Why we are considering Homeschooling

August 31, 2011

Growing up, I remember the homeschooled kids. In a small town, they stuck out like a sore thumb. And when they entered middle/high school with us eventually, it was obvious they would be eaten alive in a matter of days. Maybe hours.

Unless they had a nice rack or excelled at football. Then they were considered some sort of a homeschooled rarity.

As a teacher, I saw real benefits to public schooling. The socialization, the friendships, the chance to learn from other people in a different setting. Quite honestly, I couldn’t imagine wanting your kids home with you all day. Wasn’t school some kind of day pass for exhausted parents?

Then I got pregnant. Quit teaching. Stayed at home. Watched a mom of five (hi Jill) do an incredible job starting up homeschooling with her kids. The seed was planted.

When Sam made the decision to rejoin the military, I keenly felt a loss for my daughter. Public schools are hard for families that move a lot. I attended 7 different schools growing up, and my education was all over the place. I knew her chances a a military kid in getting a solid, cohesive, thorough education were slim.

I’m not knocking our school system, (because I am a fan of it in many ways) but it was not designed well for families who move. School standards are different in each state, and carried out differently by each teacher. Thus, a child could learn about Native Americans in 4th grade, move to a new state, and learn about them again in 5th. I remembered as a child being so far behind my new class at times, other times being ahead – having studied the material a different year. I remember the fear of making new friends, the year being ruined by a teacher way past her prime in the classroom, being bored out of my mind or so frustrated I gave up. All of these things made me rethink what we might want to do.

So I asked Sam something I’d sworn for years would never cross my public school loving lips. “What do you think about homeschooling our kids?”

I waited with baited breath as I knew if he wasn’t on board, there was no way it would work. Homeschooling simply has to be a partnership to work.

“Yeah,” he said. “I think that’s cool. But – maybe not forever. Maybe just for elementary school?” I could see the recollection of the high school homeschoolers in his eyes and had to giggle. I know it’s not always like that, but for us at that age, it did damage the image a bit.

We agreed to see if it was feasible still when the time came for us to think about preschool, take it one year at a time, and always decide if it was best for what Bella needed. Just because I didn’t do well with moving doesn’t mean she wouldn’t.

So the past few months I’ve been gleaning ideas from Pinterest, blogs like Pioneer Woman, websites like the Texas Homeschool Coalition, and conferences. I’ve also looked into unschooling and homeschool chartering group. All wonderful ways to help different children with different needs and learning styles. We have a local Montessori school here (zomg, I know? Right – El Paso?) and I’d love to see if they’d do a half and half program with me. I think that might be a lot easier in the preschool years. That would be ideal though – or a homeschooling co-op with other families.

My biggest decision will be curriculum. So far, I’ve heard great things about Oak Meadow and Before Five in a Row (which I adore). I have taught with Abeka that also offers a homeschooling version, but I’d only use their reading program. I didn’t like the rest because of how rigid it was.

But all of this is down the road. I’m a strong believer in education at the right time. And lots of play. It’s fun to think about and get ready for though.

So tell me – if you are considering any type of partial or full homeschooling (or are doing it already) – why did you choose it? What kind of style do you have? Where do you go for resources and motivation? How do you make sure socialization is happening?

P.S. I hate to even add this, but with the increase of hateful (and therefore deleted) comments the past few weeks, anyone who doesn’t have something constructive or helpful to say shouldn’t post. Homeschooling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but please be respectful of those who would like to chat about it. Thank you!

37 Comments

  • MissMOE

    September 13, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I’ve been homeschooling for 13 years. I have kids at home and kids at school. Different things work for different kids at different times. I think your reasons are quite valid for wanting to homeschool. I started with one reason for homeschooling, but the reasons have grown over the years. Feel free to check out my blog and my weekly Why I Homeschool Meme. I also have listed my curriculum choices for each year. Good luck on your journey.

  • Tera Bare

    September 13, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I’ve been homeschooling for 13 years now. I never imagined that when we started, I’d be where we are today, getting ready to graduate our first child. We started for many reasons and we’re definitely not typical homeschoolers. My kids are athletes and play for our homeschool team. For us and most, homeschooling is what you make of it. It’s not always easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. I’ve used a variety of curriculum over the years and Five in a Row was one of them and we loved it! I do a Charlotte Mason/Eclectic approach (I use a lot of different curriculum, the list is on my blog.

