In this installment of the series, I am so pleased to share Marla’s experience homeschooling in Indiana.
Marla Johnson, from The Healthcare Maquis, a website dedicated to health and wellness, is the mother of four children ages 11-27, three of whom are currently being homeschooled. Today she shares what it’s like to homeschool them in the state of Indiana.
Please note that these experiences, while they may discuss state requirements, are not legal advice, legislative summaries, or compliance recommendations. I encourage you to do your own research on your state’s current homeschool laws and seek help from official sources if necessary. The Home School Legal Defense Agency is a great place to start though you may find a more state-specific organization that you prefer to work with.
“Here I have condensed down what you may want or need to know about my homeschool experience into answers to 10 questions:
1. Why do I homeschool?
- Religious beliefs. Having children go to school being taught one ideology for eight plus hours a day, then bringing them home and expecting them to believe something different is a conflict.
- Worldview. Along the same lines, I do not want my kids being taught inaccurate or misconstrued information. I am their filter to the world – the right information at the right time.
- I had plenty of unpleasant experiences myself and with my kids in schools, and decided the best option would be to chart my own course, instead of hoping for the best by letting them stay in the system.
2. What does it take to homeschool in Indiana?
We are so lucky and blessed that homeschooling in Indiana is super easy. My sons did attend public school for a time. They both had IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) so it was a more involved process to withdraw them from school. My youngest daughter never attended school and no one in the district knows or cares that she exists. I declared the boys as homeschooled once and we have been going ever since. No testing, no cover school, no paperwork, etc…it is homeschooling paradise.
3. What is great about homeschooling in Indiana?
Because homeschooling has becoming very popular in our state, you have many options depending how you want to engage. There are “free” online programs like Connections Academy and K12.com. We also have hybrid programs where kids in my area can go to a physical building for a few days per week and the rest of the time is spent online. You can even take a class at public school once a day.
There are also a number of available activities. Our library offers free homeschool programs and another nearby library offers paid academic courses. The YMCA and several gyms offer programs just for homeschoolers. There are several co-ops in my area, if that is what you are interested in. Plus, almost all of our museums offer some type of programming for homeschooled kids.
4. What do I dislike about homeschooling in Indiana?
There is plenty that I dislike, but it would be a disrespect to my state to complain when I realize how blessed homeschoolers here are. BUT, I will list a few things. Homeschooling went from being a fringe activity to the trendy “in” thing. Our efforts as homeschoolers are not organized. I do not have someone I can easily turn to if I need help. I am sure there are homeschoolers near me, but despite being in a small town, I have no idea where they are. I would like a better sense of community.
5. What style of homeschooler am I?
We are mostly eclectic. I started our homeschool by bootstrapping. I collected used materials from thrift stores, book sales, and hand-me-downs. So I have always piecemealed what I liked along the way. I have wasted plenty of money on things that I do not like but that is all a part of the learning process. Part of the freedom of this style of education is that I do not have to use a canned curriculum. I can build what I want.
6. What curriculum do I use/recommend?
Since we are eclectic, I do not subscribe to one single curriculum. We have used the online program Time4Learning up until this point as a supplement. As they get older, we are looking at other programs. My oldest daughter and I both attended private school as children where we learned from the Abeka curriculum. I think that is a good place to start as a Christian educator.
I liked Singapore Math for my son because the abstract, divergent thinking model that they use really worked well for him. But the same material did not appeal to my youngest daughter, which is why I do not like to invest a ton of money into one company. What works for one of your children might not work for another. Furthermore, just because a curriculum worked at one level does not mean your child will respond to it as they grow.
7. What do I love about homeschooling?
Everything. Homeschooling gives me peace. My kids are home with me. They are safe. I control what they are fed both physically and spiritually. I know we are doing what pleases the Lord and life could not get any better than that.
8. Is homeschooling hard?
No. Kids learn on their own. For example, my kids are amazing authors/illustrators. I can’t draw more than a stick figure. They developed their talents by me creating the environment and nurturing the soil. They have taught themselves to animate, build, create, etc…all the things humans have been figuring out for millennia. Of course, they have their challenges, and some subjects it takes a while to figure out the best approach, but it is a journey that we tackle together.
9. What about their future?
I laugh when people speak doomsday prophecies over my kids’ future when they hear they are homeschooled. First, I am teaching my kids applicable life skills NOW. My kids are building a business selling their art and producing videos. They do not have to wait for college to use their gifts and talents.
Second, if I wanted them to go to college, we do have dual enrollment in Indiana and they could earn an Associate’s degree before they even turn 18.
Third, we did not choose this path to continue down the same path as everyone else. I want my kids to design their own destiny, not fit into a cookie-cutter mold that someone else made.
10. What advice would I give to new homeschoolers?
- Number one, be patient. You are doing something completely new. Neither you nor your child has any experience with this. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes and keep going.
- Number two, filter out the noise. You will have plenty of critics (including yourself). Listen to your heart and let the Lord lead you. Do not be overwhelmed by advice and criticism.
- Number three, HAVE FUN! The years I have spent with my kids are the the best years of my life. Every day is magical, and I would not trade it for anything. Do not get so bogged down by expectation that you forget just to relax and enjoy this beautiful journey.
If there is something that I did not cover or if you have questions, post a question in the comments below or feel free to reach me at email@example.com.”
Do you homeschool in Indiana? Tell us all about it in the comments below!