Hi, my name is Paula and I homeschool my 3 kids. Many times, when I share that fact it’s met with, “Oh, I could never homeschool my kids!” Can I tell you something? About 90% of those of us homeschooling once said the exact same thing. Including me. But, for as many different reasons as there are families homeschooling, we have found ourselves along this path of home education and we love how it works for our families. So, if you find yourself thinking about the possibility of homeschooling, let me share 4 things you need to know.
1. Your kids will not lack for social opportunities. Very often the next thing I hear (after, “I could never do that!”) is “How do you socialize your kids?” If I giggle when you ask that, please know that I mean NO disrespect. It’s just that there are so many social opportunities for homeschoolers these days that often the hardest decision I make each year is what are we NOT going to do. From sports clubs to dance groups, field trip groups to special discounted days at everything from art museums to climbing gyms, the opportunities to get homeschool kids together with other homeschool kids abound. As do the opportunities to volunteer at non-profit organizations, hang out with relatives, and participate in non-homeschool extra-curriculars.
2. Also, you don’t have to be alone in academics. Not only are there TONS of extra-curricular opportunities, there are so many hybrid school options for homeschoolers it can be mind boggling. There are multi-day programs which function a lot like part-time (more affordable) private schools, laid back co-ops that allow your kids to choose classes based on their needs and interests, and everything in between. These programs provide support for both the kids and parents and can take some of the guesswork out of choosing curriculum and planning lessons. And why are there so many options for homeschoolers in Georgia? Because….
3. Georgia is an extremely homeschool-friendly state. If you are reading this from another state, you will definitely need to look into your state’s requirements. But I can tell you, that, in Georgia, the process is very simple. We submit a letter of intent to homeschool to the state Department of Education each year, keep attendance records, and give our kids a standardized test every 3 years. If they are college bound, high school brings a few more requirements, but they are not overly burdensome. And if you need help navigating, there are folks in the homeschool community who can help.
4. Finally, you CAN do it. In addition to saying we’d never do this, the other thing most homeschool parents have done is question whether or not we have what it takes to educate our kids. How will I teach them to read? What if they hate writing? What about calculus? Trust me, we’ve all wondered the same things. But hopefully, you’ve seen here that the community of homeschoolers is big and it is resourceful. There are now an estimated 50,000 homeschool students in Georgia and 1.7 million homeschoolers in the United States. If we can do it, you can too. If you’re thinking about homeschooling, just ask someone who does!