Thursday, September 03, 2015

On Homeschooling

Our work area
Yes.  I plan on homeschooling my children.  I've talked about this with a few people, but not many.  I"m not entirely sure why not, but probably because homeschooling tends to be seen as a somewhat radical decision.  Many people (myself included, before I learned more and met actual homeschoolers) envision someone like Michelle Duggar, with a long skirt and long hair, teaching her 20 children around an enormous table.  Or maybe they know someone who was homeschooled that is a little socially awkward.  Or a million other stereotypes that may or may not be true of some homeschooling families.  But the reality is that many of those same stereotypes can hold true for traditionally schooled families, as well.  There are ultra-conservative Christians in public school.  There are crazy Liberals in public school.  There are kids who go through 12 years of public school and are still pretty socially awkward (um, hi!).  There are smart kids and not so smart kids in public school.  And there are all of those same types of kids in homeschooling.  So yeah.  I know what I'm doing.
Art: painting with pom poms
Science: What happens when you add lots of water to the sand box?
Why am I doing it?  Well, for right now, my reasoning for not sending Clara to preschool of any sort is simple: I am a trained, certified teacher.  It seems really silly for me to pay a stranger to teach my child, when I want to do it myself, and am extremely capable of doing it myself.  As she gets older, I may re-evaluate, but I strongly feel that I will not be sending my kids to kindergarten, or first grade, etc.  The nature of Paul's work schedule is such that if the kids were in traditional school, he would miss up to two entire days with them, since his weekends often fall on Monday and Tuesday.  Plus, homeschooling allows us to stay open to moving about the country if Paul is offered various opportunities with his company.  But mostly, I'm homeschooling because I've been in the school system.  I like to think I was a pretty good teacher.  I tried my hardest to reach every kid.  But I couldn't.  My curriculum was dictated for me, my textbooks were chosen by a committee, and the standards were laid out before me, with the expectation that every child would attain the same level by the end of the year.  And for some children, that curriculum, those textbooks, those standards were just fine.  Some children did great during the school day, in the school building, with lots of kids their age.  But many didn't.  For whatever reason, the system failed some kids.  I just don't want to take that chance with my own children.
Math: decorating our Number One poster

You know who did the best in my classes over the years?  The kids who had private tutoring of some sort.  I had an open invitation for students to come to me after school, before school, and at lunch to work one on one.  The kids who did that learned more.  Some students had tutors that their parents paid for.  They learned more.  Some students had parents who spent tons of time working with them in productive ways.  They learned the most.  But all of that tutoring took place outside of the regular school day, meaning that those kids had an even longer time they were required to sit still and pay attention.  What if I could give my kids PURELY one on one (or maybe one on two) instruction?  We could get through so much more academics in less time, leaving much of our day for enrichment, and sports, and socializing with other kids!

Homeschooling will give me the opportunity to work according to my kids' needs.  Slow, fast, different learning styles, morning, evening, the sky's the limit!  They do not have to fit into anyone else's box.  And I don't want them to.
Phy Ed: Climbing rocks on a hike with Hike It Baby
So, discuss with me.  Share your questions, commentary, critique, and concerns with me here, or on facebook or twitter.  If you are currently homeschooling, or thinking about it, share that!  I'm really excited about beginning this journey.  I've missed teaching in the year since I quit my job, and I'm so looking forward to being a PK-12 teacher for each of my own kids.
Pre-Writing: Practicing fine motor skills with play-dough

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