Tomorrow I will be participating as one of four members in a panel discussion entitled, "Home Schooling and Cyber Schooling: Exploring Alternatives to Traditional Schooling" at the annual PAGE conference. This is my first opportunity to get out there and proclaim the joys of the homeschooling lifestyle from the rooftops.
I really haven't been sure what to expect from this whole experience. I know the audience will be a mix of teachers and parents. I also know that many parents only attend the Saturday sessions, so it could be mostly teachers. What will teachers want to know about home schooling gifted kids? Because I wasn't sure, I started asking around...
I posted a message to the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum asking what they would want to know if they were new to homeschooling. I had many responses that helped me know what direction to start looking in preparation. I realized that when I began homeschooling, I really only answered my immediate questions, What things do I need to do to get started? What subjects must I teach? What medical forms need to be filled out? How do I find an evaluator? I didn't even spend much time looking at the regulations for things like extra-curricular activities, diploma options, college admission of homeschoolers... I realized many people would want to know these things. So, I set about finding answers.
I spent considerable time reading over the mass of material on the Ask Pauline website. I researched the diploma options in PA, and found out there are many ways to go about accomplishing the task. I looked at three local universities to find out their policies on admitting homeschoolers. The private schools were willing to forgo the need for an official transcript. The state run school insisted that a transcript would be absolutely necessary and told me how to go about getting one. I think I may know what direction we will be leaning when it comes to the college years. I also took a deep breath and called the principal of our local elementary school to discuss the regulations and how they interpreted the extra-curricular and curricular options for homeschoolers.
The bottom line of all of this research is that even if no one were to show up for the discussion, I have benefited immensely from the preparation. I just hope it shows tomorrow.