    As far as socialization, my kids get so much, that you would never know they are homeschoolers; except better manners, better friends, etc. My kids play sports for travel teams, homeschool teams, involved in church, different homeschool groups and friends outside of homeschooling. You have to work at socialization and you get out what you put in.
    If you have any questions, I am here to help!

  • Mary

    September 13, 2011 at 6:57 am

    I homeschool my kids. I have graduated one already, have another doing 10th grade and my youngest is in 2nd. I can’t imagine our family going any other route. We don’t move around, but our local system is beyond repair. I want my children to have a well rounded and thorough education, which is something they would not get in the local public school.

    As for homeschooled kids being weird, I have to say that for every one weird homeschooled kid, there are probably five weird public school kids. This aspect of the socialization argument gets really old since clearly there are numerous misfits in the public schools. Just saying 🙂

    Good luck with your decision and have fun!!

  • Gidget @ Homeschooling Unscripted

    September 13, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Glad to meet you through the hop 🙂

    We’ve homeschooled since K (except for 1 very misguided year for 1st) and we love it. We do however intend to do it all the way through until they are about 16 and then start enrolling in our community college for a few classes. But, homeschooling is becoming so mainstream that I doubt your highschoolers would have a problem (except possibly being bored lol)

    As far as socialization goes, my answer is always that my children are learning how to socialize in the real world – not in the artificial world that is created in school. I mean, think about it, as an adult you can choose not to hang out somewhere where people are bullying you, right? They interact w/ other kids at church and in activities that we choose for them throughout the year. They have such a stronger base than I did at that age – they are not easily persuaded by other kids and I think it’s because we as parents have remained more important than their peers.

    I’m sorry that I’ve taken up so much of your comment space, but you can find out about our eclectic style that we’ve developed over the last 7 yrs on my blog: Homeschooling Unscripted 🙂

  • Diane

    September 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I think your reasons for homeschooling make sense. It is also something you could start out doing and then enroll your daughter in school if homeschooling wasn’t working out the way you wanted. If your husband is on board, even better!

    I have one son who is almost four. He is going to preschool three mornings a week this school year. He loves it, since he is very social. I would love to be able to do part time homeschooling, which I never even heard of before reading you post-I though it was all or nothing! when he isn’t at preschool we do all sorts of fun things such as visiting local farms and museums, playing, etc. I am dreading the day he’ll be stuck in a school all day with such limited hours to explore the world. My husband is completely against homeschooling. He excelled in public school, was valedictorian, etc. He doesn’t understand why I cringe at the idea of public school, since we live in a good district. The standardized testing and no child left behind crap really is what bothers me the most. I plan on supplementing his public school education as much as I can!

    Good luck with whatever you choose!

  • Abigail

    September 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I think you have great reasons for homeschooling. I was actually home-schooled my entire life except high school when I did extra curricular activities (like choir and drama) at the local high school.

    I had an amazing experience with it for the most part, especially in elementary school. We were able to do things in a such a fun, interactive way that I remember tons of it to this day.

    My only advice would be to always keep an open mind toward public school and listen to your daughter’s needs. I say this because my personalty was one that I *begged* my mom to go to public school. I did much better with outside accountability. My sister on the other hand was a much more independent worker and homeschooling suited her.

    I’m sure you’ll do great. Homeschooling can be the most enriching education possible and there are so many great resources now. I’m excited to see where you go on this journey.

  • Erika @NAMAmmaSTE

    September 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    You already know how I feel, but I’ll share anyway! I think about it still too. I go back and forth, but I love the idea. I love that if we home school our kids, we’ll have the freedom to turn vacations into field trips where we go on lots of tours of historic areas. Not that parents can’t do that anyway, but the idea of not having to schedule our life around school breaks is nice, too.

    I wish I was a little more like you though. I know you’ll do an amazing job homeschooling Bella. You’re so intelligent and organized. I can’t wait to hear what you decide!

