Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Never Thought I'd Say This

I'm thinking about homeschooling my children.
There; I said it.
Not this year, but maybe next year when we move again.
Eva and Julia walking to school.
I previously proclaimed that this would never work for us. I've also professed my love of the structure school provides when it comes to having a consistent routine.
Honestly, I used to think People Who Homeschool were on-the-fringe freaks wanting to shelter their kids from the real world. Or religious extremists. Or hippies. Or just plain weird.
I'm not weird. Okay; maybe they're not either. Sigh.
Yes, I'm considering it . . . partly because I think my children would learn best in this setting. Partly because I think I could do a good job teaching to their strengths. Partly because I hated school. Partly because I was bored through most of school. Partly because I wasted a lot of time in public school learning ridiculous crap. (When did you last need to conjugate a list of obscure Spanish verbs? diagram a compound sentence? show off your speed math drill talents? I thought so.)
Bear with my schizophrenic thoughts here; I'm going somewhere with this. I promise.
Agent J enjoying art time.
Not knowing where to begin, I did what I do best: Obsessive Googling and List-Making. And contacting every friend of a friend of a friend who may have at one point given the slightest thought to educating their children at home.
Lists I've come up with so far:
Some Reasons the Agents and I Would Probably Love Homeschooling
  • We can study what we want and at our own pace.
  • We can make our own school/learning timetable, taking Hubby's crazy hours/schedule into account.
  • We would enjoy year-round school with frequent breaks much better than 9 months on/3 months off.
Some Reasons the Agents and I Would Probably Hate Homeschooling
  • We actually have to be disciplined enough to do it.
  • The girls LOVE school . . . their friends, their teachers . . . everything about it, really.
  • After the first few weeks (days?) of all that togetherness we may will drive each other batty.
Some Reasons Why I Hesitate To Even Attempt Homeschooling
  • We actually have to be disciplined enough to do it.
  • On some level it seems insulting/disrespectful to my friends and family who teach.
  • Agent A is still so young, and I feel like I would be neglecting his need for Mommy Time if the girls were home all day every day.
Agent E stoked for the first day of school.
Basically I've come to the conclusion that there is just Too Much Information out there. Seriously, my brain hurts. So do me a favor, would ya, nice readers?
  • If you are considering homeschooling, but are also just starting your research, let me know and we can swim through it together.
  • If you currently homeschool (or have in the past) and would like to impart some wisdom, share three things you wish you would have known starting out.
  • If you are willing, pass along this post to your Facebook friends or blog readers who may be able to offer some input. I'm hoping to find as many real world "this worked for us and you're not alone" examples as I can.

10 comments :

  1. You can do it!! It doesn't have to be structured or disciplined like school. Think about how much your kids have learned being with you, and just living their lives, before school was even a factor. They can learn things the same way, even after they reach "school-age."

    Here is my page on unschooling: http://demandeuphoria.blogspot.com/p/what-is-unschooling.html

    Check it out. I'd love to chat with you more anytime. :)

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  2. The good thing about homeschooling is that it isn't a permanent decision. If you try it and you hate it, you don't have to do it next year :)

    I've used www.veritaspress.com program for Emily's 1st grade year and am working through the 2nd grade year and we love it. Best thing for me is that there are lesson plans every day! Best thing for her are all the craft projects.

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  3. My wife and just decided to start homeschooling our oldest. We were actually set on sending her to the public school near our home, but then found a classical curriculum that we thought would be better called "Classical Conversations."

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  4. We will be going into our fifth year of homeschooling. My daughter went to Catholic School for kind. and 1st grade. She hated it and she is not a child who hates anything. I taught elementary school before I had kids, so I felt I could pull it off. I wouldn't say that I "knew"more than a typical mom, but at least my expectations were appropriate. I knew that some days you wouldn['t get much done and some days you would. I knew if I put in the time consistently they would thrive. We kinda put things together that I liked the first two years and the last two years we've used Sonlight for history. It involves a lot of literature and not many workbooks, which is my style. I added religion and writing and I was set. I have three kids, 11 girl, 9 girl and 6 boy. So last year was my first full year of teaching all three. One of the biggest benefits I see is the relationships between siblings. When my oldest went to school she would come home and not really play with the others and was tired and grumpy. Now their friendships are deep. Not happy all the time, but more than if they were separated all day. The hardest part is trying to say no to outside activites to get things done. There are so many homeschooling opportunities and activities to do that I have to push myself to say no and stay at home. I did end up begging my husband for a cleaning lady twice a month..(basic areas) and that helped me stay afloat. The high I get from teaching my children is the same one I got when I went into teaching. Seeing them grow and helping them learn to read is unbelievable. I went into this with the idea it didn't have to be forever, and I still look at it as one year at a time. I expecting in October and I'm really nervous how this will affect my homeschooling, but I know that God's grace with help me succeed, because I wouldn't have done it this far without him.

