Should I homeschool my children? More and more parents all over the world are asking this question. Many parents in NC are answering “Yes!” As of the 2018-19 school year, there are over 90,000 homeschool families in North Carolina.
Why do people choose to homeschool? There are many reasons: academic excellence, scheduling flexibility, special needs, and freedom to individualize a student’s pace and interests. Parents also want to remove their children from bullying, unnecessary exposure to immorality, and worldviews that are contrary to those of the parents.
You are the only one who can make the decision to homeschool your children. It is an important choice, so you’ll want to take the time to consider all your options, pray about it, and discuss it with your spouse. Here are three practical steps you can take in your decision making process.
Make a list of all of your questions. Most likely, some of them are:
- What are the laws for homeschooling in NC?
- Do I have to have a degree?
- Who will my children spend time with?
- What curriculum will I use?
- What will I do when I don’t know the subject I’m supposed to teach?
- What kind of support will I find in my area?
In the list above, you’ll find some helpful links to get you started on finding answers to these questions. Then keep digging until you get all the information you need.
2. Talk with experienced homeschoolers.
Plenty of people will have views and opinions about home education. There’s no harm in hearing everyone out, but I recommend paying close attention to experienced homeschool parents. Talking with real homeschoolers might prompt you to ask even more questions:
- What does a normal homeschool day look like?
- How do you take care of little ones while educating the older ones?
- How much does it cost?
- Will my kids be able to go to college?
Keep writing down your questions, doing research, and asking experienced homeschoolers for their perspective. You can also talk with the NCHE liaison in your region.
3. Attend the Thrive! Homeschool Conference.
This year the conference is May 28-30, 2020 at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, NC. We have been equipping, encouraging, and connecting homeschool families through our conference for 35 years. You’ll find:
- Knowledgeable and Inspiring Speakers
- A Huge Vendor Hall
- Fun Teen Activities
- An Engaging Children’s Program
- Encouraging and Inspiring Workshops
- Experienced Mentoring
- An Entertaining Talent Showcase
If you are still deciding about home education, one of the most important aspects of the conference will be the workshops that are especially geared to making this decision and getting started. Another will be the vendor hall, which is full of curriculum, books, and resources. There is also a mentoring table and plenty of experienced homeschoolers all over the place you can talk to.
What is your most pressing homeschool question? Let us know in the comments!
Every night as I lay my head on my pillow to go to sleep, I go through the list. Maybe you do too. Lock the doors, tuck in the kids, charge my phone, security lights are on, dog is settled, I didn’t order the curtain clips! Okay, tomorrow, I will definitely order the clips. Note to self. As soon as I wake up. Order curtain clips. I had done this every night for a week, only to fail to order those clips the very next day.
Then it happened. Like a kaleidoscope, all the components in my day fell into a gloriously laid pattern. I called a friend to ask her about strengthening my core. (A new year’s resolution.) We met for coffee. She said I should consider joining her Facebook group. After I unearthed my Facebook log-in, the first thing that popped up was a homeschool buy/sell/trade group that I followed once upon a time. Low and behold, someone was offering 26 curtain clips… for free!
“This must be old,” I thought.
It wasn’t. I knew the seller and emailed her. She met me at a grocery store the next day.
“I just have to tell you how neat this has been,” I said to the seller. “I work at a church, and we have an art gallery. For January and February, our installation is devoted to mental health awareness and speaking encouragement into the lives of others. I’m using these clips to hang student art. I just can’t thank you enough!”
“Oh, friend,” she said. “I have to tell you something so unbelievably good. Our family is headed for a walk right now because I have to get outside every day this time of year; I suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Have you heard of it?”
I was dumbfounded by God’s timing. His power. His orchestration. His sovereignty. His grace.
“Yes, I have,” I replied.
“Isn’t it just like our God,” she laughed, “to use my old junk to bless others who are so near to my heart? Praise the Lord!”
By being transparent with me about her struggle, the lady inspired me, and we both praised and glorified God. May we never cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to receive the power of Christ because of the human tendency to hide our weaknesses.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Have you decided to homeschool in North Carolina? Great choice! North Carolinians for Home Education is here to help you homeschool with confidence and joy. Learn more about how we can help and how you can become a member!
In order to open your homeschool in NC, you can take these simple steps.
1. Make sure you understand the homeschool law in NC. You can read about it here.
2. Decide when you are going to begin homeschooling. You may open a homeschool anytime between July and April. If you are starting in the fall, do not open your school until July or later.
3. Create a digital copy of your high school or college diploma. The preferred format is PDF, but you may also use image formats.
4. Go to the web page for File an Intent to Operate a Home School in the Division of Non-public Education site. Follow the instructions there to open your homeschool.
5. Look for a confirmation email from the Division of Non-Public Education. Be sure to check your spam folders.
Once you open your homeschool, you are all set until you are done homeschooling all your children. You do not need to reopen each year. When you are done homeschooling, be sure you notify the DNPE that you are closing your homeschool.
Here in North Carolina, the daily temperatures can really fluctuate. I’ve always heard that when there are tank tops and turtlenecks in the same load of laundry, you’re bound to catch a cold. Sure enough, the cold hit our home earlier this week. When I posted a prayer request for my congestion, a homeschool friend and mentor replied, “Go to Michelle! Ask her for some tea!” So I called Michelle, explained the situation, and she invited me to her home.
What struck me when I walked into Michelle’s home was that she had an entire room that was devoted to helping others. I saw a vision board, framed newspaper articles of her friends’ achievements, and a variety of goods for health and well-being. She had the time to invite me over, sit down, and talk with me. She listened and thoughtfully processed what I said. She encouraged me. She was confident in what she knew, and confident that God had called her to use her gifts to help others.
A beautiful home, a devoted husband, loving children, health, peace, and a God-given purpose: most of us would agree that Michelle embodied a woman who has it all—and she has it at HOME. As I left with my tea, I really left with so much MORE than tea. For my entire drive home, I felt peace. It was peace that had been imparted to me through having been in her peaceful company. I felt so grateful to God for showing me someone who embodied His peace. What an amazing thought it is that we, as home educators, might have the ability to bring peace into this world simply by having access to the Prince of Peace and the time to invite others into our homes.