If you’re considering bringing your kids home this year, I’m sure you’re feeling overwhelmed.
It’s difficult to go against the grain, so naturally, we question ourselves.
Even those of us who have been homeschooling for a while now, find ourselves back here once in a while
This post is going to contain some basic information about homeschooling (mostly in Ontario).You can watch my video below to get some of the points I didn’t cover in this post…
Firstly, in Ontario, you’ll need to submit your letter of intent to the school board. This is only required if your child is already enrolled with the board. You can do that right now, you don’t have to wait until September. Go ahead…here is a printable.
You just tackled the one legal requirement to homeschool your child in this province (if you live outside of Ontario, your regulations may be different).
And now you can begin your journey at home together.
But what about the curriculum?
It’s always what every questioning parent asks me next.
This in itself could be a series of posts, so I’ll just dabble in it for today.
As a homeschooling family in Ontario, we still are required to pay our portion of education tax even though we’ve opted to keep our children at home. Some parents may choose to have their children partake in standardized testing, though we have not, and sometimes families will connect with schools for part-time in-class experiences with cooperating schools or for grade-based work, although, most people who are homeschooling are looking for something outside of what the system has to offer.
Luckily, we are not required to follow any curriculum in Ontario. I know this can seem daunting, so I urge you to consider how you learn best? Chances are, you find learning is most enjoyable when you are excited, engaged, and able to relate the lesson immediately to your life. It’s not always possible to create this learning environment from a list we have to check off.
Our daughter is using a curriculum for the first time at 10 this year. Previously, I pieced together elements from various sources to suit her needs and to help her develop a love for reading. Once children can read, they can learn almost anything, if they have the desire, so our earliest years were focused on nature, slow living, crafts, baking, and stories read aloud. I really felt as though an early years curriculum was not a good use of our funds, since I typically struggle to follow through with scheduling, but also because I wanted the creative freedom to give our children content tailored to their interests and for their specific learning styles. I enjoyed piecing it together. Perhaps though, if you find confidence in a plan, you may be more apt to find success with a curriculum. The beauty of this is that it is all a personal choice, woven together because of our values, family culture, and each child’s individual preference. Through homeschooling we have that privilege.
For my own peace of mind, I take a look at the Ontario Curriculum each year to see what other children are learning so that I know if I had to put my kids in school, their home education would have helped them with the transition, but I can easily say, that we typically have surpassed the standardized expectations simply by learning from books we read together, watching documentaries, visiting museums and talented professionals, following our whims, and having interesting conversation together. Learning at home is much simpler than school because it is self-directed, relatable, and it doesn’t involve the management of several other bodies and their emotions, not to mention, if it isn’t working for us today, we just change directions.
And finally, I know you’re wondering about Socialization.
Everyone always is.
It’s what we get asked in the grocery store as they ring our items through and place them in the bag.
It’s what we’re asked at the museum on a Tuesday, and when we sold Girl Guide cookies at noon to our neighbours.
Everyone is curious about how our children will learn to connect and communicate with other people, interestingly enough, while we are connecting and communicating with other people.
We’ve all heard the stories of ‘weird’ homeschoolers and we don’t want our children to resemble anything from those tales…I have a lot to say about the topic of socialization and I’ve included more in my video, which I should add, is one of my first, and like my children, I’m still learning.
When people ask us about socialization, I know what they’re really asking is “how are your kids not going to be weird if they aren’t exposed to kids their own age?” This is a loaded question, since my kids and your kids are already weird.
We all are.
Socialization actually refers to “the process of behaving in an acceptable way in society”.
The way we teach our children about social behaviour is largely going to develop according to what we and those around them model, compounded with our personal values of which parts of society are worth replicating.
So that really means that it’s up to us.
This makes sense to me because I can’t possibly expect a classroom of 8 year olds to teach my 8 year old all of the lessons pertaining to kindness, manners, and respect, and I can’t expect teachers to add more to their plates.
It’s up to us.
When in life will we ever just work with people our age? It’s not a realistic model. We need our children to learn from all ages, to connect and be comfortable with all people, plus there is so much beauty in multigenerational connections.
So, we don’t worry about socializing, unless, of course, we’re doing too much of it.
We’ve made many beautiful connections over the years through homeschooling groups.
We’re so lucky.
This is just a light dusting of common homeschooling questions, so if you have anything else you’d be interested in knowing, please drop a question below.
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