How to Work with Professionals as a Homeschooler

How to Work with Professionals as a Homeschooler

Homeschoolers have to consult a number of different professionals. For example, I am often asked about having children tested for special needs. Another area I am often asked about is seeing a mental health professional. This could be seeking services for yourself, your marriage, or your children. Finally, we may need to consult professionals for our own or our children’s physical needs.

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How to Work with Professionals as a Homeschooler

Why is this even an issue? Because as homeschoolers, we tend to lack trust for those who are outside of homeschooling circles. And this is understandable! We are DIYers. We like to do things ourselves and it can be hard to trust those who may not have a favorable view of homeschooling. However, there are times when not seeking professional help is hurting us or hurting our children. In fact, there are instances when failing to seek professional help could be considered neglect. There is no way I can tell you if you’re in that situation. But I can ask you to prayerfully consider whether it is time to seek professional help. One indicator that it is time is that you are you or your child is having difficulty functioning in daily life.

I wish I did not have to mention this as a reason you may be reluctant to seek professional help, but I feel I have to. If we feel that we have something to hide, we may not want to see a professional who could determine that we are not providing the best education for our children. If you are suffering from clinical depression or severe anxiety to the extent that you are not able to educate your children and this is a chronic condition, not a temporary one, I ask you to consider having your children educated in another way for now. Whether that means asking a friend or family member to help, or putting your children in a traditional school, I ask you to do what is best for your children. If people you trust are telling you that need to stop homeschooling, listen to them. Just because homeschooling isn’t the best choice now does not mean that you will never be able to homeschool again.

How to Work with Professionals as a Homeschooler

If the difficulties that you or your children are having do not threaten your ability to adequately educate your children, then I recommend the following six steps.

Get a referral. My favorite way to have people get referrals for professional services is through their local homeschooling support group. If you are part of an online forum, this is an ideal place to ask for the professional you need. Another place to ask, depending on the type of professional you need, is your church. Most pastors are aware of Christian counselors that they can recommend to you. Finally you may have friends who are in the medical or mental health field who can give you a good referral for a professional in your area.

Become a member of HSLDA. This is especially important if there is any reason to believe that you could go through a divorce in the future. More than just practical assistance, a membership to HSLDA provides you with peace of mind. If you should have contact with a professional who is anti-homeschooling and chooses to make an issue of it, you will know that you have good attorneys in your corner.

Pray for favor. It may be the case that you do not have a Christian professional who is pro-homeschooling that you can work with. That does not mean we should be fearful. Nehemiah prayed that he would have favor with an unbelieving king (Nehemiah 1:11) and he did. Pray that the professional you are seeing will be open and supportive to providing the help and services that you or your child needs.

Don’t tell the professional that you’re homeschooling if that information is unnecessary. There are certainly occasions, such as working with a reading specialist, where it’s obvious that you have to say that you’re homeschooling. But if you are seeing a general practitioner for depression and you are interested in taking an antidepressant, for example, there is no need for you to talk about the fact that you are homeschooling, especially if it’s not relevant. If it is necessary to talk about the fact that you are homeschooling, be prepared to educate the professional about homeschooling. Many people still aren’t aware of the facts of homeschooling or they have unfortunately believed some stereotypes about homeschoolers. For example, they may believe homeschoolers isolate their children so they have a better opportunity to abuse them. Because that is a potential issue, make sure you talk with the professional about the activities that you and your children are involved in. Do not be defensive, but be open and positive in response to their questions about it. You may have had some concerns about homeschooling in the beginning too. I know I did. Of course, I was worried about socialization!

Be open to advice. If you have prayed about your consultation with a professional, be willing to listen to what that professional has to say. Of course, this does not mean that you have to accept the advice, but do try to listen to another perspective. You may be given insights that you would not have had on your own. An example of this in my life was when one of my sons was struggling to read phonetically. Using phonics to read is the approach most accepted in homeschooling circles. But I spoke to my neighbor who is a reading specialist, and she told me that I needed to let my son use a whole language approach to read. If you have no idea what whole language is, that’s understandable. It essentially means that you allow your child to memorize words in whole. As soon as I allowed my son to stop sounding out words and to just memorize them, he was reading and feeling confident about his ability to read. Be open to advice you get from professionals. Research it and discuss it with your spouse and others.