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  5. I used to feel as you used to feel. Then, my oldest son was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome and Asperger's. Our world changed. I brought him home for varied reasons, and we love it. Homeschooling teaches ME as much as it does him, and I am learning to rely on God in whole new ways.

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  6. You are thinking through all of the right things, before deciding about this endeavor. I have been home educating for 14 years. I did not hs because I wanted to "shelter" my children, but because it was a right fit for our family. My husband worked afternoons and evenings, and we could school around his schedule. That doesn't mean that I wasn't a stickler for routine and schedule. We had a very strict schedule including family devotions and chores, (which were accomplished before 9AM).
    We had plenty of social interaction because we were involved in co-ops and very involved at church. This lifestyle afforded my children opportunities they never would have had otherwise. They participated in a traveling drama troupe that taught character in public schools, they went on missions trips, and as they got older they were able to work during the day when everyone else was in school and pursue interests at a rate that could never have been made available in a school setting.
    My oldest is a junior at Northern Illinois University. He received a full ride scholarship through the Chick Evans Foundation, which he won primarily because of his ACT scores and his availability to caddy when other kids were in school. My middle child is beginning art school this year at Illinois Institute of Art and is working full time as a media editor with an international ministry. My youngest is completing her senior year while leading worship for both our contemporary service and the youth. She also sings in the adult service regularly, helps with Alpha groups, and works 30 hours a week. She carries a very heavy load academically and will be able to go to the college of her choice, most likely for very well near free because of her academic record.
    I really am not bragging. It's just that I want to tell you of our success story so that you can properly decide if this adventure is for you. For more on our specific story, you can visit my blog with this post. http://wp.me/p1pPE2-6N

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  7. Hopping on over from The Saturday Evening Blog Post. I am the product of homeschooling from 4th grade on through graduation. I have to say that one reason you gave (Partly because I think I could do a good job teaching to their strengths.) is sooooo true!!! My brother had trouble learning in a traditional setting and homeschooling was the answer for him. We got a lot of weird looks and comments, as we were early homeschoolers - but in the end all the accusations people made about us never panned out. We are well socialized (I am hyper-social) and my parents always made sure we had ample time to socialize with all our friends - Christian and secular. And they didn't shelter us too much either: they gave us ground rules and then gave us opportunities to make choices - even bad ones, which we learned from. So, it can be done by people who are not ultra-conservative (not that I have anything against ultra-conservative people), and most often homeschooled children test higher because they are able to be more focused on their studies. :)

    Hopping over from The Saturday Evening Blog Post.

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  8. I said I would never, EVER homeschool. And we have now just started our second year of homeschooling. Here are my three bits of advice.

    1- There are so many ways to homeschool, so find one way that fits your, your children, and your lifestyle. The best book I've found about this is "Homeschooling Methods" by Gena Suarez.
    2- If you homeschool, you're eventually going to mess up or forget something. That's okay, just keep swimming.
    3- If you try it and homeschooling is not a good fit for your family, you haven't lost anything. But if you want to try it and don't homeschool, you could miss a lot.
    Contact me on my blog if you have any additional questions. I'd love to talk more about homeschooling.

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  9. Ooh...Your girls love school? That might make things difficult. My parents decided to homeschool me before I was old enough to attend school, but many other kids I've known over the years were pulled out at various stages. For the girls, their social is a really big factor. No one likes to be taken away from their friends. But if your daughters have a number of other opportunities to be with those friends, then maybe they'll make the transition smoothly. Good luck.

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  10. My hubby and I are looking to homeschool too. Granted, we have a few years to go... but both my hubby and I were homeschooled as kids, and had good experiences from it. Things have changed a lot since then so I can't offer any advice... but a bit of encouragement might help—we both turned out fine! :)

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