Frequently Asked Questions

 

Getting Started
1. Is homeschooling legal where I live?
2. What about socialization?
3. Can my child succeed academically?
4. Can I do it without a college degree?
5. Do I need to know more than my child?
6. How do I get support?
7. Where do I get materials?
8. How much does it cost?
9. How much time do you spend every day?

Homeschooling thru High School
1. What about high school?
2. Can my child graduate and get into college?
3. What tests should my student take during their college prep years?

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Is homeschooling legal where I live?
If you live in any of the 50 United States, 5 US Terrritories, or any Canadian province homeschooling is legal, though each state/province has its own regulations. Your best resource would be to contact a support group in your area to fully understand your local statute. Homeschool Legal Defense Association has complete information at www.hslda.org.
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What about socialization?
Experienced homeschoolers often joke about "the S word" - Socialization. Though this was a valid concern for most people in the early years of the current homeschooling movement, it has been demonstrated to be a non-issue. Research has shown that most homeschooled students are very capable in a wide spectrum of social situations, participate in a wide variety of activities, and are active participants in their communities. Our experience has found that these students can often better communicate and are more comfortable in social situations with people of all ages since they have more experience interacting outside of a narrow peer range. My daughter said recently that she is so grateful for her homeschool experience because it also taught her how to work through differences with individuals. Her insight was that at school a student chooses their friends and the people that they want to spend time with. However, homeschool students have to be able to work through day to day issues with their siblings and parents rather than having the choice to just "hang out" with someone else. She said that she is now better prepared to be a wife and mother because she didnít learn the pattern of "cut and run" when things werenít smooth in her relationships.
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Can my child succeed academically?
Research has shown that homeschooled students tend to score 30-37 percentiles higher than their public school counterparts on standardized exams (1997 Strengths of Their Own). Many studies have been done and show that this academic success does not significantly change based on race, income of family, educational achievements of parents, or state regulation. More statistical research on homeschooling can be found at the National Home Education Research Institute http://www.nheri.org/.
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Can I do it without a college degree?
Studies have shown that there is no statistical difference between the standardized test scores of students who have a parent with a college degree and those whose parents do not have any degree.
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Do I need to know more than my child?
What a good question! Both Miriam and I have found that one of the greatest joys of homeschooling is learning alongside our children. I would have to say that I have learned more, and loved learning it, as a homeschool mom than during all of my traditional school years even though I was a good student and completed college. This has encouraged my children in many ways. They have seen me model life-long learning, and they have captured my enthusiasm about many subjects and learning in general as we do it together. It is important to choose a curriculum that meets your studentís learning style so that they can actually take in the information being presented. When I have encountered a topic that I feel needs instruction from someone other than me, I utilize Dad, co-op classes, and friends.
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How do I get support?
Having a network of support for your homeschooling journey can be essential. Take the time to find other like minded families in your neighborhood, church, or town. Many statewide homeschool organizations can provide a list of support groups in your area. Most statewide groups also offer information, resources, workshops, and conferences to help you succeed. Heppner's Legacy Homeschool Resources intends to put ministry before business by working with you to find the curriculum and materials that best meet your children(s) needs within your familyís budget.
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Where do I get materials?
One of the best resources that any homeschooling family can utilize is their local library. Most libraries can even be accessed online for easy search and ordering, and many will order resources from other library systems or buy it for yours. Other great places to find information, support, and experiences are local support groups and co-ops as well as field trips in your area. When it comes to acquiring curriculum and other materials for home use, Heppner's Legacy Homeschool Resources not only has a large selection of things in stock, but we can order items from most publishers.
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How much does it cost?
Surveys have shown that homeschool families spend an average of $500 per student, per year. However, many families homeschool on a much smaller budget, and research shows that the amount spent does not determine the success of the student. Also, families that homeschool multiple years for multiple students find that their budgets decrease as they reuse curriculum for younger students.
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How much time do you spend every day?
Many people expect to hear a daily schedule in answer to this question. However, more often than not, flexibility is one of the perks of homeschooling. We have found that homeschooling has become such a part of every day life that I would now answer this question with "24 hours". Though we do take time most days to do more typical book work in math, etc, much of the learning in our home takes place throughout the day. We keep charts and reference books near the kitchen table where dinner conversation often sparks a race to find an answer. Cooking meals becomes not just a life skill, but a math or health lesson. Friday afternoon game day becomes time for critical thinking and problem solving. Time spent out in the yard often turns into a science, gardening, physical education, or structural engineering (fort building) lesson. We have come to understand that so much of real life learning happens unexpectedly and outside of books, that we really do consider our school day to run 24/7.
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What about high school? Yes, you can even homeschool through high school. Not only will your student avoid the negative social pressure often found in the schools, but he will have the time to explore areas of interest in more depth. By the time a student is high school age, they should be able to be much more independent utilizing quality curriculum without as much help from parents. Support for higher academic demands are also available from many sources: *Local co-ops can offer a great opportunity for a classroom experience. This can also help your student to work under instruction from and be accountable to someone ith a different teaching style helping prepare them for college. *Distance Learning is becoming much more available from colleges around the country. Students can often get college credit for these college courses taken during their high school years. Some states even have programs that pay for college credits earned during a studentís junior or senior year. (MN - Postsecondary Enrollment Options "PSEO" WA - Running Start, etc.) *Depending on state regulations, districts may be required to allow a student to attend public school for even just one class. So, he could take a class like chemistry and do all other work at home.
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Can my child graduate and get into college? We have found that as homeschooling comes of age and is more widely accepted, that many colleges actually are recruiting homeschooled students for their school. They have seen that these students are self-disciplined, good communicators, well socialized young adults many of whom also excel in academics. A homeschool transcript is considered by most colleges as valid as one granted by an accredited institution. Any of the Heppner or Bjorkman children that have applied to college have been accepted.
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What tests should my student take during their college prep years? Though none of these tests are required for graduation, the following is a list of tests available for high school students, especially those considering college. Most important is to find out what your college of choice requires or prefers. Contact your local high school or individual test websites to find out the dates that these tests are offered.

PLAN - This test is basically a "pre-ACT" test with an emphasis on career planning. It is offered to students in the fall of their 10th grade year and can be a good introduction to group test taking outside of the home. For more information see http://www.act.org/plan/index.html.

PSAT - This test is a precursor to the SAT test. It is administered in the fall of the Junior year. Scores from this test are used to determine qualified students for the National Merit Scholarship, a prestigious academic ranking often accompanied by scholarships from colleges and corporations. For more information on the PSAT look at http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/about.html. where you will also find a link to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

SAT - The SAT is a standardized test taken by more than 2 million students annually and is accepted by nearly every college considering a student for admission. It consists of tests on critical reading, mathematics, and writing. It is the preferred test for colleges and universities nearer to the East or West coast. It can be taken multiple times, so some students take it first during their junior year in order to have time to improve their scores later. Colleges then consider the highest score achieved by the student. For more information: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/about.html

ACT - The ACT test is also widely accepted by colleges as their entrance exam. It assesses a high school studentís general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The Writing Test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay. It is considered the test of choice at most mid-western colleges. Information can be found at: http://www.act.org/
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