Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The million dollar question

"So, are you guys still going to homeschool now that Patrick's hours are daytime again?"

Let's see, he hasn't even started his new job yet and I've been asked that question at least 2,364 times. It's usually asked by those who thought I was off my rocker to begin with, and it's generally prefaced with a little laugh because my children were presently behaving like the little cavemen that they are.

For the record, for EVERYone: No. We are not stopping homeschooling. If anything, this new job will make it easier for us because we can purchase different curriculum and try out other enrichment classes without worrying about every little penny quite so much.

Also: I KNOW my kids can be maniacs! I know that they may have a hard time sitting still to listen or obeying me or absorbing all of the material that is presented to them. Guess what? The same is true in traditional school rooms! How often do we hear about kids who are shuffled through the system? How often do you hear a kid spout off random bits of information from his history lessons just because someone wanted proof that his/her schooling was going well? It's not a disputed fact that public school doesn't always work well for 100% of the kids in the United States!

"What about Corinne? Won't she be going to preschool? Won't she be sad that she's missing out?"

If Corinne (or any of our kids) were sad at home and begging to return to public school, do you really think we'd force them to be homeschooled? But the benefits that they would miss and the things they would be excluded from might cause several bouts of tears. My family will be at the museums and parks when we need a break from regular scheduling. We will be at a weekly group meeting where we will work on creative writing and studying the Middle Ages. We will be attending a weekly Forensics science class where I will be the assistant and they will have hands-on experiences. There will be ballet or tap for Corinne where I will have to drag the boys along (they don't particularly like that activity. Maybe they'd prefer p.s. on that day!). There will be boy scouts and cub scouts and archery class and soccer and hopefully a theater class or two.

We'll be just fine homeschooling, thanks. I've been collecting curriculum and supplies all summer and spend a lot of time watching my ebay bids for gently used books. We have a fabulous group of fellow homeschoolers upon which to bounce ideas off of and commiserate with. We have plans and plans and plans for the year and we'll be just fine.


Mom24 said...

Funny, that never even occurred to me. I think homeschooling's great. I wish I didn't have to work or I would push to do it. Unfortunately, for me, it's really not companionable with a home daycare. I'm quite jealous. :) said...

It's definitely not for everyone. But then again, neither is public school! Thanks for the support, babe.

Leah said...

WTG for wanting to continue with homeschooling. I applaud you. I wish I could homeschool but my strong headed little boy challenges me and I just don't think I could deal with it. I am hoping that once he goes to school he will listen to the teacher because she/he isn't MOM.

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

First off all - SO happy to hear that Patrick is starting a new job!!!!! And secondly, I just have to say it - people can be really ignorant sometimes. They don't realize there are SO many homeschool groups, field trips, book clubs, classes, etc...that are offered for homeschoolers. And there are SO many curriculum options too and with the internet, there are resources galore!

It's funny that some parents don't think about what THEY are missing out on when their child is at school seven hours a day, five days a week, 180 days a year. This past year of Abby being in K was so hard for me - I kept thinking how I was missing this part of her development, how much Noah and I missed her during the day - I almost felt guilty going and doing activities without her. And I felt like she was missing out on things at home. This is what led me to start looking into the homeschool option. Like you said, it's not for everyone but for me - I'm home with Noah anyway; I have tons of stuff from my teaching days; I want to have more time with my daughter; so why not try it out for first grade and see how we like it? Abby is totally on board too. She actually came to me and said she wanted to do it. I was shocked. I'd mentioned it to her here and there, but she loved K so much, I didn't think she'd go for it, but she's actually excited about it! And like you were saying - she'll be doing dance and soccer and attending classes on Weds. mornings and a reading group on Tuesdays, etc... I've actually been meaning to email you about it so it's great that you posted this.

I guess I should have written my own post now that I've rambled on and on. haha :)

Joy said...

I have to say, this never occurred to me, either. While there are pros and cons for all the methods of schooling, I am quite envious of urban dwellers with such resources as museums and large homeschooling groups and enormous public libraries and so on to take advantage of. :) Enjoy!!

