updated by Tara Dodrill 01/30/2018
updated by Tara Dodrill 08/17/2018There’s no denying that public schools in the United States and other places are in a decline. More parents than ever are considering alternatives to public education including online schooling, private or charter schools, homeschooling, and even unschooling.
We’ve all dealt with young cashiers unable to calculate your change unless the cash register tells them how much to give back and we’ve seen confusion erupt if we give them a ten-dollar bill and a quarter to pay for something that totaled $10.15.
My own thirteen-year-old (middle school) has questioned me about why public school doesn’t teach her any “real” skills she needs to live on her own such as how to write out a check, balance a checkbook, create a budget, or open a savings account. These are skills I’ve started teaching her myself of course, but it’s just one of the many reasons to consider homeschool. As the government entities issue more and more regulations on curriculum, our kids in public schools are falling through the cracks in a number of ways.
As parents, we want our kids to learn everything they need to know to be a well-functioning member of society without putting their personal health and even their lives at risk. When our children are forced to spend six hours or more a day in schools, it limits the number of things we can teach them as parents.
In addition, today’s public schools are increasingly focused on test scores rather than critical thinking skills and practical knowledge. Controlling the mind as you know is one way of controlling the people. If you’re a prepper, it’s easy to surmise that the ultimate hidden agenda of the education system today is to produce generations of adults that are conditioned to conform and follow orders rather than think for themselves.
With the increase in violent attacks in schools and other public places, it’s also getting tougher to send our little ones off to school, with a teacher we don’t know, in a building full of people we don’t know, and in a location, that is away from our watchful eyes. As preppers we know that one of the most dangerous threats during a catastrophe will almost always be other people. How can we possibly protect our children when SHTF when they are surrounded by strangers and aren’t even within our reach?
Public schools and even many private and charter schools are fraught with dangers, including the potential for school shootings or terrorism as well as more common threats like bullying, eating disorders, depression, racial tension, sex offenders, exposure to drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, anxiety, unexpected exposure to allergens, etc. These issues seem to be virtually unavoidable in public schools.
Many parents are turning to private and charter schools and find those lacking as well. In fact, the homeschool movement when it began and through the early 1980’s was primarily Christian families looking to shield their children from the negative secular influence. Now, more families are turning to homeschool as a way of reducing the negative influences and peer pressures that kids are inundated with in the school systems.
Homeschooling is growing in popularity for many parents seeking an alternative to traditional education for their children. According to recent reports by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), there were just over 2 million homeschooled students in 2010, an increase of more than half a million from 2007. In fall of 2016, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) predicted just over 50 million students would attend elementary and secondary public schools. The reasons for this growth are not just religious based as you will see in a future section.
What is Homeschooling?
The first thing to understand about homeschool is that not all homeschool programs are the same. Some programs are very structured with step by step lesson plans down to the day and even the hour. Other homeschool programs are extremely flexible and basically require you as the parent to design your program and lesson plans based on what works for your child and your family.
Some homeschool programs are entirely structured around the computer and include a curriculum of multimedia lessons and tests that your child participates in online. These are called e-learning homeschool programs and are generally more structured. On the opposite end of the homeschool spectrum is “unschooling”.
What is Unschooling?
This is a type of learning that is completely flexible and in most cases 100% child-led. Parents who “unschool” believe wholeheartedly that children will learn what they need to know when they are interested and ready to learn it. There is no “curriculum” to follow.
If a 3-year-old is interested in reading, they will learn to read but if that interest doesn’t come until age eight that’s okay too. The engaged unschooling parent provides opportunities for learning but doesn’t force learning on their child if they aren’t yet ready.
Why Preppers Should Homeschool Their Children
There are three important and distinctive advantages over public education:
- Educational Quality
- Learning Style
School shootings have become almost so commonplace that the talking heads on television barely took a break from their consistent Trump bashing to give it any air time. Apparently since there were ONLY two deaths, the shooting was just not deemed shocking enough to warrant a breaking news coverage. School violence and shootings had been almost entirely limited to the inner cities and large or affluent suburbs, but now, the disturbing trend is working its way rural areas too.
