For many this can be a loaded topic, but I do not think that it has to be. 🙂 My friend over at 5 Kids and A Dog, created a meme based on homeschooling. It started with a post from another friend MLBAH and that was prompted by MommyZabs. MommyZabs has also posted a few questions addressing the subject. In the meantime, OnlySometimesClever (I think she is quite clever more than just sometimes) took the topic and ran with it and then Just Enough has linked to that and Bloggerings has added her insight. I share all of that so that if you are remotely considered homeschooling that you will have several wise references in which to start your investigative journey.
Now back to moi….I will combine the meme and questions from MZ into one post.
I have 2 children and the eldest is almost 5 (in July) and the youngest is 3. I always knew that I wanted to stay home until my kids were 5 and then I would return to work. My dh, then fiance, was not keen on stay-at-home moms but God specializes in miracles and now he encourages others to figure out how to live off of 1 income as he thinks it is the next best thing since sliced bread. 😀 I have been home for 5 years and it all started with some health issues with our dd that arose 3.5 months after her birth.
1. Did you always know you would home-school?
Education is very valuable to me and more valuable is learning how to learn. My parents did not go to college yet at the time we were capable of a solidly middle class lifestyle. My grandfather didn’t go to college but he read the newspaper everyday and instilled that in me when I was knee high to a grasshopper. While my parents didn’t go to college they both had common sense and they used that to seek out the best for me. I went to public school but because of my parents and their involvement, I was encouraged to try anything and everything and told that I could be anything that I wanted and I believed it. That drove me and still does as I do not think that anything is too hard or impossible. God did bless me with a brain that took in information like a sponge and as a result I was in honors classes and was exposed to things that other kids weren’t because they were merit based. I had a full ride to college and my parents were very proud and still are and while not initial proponents of homeschooling they both now readily admit how well behaved and smart my kids are, of course some of that needs to be run through the Nana/Pop-Pop filter of they are so cute and can’t do anything wrong. 🙂
2. What led you to the decision to home-school?
As my dh and I looked at the schools in our community, we knew that we were not going to send our babies to public school. Our church had a lot of homeschooling families and I started researching the topic when dd turned 3. I was an eager beaver at that point and would buy all sorts of things that people recommended – good things but things that didn’t work for me. I really started praying that if God wanted us to do this that He would just show us the way. I love reading and had been doing storytime with the kids at the library and decided one day to see what kind of books they had on homeschooling. I was pleasantly surpised that they had a nice selection and I took out a few on learning styles (Cynthia Tobias) and started researching. I figured I needed to know how they learned and how I learned to figure all of this out.
During the same time, my church started a classical education structured school and it pretty much decimated the homeschooling family network at our church as well as the stay-at-home mom network because many of the moms were recruited to work at the school. 😦 The school averages over $6,000 and I told my dh that I thought that was ridiculous for the 3 r’s of reading, writing and arithmetic and they started at the age of 2. I saw a schedule of their day for the 3 year old class and 2 hours was nap/quiet time and then there was 45 minutes for lunch so 3 hours were spent not doing any learning. I really thought about that and how much fun I had being home with my kids and watching their new discoveries and just their inquisitive nature that I really didn’t want to ship them off for 7 hours.
Very important component to homeschooling – husband and wife being on same page if not husband willing to be supportive of wife until without a word wife wins him over. My husband is my biggest supporter. He knows that no matter the current trends that I have researched and prayed and researched and prayed about our purchases before coming to him and he is always wanting to know what I need to make it a success. I think that is very important.
3. What age were your children when you decided to take the home-school plunge?
I started homeschooling with dd was about 3.5 with some easy basic stuff like colors, alphabet recognition and the like. We played, did storytime and took it easy. When she turned 4, we created a bit more structure (if I have none, I am capable of getting nothing done), and started using The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and other things that I was finding on the internet. I came up with different scripture for memorization and off we went. Storytime was still 1x a week and we would load up with books at the library. I still didn’t feel completely at peace that I was not doing them a disservice being that I hadn’t purchased a box curriculum set and the like. So, I read Home Sweet Homeschool by Sue Maakestad. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone considering homeschooling.
