Want to see if homeschooling is right for you?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cynthia Duck with the LaPlace branch of the Christian Home Educators in Fellowship (CHEF) sent me a short note, asking that I mention their annual “Jumpstart Meeting.”

This is a chance for any parent who might be considering homeschooling to find out more about it.

CHEF of the River Region will have the meeting on two different dates, giving folks a chance to come to a meeting on Monday, August 4 at the St. John Library in LaPlace, and then on Friday, August 8 at the St. James Library in Lutcher.

Both meetings will be held from 6 to 9 p.m.

Official topics up for discussion will include Louisiana’s laws concerning homeschooling; what curriculum may work best for your family; how to become organized enough to homeschool; and details on CHEF’s Co-Op program. But best of all, there will be men and women there who have homeschool experience, and will answer your questions about anything you need to know.

Refreshments will be served and it is a great opportunity to find out about homeschooling, and whether it is right for you.

Cynthia knew she found a homeschooling friend when I moved into town a little over four years ago, especially when she and a few of the local homeschool parents found out that my wife is a veteran of that game.

Yup, when it comes to homeschooling, I know that I can speak with a pretty good level of experience since my family has homeschooled our children for 19 years, with big number 20 about to start for my wife.

Of course I try to take a little credit, but the fact is I probably deserve about 1 percent of the credit for what has happened, while my wonderful wife deserves all the rest.

We have three daughters who were homeschooled their entire 12 years of school, and we currently have my 12-year-old son who just entered junior high, as he begins the 7th grade this year.

I know I’ve told the story before, but for all you new readers to L’Observateur, I’ll give you the recap.

When our first daughter was about at that “ready to start school” age, we were like most people who had a lot of discussions about what we would do. We considered several options, from public to private, but we also were aware of homeschooling since a number of families in our church were doing it.

So my wife figured she could at least do a year or two with our little Chrissy, and jumped into it with the help of other homeschooling moms, who directed her about getting started.

Neither my wife nor I went to college, and many people are shocked to hear that. But for my wife, homeschooling the kids was like a second chance to go back to school and believe me, she absolutely LOVED teaching the kids at home. There was something about that close relationship with her daughters, and getting to have school at home everyday.

Fortunately my wife was one who took it seriously, and has made sure not to  shortchange the kids. One year turned into two, which turned into six, and then 10, 12, and on and on.

Most people are surprised to know you don’t have to be a certified teacher to homeschool your kids, but be aware that if you take your kids out of school, then try to put them back in, it will be up to the school to test your kids to determine what grade they really are re-entering.

Our girls finished high school, went and took a GED test just so they could have a piece of paper if needed, and two of the three went on to college. One has since graduated from college, and the second is doing great at Middle Tennessee State University. The third daughter just wanted to get married, stay home and have babies, and even she is getting to do what she wanted.

As for my boy, he is doing just fine and loves being homeschooled. If he ever gets out of line, we actually threaten him with putting him in school, and man, you should see him jump.

The thing about homeschooling, as I’ve said many times before, is that it works for some people, but in my opinion, it’s not for most folks.

You have to have a disciplined home to make it work, and unfortunately there isn’t enough of that going around. But if you have a controlled home, then you might find homeschooling something to your liking.

We never imagined we would do it for so long, but it just turned out that way for us, and it worked great.

As for you, if you are considering the idea of homeschooling, the local CHEF meeting is a great way to get more information so you can decide for yourself if it’s something that would work for your family.

Kevin Chiri is Publisher of L’Observateur and can be reached at (985) 652-9545 or at kchiri@bellsouth.net