For centuries, parents have imparted wisdom and much needed knowledge about life to their children. In rural areas, parents were the only people available to provide youngsters with any type of formal education. In the 1970s and 1980s, events occurring in public school systems across the country influenced parents to resume the role of educator. Today, for various reasons, many families prefer teaching their children at home.
Where to Begin
Parents must make themselves familiar with the home schooling laws in the state of Mississippi. State law requires that children aged 6 to 17 regularly attend public, private or home schools. Starting a school year requires that parents fill out a Certificate of Enrollment and submit the document to a local county school attendance officer before September 15. A document must be submitted for each school-aged child.
Parents need not have advanced degrees or prior teaching experience in order to homeschool their children. Today, there are an immense amount of resources and education tools available to families regardless of financial restrictions. The Mississsippi Home Educators Association works to assist and equip parents desiring to homeschool their youngsters. The Homeschool Mom is another site based in Mississippi. At both locations, parents have access to a wealth of knowledge that covers everything from how to make lesson plans, recommended curriculum options and answers to common questions. The websites also feature articles and blogs written by parents who have been homeshooling for decades and who provide guidance every step of the way.
Styles of Homeschooling
While many may equate homeschooling with teaching children reading, writing and arithmetic using textbooks and other traditional tools, there are actually many different types of styles that parents use. Examples include the Charlotte Mason method that uses books about real people and exciting stories that capture a child's attention and create a willingness to learn. Children are also introduced to art, music, poetry and great literature. The Waldorf method takes a holistic liberal arts approach that covers topics designed to enrich mind, body and spirit. Computer-based curriculum exchanges textbooks for online courses or programs available on CD-ROM. The Eclectic method refers to curriculum based on a number of different educational models that have been individually adapted as parents desire.
When making the decision to homeschool, parents may fear that they are trudging into unknown territory all alone. However, in addition to online resources, there are probably a number of home school families within each community that serve as a resource for one another. The families often form co-ops or support groups that also often combine efforts to provide children with socialization opportunities through various physical activities or group field trips. Groups additionally commonly host educational learning fairs, dances or other events.