NEWS | April 13, 2011

Homeschooling…a school choice option

By Cicely McCray Joint Base Charleston School Liaison officer

Homeschooling is an educational option that military families are choosing more frequently. Since a typical military family moves every two to four years, homeschooling can provide continuity in education and eliminate the stress of leaving one school district and moving to another.

The goal for the homeschooling parent is to identify how and when their child learns best and to adapt the teaching style to the child. Finding that special curriculum that works best for the child can sometimes be challenging. Also, the costs associated with homeschooling may vary depending on the method and or curriculum selected by the family. Listed below are few examples of the most popular types of homeschooling programs available to families:

Internet Homeschooling: Online curriculum programs, public and private distance learning and homeschooling support academies are available via the internet. Depending upon the program or tutors, expert advice and resources may be found to assist the parent with homeschooling their children.

Montessori Method: The Montessori Method emphasizes error-less learning in which children learn at their own pace to develop their full potential. The Montessori homeschooling curriculum emphasizes beauty and avoids things that are confusing or cluttered. Learning material is kept well-organized and ready to use. Although Montessori materials are available for high school students, most homeschoolers use the Montessori Method for younger children.

School-at-Home: Most families follow the school-at-home approach which comes with textbooks, study schedules, grades and record keeping. School-at-Home is the style most often portrayed in the media because it is easy to understand and can be accompanied by a photo of the children studying around the kitchen table. In addition to being the most expensive method, it also requires much more work on the part of the parent in following a study schedule and maintaining records.

Recently, many states have enacted legislation requiring public school access for homeschoolers. Related services such as speech and language, physical therapy or assistance in traditional academic areas such as math and reading may be available in South Carolina. Parents should check with the individual district.

Helpful websites include:
http://www.hslda.org. (provides homeschool laws by state and homeschool organizations)
http://www.miltaryhomeschool.com
http://www.militaryhomeschoolers.com
http://www.homeschoolcentral.comhttp://www.homeschool.com (lists support groups by geographic areas).

If you have questions about this article or concerns about an educational issue impacting your child, contact Cicely McCray at cicely.mccray@charleston.af.mil or 764-7869.