As public schools have to be accountable to their state board of education, is there a similar administrative body in place for home-schoolers?
Every state is different, but in the state of Kentucky, the only requirement is that I send a “letter of intent to homeschool” to our Board of Education’s Pupil Personnel. I actually made an appt with our DPP and I sat down and talked with her. It is good, for me, to see who she is and for her to see who I am. We have a mutual respect for each other and it is a good relationship.
This type of letter is letting the DPP know of your intentions and should be sent by certified mail. Always keep a copy for your records. No other documentation is required by the state of KY.
That being said, I choose to test my children yearly with the standardized testing from Bob Jones University. This is for my benefit, but it is also a “just in case” it is needed. These scores will be useful if your child intends to go to college.
Another thing that KY requires but does not check on is school attendance. I keep a simple calendar of days that we have school. I mark on it any sicknesses, holidays, or field trips. I have always followed the county school sessions as to when we have school and when we do not have school. We need breaks too 🙂
What’s available in terms of textbooks? Who decides what book to use?
I, along with my husband, decides on curriculum. This can vary from extremely expensive to completely free.
There are lots of conferences that can be attended that will give you a burst of encouragement and an overload of all the new an exciting things in the homeschool world. I’ve never been keen on those events because I would be on impulse instead of heartfelt research and frugality.
Some of the more popular COMPLETE curriculum sets are:
Bob Jones University
Tapestry of Grace
Switched on Schoolhouse
and many many many more.
All in One Homeschool (excellent)
Old Fashioned Homeschool
Khan Academy (excellent)
and there are several sites available to whatever need you have
KY does not have an online “virtual” school for kids to attend. Several states do have this. As for me, we have done a wide variety of curriculum.
How did you decide it was right to homeschool?
I will address this question in a separate post…sharing my story of how we decided to homeschool.
Was the hubby always supported and did you have to convince him?
He has always been supportive and encouraged homeschooling. This has never been an issue for him. I’m blessed in this regard. Now, there was a time when my husband had to convince ME to do this 🙂 That story is for another post!
What if you do not have a college degree? Can you still be an effective homeschooler?
You can absolutely be a successful homeschooler without a college degree. What the Lord calls you too, He will be faithful to lead you through!
I know the kids went to school for a short time, why you decided that and what you learned from it?
Yes, my kids went to PS for a bit and to a private Christian school for a year. The Christian school that some of the children went too was simply not my cup of tea. My thoughts/faith/life did not match up with the expectations of this school. I sent them because I bought into the lie that I would have a “more fun”, “easier”, “happier” life with the kids gone. Let me just tell you…..I had a more suckier life, by far. I did not have a peace about sending them. I listened to well meaning people who were apparently experts on my life, though they had never put their feet under my table. I buckled under pressure and wrote that massive check and sent them to school. No one was happy. It was not what the Lord had intended for my family.
Some of my kids also went to PS for a time. This was during our adoption and I had to go back to work. Let me just say this….PS teachers are amazing and they deal with WAY more stuff then I would ever want too. I have nothing against our PS system. They were there for a time that I needed them. I am grateful. That being said, I still did not have peace about this, though I was forcing myself to have peace. I knew that the Lord had a plan and a purpose and if that was for them to stay in PS, then so be it. I can be a rockstar PS parent! I wanted to love it and I prayed that my kids would love it, but sadly….it was nine months of hell. There were 2 of my children that were bombed with biological parent issues and that made behaviors/memories/life much harder. I also have a special needs son, with learning disabilities, that struggled so very much. It was much harder, having them in PS, then being home by far. I truly believe that if the Lord meant for my kids to be there, yes…we would have had some issues…but we would have had peace. No one had peace. We all prayed for it and desired it but this was not what the Lord wanted and He was going to upset our apple cart until we were obedient to Him.
I have always said that I won’t do this forever and that I know that my kids will get a great education if we have to put them in PS…but for now, we do as we are told and we keep walking down the road less traveled.
What about college and scholarships?
