child writes homeschooling on chalkboard
Homeschooling Changed Our Lives For The Better – Here Are Answers To 7 Questions We Commonly Receive

August 25, 2023

By Adrienne Johnson |

“I have to go to a homeschool event for my grandson this weekend,” my co-worker said. 

“Homeschool? What’s that?” I inquired. 

And that was the beginning of a huge life-changing path. 

My family and I moved to Arizona from NY in the 90s and had not heard of homeschooling. Since I never felt comfortable sending my first born to pre-K and was concerned about his education in grade school, I found this crazy idea of homeschooling very intriguing. Before I knew it, we pulled our son out of public school. My six children have since graduated from homeschooling and those 25 years were a gift from God, a privilege, an honor, and the greatest blessing. 

Homeschooling may seem daunting, because it is. But that’s okay. If your heart is heavy because you’re sending your kids off every day, or you are concerned with the state of education, or you want to be your child’s main source of knowledge and values, then I would venture to say you are up to the challenge. 

Let me address some common concerns and questions.   

Question: “Homeschooling would be a challenge financially for my family. How can I afford it?” 

Answer: It certainly was a financial challenge for my family. We were a two-income family and I had a career, though in retrospect, I really wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. So, we made sacrifices. No vacations, not everyone got braces, sometimes we only had one car, we had a humble home, my husband worked long hours, and we’ve been graced with family support. We also used affordable resources like the public library. We have never regretted the sacrifices because honestly, we found it to be a gift. And now, as of last year, Arizona offers home educators the ability to use funds to educate your children at home through the ESA program, which makes doing so more affordable, especially for families in need.  

Question: “What about socialization?”  

Answer: I’ll be honest: this is a tough one and it will most likely take a great deal of effort on your part to socialize your kids. But let’s take a step back and first realize that having children in a classroom with kids their same age who must be quiet most of the day is not ideal. It is the norm for modern day society, but not ideal. Picture this: going to a park (okay, for this to be pleasant, imagine it’s November or March) once a week with a group of moms, some dads and even grandparents, sitting around chatting with your baby in your lap while your young kids dig in the playground sand, play tag, and climb trees; your older kids are playing board games, listening to music, and chatting. These gatherings are called homeschool park days. Imagine having co-ops (planned learning groups run by homeschool families), book clubs, writing, science, history, project clubs, homeschool theater, music, speech, PE, art, etiquette classes, service, holiday and church activities often with the same families. Many places, like museums, rec centers, and theaters, even have classes just for homeschoolers. There are plenty of homeschool groups to choose from, such as the wonderful Catholic one my family joined a few years ago. There are even homeschool field trips, dances (my kids organized a few), proms, and graduation ceremonies. Can you begin to picture the beautiful bonds and enriching friendships you will form with other families? The life lessons learned and the unique relationships that are formed are priceless.   

Question: “It’s important for children to hear other people’s ideas. How does one achieve this as a homeschooler?”  

Answer: Again, this is a challenge, but not unsurmountable. It is vital that children are exposed to differing views for them to have a well-rounded learning experience. This is best achieved through engaging with other homeschool families and through extracurricular activities. Activities such as book and writing clubs, co-ops, church groups, and park days provide ample opportunities for the sharing of ideas and healthy debate. More than likely your kids will also participate in traditional after school activities like sports or music lessons where they can interact and engage with others.    

Question: “I can’t homeschool. I don’t have the patience, the time, or the skills. How can I homeschool if I am not qualified?”  

Answer: Simply put, you can. Because you love your children, you will find a way to practice patience, make time, utilize the skills you have, and find help with the ones you lack. The resources abound, from science center classes to tutors. As far as time goes, homeschooling generally takes a lot less time per day compared to traditional school, which is wonderful; it allows time for self-study and exploration of subject areas your children are interested in pursuing. My children have studied remarkable things on their own: American history, geology, nutrition, music composition, novel writing, graphic art, coding, politics, quantum physics, and theology! They found their own resources, mentors, and inspiration. And I was able to incorporate lessons on life skills such as personal finance, sewing a button, and how to give a good handshake. You can do this. Pray, lean on your spouse and family, and call a friend for support to get you through the decision process and those tough days.    

Question: “There are so many homeschool resources out there. How do I choose the right curriculum and the right method?”  

Answer: Ugh, I know. This can take a while. I went from a brief, rigid homeschool method to student-directed schooling to unschooling. I would wake up in the middle of the night many times to brainstorm a great new idea or to wonder if I was on the right path. The best thing I can say is to be kind to yourself, read and research, talk to others, and don’t be afraid to change. Most of all, enjoy and love your kids. I have had the greatest joys in my life waking up every day, because really: every day is a learning day. Every day offered the privilege of being with my children and being their primary source of learning (along with my husband). My fondest memories are laying on the floor reading. Reading, discussing, debating. We still do this!  

There are so many homeschool choices from traditional online classes to learning through play. While I never did online work or followed a curriculum, I can say those options work for many families. I preferred learning through play (Lego, blocks, board games, critical thinking activities), exploring the outdoors, projects, reading, discourse, and writing. My family concentrated on rhetoric and logic. Through homeschooling, we were able to focus on virtues that can be incorporated into everything you do with your children, as God intended. Homeschooling is a natural and healthy opportunity to foster your children’s value system throughout their formative years so that they have a sound foundation as they enter the adult world. 

Question: “How can my high schooler get accepted into college?” 

Answer: I had some challenges because I designed my children’s education from scratch and composed their transcripts and diplomas. But as homeschooling became more the norm than when I started, college acceptance became easier. Most colleges have a homeschool applicant path. Many homeschool families choose to get official homeschool transcripts and diplomas through homeschool programs. Some children attend their local community college, get an associate degree, then transfer to a four-year university (though this path may limit the possibility for scholarships). My suggestion is to start the college search early. Get an idea of what your child is most interested in studying, and start researching what the requirements are for homeschool applicants. When the time comes, your child can study for and take any necessary standardized testing, then apply to a couple of “safe” schools that are most likely doable, a couple of dream schools, and a couple of in-between options. Know the deadlines, get recommendation letters if needed, and fill out those applications.  

Question: “But what about…?”

Answer: There are so many questions, right? I highly suggest these helpful resources: 

And guess what? I work with AZ Women of Action and would be happy to talk with you about homeschooling! Pray on it, do some research, join a couple of homeschool groups, and send in the homeschool affidavit. The blessings of homeschooling will bring you and your family priceless experiences and insurmountable joys. Send us an email to get in touch with Adrienne if you have questions about homeschooling your children!

Adrienne Johnson is a mom of six and serves on Arizona Women of Action’s Executive Team. You can find out more about their work here.

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