Do not be confrontational. The final step I have for you in working with professionals as a homeschooler is one you need to take when your views of the problem and the professional’s view of the problem are in conflict. The Bible tells us to be kind to everyone and able to teach (2 Timothy 2:24). We cannot be kind or teach professionals about the homeschooling lifestyle and the advantages of it, if we are belligerent. If a professional makes a suggestion, such as you need to put your children in school, simply say, “Thank you for the advice. I will consider it.” Then it is well within your rights to move on to a different professional for a second opinion. I would not announce the fact that you are going to seek a second opinion, however. In every way we want to present ourselves as reasonable, open, and concerned with what’s best for our children. If you find that the professional you have consulted is not a good fit, start the process over again. Get another referral, pray for favor, and be open to advice. Sometimes finding the right person to work with can be as challenging as finding the right mate. Be patient and don’t give up.

What experiences have you had working with professionals as a homeschooler? Do you have any other advice? Let’s chat about it on Facebook

 

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A Year of Living Productively

A Year of Living Productively

A Year of Living Productively2

 

Have you wondered if a new approach to productivity could help you in your home management, homeschooling, or business? I have.

My Passion for Productivity

My life is full with being a wife of an active husband, a mother of six, a home educator, fitness enthusiast, scrapbooker, tennis player, church volunteer, speaker, writer, and more. Over the years, many people have told me that I need to learn to say no. So that’s just what I say to them: “no!”

I love everything I do and I don’t want to eliminate any of those roles or activities. What I do instead is seek to make the most of every precious day I’ve been given. That means I try lots of productivity tips, techniques, and tools. People who know me best laugh when I talk about my latest-and-greatest way of working, because they know it won’t be long before I’m on to the next thing.

Can You Relate?

My guess is you can. Posts on productivity are some of my most popular here on Psychowith6 and I couldn’t be happier about that. I have to write to you about my passion, because my friends won’t listen to me anymore!

It used to bother me that I couldn’t just stick to one approach to time management. It doesn’t anymore. As Loren Pinilis of Life of a Steward reminds us, God is okay with us finding what works for us. Doing that may require lots of exploration to fine-tune your system.

My Mission for the Year

I’ve read and heard about people doing crazy things for a year: using a crockpot every day, traveling the world with their young family, and living out old Testament laws for women. This blog is Psychowith6 and I think it’s high time I do something crazy, too. So I’m going to:

Use a different productivity approach every week for a year

I’m going to rate each method and write about it here. I know, it’s nuts. I’m sure the crockpot lady asked herself what she was thinking after the first week! But I’m going to lay down some ground rules that I think will help:

  • If I need to quit doing something because I absolutely hate it, I will. The point is not to torture myself, but to discover what works for me and maybe for you, too.
  • I won’t completely abandon strategies I’ve come to rely on. For example, I use Google Calendar alerts on my iPhone to keep me from forgetting appointments.
  • I’m committed to writing about the approach I’ll be using for the upcoming work week each Friday, but I’m more committed to my family and my sanity. If something comes up, I’ll try to let you know on the way to the hospital. Not.
  • I reserve the right to take vacations and the right to call the end of December 2013 “a year.” So I didn’t start this January 1. Sue me. I’ll return your money.

Care to Join Me in a Year of Living Productively?

If you prefer to read as you’re able and silently snicker at my shenanigans, feel free. But if you’d like to take the adventure with me, I’d love the company! You’ll have the weekend to prepare to use the given method. Come Monday, give the new approach a shot and report back on your results, rating it for its ability to help you be productive on a 1-10 scale. If you’re a homeschooler, you could even try some of these methods with your older kids and get their feedback. And if you have a method you’d like me to test for you, I will certainly be your productivity guinea pig.

Week 1

Because you don’t have much advance notice,Week 1 is going to be the Old Faithful paper to-do list. Nothing fancy! You can use a sheet of paper, a pretty notebook, or a note card–just no sticky notes. Write down anything you have to do on your list and cross it off as you complete it. There are no other rules than that.

Click Week 1 below to read my results!

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Would you like to read all of my year’s experiments at once? Try this PDF.

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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity… Ephesians 5:15-16

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