Now,mind you the whole time I am teaching dd, ds is right there so when he was 2 he knew all of his colors, alphabet/number recognition, scripture verses, etc. so he caused me to do some re-thinking once again. Yes, re-thinking/retooling is a key part to homeschooling. Homeschooling for us is not a thing that we do, it is how we live. I can now turn just about anything into a learning opportunity. That has rubbed off on my dh and he does the same thing. It rubs off on our kids that they immediately start to think about something and then come the questions. At this stage they are naturally inquisitive so encourage that and don’t try to squash it.
4. Did you have any fears? What were they? Were they realized? 6. If you could name one thing that inspired you most to home-school, what was it? 8. Are some of your children easier to home-school than the others? 9. Lastly. Do you feel anyone is capeable of home-schooling? And do you feel every child is capeable of home-schooling? What would be an exception?
I still have fears about homeschooling but I don’t live with a spirit of fear. God has moved me to a place in which I can rest in that this is what He has called me to do and therefore know that He will give me what I need to get it done. This is my inspiration for homeschooling – knowing that I am doing what God wants me to do. It is a sacrifice but as in the Word – obedience is better than a sacrifice. I think that any mom who is led to homeschool can homeschool no matter what her educational background. I say led because if you are not led to homeschool it is like anything else in life, you will not enjoy what you are doing and you will not give it your all. Half-stepping at work will still get you a paycheck but half-stepping at home with the education of your children can have generational impacts far beyond what the eye can see.
As for children, I think all children can be homeschooled because at the core of anything and everything in life is obedience. I have a SIL that was an elementary principal and she would comment how her teachers had to spend 15-20 minutes calming children down. If your child does not obey you at home then he/she will not obey their teacher in school. It is really that simple! Teaching obedience, respect for others and their property, is the responsibility of the parents not teachers.
In terms of some children being easier to homeschool, I would think that if you have a child that has the same learning style as you do then it is easier to teach them because they learn like you and thus your job is easier. However, like Jesse Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, Ruth Beechick and Susan Schaeffer Macauley, we should strive to teach via all learning styles not just the dominant. My ds is very auditory, like me, so even if he isn’t looking like he is paying attention, he hears everything that you say and can repeat it back to you. Whereas my dd is more visual/kinetic in how she gathers information and I love how God uses her to stretch me outside of my comfort zone because I want to make sure that she undersands. Is it frustrating, at times, but when she gets it, all the frustrating moments are gone. 🙂
5. Do you know a lot of other home-schoolers in your real-life community? (cyberworld does not count for this question!)
As mentioned earlier, the homeschooling community at my church was decimated but there are few women that still homeschool and I consider them dear friends. Their children are older than mine but they still provide good counsel and serve as great sounding boards. Also, I attend a monthly support group jsut for moms, kiddies are left at home, and our group is on summer break. It is a group of all Christian women and there is a different topic each week. There are quite a few homeschool groups in the area and co-ops and the like and we are in prayer about joining a co-op this upcoming year.
7. How do you choose your curriculum?
Research is key to homeschooling. You will find that homeschool is not as narrowly defined as some would think and that their are anomalies within all of the subsets. I recently went to a homeschool fair for my state and while there were Mennonites, Catholics, Baptists, and a host of others and we all looked different. Nonetheless we were all there with the common goal of giving our children the best. There are choices upon choices for homeschooling and I think defining your educational goals and seeing where they line up (classical, CM, literature based, etc.) will help define your curriculum choices. My advice is to not be swayed that the grass is greener at someone else’s school because of this and that. Each of us is uniquely made as are our children, so keep the uniqueness that is a joy to homeschooling.
While, I could probably go on, I will end here. There are a plethora of homeschooling moms out there and while I do not want this to be a meme, I am going to name a few and if they are so inclined, I do hope that they will share their thoughts and even if they don’t, you have some sites to check out of some awesome homeschoolers – Mother Crone, MuddyBoots, Satisfied Housewife, Classical Reading and Writing (she has authored some awesome copybooks form the classical perspective), From the Narrows, and HiddenArt. There are more, lots more, so tag it and go reading.