The safety aspect of homeschooling goes beyond valid concerns about school shootings and other random acts of violence. If you children are being educated outside of the homesteading survival retreat or your bug in location home, they are placed at risk every single day.
It would be glorious if the S waited to HTF until the entire family is safely nestled at home together, but that is not likely to be the reality of such a situation. No public school personnel, be it a teacher or a janitor, is going to simply let your children, regardless of their age, walk out of the building because that is part of your family survival plan.
Public schools also will not permit a teenage child, unless he or she is 18, to sign your child out in the case of an emergency. If a doomsday disaster strikes during the school day, all of the campus buildings will immediately go on lockdown. Staffers will be positioned at all entrances to make sure no one gets in or out.
Even if you have trained your child to defy authority and follow the SHTF get home plan the family has taught them, actually getting out of the building will require stealth, physical force – and a healthy side of luck.
If you beloved offspring manages to get out of the confines of the public school campus, he or she must then make their way home through what could the equivalent of a war zone, or at the least, a sea of panicked people rushing in their vehicles – if the SHTF scenario was not an EMP or solar flare. Danger will be literally be lurking around every corner.
While working in a public school system for a decade, and having been the child of public school administrators, I have vast first-hand knowledge about how awesome and how awful public school teachers and the academic curriculum can be.
In our small rural school system, you could request a specific teacher (most did) and if you got your request in early enough or were able to pull some strings, you children were set with a good teacher throughout their early years.
There is no way to avoid subjecting your child to the mediocre and bad teachers who should not be in the educational field but are protected by their union, once the youngster reaches the age where switching classes begins. In some elementary schools class switching can begin as young as the second grade if “team teaching” is practiced, or typically, in the fourth grade when the child can have up to five teachers in a single school day.
When you send you child to a public school, you also have no control over either the material they are learning, or the manner in which it is taught. Sure, you can join the PTO or the PTA, talk to board members – even campaign for inspiring ones, but in the end, your input is extremely limited.
You may be given the option of pulling your child when something objectionable is going to be presented..if you know ahead of time, which is definitely not usually the case.
American history is barely skimmed over in most schools because proficiency in the content is not measured on state achievement tests. Some liberal teachers have referred to our Founding Fathers as “terrorists” and openly attempt to impress their anti-Second Amendment, anti-military, and anti-patriotic views onto the children.
When a group of sixth graders came to me upset one day, when I was still a public school employee, they told me how the substitute in their history class was doing many of the things mentioned above AND told them there was no God. Now, sometimes children of this age can be very melodramatic, but they were incredibly upset and I knew the students well, all of them had either played a sport or two that I had coached or had been in my Girl Scout troop.
So, I walked to the classroom and stood outside the door and listened for a few moments. They were right. I knocked, entered, and asked then asked the substitute about the content of his lesson. He did not deny what he was saying or had sad and stated he was merely sparking debate. Shouting down and berating any child who was brave enough to make a statement based upon their own belief system – the one their parents had instilled in them, was more like it. The so-called debate he was attempting to engage in may have been suitable for a college classroom, but not for sixth graders who were still being taught inside an elementary school building.
Next, I went and spoke with the principal. She was equally dismayed, but the best she could do was speak to the substitute and spend some time sitting outside the classroom periodically to make sure it didn’t happen again because there were no more subs available on the list that day.
He was what we referred to as a “warm body sub.” Turns out, the man did not even have a teaching degree. Nope, just a bachelor’s in communications. In many states, a 4-year degree in anything allows you to be a substitute teacher for a certain amount of days in a row – take one day off and the clock starts all over again. In theory, a non-teacher could reach just shy of full time hours following this subbing schedule.
Why didn’t the principal just combine a class for the day and send the man packing? Great question, and I have an awful answer for it, union rules forbid such a thing because that would put an undo burden on the district’s teachers.
