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  1. #1

    Default Potential new homeschooler - would love to hear your thoughts

    Hello All,

    I am completely new to this site and forum. I found this site after sifting through site after site and book after book of religious-based homeschooling. Was beginning to think non-religious homeschooling didn't exist! So glad I found this site and all of you.

    Here's the 4-1-1 on me/us. I have three kids, ages 14 (9th), 13 (7th) and 10 (5th). We live in N. California. All three of my kids went to the local elementary school, which was considered the "best" school in a city with a really low bar. It was fine. They learned to read and write and do some math. By 4th/5th grade, they started to lose interest and get bored. My oldest, who marches to his own drummer and is quirky, was teased relentlessly for reading all the time. Eventually, he decided books were nicer than people. When it came time for middle school, the public school choices in our city are a disaster and given the earlier teasing, we knew social fit mattered for him. We opted for the best private school in the area. At first, we liked it. He finally found his people and has made lasting friendships. He was challenged and the curriculum seemed fine. The transition to 6th grade wasn't easy though. Like drinking from a firehose with all the homework. My oldest struggles mightily with a complete lack of executive functioning skills as well, so it's been baby steps. What was hard on me was watching him "adapt" to his new life as a middle schooler. Watching him do homework as his siblings played outside was like physically watching his childhood slip away. The time he used to have for reading and art and all the other things he loved to do, was no more.

    Enter 9th grade where we find ourselves at yet another huge transition year. Before the holiday break, he wrote a sonnet for his English class and asked if I wanted to read it. I did and could barely keep it together. To paraphrase, it said something like, "Once there was a little boy so full of wonder about the world. He played outside and explored. But as time has passed, all he hears is the sound of ticking clocks. That he wants to get that boy back, but doesn't know how".

    That sonnet is what started us on the path of looking for alternatives. While his private school is the best in our area and one of the best in the country, it is clear to me that it is sucking the life blood out of him. It is another treadmill, educating kids to get into prestigious colleges so they can graduate to doing jobs they hate. He is forced to learn things he has no interest in, etc. We've begun having conversations with him about transitioning for 10th grade and he is on board. I, however, feel overwhelmed having never done this before. I am well-educated and very capable, but this is BIG! Where do I even start? What about state requirements, community college credits, online courses, etc. I feel like the Christians have a tight group to get their info from, but I feel kind of alone in the secular world.

    I'm sure all my questions are answered somewhere on this forum, but I'm not sure I have the time to sift through it all. Any thoughts, advice or just reassuring pats on the shoulder would all be welcome.

    Thanks for listening.

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  3. #2


    I guess my first question is will you be homeschooling only the oldest, or all three?

    Research the laws in CA first. Alexsmom on here will know far more about them than I do.

    Talk with your son about what he may want to use his education for--learn a trade, go on to university, military, apprentice, etc. Since he's already in high school, knowing that may dictate a lot of what you plan for.

    Make sure something during his school day is something HE wants to learn, especially based on his writing,"Once there was a little boy so full of wonder about the world. He played outside and explored. But as time has passed, all he hears is the sound of ticking clocks. That he wants to get that boy back, but doesn't know how".

    I agree, there is a TON of info out there. Do not get overwhelmed. You don't have to plan all of high school today, this week, or even this year.

    Talk with your son about HOW he learns best (I suspect reading based on what you wrote, but it doesn't have to be), and what he wants to learn. Start with one or two subjects, then add others after you figure those out.

    Many of us on here have/had kids who did college credit as high schoolers. That is definitely an option. The process differs by state and university, but many things are consistent. Some of us have also had kids graduate from homeschool and enroll in college full time. ( daughter graduates from university in just 4 months!!) Just ask your questions.

    One more there a reason you're waiting until next year to start? Is it to complete the high school credits he's already partially through?

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  4. #3


    Hi Carol,

    Thanks for your reply. All good questions.

    To answer, we’re thibking of starting with just the oldest. It’s too overwhelming for me to think about the others at the same time and he’s the one I feel is crying for help right now.

    I guess we were thinking of waiting until next year because it’s a clean break. Plus, we’ve already paid for the whole year of private school and to get any back, we’d have to go through the whole insurance claim filing - something I’d rather avoid, if possible. I also feel like, for me, I need the time to get my ducks in a row and research. Not ready to jump in just yet.

    I think my son learns best by doing. He doesn’t get a lot of opportunity to do project based learning, but has said when he does and it’s something that interests him, he does a deep dive and a bang up job.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    Feb 2012


    Hello and welcome!

    Seconding what Carol said. First research the laws and options in CA. I would also add that you might want to talk to him about what would make this last semester at school more do-able for him. Can he skip some of the homework (even if it means a grade hit), miss a day here and there so he can get a long weekend? Would he enjoy spending some time researching groups or classes he may want to take once he comes home?
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

  6. #5


    As a Californian, you have two easy homeschooling routes. You can fill out a form stating that you promise to educate your kid... or you can join a public charter (home)school, which will give him a WASC accredited diploma, will pay for your curriculum, provide endless emotional support and advice, offer enrichment (and sometimes core classes), and give field trips, social clubs, and opportunities to get to interact with other parents and students.
    Clearly, I have a little bias here. (Im with a charter, and I choose my curriculum and subjects, get my little ones therapies and music lessons paid for, and still take vacations when I want (during the school year). In exchange, I promise to teach my kids and turn in attendance logs monthly, and a work sample every other month. To me its worth it.) If youre interested in chartering, google for “public homeschool charter (your county)” and ignore the K12 and other crap ads at the top of the results.
    Here is a site Ive found helpful. Youre allowed to enroll in your county and any adjacent counties. Interview a lot of them, find the ones that will serve you best. Theyre not all the same. California Directory of Charter Schools with Home Study Programs -

    Thats my California answer.

    One thing to consider, that we see a lot as a classic homeschooling mistake, is to spend a lot of money on a curriculum that isnt working, then not want to stop using it *because it cost so much*. This is an exaggeration, but your son is crying out to you that he feels trapped and wants to escape. You believe its credible, not something said lightly or in whimsy. So, you reply “We paid a lot of money for this cage, and it would be a hassle to get some of it back. Stay miserable for another 6 months, we need to get our money’s worth.”
    Right now is right around a semester break, isnt it? If it’s two weeks to finish the semester, ask him to stick it out. If the semester started a week ago, end the misery now.
    Getting started with homeschooling isnt a huge endeavor. New homeschoolers are recommended to ease into it gently, to get to know their kids, to experiment with how things will work when there isnt a pile of work to get stressed over. Not to mention, to let the kid get over the stressful, unhappy environment they came from.
    The regulars here can hold your hand through everything, dont hesitate on homeschooling because you dont feel prepared. *hugs*
    If you want help sorting out your issues regarding homeschooling, or want to know how it goes, or whats good or bad, feel free to ask!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  7. #6


    Everyone has offered a lot of good suggestions and questions.

    Since he likes to learn his own way, but you are looking for a framework, you might want to consider Global Village School. For high school they have lots of options, including creating your own classes. They are a private school so they do issue a diploma upon graduation. We have been using it for elementary and will be using it for middle school.

    While you can do high school on your own, I like the options they have for us.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 12-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

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Potential new homeschooler - would love to hear your thoughts