Another homeschooling question and my answer, thought I'd share because others have asked similar questions.
"Thanks for all the great info! Your kids are doing such great things. I wish all children could experience pursuing their interests to their hearts delight, it sounds wonderful! I think one of my biggest fears is failing to teach them things that they will need to know when they go to college. I have also heard that it is difficult for homeschoolers to get into major universities. I know that this is changing as it becomes more the norm, and schools and employers are seeing home schooled young adults as great assets to their schools/companies. If you don't mind me asking, what are your plans for getting your children into college? Will you have them take an SAT or any exams when they approach "high school graduation"?
All of the programs you describe sound wonderful, but I fear living out here in Plumas Lake I will have to do a lot of driving to offer my kids these kinds of activities. You sound like you have a lot of neat "supplies". Do you go through a charter school and where do you order most of your materials from?
One other thing I wonder about is how well I will be at committing so much time to now educating my children on my own. I know it can only benefit them and me but with how I can't seem to get done all the things I would like to get done in a day...it's intimidating to think of spending 3 hours a day sitting down and teaching the children. It sounds like your kids are a bit self-motivated. Is that their ages or just because they've been doing it so long?"
I think you are right to be concerned about preparing them for college. One thing many parents are doing is taking a few community college classes with their students when they are still at home, at 15, 16 or 17 to help them prepare. You can also do a few college prep classes within a charter school or just teach them to take good notes on Sacrament talks and how to pass clep and SAT tests.
As far as Universities accepting homeschooled students, I don’t think that is an issue anymore. BYU, Yale, Harvard, William and Mary etc. all have homeschool submission departments. They want to see portfolio’s of the students’ work and test scores along with lists of areas they have studied. Of course, if you go with a charter school you will have a regular diploma, so it won’t really matter-the college won’t even know the students were taught at home unless they research the type of public school. If you do a private school affidavit then you will also issue a diploma just from a private school.
I completed my AA at a local college, then got my BA from Ashford University and am almost done with my teaching credential from Rio Salado, none of these are top schools, but I was never once asked about being homeschooled in high school, they all just wanted to see if I could pass their entrance exams. It was honestly never an issue. We may do something similar for the kids. We may have them stay home for their AA’s (Kevin really wants these completed before their missions), clepping out of part of it and then transfer to a University after that (when they get home from their missions). Also the charter schools will pay for any college you want to do before the student is 18, which may be a benefit in saving for the university. If the SAT is still used to evaluate students I will have them take it, it is being called into question by many universities right now, so we’ll see what happens with it in 10 years.
I am with a charter school. I completely understand the issue of accepting money from the government and allowing them into your home to dictate how the child is educated, because that is why so many of us pulled our kids out of school. But I have decided for me that the pros outweigh the cons, mostly because I will be done with my teaching credential and intend to be a supervising teacher with one of the charter schools=). That way I can still control a lot of it and make money helping other people set up their homeschools, which I totally love to do. I also have three school aged kids and get $4500 a year from the school towards supplies and classes, that is a lot of fun products and activities. I am with South Sutter, so there are hundreds of places we can purchase. Rainbow Resource is the cheapest and largest. Others are here http://www.sscs.cc/search/search_vendors.php.
As far as activities in your area. There is a large very active and very supportive homeschool group up there. They are awesome and I so miss them. Some of the moms do classes and they have weekly park days with about fifty kids. They do public speaking activities regularly and they have a lot of ideas. You can find more info on them here http://homeschool.meetup.com/532/ . They also do regular field trips and art classes at the library. Many of them also joined the gym in Marysville which offers two homeschool sports days a week for the kids and is paid for by the charter school. Others are in the youngstersinc gymnastics which is in Yuba City. There is also swimming, drama, horseback riding, golf, tennis, voice and piano in your area that is paid for by the charter schools. Once you get hooked up with the group you will find more activities locally than you will really want to do.
As far as the time thing, I am not going to lie. It does take a lot of time in the beginning. At this point I can get away with a lot less, but I really worked on my older kids independence from me in their studies, because I knew I would be student teaching this year and I wanted them to continue. Kindergarteners through about halfway through second grade or until they are reading decently are pretty dependent, but they don’t require as much time so it is okay.
The other thing that counteracts the time spent teaching the kids is that they are there to help with the household chores-I take full advantage of this and fully expect my kids to help with almost all of the cleaning, some child care tasks and even cooking. Also I am not running the kids to school or doing homework with them. I am living with my sister-in-law and all of the time she spends directly on these activities is about the same amount of time I spend directly teaching my kids and she doesn’t have the household chore help of having her kids around. Of course, my kids do study without me also. They study on their own because the choice of activities are things to study and they have helped develop their learning goals and the older two have just begun to really enjoy studying.
Okay, this is turning into a book, so I’ll stop, but let me know if you have any other questions.