Teaching to the test is yet another problem. Gone are the days, in far too many classroom, of both teaching and learning being approached with joy. I believe it is appropriate in many cases, to think of public school classrooms as factory assembly lines churning out one child after another who can commit to memory only the minimum of what is needed to pass a test and then move on. This is why colleges are being forced to add remedial math and readings classes to their course offerings – and why so many public high school honor roll students, are filling the seats.
Science experiments, art extension activities, expert speakers – those are all a thing of the past in many public school districts. Principals concerned only about test scores tell frustrated and dedicated teacher to just work those kinds of activities into their lesson plans in the late spring – after “testing season.” By then, they will have no meaning and not serve the purpose great teachers intend – to drive demonstrate and drive home (in a very fun and hands-on way) the concepts they were teaching with each unit of study.
While the learning objectives your child be taught in either a traditional learning environment or at home might be the same, the presentation, participation, pace, and end results, will be drastically different.
Public school children learning about growing plants will do so from a textbook, sitting in a desk, and completing worksheets. If they are lucky and have a great teacher, they might each get the chance to plant a seed in a cup that is then placed in the windowsill of the classroom to watch grow – or die.
When a homeschooled child is learning about plants, especially a prepper kid, they are knee and elbow deep in the dirt from the seed germination through the harvesting and finally, food preservation process. They are being taught and actively engaged in soil cultivation, protecting the plants from drought and bugs, and know that what will go into their bellies both now and during a SHTF scenario, depends on the agricultural skills of them and their parents. You really can’t drive home a concept or offer any better hands-on learning lesson, than that.
Homeschooled children do not sit at a desk all day with their nose in a book and a pencil in their hand while a teacher plays on their phone and sips another cup of coffee at his or her desk. Any parent who has ever been forced to sit through all day meetings or trainings, knows how tedious of a process this is and how quickly the eyes glaze over and the ears stop tuning in.
Prepper homeschooling can and should involve being an active participant in learning through doing. “Teaching the whole child” and blending subjects together were once very popular concepts in the public education system. The freedom of the homeschool environment will gives you the opportunity to engage all the senses, foster creativity, comprehension, and maintain the child’s keen focus to achieve those lofty goals.
Photo: use clear contact paper to cover educational posters to make them last – especially if they will be stored as part of your homeschooling preps for years to come. If you carefully remove worksheets from educational activity books and cover them in clear contact paper, the children can use crayons or markers on them and then wipe away their work after you look it over so the same pages can be used as practice work again and again.
The best part of homeschooling your prepper children? YOU get to choose not only the content of the material they are learning, but the depth, scope, pace, and length of time spent on each lesson.
There is no reason to have time blocks set aside of each subject everyday. You can blend subjects together – reading is a part of every subject, even math once you get into simple story problems. You can focus hours on a concept you are trying to teach the child if the youngster needs that long to grasp it or because he or she is really interested in learning more about the material – while you continually point out the self-reliant tie-ins that relate to the information.
More Reasons for Preppers to Homeschool
There’s no denying that one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility of the schedule. Homeschool families are free to travel at any time of the year without worrying about missing school. School work can be completed at any time of the day or night which leaves children free to get involved with chores around the homestead or compound.
Homeschooling can happen in just about any location which means strategic relocation, work transfers, and other reasons that require a “move” won’t interfere with school progress.
Benefits for Child (Reduced Pressure and Anxiety)
- No more anxiety and trauma over changing schools
- Homeschooled kids aren’t impacted by snow days or quarantines, teacher strikes, etc.
- Homeschool students consistently rank higher on ACT and SAT tests
- Limited exposure to drugs and alcohol.
- Reduced exposure to bullying and peer pressure that can impact learning
- Better prepared for real world with more time for learning and practicing practical skills.
More Quality Time with Family
- Opportunity to strengthen family bonds
- Increased opportunity/time for spiritual development
- Provides time for parents to teach practical skills and prepping skills
Homeschooling is possible anywhere in the United States and in many different countries all over the world. In the United States, there are several homeschool law categories you need to know about. Laws for different states can be very different.
