Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Interview: Homeschooling—
Is It For Your Child?
An interview with Crystal Taylor, home school parent

“[Homeschooling is] a choice a parent makes for their child.”

1. How long have you been homeschooling your children and how many are you currently home schooling?

I have homeschooled my four children for almost 11 years—a daughter age 18 who has two more classes and is the only one currently being homeschooled, a son 19 years old, a daughter 20 years old and a son 27 years old. My oldest son was in eleventh grade and my other children were in early elementary grades when I started.

2. What led you to this decision?

My sister has always homeschooled her children. When my eldest son, who was in eleventh grade at the time, was attending a public school in Washington DC, I noticed that he was being pushed through. He was an athlete and I remember asking one of his teachers how my son got a “C” in his class and the teacher could not show me any recorded grades except that one “C”. From that point on, I considered homeschooling.

At first, I was very skeptical because I was raised to go to school but my son was not getting what he needed. He did not know how to do basic math and was reading below grade level.

3. How has the experience been?

It was a transition pulling my children out of public school especially for the eleventh grader. I had to make sure the socializing piece still existed. I got involved in homeschool events, and worked with different homeschooling parents to plan. My kids were able to dissect a frog, and there were other groups such as a gym class, art and other curriculums you can use with other homeschoolers. Six Flags (a theme park in Prince George’s County) even offers a homeschooling day.

As a Christian, reading and studying [the Bible] helped guide and encourage my decision. This also helped with practicing patience. When you home school, your children will be home with you all day and you have to be able to enjoy this experience.

One huge advantage that this experience has afforded me is to be able to raise my children in the admonition of the Lord and being able to teach my children what I want them to learn in order to deal with the world based on my family’s beliefs.

4. Have you connected with any local organizations for assistance/guidance? If so, which ones and in what ways have they been helpful?

There was not a lot of red tape to get started. It is very important to figure out how your child learns and then to identify the appropriate curriculum. I have used the Christian Light Education Curriculum. There are many choices depending on where your child is.

If you go through a correspondence school such as the Citizens’ High School, you can receive all books, credentials, transcripts, diplomas and testing materials. I paid a fee and utilized Citizens’ for assistance.

Also, many churches serve as umbrella organizations for the home schooling community. There are people in the faith-based sector that will help you administratively. Most homeschool communities have the normal events (field trips, proms, dances, art classes, music, gym) that a public school setting would offer.

5. For parents who may be considering homeschooling, what are your top 3 – 5 recommendations?
  • Prayer— you have to know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
  • Make sure your home is going to be happy with this decision—discuss the pros and cons with all family members that will be included and affected.
  • Ask what activities children can get involved in at other schools.
  • Find an umbrella group so that you can get advice from someone experienced.
  • Do your research to make sure you find the best curriculum for your child’s learning ability, know your child’s way of learning and their work ethic. Make sure you dot all “T’s” and “I’s”.
Resources are out there, many through faith-based organizations. In order for your child to have a variety of experiences, you have to join events. You have to do your research. Parents have to be involved regardless of the type of system, home or public, in teaching their child.

6. How can the Prince George’s County Public School System and the county, in general, better support parents who are taking on this huge and amazing responsibility?

Make additional resources available! We have no resources from the Prince George’s County Public School system. Homeschooling parents have to pay for everything! If a child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or needs a speech therapist, a parent has to pay unlike in the school system (public or private), where those types of specialized services are provided at no cost.

Visit to download and read the accompanying informational brief, SnapShot.