How We HomeSchool
When HomeSchooling is mentioned various images may come to mind. Different families approach HomeSchool in different ways, but we all have the same desire to see our children succeed. Each HomeSchool’s operation may also vary due to the age and needs of the children. Ours is very much interwoven with our community.
While much of our coursework is done in the convenience of our home, our children regularly benefit from being connected to the community around us, which enhances our HomeSchool experience. In a way, you can say part of our HomeSchool experience is outsourced to community members who are more prepared to provide different portions of the education that our children need. This is done without diluting our HomeSchool way of life.
What home school looks like for us!
1) In our home state of Florida, families desiring to home school must either register as a home education program with the local school district, or a private tutor, or a non-traditional private school. We choose the latter. Although, when we first began with CJ’s first grade year, we originally submitted a notice of intent to the district for home education. The district required us to keep a contemporaneous log of academic activities performed for school and submit an annual evaluation. In the second year we switched to the non-traditional private school umbrella and have remained to this present day. We are registered under HomeLife Academy, which is classified as a non-traditional private school. HLA provides an online account where we submit our education plan, receive student and teacher ID, and input our student’s grades. It is our hub for school records. We also have access to school counselors for advice to help us select curriculum as well as being a good sounding board for the issues that arise. We also registered with Florida Parent Educator’s Association, which is our advocate for HomeSchool Families that help safeguard our legal right to HomeSchool. They also provide an annual FPEA Convention which is full of resources. Thousands of home schooling families attend. See the video to get an idea.
2) Off Campus: Connection to my local church has provided additional resources that benefit my children and me. Once a week I attend a women’s Bible class at my local church. Infants and preschool children attend child care while school-age children, such as my 9 and 6 year olds participate in a mission’s class taught by volunteers who are members of the church. There, they learn about other cultures such China, India and Egypt , just to name a few. They often create crafts that depict the culture of each country and they learn social responsibility and Christian values. It is a great character builder for my boys as it allows them to see how other countries carry out their daily lives.
You can often find us off campus as well visiting one of the nature gardens in Orlando. Sometimes we meet with other homeschool moms and children making it a group event. Other off campus activities have included meet-ups organized by other homeschoolers, some of which I originally connected with online. One of the most recent activity involved a “Back Stage Tour and Party” at a local Chick-Fil-A hosted by The Happy Housewife.
The children were able to try out the new healthy children’s menu option and I got to try the chicken tortilla salad. After that, we were able to tour the kitchen and learn about all that Chick-Fil-A goes through to prepare a meal. The children were amazed to see how many fresh lemons it took to make their famous lemonade. The food storage was very organized and the kitchen was clean. The day ended with each child making their own soft serve ice-cream cone from the machine.
One additional element of our off campus activity includes sports. Upward is a nationally recognized organization that is the world’s largest sports league for children. They offer leagues for Flag Football, Basketball, Soccer, and Cheerleading. Our children only participate in UpwardSoccer, but it provides a great sport experience and healthy competition for them. We also have one other amenity going for us and that is, access to an afterschool program once a week. Since my husband serves as Director, we are able to visit there once a week. While I volunteer as a mentor for a student, my sons get to socialize with some of the other students who attend the program.
3) There are also members of the community that come to our home to deliver services to my HomeSchool. I have some local friends who are state certified teachers who lend me their ear and expertise from time to time. This helps me stay on track with our end result. One of my best friends visits us every week to provide music lessons to my 9 year old. My younger two are benefiting indirectly, but in the upcoming season we may have to pull them center stage and invest in them more. For now, my oldest receives guitar lessons. He can tune his guitar, play chords, notes and identify different parts of his instrument. He just recently attended and played at his first recital. I’m ecstatic!
There are many ways to embark on your HomeSchool journey and it is likely to change as you travel down the road. I hope what I have shared will spark some ideas on how to personalize your HomeSchool and provide the best experience for your family.