase the best curriculumÃ¢Â?Â¦ I was literally covered from floor to head with books, (granted I’m only 5’1″), this was still helpful to me in obtaining the information I needed to feel that I was indeed “responsible” enough to educate my children at home. Slowly, I paved my way out of the path created to a local support group. The answers that I could not find on my own, or personal accounts that I felt I needed were available through them.
The decision to homeschool isn’t an easy one. There are many objectives to consider. First, your ability as a parent to put your children’s education first, no matter what other activities you take part in. And second, your ability to have patience. You need to have patience with yourself because you’re learning something new everyday; and then with your children for not only having patience with you, but for not having high expectations of them. You need patience to understand that everyone works at a different pace and will digest information differently. Children ARE like sponges. They WILL learn, but when they are ready. There are many items of importance in life that might need to be shifted in your priority list, like maintaining a perfect home, cooking full-course meals, or ironing every piece of fabric that comes out of your dryer.
Time is of the essence and you’ll find what time constraints you have in offering your family more education time. From there you can bend over backwards to complete the other tasks that you have on your priority list, or you can decide that flexibility in completing these tasks are more ideal. Better yet, if your children are older, they can help you maintain your original priority list. I know with younger children, mine had to drastically change. My husband might complain that we’re having soup and salad for dinner, again, but when he sees what the children have accomplished in the day, he’s more flexible with having an easy to prepare meal.
Obviously, you need support. You want to find means of support. Ideally this should come from your spouse, since it’s easier when you’re a partner in your children’s education. Whether you share the tasks involved in daily activities, it’s rewarding to know that you’re not fighting a constant battle with your spouse about your children and knowledge that they are able to obtain with your efforts. Other sources include your family doctor or pediatrician, your family, and a support group.
I’ve found a local support group to be a sort of haven to me. There are veteran homeschoolers who have graduated students and obtained full scholarships to prestigious colleges within this support group and people who are just able to lend a hand when needed. I’ve learned a great deal from these parents. We share our time, curriculum ideas, projects, and personal issues.
There are activities offered for my children and I also teach classes to students within the group, which allows me to give back what I have received to those who deserve quality education. The support group is affiliated with the state, so we are included in the Florida Parent Educators Association which has many perks including discounts and a membership card allowing entrance to local museums and “ownership” to my dedication. I doubt that I could provide all that the support group does to my children on my own and I definitely give credit to them for providing unity amongst homeschoolers.
There are many support groups within the state of Florida. If you’re considering homeschooling, I would recommend just joining a group to see what is available, before making a commitment for a lifetime. You’ll find yourself surprised by many things, and hopefully pleasantly so. In the end, you’ll gain the knowledge that you need to make a decision that fits the needs of your family. Not everyone feels themselves qualified to homeschool their children, but the resources are available for you to find out if you fit the bill, in Florida and around the U.S. Good luck!