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Homeschool or online school at home?

As I sort through the many very cool choices that are available to homeschoolers, I struggle with one basic question: do I stick with the online school at home format or let go of my security blanket and dive right into a free for all homeschool curriculum?

I sat with my coffee this morning before the kids were up and found so many fun and engaging things they could do – but we are enrolled in an online public school and it really takes up a lot of their time and energy for structured learning.

I love the online public school for many reasons. I love having the teacher and other resources available. I love that, if I change my mind about homeschooling it would be really easy to put them into a regular school – they are already in one for all intents and purposes. I crave the assessments – knowing I’m not slowing my kids down by homeschooling them lets me sleep at night. The online public school is also easy to explain to non-homeschoolers; “we are schooling at home, just until we find what works for them.”

But all the wonderful unschooling and homeschooling options are so enticing. I signed them up for a Lego course, then I found chesskid.com, and yesterday I was perusing Coursera. Not to mention when they just ‘play’. The other day they made up a new game out of a board game we have, sometimes they invent spells to cast on one another, they build forts, create worlds in Lego, research cool stuff online, make amazing art out of poster boards, clay and toilet rolls. Last week they baked a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread ALL BY THEMSELVES.

Its so hard to know what to do. If we unschool or do our own homeschool curriculum will I miss something critical to their future? Will I at some point, for some currently unknown reason, have a need to put them into a regular school, and will they be at a serious disadvantage because of what we have chosen? Will they be denied the future they choose because they can’t test well?

Sigh. I guess until I can come to terms with the answers to those questions we will continue to do our best to walk the line between homeschooling/unschooling and school at home. In my book Modern Homeschooling I discuss the different types of homeschooling available and attempt to help the reader choose which type is right for them. It looks like I need to go back over that chapter and see if I can help myself.

I would love to hear from other homeschoolers who struggle with this decision. How did you finally make a choice?

Book Cover

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