By 8 a.m., Hannah Wright’s household starts to stir; Hannah’s kids trickle out of bed and head to breakfast. This allows her to have one-on-one time with her two homeschoolers, 10-year-old Taylor and 8-year-old Connor. Dillon, 4, and Chloe, 2, aren’t far behind. They continue working until a cooking break about 11 a.m. They have lunch with Dad, who is awake after working nights. Dad leaves for work, and it’s time for more school work. Their school day ends about 5 p.m. It varies once per week when they attend Classical Conversations, and enjoy times of learning, memorization and socialization with the group.
Martha Akin’s 15-year-old daughter Molly hits the ground running by 9 a.m. She may be attending Konos Academy two days per week for science, humanities, and electives. Or she may have class at Coram Deo Classical School one day per week, where she studies math. Or Molly may simply be working at home. She finishes by 3:30 p.m., including time for breaks in between.
For Marcia A. L. Stevenson and her homeschooled sons, Raymond, 16 and Robert, 17, their days start about 10 a.m., and may not end until 10 p.m. They begin with Bible study, followed by classes with Georgia Virtual School. Work continues throughout the day, peppered with frequent breaks, times of rest, running errands, or attending church services. The boys are able to complete work assignments into the evening.
Each family is different. Their approach is unique. And they are a part of a growing trend of parents who’ve decided to take their children’s education into their own hands.
Homeschooling is growing exponentially nationwide. In 1999, approximately 850,000 children were homeschooled, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Fast forward to their latest numbers in 2012, increasing to over 1.7 million homeschooled children.
Why the massive uptick in numbers? Parents may want time to travel without disrupting their child’s education. They may have religious reasons for wanting to teach their children at home. A gifted child can have the freedom to accelerate learning at home, or a child who needs additional time to learn can do so at his own pace. Hannah was homeschooled as a child and loved it; she wanted to do the same for her children. Marcia wanted to hone character development in her boys. Martha felt called to homeschool. And in each case, it has been the right decision for them.
If you’ve entertained thoughts of homeschooling your children, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. There are factors you should consider.
- You will need to devote your energy and time to your child and their schoolwork. “Discipline and dedication is key,” Marcia notes.
- You will be around your children all day. It’s wonderful bonding time, but can also seem overwhelming to some parents.
- You have more responsibility for their social lives. This is especially true in the younger years, with coordinating activities. Keep in mind there are a plethora of socialization opportunities for homeschoolers. Martha loves that most of Molly’s friends are from outside activities, giving her a very active social life.
- Your family may need to make financial adjustments, if the homeschooling parent stops working.
- The great thing about homeschooling is that there are a myriad of options. Whether you want to be the sole teacher for your children, work with a hybrid program where they attend a weekly class, or work alongside another teacher, here are some available choices:
Classical Conversations – This classical education program focuses on the grammar, dialectic and rhetoric phases of learning.
Coram Deo Classical School – Also offering a classical education, Coram Deo provides classes surrounding the three phases of learning.
Georgia Connections Academy – This online public school allows learning in the home environment.
Georgia Cyber Academy – Another online public school, GCA offers an individualized learning experience.
Georgia Virtual School – Online courses are available to homeschool, public and private school students.
Konos Academy – Their classically-rich program gives students a day with teachers and home assignments.
New Generation Academy – NGA merged with Soaring Eagles to provide a traditional co-op experience, with academic classes and social activities
While not a homeschool program, Georgia Home Educators Association (ghea.org) can serve as a valuable resource to give insight into the homeschool experience.
There are pros and cons to deciding to homeschool your child. But taking a chance on a unique opportunity to educate your child can teach both of you lessons for years to come. “I would say if it’s something you’re considering and even if you’re nervous about it, go ahead and try it,” Hannah advises. “If you go for it and it really doesn’t work for you, there’s no harm done. It doesn’t hurt to try.”