Homeschooling an Only Child, Dual Enrollment, Afraid to Mess it All Up | The Unplanned Homeschooler

Dear Unplanned Homeschooler,

My eight-year-old daughter is an only child, and since we’ve been homeschooling she has been lonely. I have asked several of the parents we met through the local homeschool group to drop their children off for play dates at our house, but no one seems interested. My daughter has all kinds of toys and a huge swing set in the back yard, but no one wants to let their kids come over and play.

What should I do?

Feeling rejected

Dear Rejected,

Some parents don’t like to accept invitations to other people’s homes because they feel pressured to reciprocate. Others are uncomfortable allowing their young children to attend play dates alone in the homes of people they don’t know extremely well. Either way, if you are asking people you’ve only recently met to send their kids unattended into your home, it is not surprising that they are saying no.

You might have better luck inviting another mom over for coffee and conversation while your children play. Many parents would be much more likely to accept this type of invitation than to allow their young child to go alone into an unfamiliar environment under the supervision of someone they barely know.

An even better plan may be to ask other parents to meet up at a local playground or park instead of in your home, at least until you become better friends. But if you and your daughter are set on having friends come play in your home, consider including their moms, too, at least for a while.

Dear Unplanned Homeschooler,

I keep hearing about dual enrollment for high school students. It seems like a lot of homeschoolers are doing this to earn college credit before they graduate from high school, but I don’t know much about it. What do I need to know in order to get my kids enrolled in college classes for dual credit, and really, how far in advance should I start planning?

Confused about dual enrollment

Dear Confused,

Dual enrollment, or concurrent enrollment as it is also called, is definitely a popular option for earning credits, not only among homeschooled students but traditional students as well. With the rising costs of college, just about any way to get credits out of the way during high school can be an attractive option, but you do have to prepare.

First, contact your local college or university to ask about their requirements for dual enrollment. The rules may differ from one institution to another. Make sure that you let them know that your child will be a dual enrolled high school student, and not a college freshman. This is important for maintaining future scholarship eligibility, and may reduce the cost of the hours your student plans to take.

You will also need to check the admission requirements, such as age or grade level, all the necessary prerequisites, and the minimum scores your child will need on the ACT or SAT, if applicable. You can start gathering information any time, but I’d suggest at least one year before your child is likely to enroll.

Dear Unplanned Homeschooler,

My son is five years old. He would have gone into kindergarten this year if he was in public school. I decided to keep him home because the school he would have gone to had some serious discipline issues last year, resulting in one teacher quitting her job after being assaulted by a special needs student, and multiple students getting bullied and beaten up on the playground.
The problem is, I am scared I am going to fail him. I am not a teacher. I never even finished college. How do people do this without a teaching degree?

Trying to do the right thing

Dear Trying,

It sounds like you are motivated to succeed, for the sake of your son, and that is a good part of the battle! Look, you have been teaching your son since the day he was born, right? You taught him how to hold a spoon, tie his shoes, say the alphabet. You don’t have to have a degree in education to teach your own child, especially during the early years. You just have to find a decent curriculum, maybe some local support, and keep teaching him the same way you have been, one new concept at a time.

You may be worried about what comes later. Don’t despair. You will find ways to keep on teaching, or find others who have the knowledge and skills to help. You just have to stay motivated and at least one step ahead of your child.

Tavia Fuller Armstrong is the Unplanned Homeschooler. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three kids. You can find her*writing regularly about life,*love, homeschooling and*sometimes bacon at www.unplannedhomeschooler.com.

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