Thursday, January 5, 2012

Is Homeschooling Right for You?

Originally posted 3-25-11.

A few days ago, the Fed Ex truck pulled up to my house and boy, was I excited to see him!  Our curriculum arrived for the 2011-12 school year!  But, let me digress...

Before our two kiddos were born, I was always intrigued by the idea of home schooling.  I had several clients who taught their children at home and I loved to ask those little students if they liked being home schooled.  I never met one kid who said they didn't like, or even love, it.  Also, the kids seemed to be well-behaved, respectful, and not uncomfortable talking with an adult.  In addition, Tom's sister was successfully home schooling their son and he was doing extremely well.


Well, the spring before Reilly (our oldest) was to enter Kindergarten, we decided to take the state home school certification course to learn more.  (Did I mention that I was really afraid of the responsibility of teaching my own kids?)  Taking that course was very helpful.  It was encouraging and made me realize that what we were thinking of doing was totally natural (parents teaching their own children...what a concept!) and could really fit OUR lifestyle.

After completing that course, I decided that I'd give it a try.  After all, she was only in Kindergarten and how much damage could I do? 

Well, that first year started off a little shaky, only because I realized something very important for ME:  I needed to use a curriculum instead of developing my own.  I am not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda gal.  I need a little more structure.  If you are going to home school, it's important to do something that you are comfortable with.  There is a whole movement to "un-school" kids...allow them to follow their own interests and such.  I think this is really great...for some...but not necessarily for everyone.  We decided that using a prepared curriculum and having the discipline of a scheduled time when we "did school" was important for their preparation for the real world as an adult.  (If you work for an employer, you are expected to arrive on time and do your job, right?)  At the same time, we do still have a ton of flexibility in our schedule.

So what does a typical school day look for us?  Please note these times are approximate.  We try to stay on track, but...
  • 8:00 - 9:00:  Breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, make beds
  • 9:00ish:  School starts
  • Noonish:  Lunch
  • 1:00ish:  If we have any assignments that we didn't complete, we work on those
  • Afternoon:  Play outside, finish any chores that didn't get done in the morning, play games, read, etc.
Below are just some of the things our family loves about home schooling:
  • Not having to go outside to school in bad weather;
  • Getting to be outside on nice days when everyone else is in school;
  • Working at our own pace;
  • Pajama days;
  • Working ahead so we can have an extra day off;
  • Taking vacation when we want to;
  • Being able to pet the dog or cats during school;
  • Having Mom's attention;
  • Getting to really know my children;
  • Never having to worry about bullies or striking teachers :).
Now, some have concerns about socialization...

That question always seems to come up.  It's the question that is asked when there are no other arguments to be heard.  (It's amazing how some people who have never home schooled become experts on the subject...)  Well, the only way I'd be concerned about lack of socialization is if you are planning to lock your child away in a closet and don't allow them to come out.  For real!  At the very least, if there are other kids in the house, trust me...there is plenty of socializing going on.  But honestly, your children will learn how to interact with others by playing with other kids in the family or in your neighborhood, going to church and other places with you, watching how you interact with others, etc., etc., etc.

Teaching your children at home is a family commitment, but sooo worth it.  I won't tell you that every day has been rosey-wonderful.  But if you've been married any length of time you can understand that anything of value has its challenges, too.  So if you are considering home schooling, there is a reason you are...  I encourage you to give it a try.

Live in Victory!  Lynette

In case you are interested, the curriculum we are using is from Christian Libery Press.  We did use another great curriculum from Alpha Omega Publications called LifePac this year but have chosen to return to CLP.  There are tons of other resources, but we have experience with these two publishers and both have their qualities.  Also, if you like getting good deals, both companies offer great discounts in April...

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