- Home Education Laws
- Private School Laws
- Equivalency Laws
Before you make the decision to homeschool, make sure that you thoroughly understand and are ready to comply with any state and local reporting and testing requirements for homeschooling in your area.
Some states require homeschoolers to not only register their intent but to also submit attendance and a detailed work portfolio or other reports that document learning. Failure to comply with laws regarding education can land you in serious hot water with the juvenile court system.
Update: Watch Tara’s Video on Homeschooling:
Sample Preepper Homeschooling Day
|7:30 a.m.||Making Breakfast – Reading and following instructions, math through measuring, science through cooking and nutrition information.|
|8 a.m.||Outside chore for physical education, science component if working with animals, gardening, water, or alternative power, math is counting or measuring is involved, and writing via journaling log of activity.|
|8:45 a.m.||Reading both silently then aloud – choose books that enhance your self-reliance, survival, and homesteading lifestyle, many such books exist for children. Hands-on related art activity and/or fun comprehension activity. Focus the reading activity on American history and social studies several days per week. Read outside under a tree or on a blanket when weather permits. Also use this time for spelling, grammar, writing, and vocabulary expansion that ties in with the reading lessons.|
|10 a.m.||Recess and healthy snack children pick or make themselves.|
|10:30:00 AM||Science lesson indoors and outdoors when weather permits. Always include a hands-on component/ As much as possible, tie in required science lessons that teach a skill that coincides with self-reliance: simple machines, animal husbandry, agriculture, weather, cooking, food preservation, making wheat, etc.|
|11:30:00 AM||Handicrafting and/or shop class – alternate the focus based on season and child interest. Suggested activities include: leathercrafting, sewing, welding, woodworking, knitting, mechanics, creating energy, etc. Math and science objectives should be coordinated into these activities.|
|12:30 p.m||Lunch and recess Children assist in lunch making to once again reinforce the same skills and learning they are exposed to at breakfast.|
|1:15 p.m. To 2:15 p.m. Twice a Week||Outdoor Science/Gym Class Go hiking and engage in bird identification, foraging identification, tree identification, water and soil testing, orienteering, archery, rock identification, etc. If your child plays extracurricular sports via the public school (which is allowed in most states) or in a community program, this can also fulfill the physical education state requirements. 4-H club participation can usually help fulfill science objectives.|
|1:15 p.m. To 2:15 p.m. Twice a Week||Math Lesson – homeschool software or online course can help parents make sure their child is learning advanced concepts – most such programs for math, and all subjects, are typically nomnally priced.|
|1:15 p.m. To 2:15 p.m. Once a Week||Music class – or use any music lessons your child wants to take outside the home to fulfill this elementary school requirement or middle or high school desire. In most states a child can join the school band, drama club, or choir at the public school.|
|2:15 p.m. To 3:15 p.m.||Use this time on an as needed basis for extra time spent with a child struggling with specific lessons or for special projects. Teaching your child first aid skills, bushcraft skills, etc. would be valuable lessons that can be tied into required learning objectives in the subjects of reading, health, and science.|
Photo: Plan art with a purpose and handicraft activities that coincide with what the children is learning in any subject or to connect with the book they are reading during a specific unit. This little doll cost about $.50 to make, at most. She is far more than a fun little craft for children. The young learners had to measure the hair, felt, embroidery floss, and pipe cleaners according to the direction they were given – see how I threw a little bit of reading and comprehension into the art activity? They had to write on the name of all the colors they wanted to use at the bottom of the direction sheet using the appropriate color marker – color matching and spelling. The children used a hot glue gun and basic hand sewing skills to make attach the hair and make and affix the clothing – basic handicraft skills that will lead to more advanced sewing and tool use as they age.
You can do homeschooling anywhere. If the SHTF, your child’s academic needs will continue any upheaval. What, how, and how long you teach you child each day may change, but a long-term disaster will not disable your child from learning how to read, write, or add numbers.
