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!