  • Lori

    September 1, 2011 at 6:36 am

    I do not have kids, but wanted to leave you a comment about how I moved around a lot growing up, 6 different school and i agree with you in that i missed a lot. I got US history like 3 times and never got any world history. So if you know you will be moving every 2 or 3 years, education wise, homeschooling makes scene. I knew home schooled kids when i was younger and there were group activities they would go to a few times a week to socialize. So i think for elementry school, it could work. I do plan on having kids, hopefully soon, and for me, i would worry about if I were teaching my kids properly, since i don’t have a teaching background. I think home schooling has probably come a long way and the teaching plans cover it. Good luck in whatever you decide!

  • Autumn Beck | All About Cloth Diapers

    August 31, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    You just want to see me comment that’s why you keep posting things up my alley 😉

    Of course you should homeschool! You get to teach your children what they need to know, skip the minutia, protect them from things they shouldn’t know and raise them to love the Lord while building a biblical worldview. I couldn’t imagine not seeing my children all day every day!

    But, I’m sorta biased lol

  • Shannon MIlliorn

    August 31, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    My aunt does it with her kids. She has 6 children from age 13-3. She was a highschool PE teacher and i think english as well. They live in very agricultural area of North Dakota that lends itself well to the program as schools as extremely small and with snow and then flooding kids can is a ton of days. She starts her kids as early as they want- younger usually try to keep up with the older siblings. They are all very educated and not “those homeschool kids” they work with a tiny school in their area and do things like sports/ music with the public school kids. again that was in ND and im not sure how curriculum thing works but i can email her and ask her opinion/thoughts???

    idk if you read Kris from Pretty All True she home-schooled her girls while in CA. They are brilliant. They did a lot of real world type stuff like going to nature preserves, aquariums tours of facilities that type of stuff.

    idk i have been thinking about this too- but hubby’s not on board as it took me 7 yrs to finish my bachelors in social work :/

  • Nikki

    August 31, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    First, I’m sorry you’ve had mean comments pop up on here…I can’t even imagine what kind of mean things trolls have to say with the posts you’ve written recently. Good for you for deleting the nasty comments 🙂

    Second, I’m so glad you wrote this post. 🙂 I’m also a huge proponent of publics schools (both Hubbs and I attended one) – but homeschooling has been on my mind A LOT lately. DH is in the military too, and my biggest worry is Carley (& now Emily, too) either being behind or ahead and not really learning as much as she should or repeating material – that, and going to school only to learn how to take a state test (but that’s another story). With being in the military, homeschooling just seems like it makes sense if only for the continuation of study. I haven’t looked into programs yet, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to do, so this post is perfectly timed 🙂

    xoxo,
    Nikki
    http://www.frommrstomomma.blogspot.com

  • Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

    August 31, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Our school is greatly failing my son so I would possibly consider it if I was not working full time. I love the idea of partial homeschooling because my son LOVES the social part of school a LOT! I know homeschoolers swear there kids don’t miss out on socialization but my son seems to have difficulty making real friends at activities such as Scouts and sports. He LOVES these things but doesn’t make REAL connections there because he’s too focused on the task at hand.

  • Melissa

    August 31, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I’ve never considered homeschooling….but with the awful drop-offs we have been having since she started 1st grade last week, it has actually crossed my mind. They literally have to peel her off of me kicking and screaming to get her to go to class. She constantly says she has a stomache ache hoping she can stay home from school.

    She says she doesn’t like her teacher…I wish we had more choice in the public school world of who was teaching our kids. The principal will not let anyone switch teachers right now….Maybe in a month he will reconsider if we are still having a problem.

    ugh….good luck to you! I think the stereotypical “homeschool kids”….are not what they used to be!! 🙂

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      This makes my heart hurt for you. And her. I used to be that little girl in many ways. And my mom was in the same boat.

      I have to tell you – I love your site. Very cute, I just popped over and read about Smiling Tree Toys and have to check them out too.

  • Rebecca

    August 31, 2011 at 10:39 am

    How exciting Diana! Not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but I was home-schooled from 3rd grade THROUGH high school.

    I know, I know, I’m a total anti-social freak who wears long denim skirts and stares at the floor when I talk to people, so I’m sure you had me pegged as a home-schooler from the get go! 😉

    Seriously though, I know home-schooling isn’t for everyone, but it can be a really wonderful thing. I was in public school from K-2 and after some standardized testing they wanted to skip me a grade but wouldn’t really do it because they thought it would be a detriment to me socially.