In fact, the homeschooled prepper child will most likely be more prepared than many adults in the same community, to function and survive during an emergency scenario. If you decide it is time to move onto the prepper retreat or to buy a survival homestead anywhere in the country, you children will take their schooling on the road with them and be able to continue their studies even if you are living in an off grid cabin or roughing it in a camper while building a new home.
Homeschooled children are not shy, demure social misfits. They can get as much social time with peers as their parents and they desire while still learning at home. If you do not want your child to be involved in public school sports and clubs, there are still a plethora of options for them to mingle with their peers.
- Planned activities with other prepping families and the children of relatives
- Participating in church youth groups
- Joining 4-H, youth law enforcement, firefighter, or military groups, and scouting clubs
- Field trip meet-ups planned through one of the many homeschooling support network at the nationwide, state, or regional level.
- Taking a class or going to a day camp for children and teens at a local college.
- Volunteering at a greenhouse, horse stable, community garden, or earning money from things the children grow and build on the survival homestead at the local farmer’s market or flea markets.
Homeschooling Training and Materials
Many parents unnecessarily believe they do not have what it takes to educate their own children, have the money to homeschool, or know where to start. In at least the vast majority of cases, that is just not so. Once children reach third grade, the amount of constant parental guidance decreases enormously – if the parent so desires.
Mixing technology into the homeschooling routine can help parents who are working with children of varying ages, have one child who is struggling to grasp a skill or can advance faster than other children on the home or prepper homeschooling group – or merely wants to avidly pursue an academic interest.
Homeschooling online and in some areas, even local groups, can help guide new parents through all of the government hoops and curriculum building process – free of charge. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HLSDA) is one of the largest and more comprehensive such groups.
Each state typically has at least one statewide group, but sometimes even regional or country homeschooling groups filled with seasoned homeschooling professionals and volunteers who are eager to share tips, resources, as well as both their successes and failures over the years in an effort to guide newbie homeschooling parents.
Some of the state or regional groups meet once a month to network with parents and often plan not only field trips for homeschooled children of all ages, but run their own sports groups and clubs for the youngsters.
Homeschooling textbooks and workbooks, should you choose to use them, are available in hard copy format, ebook format, or infused in home education software curriculum programs. Educational apps, both specifically for homeschooling and for parents who want their children to play only learning games on electronic devices, are readily available.
Photo: don’t forget about the wee ones who are not yet old enough for school when planning your homeschooling day. They will need to be kept busy and will want to be right in the middle of what the older kids are doing. Auddie just woke up from a nap (hence the wild child hair) and wanted attention and something to do, but mommy was right in the middle of a lesson with other children. The little ones always come running when the colored foam blocks or foam shape blocks come out so they can sort them into designated color bowls or onto color mats. This not quite 2 year old was apparently into the color blue today. These Dollar Tree gems kept little miss thing busy and learning for an entire hour after her nap – making them worth far more than their weight in gold!
Homeschooling may actually wind up saving you money. No longer will you have to spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for a wardrobe of new school clothes, backpacks, 3-ring binders, lab fees, etc. Think outside the box and use white board and chalkboards for the children to use for writing and math classes.
When deliberating over the preparedness budget for the week or month, make sure to work learning materials into the plan. Shopping at the Dollar Tree for multi-packs of dry erase markers, chalk, plain old #2 pencils, erasers, and preschool through third grade learning workbooks, will save you a lot of money on necessary supplies both now and after the SHTF.
Photo: You can put these little posters ($1 for each set of 4 at Dollar Tree) up on the wall to help children learn how to spell color and shape words, or use them as sorting mats.
The Dollar Tree has a great little section of teacher resources that you should make good use of as well. The section usually include colored foam square that can be used for working out math problem, teaching sequencing and patterns, little plastic vials and large plastic tweezers for science exploration, alphabet, color, shape, and weather posters that make great homeschool classroom learning resources, as well.
