Sunday, February 22, 2009

Homeschool Advice

***Update***
Thanks everyone for your comments and all your emails. I am so thankful for all you had to say, and the advice you have to offer. It is such a big decision and we will continue to pray through it. I am completely planning on emailing everyone back, and responding to comments today...at some point...hopefully. I do have more questions and look forward to hearing more about your experiences. Thanks again!
***********
I am wanting to pick some of your brains out there about Homeschooling. Like I have mentioned before, we are looking for a new home for our growing family. As we look through homes in different towns, 1 thing is always on our mind..."what are the schools like here?"

I have to be honest. Every time we pass the elementary building in each neighborhood, I get a knot in my stomach. My sweet Ella is almost 5, and will be heading into one of these big buildings this Fall.....unless I homeschool. I know that this may be a "letting go" thing, and that I will most likely have trouble when I watch her walk in that 1st day with her backpack and cute little ponytail. Seriously, I'm tearing up.

If you would've asked me a year ago if I would consider homeschooling, I would of said something like, "No way! Definitely not for me...not a chance." I guess time has changed my mind...or has God changed my heart?

So, what are your thoughts? What is your view on Homeschool vs. Private/Public Schools?
How do you manage many small children while homeschooling?
Am I really "wired" to homeschool? Can I do it?
Would she benefit more in a classroom?
Don't kids need the social part of being at school? Don't they need that interaction with other kids?
Does every mom go through this when their 1st child starts school?

I would love to hear your advice, experiences, and thoughts. Hope everyone had an amazing weekend!

12 comments:

Mandi said...

Hey Kate!

I found you through Blissfully Domestic, and I love reading your blog (I'm one of those people who would love to have twins one day...).

Anyway, we plan to homeschool all of our kids (we live in one of the worst counties in the country, education-wise), but I wanted to encourage you that homeschooling a kindergartener is easy-peasy and not something you need to stress out about if you decide to do it.

I love, love, love Sonlight curriculum (http://www.sonlight.com/), which is basically built around just really great books that you read together. I'm expecting a baby in September, about the same time I plan to start school, and we'll just be cuddling up on the couch and reading great books – about history, science, faith, etc. – and practicing phonics sounds and learning to read.

Providing a strong educational foundation for our girls is really important to me, but everything I've learned from experienced homeschool moms says that kindergarten is a relaxed, laid back time of just absorbing information and providing opportunities.

Good luck as you make your decision!

EH said...

Hi. I don't remember how I found your site (maybe through 4LittleMen). Anyway. We do homeschool. You are not weird, there are lots of people doing it and more and more starting each year. I always wanted to homeschool but didn't start until my husband gave me the go this past summer. We love it. The kids get together with lots of kids their age (not daily like their friends but I actually find that a good thing - their attitudes are better). Good luck.

Stacie@HobbitDoor said...

Kate,
I don't have any advice as a mom but I do as a person who was home schooled. I went to public, private and was home schooled. First, you and Eric need to decide the purpose of school. Education, socialization or both? The thing is kids are mean to each other, they just are. My mom said she noticed a dramatic increase in self-esteem when we started to homeschool. Also, your kids have 4 siblings each. My mom always said if you can't get along with your siblings you won't be able to get along with anyone. The skills they will have just from learning to get along and share nicely as sisters will carry them far. We loved being home schooled--we loved the freedom and flexibility and it made us closer as a family. That being said God calls us all to different paths and mission fields. Whatever He calls your family to will be right for your family. Praying with you on this decision. Call if you want to chat more about it.

Julie said...

Hi Kate! Long tome since I have seen you guys:) My 2 cents is similar to Stacie's. I would think GOd is changing your heart for a reason. Homeschooling is not weird, but an outlet for us to train our children in the Lord, according to how we see fit; not how a school sees fit. Kindergarten is basically reading out loud and working with her on reading, math (I have a great resource...rightstart math; I LOVE it) and some handwriting. I have Kayleigh write the verse they did in church that week. Also, I use the Explode the Code series. And for K that is it! Call me if you want to talk more;)

Jenn said...

Oh these questions are right up my alley, Kate! I could write you a small book! We have been homeschooling for 8 years.

I have to agree with Mandi on Sonlight. We love it! It is a great curriculum. Very easy to use and my children love all the reading and great books.

Homeschooling isn't for everyone, so I believe you need to spend a lot of time in prayer. Ask God to help you in this. If you decide this is what He wants for your family then you can go from there.

For our family, we knew it was what God wanted for us and so I have been able to pursue it whole heartedly.

As for the socialization issue. I don't believe there is one. I think that this is just one of the big ploys used by public school systems and those against home schooling.
Our children are not social mis-fits because they aren't with their peers 8 hours a day 5 days a week. I feel my children are better off at home learning to get along with the members in their family. My children take trips to the local nursing home to learn how to talk to their elders. They help the neighbor ladies to learn how to be give to others in need. They go to church to spend time with the Lord and their friends. My children are well rounded in social situations, yet still learning because they have many different opportunities that public school children may not have.

Please e-mail me I would love to discuss this with you. jjbowers@frontiernet.net

mandbrid said...

My oldest started school this past fall and it was hard watching him RUN in to school the first day...but he LOVES school and his dear teacher. I wondered if I was doing him a disservice by not homeschooling but I just felt overwhelmed everytime I thought about it.
I am amazed by how much he is learning. I also LOVE his teacher.
I think homeschooling is great for those parents who want to do it...I just feel like I'm not patient enough with 4 younger children to take care of also. Some days it's hard to carve out the one on one time for his homework.
Just thought I'd share a different side of the issue...

