We get asked a lot of questions regarding homeschooling from people we meet along our travels. Here are a few we found most useful. We hope this helps out anyone seeking guidance or those who are simply curious.
- In your latest blog (dated Jul 23, 2015 titled Al Fresco, not Al Forno); you say you are homeschooling al fresco not al forno. What does that mean?
For the past few weeks, the weather has been so warm and humid. It felt like we were inside an oven (Al Forno). Homeschooling indoors in uncomfortable environment is not fun. The weather isn’t so bad now and we’ve been homeschooling outdoors in nature surrounded by trees. Being outdoors (Al Fresco) makes teaching and learning more fun.
- Do you have to report/prove your schooling?
We submit an affidavit annually with the state of California. It’s an affidavit of intent to run a private school (which we are). Technically, we are still CA residents. We still hold CA driver’s license. We also have a traveling mailbox address that we use that allows us to be still under CA laws.
If and when we choose to become Washington residents, we’ll have to officially obtain WA driver’s license and give a WA permanent address. We’ve done our homework and when that time comes, all we need is to file an intent to homeschool with the local school district.
- As far as I understand in the state of California you have to go through a credentialed teacher in order to homeschool. How are you doing it?
Going through a credentialed teacher is one of the options. There’s also the option to become a private school, which is what we chose. California Homeschool Network has a lot of useful information. We suggest getting familiar with this site if you live in CA and thinking of homeschooling. http://www.californiahomeschool.net
- I am curious about your “homeschool philosophy”. I feel like I have not really figured out what mine is yet. Were there some books that you read that helped you figure out what your philosophy was, or that helped you get into your groove?
We were introduced to the Thomas Jefferson Education (TJed.org) principles early on by friends. We were fortunate to attend homeschooling seminars given by a local homeschool veteran. This is what got us started. Books were recommended and we took our roles seriously and read it word per word. We liked the TJed principles and the 7 Keys to Teaching. We’ve done a lot of research on many principles and TJed resonated with us the most. The teachings of how to raise our son to be a leader is what we follow.
Our philosophy isn’t necessarily 100% TJed. A lot of it is based on our personal experiences and preferences. What we want (or don’t want) for Owen is our own not what the public school wants. It’s also trial and error. We like some of the Montessori and the Waldorf Philosophies as well. In short, we basically picked and chose the principles we liked and made it our own. We stand by the TJed because it gave us the foundation we wanted for Owen’s education.
- What’s the most important advice you can give new homeschoolers?
The most important advice we can give is to reach out to your homeschooling community. Meet up.com, Facebook and yahoo groups have them. There you will meet other homeschooling parents. Attend meet ups regularly. Your children will meet like-minded friends. You will make friends. This group will become your support. They’ll understand your worries and happiness because they, too, are going through the same thing. You won’t feel alone and you’ll grow more confident about your decision to homeschool. It took a while for me so hang in there. It gets better when you your chil(ren) starts to exceed your expectations.
If there aren’t any groups in your community, create one!
- I’m shy and so are my kids. Are there other ways to meet homeschooling families?
I was shy too and so was my son. But little by little, I became more outgoing. I had to. Staying under a rock wasn’t healthy for my son. I lead by example. I know it’s scary to step outside your comfort zone. It took me a while to feel comfortable around groups. You know your limits. If you feel overwhelmed, take a step back and try again when you feel like it. Chances are, there’s also a shy person just like you and they will approach you.
Social Networking is a must. Take advantage of the Internet and do some researching of your own. While I was doing this, I found a homeschooling site for those seeking pen-pals for their homeschooled children. This was one way to meet other families without actually speaking to them.
Owen has long lasting friendship with pen-pals across the globe. I’m pen-pals with their mothers and it’s our friendships are one of a kind. Just keep in mind, it’s trial and error. Sometimes it’ll work, sometimes it won’t. Be comfortable making adjustments for you and your child(ren). It’s okay to make mistakes. You’re human. You learn more when you make mistakes.
I have a lot of knowledge because I’ve made many mistakes.