If you are interested in homeschooling, before you begin it’s important to connect with the resources that are available for homeschoolers. These resources can help you to further determine whether non-traditional schooling is an option for you and which approach will best suit your family’s needs.
State and local homeschool groups
Online Homeschool groups
- Homefires: The Journal of Homeschooling Online
- Homeschool Central-National Directory
- Homechool alumni Reaching Out (HARO)
- The Old Schoolhouse
- Practical Homeschooling
- Home Education Magazine
- Homeschooling Today
- Home School Digest
Know Your State Education Requirements for Record Keeping
Some states will require portfolios that include sample work. Above all, make sure you know what records will and will not be required in your state.
Recordkeeping Resources for Homeschoolers:
- Free Homeschool Deals
- Homeschool Connections
- CHASE SC (Christian Homeschooler’s Association of South Eastern) South Carolina
- The Complete Homeschool Planner and Journal: A 180-Day Record Book for Homeschoolers and Involved Parents by Larry Zafran
Read Up on Homeschooling
I combed through more than ninety pages of Homeschool Books and Resources on Amazon to put together this short list of most popular books:
- Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School by Rebecca Rupp
- The Unhurried Homeschooler: A Simple, Mercifully Short Book on Homeschooling by Durenda Wilson
- 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum
- 100 Write-and-Learn Sign Word Practice Pages by Scholastic Teaching Resources
- 5th Grade U.S. History: Famous US Inventors
- Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie
- Story of the Orchestra: Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music, and the Composers Who Wrote the Music! By Robert Levine
- No-Nonsense Algebra: Part of the Mastering Essential Math Skills Series by Richard W. Fisher
- Natural Disasters, What & Why?: 1st Grade Geography Series by Baby Professor
- Everything You Need to Ace Math in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide by Workman Publishing, Altair Peterson, and Editors of Brain Quest
- Summer Bridge Activities, Grades 1-2
- The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family’s Method to College Ready by Age Twelve by Mona Lisa Harding and Kip Harding
- Getting the Most Out of Your Homeschool This Summer: Learning Just for the Fun of it!
Research Curriculum Choices
As you begin to interact with local and state homeschool groups you will learn the laws and homeschool reporting requirements for your area. You will also begin to learn a lot about the different foundations and approaches to homeschooling. Some homeschool curriculum programs are faith based, some nearly mimic the traditional school curriculum while still others are completely designed by the parents and students.
Here are just a few of the examples of homeschool choices:
- Ambleside Online (36 weeks, completely free but must pay for books or get them free online or in used bookstores, based on whole child education–not just the mind.)
- KONOS written in 1984 by 2 homeschool moms. Each volume $110 or more. Can buy entire 8 years for around $500.00 if bought all at once.
- Calvert Education a fully accredited complete homeschool curriculum that serves as the foundation for learning for kids from Pre-K through grade 12 all over the world.
Virtual or Online Schools
These are non-traditional learning programs, sometimes referred to as “homeschool” which are largely online based programs that use testing for evaluation and documentation of grade level progress.
Homeschool Success Stories:
Although homeschool can be a very non-traditional approach to education, there are hundreds of successful people who have been homeschooled during all or part of their educational career.
Some of these successful and determined homeschool students include:
Christopher Paolini from Los Angeles California. He’s the author of the Inheritance Cycle and the Eragon series. He and his sister were home schooled and he graduated high school at the age of 15 years old.
Bethany Hamilton, is also known as the “Soul Surfer”. A documentary movie was made about her story. She was attacked by a shark and lost her arm and was able to return to surfing. Bethany was home schooled for middle school and then chose to return to public high school.
Corey Cogdell from Alaska is a trap shooter who was homeschooled. In fact, many Olympic athletes are home schooled to allow for their rigorous training schedule. Corey won the Olympic bronze medal for the Women’s Trap event in 2008 and 2016. In the 2007 Pan American Games, Corey also brought home a bronze medal for the Women’s Trap event.
