Welcome to the Homeschooling Project!
We have a questionnaire that can be filled out written or recorded. The answers will be listed here in order to help anyone who might be new to homeschooling but they don't know where to start. This gives them an idea of what homeschooling is or can be according to families that have been homeschooling for awhile. Feel free to check out the homeschooling questionnaire on my blog page then submit your answers to my gmail. They will be posted here. The more participation we have, the more it can help others . This is an ongoing project, so feel free to add whenever you want. If you are willing, I would also love to interview any homeschoolers. Please contact me via gmail. Thanks so much to everyone who participates, both the teachers and the students and everyone in between.
1. How long have you been homeschooling?
We have homeschooled for almost fifteen years since our oldest daughter was born.
2. What were the reasons you chose to homeschool?
I was doing an online journalism course and decided to interview some homeschooling families and research it. I was living in Holland and I wanted to know more about the homeschooling movement there, the laws around it, and who were the people doing it. I remember feeling incredible admiration for their courage and felt very interested and excited about the things they told me. It was a small step to decide to do a two-year experiment to see how we liked homeschooling. We have never looked back since. That article about homeschooling was the only one I wrote.
3. What were your expectations? Does/did your experience match that expectation?
I was hesitant and unsure of myself. It has totally grown on us. We love homeschooling our kids. They are confident and fun to be around. We love this lifestyle.
4. What was the process you went through of applying for homeschooling? Did you receive permission to homeschool in the mail or otherwise?
We moved to Israel when my oldest was four. We have applied for permission to homeschool and received a letter of approval after the school inspector visited our home.
5. Has the local government been supportive of your family for homeschooling? Give examples of what they have done to help, ignore or hinder your hs experience (either through the application process or afterward)
Yes, we are in contact with the school and have participated in a few activities with them. The local truancy officer has come to visit and has been supportive of our homeschool.
6. Are you a part of a community? Physically or virtually? How much time a week to you spend with various groups? Are these groups related to homeschool, hobby, external learning, or other?
We study music at the conservatory, which is a great community for music learning. We know some other homeschooling families that we occasionally get together with if we have time. We are quite busy just doing our studies and pursuits at home. We have good relationships with our neighbors and friends locally.
7. Do you have any qualifications that would make you better able to teach your kids? Do you feel that someone needs qualifications in order to homeschool their kids?
I studied literature and have always loved the idea of learning about history through literature. This is what we do in our homeschool. (I have been an English high school teacher in the past, but I don’t see any connection between my experience as a teacher and our homeschool. It’s like comparing apples to pears.) Other than being a loving, dedicated parent, I don’t think anybody needs special qualifications to homeschool. Nobody knows your child as you do; that is the only qualification you need.
8. What challenges do you face because of homeschooling? How do you deal with this?
Bureaucracy? Bullying from local government? Time? Focus? Work? Friendships? Social interaction? Income?
It is very time-consuming. I believe that my own socialization is at risk ;). Fortunately, I love spending a lot of time with my children.
9. How do you decide what to teach and when?
Is outdoor and/or physical exercise part of your day? How important is it to you?
I roughly follow a literature-based curriculum. We read a lot of good books! We live next to a nature reserve and love being outdoors. We have a vegetable garden and a solar oven. We value physical exercise - we run, swim or bike almost daily.
10. How do you divide your day? Is it scheduled or spontaneous? Has it evolved over time?
We follow a daily routine. We try to complete certain tasks before a certain time. If we don’t make it that day, we know we can always go back to it the next day. We try to not slide into lazy habits, but make good use of our time. We like being productive and learning together. As I have allowed my kids more responsibility for scheduling their time this year, we have achieved a bit less in terms of workload. However, they have taken more ownership of the work they do, which is a huge step forward.
11. Is it expensive to homeschool? How is the money spent? Learning materials? Activities? Courses? Memberships?
Not so expensive. We mostly spend money on books and after school activities (swimming and conservatory). In my case, the curriculum is free.
