Starting to Homeschool
By Pat Farenga
You can WIN Starting to Homeschool – a series of videos, written materials, and online support from Pat Farenga – a $149 value! Just go to Homeschool.com’s Holiday Fun/Freebie page and look for the listing to enter. While you’re there, check out the other raffles and freebies!
Homeschooling can be a flexible, vibrant, and social way to learn at home and in your community without turning your home into a miniature school. However, some homeschoolers lose sight of this aspect of homeschooling and become uptight about being up to par with school’s schedules to the point that they sacrifice their relationships with their children upon the altar of education. Starting to Homeschool is a series of videos, written materials, and online support that helps you avoid this homeschooling trap.
As the president of www.johnholtgws.com I see how, despite the steady growth of homeschooling resources since 1981 when I started work with John Holt, new homeschoolers are still very anxious about homeschooling, if not more so than when my wife and I started homeschooling our three girls thirty years ago. In discussing this with my friends, I found this is not an uncommon perception and I wanted to address it. Two of my friends are active in homeschooling and technology and they created an online platform for me to deliver my webinars and other materials so families can see how uncomplicated and rewarding homeschooling can be, not just from an educational viewpoint, but also from a family-and-growth perspective. My goal is to help families enjoy their time with their children without becoming overly anxious about people who criticize how you educate your children or who think you are just crazy to want to be with your children so much every day.
Through stories, studies, and personal anecdotes, I show personalized and bold education options that build on children’s strengths that will give you confidence to stop being “the sage on the stage” and instead become “the guide on the side” while your children take responsibility for their learning. My 34-plus years of fieldwork, advocacy (I published Growing Without Schooling magazine from 1986 to 2001), and personal experience to help you and your children learn in their own ways. John Holt’s ideas and work imbue Pat’s efforts with a nonsectarian, practical approach to living and learning with children instead of sending them to conventional school. Holt’s books about education, teaching, and learning focused attention upon the miseducation caused by standard school practices in private and public schools. As he taught and learned himself, Holt went from advocating conventional, rigorous education to progressive education, and ultimately to homeschooling, which Holt termed “unschooling.” Holt preferred the word unschooling to homeschooling because he was referring to learning that did not look anything like learning in school and that did not have to happen at home. I expand upon this throughout the webinars, which cover the gamut of homeschooling concerns, such as:
- How do I start homeschooling?
- What are my state’s requirements for homeschooling and how do I meet and report them?
- What will we do now that we’re learning at home?
- How do Ischedule and support my children’s independence and socialization, in addition my own daily routines?
I also provide an overview of unschooling/homeschooling high school, some ideas for deciding if college is the right choice, and work and travel options instead of college. With the recordings you also receive all the resource listings and handouts for each presentation, including my new booklet How to Report Unschooling to School Officials, and access to our private community forum.
Regardless of whether you join Starting to Homeschool, I hope you will consider homeschooling a worthwhile endeavor in and of itself for you and your family, and not just as a means to get a better education.
Patrick Farenga worked closely with one of the founders of the modern homeschooling movement, the late author and teacher John Holt, as well as with many of the key figures in homeschooling, such as Dr. Raymond Moore and Ivan Illich. Farenga continues Holt’s work and published Growing Without Schooling magazine (GWS) from 1985 until it stopped in 2001. GWS was the nation’s first periodical about learning without going to school, started by Holt in 1977.
Farenga speaks as a homeschooling expert at education conferences around the world—such as in Colombia, Ireland, France, England, Canada, and Italy—as well as on commercial radio and television talk shows in the United States (The Today Show, Good Morning America) and abroad.
Farenga writesabout homeschooling, democratic education, and unschooling for a number of trade, online, and academic publications. Farenga also wrote the entries about homeschooling for the International Encyclopedia of Education, 3rd Edition (Elsevier, 2010) and the online edition of Encyclopedia Britannica (2015). Pat operates the John Holt/Growing Without Schooling website, www.johnholtgws.com, and is a founding member of www.alternativestoschool.com.
Farenga’s recent publications include:
Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling (Perseus, 2003)
The Legacy of John Holt: A Man Who Genuinely Understood, Trusted, and Respected Children (HoltGWS, 2013)