Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thoughts On Homeschooling

search engine marketing
search engine optimization

I suppose it was only a matter of time before we got to this point. I mean, it follows naturally in our swing of things.

Even before Andrew and I got married we talked about homeschooling our children, for various reasons. The main one being we wanted to be sure our children were getting taught the things we wanted them to be taught (or, not the stuff we didn't want them to be taught). Naturally we wanted them to have a quality education. Little did I know that I would have a child that challenged me at every turn. Granted she has gotten much better, but we still butt heads frequently. That's probably because she is so much like me.

With this growing concern and time moving rapidly I was beginning to panic. When she turned 4 I knew we had to do something, as the next year she would enter kindergarten. I knew very little about homeschooling, the laws, what was required that first year, what would be required of me and how would I possibly get stuff done around the house and watch a little boy and school my daughter. I've been told the schools around here are ok, but.... We knew that the public schools weren't the way we wanted to go. Needless to say I was feeling the push.

I had also heard my fair share of homeschooling and how it's bad for the kids and that they NEED to be in public schools. *sigh* What my child needs is a good, quality education. And what we needed to do was figure out what that would be. It was tempting to just shuttle her off to school everyday and have more quiet in the house. But do I want to sacrifice my daughters most impressionable years for a few hours of quiet? Isn't that what being a mother is? Sacrifice?

Well about mid winter I discovered virtual charter schools. I was ecstatic! I thought this was the answer. Here I'd have someone who knew what needed to be taught in each grade, the lessons, the testing and I didn't have to worry about a thing!

I was so wrong.

We started the enrollment process. Everything was going great, until one of the last things I learned. I found out they run an all day kindergarten. I went to a half day kindergarten and I remember that about half that time was spent in recess, rest time, lining up and the other half was spent in actual instruction time. This charter school was expecting me to instruct a 5 year old for 5 hours a day. How in the world would I get anything done? Much less school and take care of a 2 year old? I'm sure not even all day kindergarten is 5 hours of solid instruction!

I'm finding out from other mothers that they spend a max of 2 hours in homeschooling in kindergarten. THAT I can do. And since I found out that PA's compulsory age for school isn't until age 8 and we wouldn't need to report that we are homeschooling until that age I feel much more free to sort of try it out. I'm told that kindergarten is the easiest to school. Not only that, but I've found tons of resources online for curriculum.

Needless to say, we stepped out of the enrollment process at this charter school. We will definitely keep it in mind for later years. But for now, homeschooling is much more an option to us after researching it a bit more.

Truthfully I'm apprehensive. Nadia and I just rub each other the wrong way. I don't want her education to suffer. BUT she LOVES to learn. And I do feel that it will work out.

But I'm not satisfied with it just falling into place. I'm reminded I need to spend time in prayer, lots of prayer about it. God loves her just as much as He loves me. He created myself and He created Nadia. In His wisdom He placed us together.

Pray for us too. And if you have any words of wisdom I'd love to hear them. One thing I'm learning is that this homeschooling thing cannot be done alone. That's much like the rest of life, isn't it?


Rachel F. said...

I know I would have a difficult time homeschooling our boys. I'm too much of a procrastinator. Fortunately for us we have Faith Academy for now.

There are definitely a lot of resources out there for homeschooling. And the way they put the curriculum together, I don't think there is much, if any, guesswork on what you are supposed to do. You still have the flexibility, of course, to adjust to your child's learning style and temperament. I think you will do fine with Nadia. They key is patience and consistency--what you need for good parenting already. :)

Kim said...

Dude, I think you're taking kindergarten WAY too seriously!!

Think about it - what do you learn in kindergarten? Your letters and numbers, how to share, co-operative play ... I think those goals are EASILY met by encouraging your children to explore the written word (through reading, providing pencils and paper, etc.) and exposing them to interesting things - the library, playgroups, etc. I personally, think many parents are WAAAAY too worried about their children acquiring skills X, Y, and Z by a certain age that they miss the wonder that is child-led learning - when left to their own devices, kids will learn to read and write, just like they learn to walk and talk!

We're planning to unschool - basically, homeschool with no curriculum, allowing our kids to learn at their own pace using their interests to spur them on.

I really don't think that a strict curriculum is needed (EVER!), but especially in the early grades - too much emphasis on needing to learn things by a specific, arbitrary age.