12.How much of the responsibility do you give to your kids regarding the household?
Their learning? Finances? Chores?
I try to give them as much responsibility as they can handle. My 12-year-old son has a small business that teaches him a lot about time management and money matters. Since he has shown us that he has trouble getting the required work done, we decided to put him in swimming to develop a bit more self-discipline.
13. How do you combine homeschooling with work (earning an income?) Time? Focus? Energy?
How does homeschooling affect your work? How do you share the responsibility with your spouse/partner?
My husband started teaching them math this year because our friend could not come anymore due to the coronavirus lockdown. It has been really fun for him and for the kids to be working together on something. It has strengthened their relationship (after some initial struggles). He also helps our son with his business. I would like to start a business in the future, so I am working towards more and more independence on the children’s part, so I can free up time to do that.
14. Do you feel you need “alone” or “quiet” time? How do you find time for yourself? Do you pursue your own separate interests?
I get up early and run. I spend a few hours each week studying the materials I require my children to work on. Since the home is peaceful and harmonious, I can find quiet time every afternoon, if I need it. I sometimes take a nap or read quietly.
15. How is the kid’s health? Mentally? Physically?
16. Would you recommend homeschooling to parents who are struggling with their kids or their kid’s school?
They must consider carefully and be willing to invest the time. But yes, I believe it can be a good change.
17 How did corona affect homeschooling? What did you do differently? Was it a positive experience?
We had less pressure to go out and do all the things we do outside of our home. It brought us a lot of rest. We got to know each other better and learned to respect each other’s boundaries more. We became more focused and productive. However, some of us felt lonely and had trouble getting things done.
18. How did your non-homeschooling friends and family react to your decision to homeschool? How has their opinion changed over time?
They were hesitant, but now see the value for our family.
19. How do you see your relationship with your kids? Teenagers?
Good. We have many interesting things to talk about together because of the books we read. We have our individual pursuits and friendships, but also the things we do together. Teenagers are fun when it is clear where the boundaries are and authority is respected. They need enough physical exercise and challenges. We listen to each other and discuss things in a calm and respectful way. Not to say we have not had our challenges, but we have been able to tackle those together and come out stronger on the other end.
20. Do you notice a difference in their behavior, accountability, respect, fortitude, or otherwise from non-homeschooled kids you know?
They are not as sensitive to peer group pressure as other kids I see.
21. Has homeschooling helped with the kid’s interaction with others?
ie. Patience? Tolerance? Competitive attitude? Talking to different age groups? Relationships? Organizational skills?
They have friends from all age groups. They don’t really care how old or young someone is to call them a friend. They are confident and happy. They learn to manage their own time. (This is a great benefit.)
22. How important is TV/ computer time? Do you limit their time? What kind of things do they watch?
I noticed that screen time has a huge influence on their mood and creativity afterward. They are often teary or grumpy after watching cartoons or doing computer games. I can’t explain why; this is just my observation. After limiting it for a time, we have finally decided to eliminate those entertainment choices altogether. When they use an iPad or computer it is mostly to be productive, not to consume.
23. Is creativity important to you? How do you get their creativity flowing? Scheduled activities? Free time? Specific projects? Journaling?
Creativity is part of everyone’s original make-up. Keeping them away from computer- and tv screens, giving them time outdoors and a wide variety of books to read stimulates their creativity.
24. What resources did you find most helpful for homeschooling?
www. amblesideonline.org and Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education (home education series, six volumes)
25. What is your biggest take away from this experience?
It is an amazing experience to homeschool your kids, it creates a family culture that will stay with your family long after the children have finished their school years. If you want to create a solid foundation for good relationships with your children for the rest of your life, homeschooling can just be the right thing for you.
I'll ask my daughter to answer the questions for kids. We'll see if she feels like doing that. ;)
An awesome resource for Jewish Homeschooling
This is my interview with Malkie about her curriculum
Please check it out!!
Malkie Swidler from Ani V'Ami Jewish Homeschooling
Curriculum . Click the link to see the video