    Long story short, my parents didn’t want me to be bored in school so they yanked me out and started homeschooling me in 1988. That’s back when it was pretty frickin’ rare.

    In fact, my step-grandma wrote an article in the local paper about how home-schooling was a form of child abuse! She even sent truant officers to our house! Crazy.

    Anywho, I was home-schooled throughout elementary, middle and high school and really liked it. Sure I had those days where I was jealous of my public school friends (but there were days they wished they were home-schooled too!). I ended up graduating early, starting college early and getting a head start on my life.

    So maybe this should have been a blog post rather than a comment…oops!

    I’m excited for you as you consider this an option. I’d love to talk more about it one of these days since I obviously have a lot to say on the matter 🙂

    We should ACTUALLY Skype!

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      Tomorrow! But no, I would not have pegged you as the homeschooled type – but then they all turned out smart, great looking, successful, and friendly so maybe it wouldn’t have been a far stretch.

      And your step Grandma – whoa. She needed to simma down.

  • Janelle

    August 31, 2011 at 10:37 am

    My first thought when I read your post title was “Woh. No!” But your reasoning makes sense – I feel for military families that have to move frequently, and it is a shame that curriculums don’t line up across states. So unfair to the kids! I think it would be very hard for me to do, and I think it is often not done well. But you have the teaching background and the dedication to research curriculum, as well as sound reasons for keeping Bella at home…so do what your gut tells you!

  • Adam

    August 31, 2011 at 10:20 am

    My wife and I discussed home school just a few weeks ago (yeah, Isaac’s only 1 but she likes to plan ahead). I don’t personally think it’s for me, but it definitely got me thinking.

    I guess, not being a teacher, my biggest concern is that I don’t know enough about all the topics to be a successful teacher to Isaac. Plus I’d like to do some freelance work to make some money and that would probably go out the window if I was homeschooling him.

    If we do go the homeschooling route, however, it will definitely only be for a certain range. I, like your husband, believe he should at LEAST go to high school, if not middle school.

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm

      Hey now, nothing wrong with being an early planner (says the mom of the 21 month old). 🙂 Here’s the thing with homeschooling – don’t let the “I’m not a teacher” stop you. There are amazing curriculums out that can take you step by step down this road – for the entire time or just until you get your bearings. It’s also a matter of you knowing your child best, and because of that you’ll be surprised what you come up with.

      I’ll be interested to see what you guys decide down the road.

      1. Adam

        September 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm

        Well there’s also an issue that I’ve never really wanted to BE a teacher. I think that’s going to be a major hindrance as well. But who knows, my wife can be pretty dang persuasive/manipulative when it comes down to it 🙂

  • Tabetha Smelser

    August 31, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Personally my husband and I want to fully homeschool/unschool our kids (unless they tell us otherwise when they get older) because we both had terrible experiences in school. It’s not that we got picked on or anything, we just weren’t challenged in any fashion. School was a chore and we never really got to explore what our true interests were or find what we were actually good at. We want our kids to be able to learn what is interesting to them, excel in areas that they have a natural talent in, and if something just doesn’t fit for them, then they don’t have to do it.

  • Mrs. MidAtlantic

    August 31, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Soooo not for me… but homeschooling does seem a lot like you. In the best way possible. You and Bella have something so special, home together. And when you point out how frequently you are likely to move? It just makes even more sense. I love the idea of stability in education, having gone to three elementary schools myself! Good luck, but I know you can do this.

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2011 at 9:44 pm

      This was the nicest anti-homeschool comment ever. :p Lol. But I mean it – reading it made me smile. And I’m glad that the moving part came across as the main reason, I didn’t want to come off as “OMG PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE THE DEVIL” because that is certainly not my reason behind considering homeschool.

  • melissa

    August 31, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I think it all hinges on whether we stay put here or not too. We may move again and we may not. My husbands job is not known to be one where you stay in one place a long time. I’m not opposed to homeschooling at all, but I do think the socialization at a charter school or private school would be ideal too. We shall see!

  • Christi

    August 31, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I know a lot of people who successfully homeschool, but I have seen it done horribly wrong and the child had to go back to school and repeat grades too.

