Letter Re: Being Prepared to Homeschool

As a home-educated graduate and home school parent who happens to be a prepper, I have given a great deal of thought to homeschooling after a collapse as my children are not grown. There are those who are already home schoolers and those who have not and will not consider homeschooling unless there is a SHTF scenario. This article is written for the latter : those who would like to set aside educational materials for their children and their progeny in the care of a true SHTF scenario.

While it would certainly be possible to buy a few workbooks at Costco and consider it done, I recommend that you sit down and discuss your thoughts on education as a family. If you have a son or daughter who aspires to be a medical doctor or who is a history buff you will need to take your families ideals and natural gifts into consideration. Deciding whether you are interested in faith based or secular materials would then be the next place to start. Consider the many different methods of home education and choose a few to research whether or not they are well suited to your personality and educational philosophy. There are classical, Charlotte Mason, Unit Study, Self Directed and even Unschooling methods to name just a few. If you are interested in faith based materials look for publishers which line up with your religious beliefs such as Abeka.com and Setonhome.org would be a good start for Catholics while Chinuch.org carries materials of interest to Jewish families. Pearsonhomeschool.com is a popular secular publisher as is Homeschool.calvertschool.org. Relatively new to the home school communities are virtual academies and discs from SOS (Switched on Schoolhouse) from Alpha Omega Publishers. This is not by any means a complete list. Christianbook.com and Rainbowresource.com sell materials from most of the aforementioned publishers and much more. CathyDuffyReviews.com and Homeschoolreviews.com are excellent in depth review sites.

While you are discovering your ideas and ideals on education invest in good books and reference books for your family. A good hardbound dictionary is a must and an older set of encyclopedias from Craigslist or a local thrift store would be a great beginning. While I prefer workbooks for daily ease of use, Saxon math materials such as Saxon 54 are reusable for multiple students which will save space and money in your preps. Rod and Staff publishers have excellent materials such as their second to grade ten English materials which are hard bound and non perishable. McGuffy Readers while used by earlier generations such as our great grandparents are still being used in many home schools today as are their math and grammar counterparts. All seven McGuffy readers which would be usable from grades K-8+ cost around $120. An eight volume set of Ray’s Arithmetic would cost around $100 while Harvey’s Grammar books can be purchased with keys for around $50. Some of these items are for sale on both eBay and Amazon. These would at the very least make excellent reference materials and while not flashy would enable you to give your children a solid old fashioned education for a good price.

While it is possible that you may never have to use your homeschooling preps, in a true collapse or flu pandemic situation having the capability of continuing your children’s education may greatly comfort your children and provide emotional stability. Allowing their learning to stop altogether would be unfair to your children and sitting down for an hour or more each day to better their minds will not hurt. I recommend putting by good books such as many found at Sonlight.com to read, games, art materials and puzzles to occupy your children’s minds. Most of these items can be picked up at local thrift or book stores. When there is no cable television or xBox to entertain  children we need to fill that void not only with hard work such as would be required in a survival situation, but grant our children the opportunity to expand their minds and not just their muscles. Paper, pencils, rulers, chalkboards and chalk, scissors, glue, crayons and colored pencils can all be purchased very inexpensively from August to September from your local Wal-Mart or Dollar store and is the best time to stock up. Part of our home school preps includes a power source, printer and CDs from RobinsonCurriculum.com.

You won’t regret attending a home school conference as is held in every State at least once a year. Being able to review curricula online or in person will help you to make a final decision as will carefully reading reviews. Best yet would be actually using the materials you set aside for extra tutoring/study or during summer break to discern if you have a perfect fit.

Special care should be given to our children who especially need stability and constancy during stressful times. Just a little foresight in this often overlooked area could make a huge improvement in the quality of life and education of our future.