The World is Our Classroom
We learn by doing
Homeschoolers are hardly ever home
One-on-one learning in a loving environment
Families have been homeschooling since the dawn of time. The reasons we do so now are varied yet we are all under the same umbrella of home educating our children. Over the years the trends change and homeschool group notice an influx at certain times of the year or during education regulation or curriculum changes, such as the Common Core issues in New York that are still playing out as of January 2014. READ MORE
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Welcome to Long Islanders Growing at Home Together (LIGHT)
There could be a hundred and one reasons why you’re here. In the end, it’s all about the children… Whether you have always thought you would homeschool or you were thrown into it with little other choice or anywhere in between – this is a place for us to meet, greet and support one another.
- Percent of Homeschool Children in US 3.5%
- Annual Homeschool Growth 8%
- Performance over public school 30%
Welcome to Long Islanders Growing at Home Together (LIGHT)
This site is provided as an opportunity for the homeschoolers of New York and Long Island to use as a venue in sustaining their community – a gathering around a common goal. Home Education is legal in every state of the US, although each state has their own set of laws, regulations or constitutionality behind how involved the state is with your homeschooling. There are many sites that list state by state information but that is not the purpose of this site. We do, however, have information on New York State Home Education Regulations. The first rule of thumb when considering home educating, is to know that no matter what your circumstances, with some ingenuity, almost every one can home school their children. You do not need permission, a teaching degree, or have to hire a tutor unless you choose to do so. If your child is having issues that make your worry for their state of mental health, then remember you can pull your child out today and you still have 10 days to get your paperwork in order. You can take control of your child’s education and do what’s best for them. Nothing can beat one on one teaching modified to the child’s learning style. Children do better academically by home schooling. Once you decide to homeschool, the two best things you can do for yourself and your child(ten) is:
- Give your child some time to “deschool.”
- Learn the NYS Home Education Regulations as best as you can. Never stop learning them throughout your homeschool years.
In reference to the first item, this means you are going to resist the urge to feel like you have to be doing something every second of their ‘school’ time. I’m going to let you in on a little secret… after working with hundreds of children over my decade+ of home schooling I can emphatically say that children will learn at their own pace and method no matter how many rewards and punishments you dole out. The trick is to learn how each child learns, which is done more easily in a home school setting. Of course there are some classes you will take with other homeschoolers since it’s fun to learn certain subjects in groups and have time to play and hang out together when the workshop is over. If you’re well entrenched in the system of school or have always sought out alternative education, leaving the system may or may not present challenges for you and your family. It’s normal to feel nervous and afraid of what homeschooling entails; mostly parents worry they are not doing the best for their child since they are not a qualified teacher. There are many resources that parents can use in the grades that might be too hard to teach and there are online classes for children of all ages. You don’t have to go it alone. Additionally, there is a thriving Homeschool Community in New York and on Long Island – and has been long before the digital age. There’s one last thing I’d like to tell new homeschoolers, and I can’t say this loudly enough – It is your LEGAL right to homeschool in New York so do not feel bullied into buying a legal service to support that right. There are no lawyers that are certified in any of the legal groups that tout themselves as homeschool legal proponents and most of what they do can be done by support groups or those friends of ours at New York Home Education Network. .
I walked by a soccer practice the other day and witnessed a coach yelling at his players. The children seemed to be about 10-12 years old, certainly not yet teenagers. He was pretty demanding, I’d hate to say foaming at the mouth, but it definitely seemed that way. As the coach shouted at his players, he prompted them to do various calisthenics and exercises. I was only walking by so I wasn’t able to take in too much, but in my observation I heard commands such as:
Families have been homeschooling since the dawn of time. The reasons we do so now are varied yet we are all under the same umbrella of home educating our children. Over the years the trends change and homeschool group notice an influx at certain times of the year or during education regulation or curriculum changes, such as the Common Core issues in New York that are still playing out as of January 2014.
Common Core is nothing new. It’s just the latest round of “fixing” public education by proposing new standards, tests, etc. The modern standardization movement goes back to the Nation At Risk report 30 years ago, and its biggest push was in the form of No Child Left Unstandardized a dozen years ago. Yet homeschooling regulation hasn’t gotten stricter over that time. There was concern in the wake of No Child Left Unstandardized that “they’re going to come for the private schools next, and then they’re going to come for us”.
Your child hears a really great saxophone solo on the radio, or hears a beautiful classical flute piece on YouTube. You want to provide a good musical education for your child, but you realize that there are few to no resources for instrumental music, unless your child plays piano, guitar or violin. Lessons on any of these instruments are great because it provides a solid harmonic background and rich musical experiences, but what if your child wants to play the flute? Where can you go to find information or services for this?
Once upon a time all children were homeschooled. Around 150 years ago, states started making public schooling mandatory and homeschooling eventually withered out or became illegal in certain states. It wasn’t until the late 90s that all states made it legal again. Today, with more than 2 million homeschoolers, it’s the fastest growing form of education in the country.
Homeschooling in New York City may seem like a rarity but it has become quite the movement. Even I, a native New Yorker, originally thought of homeschooling as something done in more rural areas. Instead, many New York families have chosen to pull their children from public school and use the vast wonders of the city as their classroom. There are museums, science labs, historical sites, various cultures and cuisines. So much, that years worth of curriculum could be covered without traveling beyond a few subway stops.
Dark, damp and chilly mornings remind me of nudging my daughter awake, telling her not to dawdle but to get ready for school. On those mornings, she’d stumble, bleary-eyed out of bed, hair a knotted mess, shoulders slumped, breathing still slow as if she could fall back to sleep right there on the way to breakfast.
New York’s home education regulation (section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education) consists of several pages (at least four if you still want it to be legible) and lots of text. With all that material, it is easy to lose track of what actually needs to be submitted to the school district. The following is a listing of the documents which must be submitted with a brief description of each. It is always a good idea to send correspondence to the school district certified mail, return receipt requested so that you have proof that it was received.
“Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting. Most people learn best by being “with it,” yet school makes them identify their personal, cognitive growth with elaborate planning and manipulation.”
― Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society