    This year (next week!) I am starting what I call “home school lite” with my 11 yr old. Our motivation was that our middle schools are terribly failing and we can’t afford private school. 2 of our older kids went to middle school in the district and it was awful, and last year my husband went back to work and I am the 1 home again.

    We are doing it through a Christian “homeschool-school” She will go to school 1 day/week and we will do the rest of the work at home. The school will do lesson plans, report cards, etc and give her a chance to meet new friends outside of church and the neighborhood.

    This is my breaking-in period. I may go further depending on how it goes. There are a couple of our kids I would never be able to teach. My stepson is special needs, we struggle for hours through homework, and he needs intense spec ed (may even be starting a special school this year), and 2 of my step kids have adhd, and I know my limitations.

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      Jealous. That would be my *ideal* situation, especially because the school itself would keep me on track as a parent and educator – something to keep me accountable.

      I hope you’ll blog on this as you go through it. I’m interested to see other families in their journey.

      And I totally agree with different children/different needs. I think public schools do a fantastic job with a lot of kids who excel in the environment.

  • Amber

    August 31, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Growing up, a lot of the families we knew home schooled their kids. Which made me think, “Wow, I am so glad my parents put me in public school.”

    As I got older, I realized that my disdain for home school had more to do with parents that just handed their kids books and worksheets and didn’t actually teach them.

    Jonas is 2, and I already have discussions with my husband about the real possibility of home schooling him. I haven’t started researching what choices I have here, but we would like to put him in some sort of class (art, music, sports) so he gets the socialization aspect of public school.

    I’m glad you posted this – it makes me feel less neurotic about already discussing his schooling.

    Also, sign me up for Sarah’s classes. 😉

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      The more I look into this, the more I realize it’s a huge movement of awesome, normal families. Not the freaks of nature we all tend to somehow remember.

      We should talk more on this, since you’re a little closer to the age of homeschooling I’ll be interested to see what you decide on and choose for the school stuff.

      1. Amber

        September 1, 2011 at 7:58 am

        I’ll keep you posted as I attempt to figure it all out. 🙂

  • Sarah

    August 31, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I have a good friend who is thinking about doing this with her daughter, I’ll have to share this with her! Sometimes I wish I had the time to do something like this. I like you so much I’m offering up a few courses I could teach Bella..

    Starbucks 101: Where does the coffee bean come from?

    Starbucks 102: Milk and Syrup

    Starbucks 404: From the latte to the toddy – Evolution

    Battlestar Galactica 205: Don’t worry, they really didn’t kill Starbuck, and maybe we are all cylons.

    Volgons 101: The government lessons while listening to rage against the machine..

    Stars, Physics, and Time 675: Bunch of cool space theory and stuff I think looks pretty.

    Or you know… maybe it’s good I don’t have time to home school.. huh? lol

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      I’m going to take you up on your offer provided I can also sit in on those courses, and that they come with some kind of “sampling” so we understand better what you’re talking about.

      🙂

  • Cassie

    August 31, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I homeschooled my oldest for two years, pre-k and kindergarten. First because his school closed and I didn’t like the other school they wanted him to go to and then because we were planning a move mid school year and thought it would be better to enroll him in the new area. I loved it and would probably still be doing it if I didn’t have to work aand have 3 kids.

  • Kristin

    August 31, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Despite my great respect for homeschooling and school in general, I never had any desire to do it. That is, I never had any desire to homeschool until the bullying my oldest was dealing with in middle school got so bad that he looked at me and said “I’d rather die than go back there.” Well, he never went back and we started homeschooling shortly after. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. We didn’t use one specific curriculum. We put it together from a number of sources and publishers. Alpha Omega has a lot of wonderful stuff available.

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      Wow, what a story you have. I admire you for taking the steps to do that for him.

      I’ll have to look into that curriculum, thanks for mentioning it.

  • TheNextMartha

    August 31, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Our state has an option to half home school. He would be home for the core stuff and I could send him for music, gym, extra stuff. I’ve considered it. He loves his friends to I don’t think at this point I could take him out fully. You have great reasons for doing this.

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2011 at 9:34 pm

      Really, half homeschool would be ideal. I knew a girl whose mom did it and it worked so well for them. I think it would be the best of both worlds. Whether we can do that with the military moves will be interesting to see.

      You’d do a great job homeschooling. You’re so creative.

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