Wednesday 2 December, 2020

Parenting with Marsha Riley: Diary of a single mom and her homeschooled daughter Pt 5

Homeschooling differs from family to family and child to child so it’s always difficult to give general answers. 

There is no law that says you must inform Ministry of Education.  Your level of interaction with the Ministry all depends on the level you’re at and your plans as it relates to secondary school and UWI. 

In our case, she may sit SEA, there will be absolutely no pressure.  She won’t even understand what all the fuss is about.  I will register her as a private candidate when it’s time and we will decide if we take the spot or not when we cross that bridge.  We probably will homeschool all the way through to university but sitting SEA gives her another option.  Yes, most recognised homeschooling curricula will adequately prepare your child for SEA.

There are over 3000 curricula from which to choose, all available online.  You can use the MOE’s but this is not set out for homeschoolers so it can be difficult to follow.  The prices can range from US$20/month to as much as US$2000/year.  We use “My Father’s World” which costs us at 2nd grade level TT$2000/year.  Some curricula are online based, some are reading intensive, and others are more hands on.  There are those that are heavily Christian based and I am sure there are less spiritually based.  Most sites offer samples that you can view to help you make the choice. 

Even at high school level most of my homeschooling network would agree that the average school day ranges from two to five hours a day and curricula do not include Fridays.  This is the most attractive part in my opinion….the flexibility.

Just like traditional school, the success of the experience depends on you.  If you currently do not sit with your child to do homework or have any involvement in your child’s education other than dropping them off and picking them up from school then you may not want to consider homeschooling as an option for your family. 

Some people consider using a tutor.  In my opinion that is school at home, not homeschooling.  Home-schooling is much more than reading and writing.  It is an experience that lends itself to bonding and greater family connection.  There is something magical that happens when we do a science experiment together.  Most curricula, in fact, are designed for families not for tutors as you will often see projects that are scheduled during dinner time.  This is a crucial aspect to the development of an all rounded child.

Yes, I think a working mother can homeschool her child – I work.  The mom that advised me when I was considering the option, has three businesses and six children, her husband works and travels, and she homeschools all of them.  Her children have businesses as well and they do not have a maid at home.  It is a team effort, it encourages organisation, control and focus but the rewards are priceless.

If you work an eight to four in an office, then you have to consider who will look after your child during the day.  Will they be committed to taking them on outings, spend the day at the park versus in front the television etc?  We do school at night, so there is no reason you cannot as well, but Jess entertains herself using craft projects, playing outside and helping out at various neighbourhood businesses.  Her day time schedule is by no means filled with screen time.

I hope this series has shed some light into the whole business of homeschooling.  There is an association so be sure to check out their website at

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