Homeschooling Doesn’t Have to be Public School at Home

Homeschooling Doesn't Have to Be Public School at Home

“Homeschool” doesn’t need to be the public school modeled at home. It just needs to be what works for you and your kids. If you are new to homeschooling {or even if you are not}, please let me explain.

I’ve been hearing a lot of new-to-homeschooling moms say that they have to stick to the “state guidelines” when it comes to homeschooling their kids. I mean no disrespect, but this just is not true. Yes, you need to make sure you know what your state “laws” are for homeschooling. However, guidelines and laws are two different things. If you don’t already know your state’s “homeschooling laws”, be sure to check them out HERE {thanks to HSLDA}.

If you believe that state guidelines say you “have” to teach your kids Calculus in the 10th grade -and you’re up for that challenge -then by all means go right ahead. But let me make something clear, for those who don’t know, it’s not a necessity to do this. It’s merely an option.

My now 10th grader has completed Algebra 1. By completed, I mean that by public school standards she has passed the class. By my standard… well, let’s just say that our standards are not the same as any public school. Having two math smart parents this is a tough thing to swallow. And, although we’ve tried several times {my husband and I both were math tutors in college}, she will not be repeating this subject anytime soon or any further secondary math curriculum or classes beyond some essential life-skills math.

Before you *gasp* and say I’m short changing her or argue that she won’t be ready for the world, tell me how much math do you remember past Algebra 1? Some people can. My husband who works with math everyday at his job can, but most people don’t use math beyond middle school math in their adult life. {I’ve done the research to back this claim; feel free to do your own. Plus, why do most colleges offer 099 Math classes??}

Everyone’s definition of “homeschool” looks very different.

The way I homeschool my kids may look different from how you homeschool yours. My kids struggled at handwriting; they’re both lefties. I think it’s very important that my kids have legible handwriting. I think it’s important for my kids have a wide vocabulary – including knowing words and their meanings, of words with more then 5 letters, so we use a vocabulary curriculum, but I don’t teach “Language Arts” or “English”.

I think it’s important for my kids to know and learn Bible history and mainly know how to defend their Christian Worldview. You may believe other subjects and/or learning options are more important than what I believe. And that’s okay. We can all have different reasons for why we think certain things are important. We don’t have to all have the same methodology, to all be called “homeschoolers.”

Comparing ourselves to others, whether they’re home schooled or public schooled families,  just doesn’t work. We certainly don’t have to adhere to the public school standards and requirements to be a success. The public school model is for 30 plus students of the same age, all learning the same topics, all at the same pace. Homeschooling allows for a more individualized path – one that can be made different for each and every child. Personally, I think this is wonderful and a great reason to homeschool.

But no child is being left behind in homeschool!

Kids are prepared for college {some already have completed college}, prepared for life, getting jobs, and/or everything else that God has in store for them. We all have the right to be unique… our kids are unique… obviously we may all have unique ways in which to teach our children or how we “do” homeschool. That is something to be celebrated… not condemned.

If you are new to homeschooling, know there is no right or wrong way to homeschool.  You don’t have to follow the public school model if you don’t want to. Pray that God gives you the guidance to bring out the gifts that each of your children were given by their Creator. Help Him to make sure your kids stay on their God given path, no matter where that leads or what it looks like to the outside world. {Considering pulling a child out of school? Check out some helpful tips.}

Those of us who’ve been around for a year or two and have walked down the path of trial and error,  we can only share our own journey with new homeschoolers. Each one of us will look very different. Each parent will know what is best for their own child.  We want to allow everyone the ability to figure out what is the best path for their homeschoooling journey – just like most of us have done for ourselves.



  1. As I’ve settled into homeschooling, things have started to look very different than I thought they would. I’m not looking at state standards, or anybody else’s but our own. My standard is: you do your best and progress in whatever way makes sense for you, kid!

    The only downside is when the end of the year comes and my kid has no idea how to take the standardized test required of us. He tests poorly. I’m actually proud of that. You see, I know that he knows what he can know, and not a lot of what he has actually learned is on that test. We’ve had discussions about surface area, displacement, chicken reproduction (does public school teach the word “cloaca” to third graders? I think not! Even if they do, I’m pretty sure our discussion was way, way beyond what you get in ps.), ratios and scaling, law and philosophy, and I’m sure much more that I’m not remembering.

    That’s all just in the past WEEK! But a standardized test has my child sitting at a desk filling in bubbles answering stupid “comprehension” questions that expect him to read and care what some imaginary kid thinks of her cat. Poor kid can’t even keep track of which bubble goes with which number on the test. Ended up with ok scores, but I know that if he were trained properly, he’d have done much better. Thank God he is not trained properly. Bubbles can come later. We prefer blowing them to shading them with a #2 pencil.

