Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Many of you have already read about the Harvard Summit that will discuss regulating home education. This is a disturbing development as we observe a growing agenda by some to increase government oversight of home education. I wanted to take a moment to provide a response from North Carolinians for Home Education.

NCHE supports parents’ rights to raise their children without government oversight. 

The lives and well-being of children are precious. Therefore, national and state laws against abuse and other crimes must be enforced in all American homes. At the same time, parents should be free to raise their children by making their own religious, educational, and medical choices. This, of course, includes the right for parents to homeschool their children in whatever way they see fit. 

The homeschool law in NC is one of the best in the nation, which is why our state is such a great place to homeschool. We believe that any additional oversight of home education by the government would be a compromise of parental rights and the quality of home education.

NCHE is working to protect your right to homeschool in North Carolina.

Our mission is to help parents homeschool with confidence and joy. We do this by protecting your right to homeschool in NC, equipping you with the information and encouragement you need, and connecting you with other families and groups across the state.

Currently, there is no specific threat in NC regarding our freedom to homeschool. Our law and policy director and committee are keeping an eye on any NC legislation that would affect homeschooling in NC. We regularly stay in touch with NC legislators to maintain a good relationship with them and make sure they remain aware of our community. Every other year we host Capital Fest in Raleigh, which allows homeschool families to be informed and engaged in our state government. 

You can help.

You can help keep home education free in NC by partnering with us. You can become a member of NCHE (or extend your membership) by making a donation of any amount (min. $5). If you become a member, then you will receive our weekly email, which will keep you informed of homeschool opportunities and concerns in NC. We will be sure to let you know if it becomes necessary for you to take action. 

In addition, your donation allows us to continue to work to protect our right to homeschool in NC. If you are already a member and would like to make an additional donation, you can do so here. Our next Capital Fest will be next spring (2021), so keep a look out for that information so you can join us in Raleigh to represent home education in NC!

If you have any comments or questions, please leave a comment below or contact me directly at matthew.mcdill@nche.com. Let us know how we can serve you!

– Matthew McDill, March 27, 2020

So many are schooling at home now! Welcome to the family! Some of you are not only helping your kids with school now, but also trying to work from home. I know it must feel challenging and frankly overwhelming at times. While choosing to homeschool is in some ways vastly different than schooling at home due to the virus, let me offer a few tips that might help.

First, if you are a believer, trust that the Lord has you, your family, and this whole situation in His very capable hands. This was not a surprise to Him and just as He is with you in every area of your life, He will enable you to educate your children at home during this time if you ask Him for wisdom and guidance and choose to walk in faith. Remember that through all of this, we are modeling for our children how best to respond to a difficult time. May our children see us trusting Him.

 

Tip #1: It Doesn’t Have to Look Like School

Learning doesn’t only take place at a table or desk. Children learn so much just by living life. Make recipes together, helping them learn about math and fractions (what if we doubled or halved this recipe?). Read books that you have at home on topics that they are interested in. Research things online about subjects they suggest (teaching them as you go on the “how-to” of looking things up). Make blanket forts over your table and snuggle in there while reading with them and talking about what you read about.

Don’t discount the value of kids just playing, imagining, and having downtime with no screens to distract them. Older kids can make videos about things they are learning, or just videos. (Some of my kids loved to team up to do this, recreating Lord of the Rings or something they were reading or watching.) Write letters to those in nursing facilities that are quarantined, family members, or others the Lord brings to mind or the kids come up with. Have children start a diary of their daily experiences and thoughts during the “Great Quarantine of 2020” ? to share with their own kids one day. 

Do things around the house that have been neglected in our busy lives. Teach valuable life skills to your kids in the process of household management – organization, gardening, maintenance, repair, etc. Look up fun experiments you can do at home with household items. Take a hike and observe nature; make a nature notebook. Sleep in, snuggle; and read; stay in your jammies if you want ?. Play in nature whenever possible. Limit screens, live life, breathe, repeat. Really our founding fathers had it right. Get in the 3R’s each day and you are good to go. Much of schooling can be accomplished in daily life especially with younger children. Allow yourself and your kids to have some fun in this new adventure in learning.

 

Tip #2: Temper Your Expectations

Homeschooling by choice is different than schooling at home in a crisis. You don’t have control over the curriculum, pacing, or content. But when possible, can you change the delivery and still accomplish your school’s objectives? Does everything have to be written down or can younger kids dictate to you and you write it down for them to speed the schooling process? Can you read texts with your kids, learning something new yourself? Interacting with your kids and their learning, versus just handing their work to them and asking them to do it, will make the experience more fun for all. Consult your child’s teacher for what is acceptable.

I am just guessing here, but I imagine you may have already noticed by now that being together all the time provides ample opportunity for friction among family members? It’s to be expected. The daily possibility of “rubbing each other the wrong way” provides many opportunities to live out what we learn from God’s Word about how to treat one another and to disciple our kids in the process. For the record, your house will look like people live in it all day and learning is taking place. That’s ok and it’s to be expected; just schedule clean up times periodically in your day and make it another family activity.


Learning with a tabletSo many incredible learning resources are available to families right now! Whether you’ve been homeschooling for ten years or ten minutes, here’s a list of some of our favorites.

My Father’s World
HSLDA has made 2 free digital activity packs available at no charge for all families.

Rainbow Resource
These math, science, language arts, social studies, and preschool activities are sure to be a hit with the whole family.

5 in a Row
5 in a Row is offering a free mini unit and some sweet scavenger hunts.

Konos
Konos is offering free, online video lesson plans and online homeschool mentoring.

Google is offering virtual tours of the most famous art museums on the planet!

YouTube
Take daily art classes with some of your favorite children’s book authors, including Mo Willems when you tune into their YouTube channels.

Disney
The Walt Disney Parks Blog invites you to be their guest as you learn to draw your favorite Disney characters through online tutorials with Disney imagineers.

Demme Learning
Founded by Steve Demme, an NCHE Thrive! Conference featured speaker, Demme Learning is an independent family-owned and operated publishing company based in Pennsylvania and includes these products: Math-U-See, Spelling-U-See, Kindertown, and Building Faith Families. 

Classical U
Classical U is offering 3 weeks free when you use the link above and code: 3weeks.

Andrew Peterson
Beloved author and musician Andrew Peterson is offering a Facebook Live read-along of the WingFeather Saga beginning Friday, March 20.

Institute for Excellence in Writing
If idioms aren’t your jam and hyperbole is the absolute bane of your entire existence, you’ll be glad to see that the Institute for Excellence in Writing is offering free language arts instruction and support for parents.

SPED Homeschool
Parents who are suddenly home with children who have special needs or learning differences will appreciate this post (and online meet-ups for moms!) from SPED Homeschool.

Simple Homeschool
Can education really be this simple? Learn a great way to find your homeschool rhythm (aka, when to do what!) at Simple Homeschool.

HSLDA
HSLDA has started a Facebook community for families, parents, educators, and students who are having to change their education routines due to the coronavirus… because education isn’t a place–it’s an experience that can happen anywhere! 

Playful Learning
Playful Learning is offering free resources PLUS a free webinar on how to create playful spaces in your home. Join them Friday, March 20, from 11am – 12pm EST.

Chess.com
Play chess, solve puzzles, and learn for free every day.

Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com
These two sister websites have fun, free quizzes and short lessons to build your vocabulary and strengthen your knowledge in all things related to language.

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.

1. Research.

Make a list of all of your questions. Most likely, some of them are:

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!

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.