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Many kids are attending school virtually right now. And, there is no shortage of parents (and kids!) complaining about the online interface, about their kids spending more time in front of a computer screen than they ever did in class, and, sadly, lots of stories about frustration and tears.
I’m here to tell you that it does NOT need to be that way!
We started homeschooling when our daughter (now age 30) was in middle school. She was being bullied relentlessly because she had red hair and freckles. The school promised to take care of the problem but they never did. When we learned that our daughter was being sent daily to a classroom to eat alone at lunchtime to “protect her” from the bullies (rather than isolating the bullies), I went full-on nuclear! We drove to the school and I burst into the office, and raised HOLY HELL. The principal ended up saying, “There’s nothing more we can do to protect your daughter.”
I replied, “GET MY DAUGHTER!”
The pulled her out of class. We walked out the door, and never returned. (Biggest mistake I ever made was not suing the school. A local lawyer said we’d never win. I am certain we would have!)
Anyway, the next day, she was enrolled in a local private Christian school and she LOVED IT!! A few months later, we took her and our son, Frank, out of school, and hit the road in an RV. By that time, I’d research homeschooling and our family had a LOT of fun traveling the country, and learning hands-on instead of just seeing things in books. Why read about Gettysburg when you can GO THERE?!
While Ali and Frank decided to go back to “real school” when they entered high school, we have always only homeschooled Max and Mason. People have always told us how mature and well-spoken they are. I remember a neighbor talking about Mason’s extensive vocabulary when he was just four years old. Of course, we were already homeschooling him by then. She said, “He talks like a little man!” 😉
I’ve written extensively about our homeschooling adventures here in WritersWeekly. What I’m writing about today is how families can escape the local school-sponsored online/virtual learning programs for something far less stressful, far more practical, and probably far more educational. After all, if your child is learning instead of crying or rebelling, that’s a far better educational experience.
Public schools want you to use their system because they get federal money for each student who is “enrolled.” Some schools may lie to parents about true homeschooling, and make them think they don’t have any other options when it comes to virtual learning. That is simply NOT TRUE!
While we started out using Oak Meadow, it was very expensive, and did not offer the flexibility we required with regards to certain lessons (more on that below).
I get nothing at all for telling you about Time4Learning.com. We’ve been using it for several years. We supplement it with a math tutor because, hey, we know our limits! Writers can’t do math! 😉
Time4Learning.com is only $19.95 per month for Kindergarten through 8th grade, and only $30 per month for high school. You are not required to purchase any books at all and the supplies you need (crayons, pens, paper, glue, etc.) are probably already in your home.
Max (age 20) used Time4Learning plus a math tutor his entire K-12 school career and he passed all four GED classes on the first try for each one. He then received a high school diploma from the State of Florida. That was almost two years ago. Max just graduated from welding school with a final grade of 97 and several certifications. He is currently applying for welding jobs in Chattanooga, TN.
Mason starts 10th grade next week. He’s also been using Time4Learning for years and he LOVES it! It’s interactive and it makes learning fun!
Best of all, parents can choose not only which classes their children take, but they can also choose to skip some lessons that they don’t feel their child needs, or that may not match their family’s beliefs/values. And, there is no penalty to the child or their grade for doing so. Best of all, parents can login daily to see how much time their child spent on each lesson, and what grades they received that day. We let Mason “work ahead.” Since his lessons only take around 4-5 hours/day, if he wants to work more each day, he can then take Fridays off for a long weekend. If he wants to work far ahead, he can take a week off if he wants. He loves the freedom of controlling his own schedule and he’s learning excellent organizational skills. He has also developed a very strong work ethic.
Of course, parents can supplement their children’s education in other ways, which is what we do, and there are electives at Time4Learning that cost extra but that are also extremely affordable. Their foreign language program is only $59.95 for 6 months and it’s done through Rosetta Stone. We also take “field trips” for more educational opportunities, and Mason is involved with youth group at church and a local theater. He also works with the production team at church so he has plenty of opportunities for socialization.
Mason really enjoyed his elective, Intro to Communications and Speech, last year. This year, he’ll be taking Concepts in Probability and Statistics, as well as others.
If you and your child are mired down in a boring and/or overbearing curriculum created by your local school district, and if you’re seeing more tears than you are A’s, I encourage you to check out Time4Learning.com. Again, I get nothing at all for mentioning it. I just want you and your child to have the same relaxed, fun, and educational experience with homeschooling that we have! 🙂
If you do sign up for Time4Learning, you may need to register with your local school district (each state has different homeschooling rules/laws) to let them know you are homeschooling. Don’t worry! It’s not hard at all!!
THIS SITE is an excellent resource. Also, there are numerous homeschooling groups on Facebook that can offer advice for your particular state. I encourage you to join several. They’ll all be happy to answer your questions. The homeschooling community is an awesome one! 🙂
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Thanks for posting an article about this topic. I’m in the last year of homeschooling my son, although he’s been enrolled in an independent charter school since 8th grade, so some might not consider that homeschooling. Independent charter schools can be great if you need extra funds to enroll in classes or want to purchase curriculum, but once kids reach high school–at least in my home state of California–they get really nitpicky about meeting certain requirements, some of which are more strict than the state education department’s. But I thank heavens every day that we started homeschooling when my kiddo was a toddler. (We skipped preschool and kindergarten entirely and didn’t start formal schooling until he was in 5th grade.) My child’s transition to Zoom classes was almost seamless because he’d already taken an online college class in 9th grade. I wish more people realized how much educational freedom they have, depending on the state in which they live.