At least Bridgeway Academy thinks so. (This is neither an endorsement nor a criticism of their program. I know nothing about them. I just thought it would be fun to answer their top 20 questions about choosing a homeschool program.)
Are you accredited?
No. I used to get asked if I was certified to which I answered, “Are you certified to parent your children? Because it’s pretty much a lot like homeschooling. Except if you don’t want to help with homework until 11PM, you don’t assign that much.”
Do you recognize each child’s learning style?
Yes. Yay! I think I got one right. Except that it doesn’t change my teaching all that much. Now, if one of my children are struggling, yes, I will take into account their learning style while we are practicing. It really does help. But I have kind of a “whole mode” approach to teaching. I put that in quotes because I just made that up. There’s probably a word for what I’m talking about, but I only have a B.S. in education, not a masters. Learners are usually categorized as visual, kinesthetic, auditory and reading/writing. I introduce new lessons using each of these modes of learning (whole mode). My children may connect best with their own mode, but this also gives them practice learning and processing information in different modes so that they can strengthen their weaknesses as well as excel in their strengths.
Do you recognize that each child has a unique testing style?
Yes. And no. OK, so yes, I technically know that but it is kind of irrelevant. Why? Because there is only one test that matters: the ACT. I do some test prep in order to slowly prepare them for the one big funnel every high school student must pass through to get to college. Other than that, I don’t really test. I spend all day with six kids. I kind of know where they’re at.
Do you embrace different teaching styles?
Nope. I’m a lone wolf over here. I make all the rules.
What teaching support do you have?
I talk to the ceiling a lot? Oh, and chocolate.
I don’t ask other homeschoolers for advice much anymore because this funny thing happened. Suddenly, I’m one of the most experienced people in most of the groups I’m in! I think I’m supposed to be the support, but I provide all advice with a caveat: Everything works better in my head than on living, breathing human beings.
How do you assign curriculum?
OK, curriculum is so not a big deal to me. I have a methodology. That methodology is very important to me. I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on what I believe education is and how I believe children should learn. I have also spent a great deal of time failing to live up to my own ideals. Curriculum is a tool and I only tend to purchase it to save my own sanity. I call it outsourcing. So if you look at my shelves, you will see a variety of tools that I have collected that have helped me have a life outside of planning.
Do you offer specialized academic tracks?
Yes. They are: I love horses, I’m Obsessed with YouTube, I Eat, Breathe and Sleep Cheer, BMX Rocks, Dinosaurs and Legos are my Life and The Best Thing Ever is Whatever My Brother is Currently Holding. My kids are allowed to modify assignments accordingly. Also, they are given ample time to pursue their passions. Except maybe the three year old. I haven’t really figured out how to convert his passion into something productive.
Do you offer dual enrollment?
If they can get another institution to go along with it, I’m game.
Do you have a proven record of students going to college?
Nope. I don’t even have a proven record of insisting they go to college. I have a proven record of helping them figure out the best paths to turning their passions into careers. That and I’ve only graduated one. On the one hand, I have a 100% success rate since she is both a certified farrier with her own farrying business and she is about to be hired as local coordinator for Child Evangelism Fellowship. On the other hand, this is a survey of one.
Are you flexible?
Yes. Any time I need a break, I take one. If I have to go to Missouri to pick up my daughter, I sign my permission slip and go. If an opportunity comes up that is better than what I had planned, I excuse everyone and go do it. Also, sometimes I say, “The weather is too nice to be stuck here doing this. Let’s go make models of Jamestown in the sandbox!”
What academic support is available?
The entire internet and this cool place called the library.
How much control do you have over the curriculum?
Tricky question, there. In a way, absolute power. I can overrule anything. I have that power. On the other hand, if my 14 year old son comes to me and says he thinks Saxon Algebra would be the best program for his goals, I buy him the book.
Do you take into account your goals and your own unique situation?
Yeah, but I try not to let it go to my head.
What kind of record keeping assistance do you have?
A notebook. I try really hard not to lose it.
Do you offer secular and Bible-based options?
Nope. One world, one truth. Vaguely relevant scripture verses peppered throughout science and history curriculum actually kind of bug me. I use a lot of secular sources when I’m teaching. But since I am Christian and faith is important to me, we have this thing where we look at the actions of the people we are talking about and discuss their motivations. Are they worldly or godly? It is an amazing way to make the most secular sources turn into faith building exercises.
Do you offer electives?
Sure. Come up with something you want to learn about and, uh, learn about it. I never say no to learning.
Are there hidden fees?
Yes. Most people call them library fines.
Do you provide assistance with complying with the law?
I fill out the paperwork. I turn it in. If you want help with filing in Nebraska, I will be glad to assist you in anyway I can. Except don’t sue me if I say, “I don’t think they care that much about that” and it turns out they do.