Dakota Root, the Fencing Champion from Las Vegas was homeschooled, earned perfect scores in reading and writing on the SAT test, and was then accepted to top schools including Stanford, Columbia, Cal-Berkeley, Brown, Penn, Duke, and Harvard. She chose Harvard and was a top student and on the elite fencing team.
What Extracurricular Activities Can Homeschoolers Do?
One of the popular arguments against homeschooling when it first began back in the 1980’s was that homeschooled children missed out on participating in extracurricular activities, special events, and team sports or clubs available through the public school system.
Thanks in part to many parents who have advocated for homeschoolers to be included in public school activities, laws in many states have changed so that homeschooled children can participate along with their peers. Even in states where public schools don’t include homeschoolers for extracurricular activities, they can participate in a number of community activities including:
- Rowing teams
- Swim Teams
- Ballet Classes
- Homeschool baseball
- Horseback riding lessons
- Archery teams
- Book clubs
- Sewing classes
- Homeschool drama clubs or community theater
- Piano lessons
- 4-H Club
- Boy or Girls Clubs
- Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts
- Music lessons
What Prepping Skills Can Be Learned?
Since the homeschool schedule is flexible as to what texts and other activities are used to teach concepts such as math, science, language, etc., homesteading and prepping skills can be used as fodder for learning. This makes homeschooling an excellent option for homesteading or prepper families.
For example, a child being taught to bake and cook from scratch will learn fractions as well as how different ingredients interact to create the final product. A child learning foraging and gardening learns how to find or grow their own food, they learn how to identify plants, and other things covered in the standard science curriculum. Learning becomes a bonding experience for parent and child. With the proper adult guidance, all of these types of homesteading chores and preparedness lessons can be turned into “school” lessons.
- Canning and other Food Preservation Methods
- Fishing and Hunting
- Animal husbandry
- Livestock Care and Maintenance
- Building projects
- Security techniques
- Endurance activities
- And many more!
The Homeschool Budget
For those who aren’t careful, homeschooling can cost a fortune. There are many companies in the homeschool market that prey on inexperienced homeschool parents. Compared to the costs of public and private school, homeschooling is a much less expensive alternative.
Before you buy anything, whether it be curriculum or materials, make sure you’ve thoroughly done your research. Many of the resources you need for a good quality homeschool program can be found for free or for very little cost. As a parent, you must make use of the free resources available whenever possible. Utilize online resources, public library resources, virtual libraries, etc. to locate the materials you need to support the homeschool curriculum you choose for your family.
How to Choose the Best Homeschooling Program
- Review and understand the homeschool program goals to ensure they fit with your own needs and goals.
- Do you agree with the principles the program is based upon?
- Who wrote the curriculum and has it been updated recently?
- Does it include hands-on learning activities?
- What portion of the time will be spent on the computer?
- Are children at different grade levels taught together or is every grade separate?
- What kind of support or network is available to parents using your curriculum?
Sometimes the Best Homeschool Program is a blended approach that meets state requirements but suits your child’s learning style best. Lessons can be in various formats including worksheets, craft or art projects, field trips, discussion questions, computer based activities, and hands on discovery activities. Look for short lessons with interactive software or multimedia . Look for a program that provides you with the flexibility to incorporate practical prepping skills and homesteading lessons into the curriculum.
When Homeschooling Goes Awry
- Your kids may experience situations where they are outsiders.
- Other people may judge your decision to homeschool and think you are crazy
- Your child may miss out on some “traditional” field trips and dances
- School is not always fun
- You don’t have free time while your kids are “at school” like other moms.
- Your privacy is very limited since kids are home all day and night.
- Friends and relatives may be quick to blame homeschooling for any of your child’s shortcomings.
- Homeschooling still takes time!
- You will have to seek out social opportunities for your kids and use them as teachable moments
- The responsibility for your child’s education is all on you!
All of these downsides to homeschooling can be alleviated with preparation and advanced planning. The only reason not to do it, is if it doesn’t suit the needs of your child. If you do your research prior to making a commitment to homeschool, you’ll find it a very rewarding experience not only for your child but for the whole family.