Getting started Experienced home schoolers share advice on starting home-based program
A university degree is not required to home school children, parents heard during the Saskatchewan Home Based Educators 2013 convention Feb. 22.
“I’m a truck driver,” said Cory Amendt of Hepburn, Sask., who with his wife, Kathi, have kept their three children at home for the past three years.
The Amendts were part of a parents panel outlining how to get into home schooling.
They had watched friends home school and thought they were crazy at first, but then realized that their kids were their responsibility.
“Whoever said that after four or five years at home that our job as parents is done?” said Cory.
“Of course, it’s an easier decision for the dads to do home schooling,” he said, noting how it’s often the moms who do the formal teaching.
Cory conceded that God challenged them to home school their kids but added there is truth in the adage, train a child in the way they should go and when they are older they won’t depart from it.
Kathi said when they sent their eldest to kindergarten, he would come home dragging his backpack up the driveway, too tired to play with his siblings.
“He wasn’t the boy I sent to school in the mornings,” she said.
At first, Kathi started home schooling with a long list of daily tasks, but she doesn’t get to them every day.
She finds there are valuable lessons in the household and animal chores the three must do on their acreage.
The kids care for the sheep and chickens and also have music lessons. The formal subjects are in the morning with lessons and homework.
The afternoons are for reading, piano practice and chores.
Kathi says she favours courses where she can teach her children from the same page, which has different questions, essays or experiments for each according to their age.
She finds her girls easier to teach because they can sit still and be quiet. Her son sometimes needs to stand by her and get one-on-one urging at the table to finish.
That’s an advantage over formal classrooms where the teacher is dealing with 30 students. She finds boys do better at reading if interested in the subject.
Kathi said juggling roles in housekeeping and teaching get easier as the children age and can help her more.
She suggested home schoolers have a schedule for various activities, lower their housekeeping standards and take 20 minutes during the day for themselves.
“When kids are young, maybe your husband has to be more involved,” she said.
When parents decide to try home schooling, other family members can be critical of the decision.
Socialization is sometimes raised as a concern for home schooled children but she said most people can recall bullying and mean laughter that causes kids to fall silent in school.
Her advice for parents contemplating home schooling is to get advice from a family that is schooling their children at home.