Amber said...

I think I flop on this issue every single day! We still have another year, but I think and pray about it often. I really want to homeschool, and I think the only thing that gets me hung up is ME. I wonder if I am organized enough, if I can handle it with younger children in the house, if I will be a good teacher, along with all the things you mentioned. I am also realizing I need to get over myself! If this is what God is calling our family to, I need to obey. I can rationalize all day long, but I have to believe that He is big enough do in me what is needed. He will give me all I need, if I trust. I feel like I'm rambling, but I feel like I am learning so much about this issue. I am loving reading everyone else's wisdom on this issue as well!

Miss said...

I am pretty sure I am now an (ehem) expert at this whole thing since I have been homeschooling for about 6 months now and am debating as to whether or not I will this fall when I have TWO in school!

=)

ok, maybe TORN is what I am.

I am LOVING homeschooling. LOVE it. Seriously (I do sonlight). I love the fact that I get to watch her learn, be creative (I am big on instilling creativity), get excited, proud, etc.

It has actually been quite easy to do. I am not sure if that means I am doing something wrong...=)

I school 3 days a week. The curriculum I have is for 4 days but htat seemed too much of a commitment for me right now. I will mabye go to 4 next week? Either way, I am ALWAYS teaching

counting has been hard so we count all the time. When I am drying her hair, when we are in the car, when we are cleaning up, etc.

I teach when we cookd and bake
when we sort laundry
when we organize a closet
when we run into another kid who treats her mean
etc.

I love the flexabiltiy of it.
I love that we don't have to leave our house all week if we choose (this is NOT soemthing I would have been ok with several years ago...but "somehow" i have become conent with hanging out at home all week! =))

I do science projects and crafts when the other kids are awake so they can do them with us and I do the rest of school when the boys are napping

ok, I have talked long enough...I will stop!!!!!!!!!! =)

Jennifer Thompson said...

There are some great comments here already (and please don't worry about responding to me) so just a quick note:

I was homeschooled from age 4 right through high school/early college, same as my three younger sisters. WE LOVE IT!!! Of course our mother has the gift of teaching, but really, all you need is a true love for your kids and enjoy being with them to teach at home, and it's obvious that you have those qualifications.

Also, don't feel pressued to "know everything" or be the perfect teacher. As my parents always said, it's not that they HAD to teach us EVERYTHING. They were simply in the command seat as to who taught us what (such as finding qualified music or art or speech teachers). Also a key was teaching us how to dig out the information on our own, be self taught, and have problem solving skills.

As for "socialization", we were so busy with extra-curricular activities and other great life experiences (such as caring for our special needs sister) that we looked forward to having a day at home!!

May God lead you into the right choice for your family. =)

Blessings,
Jennifer
Founder/Director
Casa de Amor Children's Homes
Bolivia (South America)

Marisa said...

Thanks for asking this question! I too am not sure what we will be doing for schooling. The mere thought of it makes me very nervous right now. Probably because I'm trusting in myself and not the Lord. Luckily I don't have to make this decision right away!

For what it's worth, my little sister was in homeschooling for most of her education years. One thing my mom noticed was she didn't seem to have the negative body image issues that the rest of the girls in our family struggled with. I thought this was interesting. Maybe coincidence, but also maybe something to consider.

Kim said...

I was fascinated by this whole discussion as we just went through it last year. Our oldest started Kindergarten this year and it was a huge decision! As Stacie said above, we were all homeschooled, me from 5th grade till I graduated. That being said, we were seriously considering it as it was a very positive experience for my family. Our mom always said, when we were in public school she would have to retrain our attitudes every summer, and that quit when we were homeschooled.
We made the decision to give our local school a try, as it has very small classes (3 in our son's), and we really liked the teacher. Some of it has been a good experience. He is learning a lot, has had the opportunity to make some good choices and invite some kids to our AWANA program. However, we have definitely noticed negative attitudes and ideas that he picks up at school. That gets old! Also, I miss giving him the God centered schooling that homeschooling opens the door for.
Choosing the right education for our family will be a conintual process in our home. It is our belief that we should take it year by year and child by child. So, we are now discussing next year's plan and at this point have not decided. Definitely not an easy issue but if you are truly seeking the Lord on this, I believe you will make the right choice. And remember, just because you chose one thing does not mean you need to do the same thing next year.

bass family said...

As we got closer and closer to Maggie starting kindergarten, I started to understand why people homeschool! I myself did all three - public school for eight years, private school for four years, and homeschool for one year. My brothers had similar experiences. I thrived in private school. My oldest brother thrived in public school. And my middle brother thrived in homeschool. With Maggie, three factors held me back from homeschooling her... one being that I didn't think I could do as good of a job as her teacher... mainly because I have no clue how to go about teaching a child how to read. two being my lack of time. I felt that Maggie AND the other girls would all suffer from me attempting to homeschool. And three is her personality... she is incredibly outgoing and thrives around other people. I also think it makes her time with her sisters more special because she isn't around them all day to get tired of them. Anyway... we have her in a Christian school and it is working out GREAT. I hope that I can be sensitive enough to make the decision separately for each child... but I have a feeling that I'll probably end up doing the same thing for all of them, whether Christian school or homeschool. Right now, I doubt we would do public school... but nothing's for sure, I suppose :) Good luck, I look forward to hearing what you learn and what you decide!