Yes, your child can go to college. Yes, you can apply to any scholarships you choose. Yes, you can get KEES money, but that one will *only* be determined by your child’s ACT score and not by the combination of their ACT & GPA (which a PS kid would get).
My daughter started at MSU in Racer Academy as a Junior in high school. There was no problem in her being accepted and it is an EXCELLENT thing for kids to do. She took some online classes and some on campus classes, but by the time she graduated high school, she also had her Associate’s degree and the cost is CHEAP!
You do need to keep up with classes and have a transcript prepared and updated. I will post a transcript shell that can simply be filled in.
What about sports?
We cannot participate in school sports. Its just another “one of those things” that I don’t necessarily agree with, but my one person can’t make a big enough stink about it to change anything. That being said….we do Upward basketball, church basketball, baseball in the summer and the fall, soccer, Girl Scouts (not necessarily a sport) and there is a homeschool football team that Boo will hopefully be a part of.
What supplies do you recommend?
It is all what works well for you. I love going school supply shopping. We get just as excited as anyone else 🙂 We have a desktop (that is now dead) and a couple of very old laptops that we use. We don’t do much on the computer (a few kids are doing more than other). I use ClickNkids for Catfish and Little Man (one has dyslexia and the other is just learning) and we use Khan Academy. I also use Hooked on Phonics that utilizes the computer. I have a tablet that I only use when we do school on the road due to therapy or doctor’s appointments.
How much do you spend homeschooling?
This has varied from year to year. The LifePacs (I bought most on homeschoolclassifieds.com which I HIGHLY recommend) are about $200 a year. I used this for 2 kids, this year. The testing that I buy (Iowa Standardized Testing from Bob Jones University) is $50 per child. I do not test until my kids get into middle school. I have put the word out and a lot of people will contact me when they have used curriculum for sale. Also, the local homeschool group (LAMP in Murray and PATCH in Paducah) are really good sources for buying curriculum. Next year, I will do LifePacs for 3 kids. One kid will be in college and the little boys will use All In One Homeschool (cannot stress how excellent this is and how thankful I am for the sweet lady who has put in so much time and effort to provide this service).
How do u keep records?
EduTrack is something I have used in the past. I enjoyed it because it was simple and would also allow me to print out schedules for each kid. Now, I use more of a file system. It makes me happy. I print out monthly schedules (which I keep on the computer) and I put, in red, their grades. I only grade tests. If they miss more than 8 on anything, they have to redo it.
Do u also have to keep records of lesson plans in elementary school age?
Yes, it keeps my sanity and makes me happy. I have a checklist of things that I do with the little boys, daily. It is dated and I can keep good records on it. I save everything for the year. At the end of the year, I get a binder and I add in the binder samples of their work. This is not needed for anyone but myself.
Do you teach all grades?
I start working with the kids when they are about 6. This is nothing major. We read, a lot. We do flashcards, color, workbooks from Walmart. I start getting a bit more serious when the kids are in third grade. When they hit middle school is when things turn. By this time, the kids are working independently with their own schedules…asking for help when needed. I grade on Fridays and we do tests or make up work on Friday.
What does a typical day look like?
We get up at 8. Kids do their chores, eat breakfast, get ready for the day. School work begins at 9 and we work until noon. At noon, the kids eat lunch and then they have a break until about 2. They read, nap, watch a movie, run outside, ride horses, play games…this is their time. If, at 2, they are not done with their work, they finish. Most of the time, they are already done.
What about testing?
I test them in May, every year. I start testing in middle school. I do not before then because I think that is ridiculous. Testing is for me. It is to help me know where they are excelling and where they need more work. I keep all these scores. I order them from Bob Jones University. They send me the tests, the teacher book and an envelope to send back the tests. I do not grade them. BJU grades them. I do this in a week’s time. I do not help, at all…ever. I hand it to them and they go to their room and they will do a section. If I helped, it would defeat the purpose.
The questions were great…..keep on asking and I will answer them 🙂
Links that will be helpful: