Like some of you, I’ve been homeschooling for what seems like a l-o-n-g
In fact, this year marks my third decade as a homeschooling mom.
Back when our family started homeschooling, there were no curriculum
guides, no books about homeschooling in bookstores and libraries, and no
glossy homeschool magazines. It was almost impossible to locate a local
support group, and there was no Internet (at least, not one that regular
people could access at home). Major curriculum publishers refused to
sell to individual homeschoolers, and people were still “turning in”
their homeschooling neighbors.
Those of us in this first wave of homeschoolers had to figure out what
we were doing while we were doing it. There literally was nobody to tell
us how to teach a child to read, how to teach algebra at home, how to
teach a foreign or classical language at home, how to teach many
children in different grade levels all at once, how to meet state
graduation requirements, and on and on.
Aware of the need for help, quite a few first-generation homeschoolers
started organizations and businesses geared to helping other
homeschoolers succeed. Some wrote curriculum. Some started state groups
and local support groups. My contribution was to write the first book
that included both homeschool methods and detailed curriculum reviews,
including what products cost and (very importantly) where to find them.
That book, The Big Book of Home Learning, became the first homeschooling
book ever sold in mainstream bookstores. Due to popular demand, it was
followed by a second edition which attempted to explain how to
homeschool from preschool through high school. This was a pretty good
trick, considering my own kids were all babies or in the elementary
grades! I was constantly having to figure out-and explain-how to do
things we hadn’t done yet ourselves. That meant I started out telling
people about options I had discovered and simply described each
curriculum’s features. In the next edition I would share more in-depth
opinions of those curricula and methods I had been able to try out
Eight years after I wrote my first homeschool book, Bill and I also
started this magazine, Practical Homeschooling. Our initial goal was to
tell readers all the latest information on how to apply every homeschool
method-not just one favorite method. We also wanted a quicker way to
share product reviews, news, trends, and so on than was possible with
We were still feeling our way along. But now we had the benefit of
columnists and other expert writers who could “fill in the holes.”
I probably benefited more from the magazine than any of our readers, as
I always sought out articles on the areas in which I still lacked
personal experience. At the time, this still included all of what it
took to get a homeschooled kid through high school and college.
“Is This Magazine Necessary?”
Five and a half years ago, my first child graduated college.
We had done it!
Now I knew it all, from preschool to college admissions and beyond. Our
kids had taken (and aced) the PSAT, the SAT, and the ACT. They had
applied at (and been accepted to) military academies, top private
liberal arts schools, top state schools, and a distance-learning
university. They had beta tested the first online academies and used
generations of educational software.
At this point, I seriously wondered if there was anything new to write
about for Practical Homeschooling.
After all, we had printed “how tos” on every homeschool method, every
academic subject, and every grade level. We had even covered topics such
as career planning and home economics.
What more was there to say? Would we just end up repeating ourselves?
Apparently not. Since then, PHS has run articles on:
- “Shoestring” ways to educate your preschool child
- The “Maloney Method”: first introduced to homeschoolers in PHS #57
- How to graduate from law school . . . at home!
- How to create a yearbook
- How to teach every math and science topic in a way that will
- How to enter and succeed at major contests
- How to start and run co-ops and many kinds of interest-based clubs
- All about “honors colleges”
- Child labor laws & how to comply
- Filmmaking for kids
- The new “rules” of high school graduation
- Homeschoolers in the military
- Homeschool sports leagues
- A whole series of columns on how to get accepted at top colleges
- and literally hundreds of other useful, quirky, and practical
This list doesn’t begin to include the hundreds of new products, news
stories, interviews, and much more that PHS has covered in the last five
years. As the world moves faster, we at PHS are running full out to tell
you what you need to know to make the most of all your opportunities
(and avoid the traps).
Oh yes, there is always more to learn!
Mary Pride is the publisher of PHS.
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