    My oldest made muffins for breakfast yesterday, following the directions and reading fluently on his own as he did so. My little ones do chores every day instead of having a janitor do it for them, thus giving the impression that people shouldn’t have to clean up their own messes. We sing songs that are relevant to what we’re thinking and feeling, rather than to whatever a pre-designed curriculum says we must cover this year. We read what is relevant to our thinking and doings. We are LEARNING. Schooling? Not so much!

    • I totally agree. Our days look much the same… filled with Bible learning History, Geography, Worldview, and building our solid foundation on His Rock… not to mention cooking, cleaning, and learning proper habits. We are not learning about matter, how to spell “foundation”, or memorizing all the gods in Greek Mythology.

      I love that we all can create the best learning experience for each of our children. My son loves to learn about animals and History. Ask him dates and names from any American War. Ask him Scientific names and information about many animals… habitats, Biomes, and the way God created them unique and similar… he knows {I didn’t!}. Why? Because he loves to learn. And when kids love to learn… they teach themselves!

  2. Thanks for this post! This is something that I have been talking about with my Mom, and with my husband. We live in a state where there are lots of requirements for homeschoolers. There are lots of things we have to do, but even within that, there is lots of freedom. I get to set the pace, schedule, curriculum. I have to demonstrate at the end of the year that my child has progressed. But as a former homeschool student, and new homeschool mom, I know that lots of things “count!” Wrote a paper for history? That counts for history, and for english! Rode your bikes to the Library, to get books for said paper? Gym! Life isn’t placed neatly into 45 minute chunks of time. And homeschooling doesn’t need to be school, at home. Let life be a teacher.

    And Kudos to you on knowing your kids, their limits and what is important for them!

  3. We have been on this homeschooling journey for a year now and honestly….I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing. We have tried different things from trying to use his workbooks that he had when I pulled him out of school to finding some unit studies and using library books to read up on those ideas. He is more interested in playing military and building with his legos. Although he has gotten bitten by the reading bug which I am very proud of! Most people I talk to don’t understand what we are doing…really I guess that is ok because I don’t know either. I am constantly in prayer about this school thing because I want him to be different and follow the path that God has for him…not the one that has been forced on him by man. Just praying that God works everything out if he wants us to continue to homeschool in the future. Appreciate your thoughts!

  4. Amen, Jen! I would daresay that homeschool should NOT look like public school most of the time; if that’s the aim, why not just send them there? Instead, as you so brilliantly described, we have freedom…to individualize and meet our kids’ real needs.

    The other thing worth emphasizing is the difference between public school rules/laws and homeschool law. There is NO reason to worry about anything the public schools do when we homeschool; we need to comply with our state’s homeschool law – and set things up for each child’s individual path to a productive adult life – but the public school law is absolutely irrelevant. It should be summarily dismissed the moment we know we’re called to homeschool.

  5. Great post! I couldn’t agree more. Of course it took us almost 6 years to get to this point of thinking. All our children have strengths and weaknesses. We also will not go further than Algebra 1 or maybe Geometry in math because our daughter is just not a math kid. This doesn’t make her better or less of a person because of it. I have never used higher math as an adult in work or personl life. Thanks for your inspiring and encouraging words.

  6. Hi, ladies! How refreshing to hear your thoughts that reflect FREEDOM in your homeschool choices!!! I very much agree with Tina: “I would daresay that homeschool should NOT look like public school most of the time; if that’s the aim, why not just send them there?” Amen!!! Of course, even if you completely do “school at home” but don’t send them to school, you have the huge advantage of not having the influence of the public school environment and kids, plus you can personalize it for your own kids. However, walking in freedom is much better!!! For those who DO live in a state with lots of regulations, my book, Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la may come in handy as it helps you organize and “translate” the real-life learning your children do into a format the schools “understand.” It also helps those new to homeschooling (especially at the high school level) start thinking ~ and GET ~ outside the box! … Allow me to introduce myself… I’m Barb Shelton, and we homeschooled from start (1982) to finish (2006) ending only because our youngest graduated from our homeschool! I speak around the country ( and have written 8 books for homeschoolers that help them get God’s view of “true education” for their own families. … You may not have heard of me because, with a message that’s not mainstream (most homeschoolers are just looking for curriculum), it’s much harder (and very expensive) to get word out, so I just do it here ‘n’ there, other than the speaking engagements I get. (I’m the first speaker that scrolls through on this page: (at least as of 10-1-13)

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