I am going to use this blog to talk about my homeschooling tales along with posting general pictures and posts about the kids and whatever else I think of. One of the reasons is so that I can look back on it and see what I had to say later. I do have 2 kids coming up behind Andrew after all.
The other reason is because I have friends that have kids right behind me in age and maybe I will say something that sparks an interest in them. You can drown yourself in homeschooling blogs and ideas and crafts so I try to be very diligent on only reading ones that are good. I love reading my friend Jamie's blog because I know her so it seems more real to me. Her kids are older than mine so only a bit can apply to my current level. I also get a lot of my friend Tina's blog because she does a lot with her preschooler. Victoria's blog inspires me for oh so many craft ideas with my kids. Super crafty. (I feel like I am doing the thank yous for an academy award :)) All of these ladies are Christian ladies who I admire and learn a lot from. I read a lot of personal blogs for ideas. I like a lot of other blogs too for ideas and one day I will probably post my favorites. Okay that was a bit of a tangent...all that to say that I know I have some friends that read my blog and my hope is that my experiences - both positive and negative - will encourage you in your journey whether you are homeschooling or not. Because all of us parents are teachers after all.
A little about where I am right now. Andrew is 5 1/2. He will turn 6 in November. When he turned 5, I already knew that I was going to homeschool so I went ahead and tried to do as much Kindergarten things that I could. I have applied to a online virtual school called Georgia Cyber Academy for Kindergarten that begins in the fall. I will know next week whether or not he got in. According to the state, he will be considered a public school student. They will send me all the curriculum, books and manipulatives for free for use during the year. We will keep up with our assignments online and I will mark the time that he completes. He has to complete 4 hours a day. How I am going to get 4 hours a day in with my other kids, doctor appointments and work? I don't really know but I will work it out. I see night school and Saturday school in my future. Choosing GCA is a bit of a concern for me because Andrew is reading very well right now and his math isn't too shabby either. We have a virtual teacher assigned over us so I will have to ask her about it but I think that we can take assessment tests until we get to where we are. If I don't get into GCA, I will be starting a 1st grade reading and math program with him.
There will be a whole other post about reading and what I learned about that so far. Several things I would have done much different. Some I would have kept the same.
My friend, Melanie, loaned me a book called The Well Trained Mind. I checked out a copy of the library so that Chris could read it as the same time as me. It has eliminated so many of my fears and really answered my year long question of "Sooo how DOES one home school?" I signed up with GCA to ease some of these fears because they will lay it out for me. But after starting to read this book, I am also completely prepared to go solo with the task and have most of my curriculum planned out for next year. I might even be disappointed if I don't get to use it. :)
There are a lot of questions that people like to ask homeschooling parents. The popular ones being Why are you going to home school? and What about socializaion? (which can have a vague meaning on what the person is actually asking..I always assume they mean "social life") For the most part, I have not had a lot of people ask me questions. For starters, homeschooling is more popular than it used to be. I am reading one book from the 80s that lists advocacy groups you can call if you have to have a legal battle. It's still illegal in many other countries but it is more and more accepted here. Especially where I live, I am not made out to be some freak because my kids aren't in school. But if you don't me well and are wondering the answers..here they are.
I am homeschooling because I feel like God has called me to do this for my family and I enjoy it which is a bonus. Homeschooling is not for everyone. If it's not right for you, don't feel bad. Don't be defensive. Do what's best for your family and don't worry about what others are doing with theirs. This is true for me too. It doesn't affect me at all and I don't judge you if you put your kids in school. There is nothing wrong with putting your kids in school. I just don't want to put my kids in school and God has blessed me with the means and ability to teach my children at home. I treasure teaching my children. I love watching them learn. If you put your kids in school, you get to treasure teaching them and watching them learn too. It's just in a different way than me.
What about socialization? The answer that people want to hear is that homeschoolers have many opportunities for socialization through hybrid schools, extracurricular activities, church, homeschool groups, etc. I might give you that answer but to be honest, I don't care about socialization. My kids will get all the above things. I believe they will turn out just fine. I feel like children their age for the most part actually provide negative socialization. I would much rather my children learn how to be a functioning member of society through older peers and adults. My mentor once said the only thing that a 10 year old can learn about other 10 year olds is foolishness. And I believe this to be true. I can list out more negative experiences from my childhood than I can positive - the teasing, the ridicule, the low self esteem, the bullys, the body image issues, how bout the pot and porn in the 8th grade locker room at my prestigious private school. Is it really such a bad thing that I want don't want my kids exposed to this. I understand...you think that I am going to shelter them too much. Overprotect maybe? Nahhh, I don't think so. They will know that sex, drugs and rock n roll exist. I really don't think they are going to go off to college and jump into all these things because I didn't expose them to it in high school or middle school or heck these days, it's elementary school. I knew several home schooled kids in college and for the most part, they were actually much more mature than others their age. This is the inspiration that I have for kids. My mission for my family is that we will all know, love and serve Jesus Christ and I am confident in this for my family. Sure there will be ups and downs whether my kids are homeschooled or school schooled. But God will direct my paths and the paths of my kids and I trust Him completely.