Me said...

I think you do GREAT homeschooling! I'm pretty sure my children will be in public school (my husband is so AGAINST homeschool. Ugh.) but those that can homeschool and make it fun and get their children to learn (and you do!) are my heroes.

Kirsten said...

I guess I haven't been reading your blog long enough to realize that your husband working nights coincided with homeschooling. We do "school at home" which doesn't lead to quite the flexibility homeschooling does, but I get to have the kids at home doing school stuff nonetheless. And my oldest at 9 has asked to go to "regular" school, and I've denied her that. But that's because I know she's better off at home than in a regular classroom. Parents have the ultimate decision. Good on you for enjoying homeschooling. (Although, I totally stick my youngest, 4-1/2, in preschool because I don't do preschool. :)

apathy lounge said...

I've seen it done well and I've seen it done badly. Unfortunately, I live in a state where parents don't even have to have a high school diploma...much less a college degree or qualifications to order to homeschool.

I had a student who was placed with me this year and he was the product of "homeschooling" by a mother with no higher education at all. She schooled him at home for religious reasons. He was already really shy and awkward, so her methods backfired. Not just because she didn't know what the hell she was doing, but because her agenda was more about keeping him away from any knowledge with which she disagred. She mostly parked him in front of a computer and opted NOT to teach him science AT ALL. So...he came to us as a 5th grader with absolutely no knowledge of the planetary system or volcanoes or anything. Likewise, his reading comprehension was low and his math skills were terrible.

The public school was really hard for him at first. He had a difficult time making friends...partly because he didn't know how and partly because his mother never allowed him to meet or know anyone who wasn't an evangelical. In the end, public school was the BEST thing for him. He flourished there after a time.

So...when I hear about people homeschooling, I usually put up a wall at first. Because there are few ways here of checking to see that people are doing it right. Usually...they're not...but by the time it's figured's too late. You, on the other hand, sound as though you're approaching it the right way. Good luck. Teaching is a tough matter where you're doing it.

Deb said...

How weird - I don't see what one thing has to do with the other. I am glad things are going well for your guys - I know what a relief settling into a better job can be.

As for Apathy Lounge...
Perhaps you have seen some instances where homeschooling was not an ideal situation. However, let me say that you should not make a sweeping judgement about homeschooling based on personal anecdotal information. Studies have shown that, on average, homeschooled students score 30%-37% higher on standardized tests than government schooled students. The age of the parents, education level of the parents, and level of state regulation all are virtually irrelevent to the success of the child.

Furthermore, Education Psychology has very powerful things to say about how individuals learn. Public schools cannot implement a lot of these methods because they are dealing with a large amount of people at one time. What researchers would label Best Learning Practices can be very effectively implemented by home schooling parents because of our low student-teacher ratio.

Please see this study for more information:

Not trying to hijack , Tracey... said...

Not feeling hijacked at all!

I can understand why people would judge based upon many prior experiences, but I beg everyone to not make a judgement based upon a handful of experiences with homeschooling. Just as I don't judge other religions, nationalities, or lifestyles, I don't judge people's choices of schooling. I know LOTS of public schooled kids who THRIVE in the system! I also know LOTS of public schooled kids who flounder and fail and are awkward and socially backwards and can't communicate and are bullied and, and... You see what I'm saying. There are just as many problems with public or private school as there are with homeschooling. This just so happens to work for us right now. In a few years, who knows? But I am LOVING the involvement I can now have in their lives and am loving that we get to (re)learn these things together!

anymommy said...

Of course you will. I have no doubts. I'm inspired by your ability to take on your kids' education. I don't want to do it myself (not right for me, I know), but I do want to remember that I can be an active participant in their learning.

Anonymous said...

You've got to do what works for you. And a big boo, hiss to the nosy questioners.

nmaha said...

I think you're a really committed mom and homeschooling is the cherry you offer your kids (I mean on top of the sundae).

Wish I had the time and inclination. I just look forward to work after a morning of running around getting her ready for school.

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