New thoughts

Well for some of you who may have viewed my blog before, it was mainly about my decision to quit my job and homeschool my kids. I think it may have been my chicken way of telling my family without having to "tell" them all.

I have decided to revamp this blog and begin to tell you about our adventures in homeschooling. We have been at this now for 6 months. 6 months!!!!! Where did the time go???? WOW.

I can tell you that I don't regret for one second the decision to move from the corporate world to being home full time. Do I miss my friends at work? Every day!!! The wonderful friends that I made while working, I hope will be with me for the rest of my life.

What I don't miss is waking up at 4 am everyday and driving for 2 hours to work and 2 hours home. Although I have to tell you that I feel like I have less time now than I did then, but I think it is just that I have more time to find more stuff to do. We haven't added any more activities, I still limit my kids to one activity at a time. I am not one of those Moms who believe the more "things" my kids are involved in the better. I believe give them an outlet in one thing they love. If they don't love it, they don't do it.

I thought I would start with what questions would new homeschoolers or non homeschoolers have? I am the first in our family to homeschool so I guess I would go straight to the questions my family asked when we started.

1.) Can you afford this? Well so far so good. We were blessed when I resigned and the hospital I worked for offered me PRN work. So I do get a paycheck still. I don't believe it will last forever, but I am thankful for everyday that it is still there.

2.) What about a cirriculum? How do you find a cirriculum? Well there is sooooo much out there that you really should start with some recommendations. Then research, research, research. You have to know your child and their learning style. I tried a method of piecing together resources when we first started because we started in the middle of a school year. That went fairly well, however I would not recommend this if you have no experience teaching or working with children. It was a struggle to keep up with creating a lesson plan and deciding what to do next. I have recently purchased a couple of great cirriculums and I am very happy with them for the most part. If you are considering homeschooling, don't expect your first choice to be perfect, and realize that you will have to make adjustments to fit you. There are several good resources for used or discount cirriculum on the net if you search for homeschool cirriculum. Biggest tip about this: go to your states Department of Education and print the scope and sequence for the grade level you are homeschooling. This will give you a good idea of what to look for in lessons IF you think that you may one day want to re-enroll your kids in public schools and you want to make sure that they don't fall behind the public school cirriculum.

3.) What is wrong with the public school system? This is a personal answer for everyone I know. Each and every homeschool family has different reasons for making the choice, even if they have a common ground. For us there were both educational and religious reasons.

From the educational stand I found that my children were being taught to test. We found that all the test formats had shifted to the standard national testing format. Children were being taught how to take a test well. I feel that in a good education there is creativity, and imagination, teachers who are allowed to develop cirriculum that works for their class. I just didn't feel the kids were getting that anymore. I did feel that they were progressing and learning but that the education was not as broad as I wanted it to be.

From the religious stand, we have many of the same concerns that most Christian households have. We are concerned about the exposure of our children to non-christian families. About the worldliness and the progressing decline of morals in both the children and adults in our society. YES!!! I know I can't shelter my kids, or protect them from all evil. However, I can protect them from avoidable evil, as long as God provides for my family and I am able to stay home I will do that. Additionally, my husband and kids attend an apostolic church, they observe the Old Testament Holy Days. As such there are a number of days that my children have to miss from school in order to observe these Holy Days. While the school system never gave us any hassel about the absences, quite the opposite actually they were supportive, in the last school year we found that my oldest child's teacher did not supply us with the work required to keep him on track with his class. Homeschooling allows us to set our own calendar and allows us to work around the Holy Days so that the children are neither working during the Holy Days, nor falling behind in their school work.

4.) What about testing? This questions always makes me sigh. As a culture we have become so accustomed to testing our children, this becomes a huge concern. I have heard time and again, "When do you test them to see if they are really learning anything?"........ WOW okay maybe not sigh... maybe this questions makes me want to scream. LOL!

It is of course a valid question in some respects. Children in the public school system in GA are tested EVERY year from 1st to 12th grade. So what about homeschooled kids? Well the short answer is I am required to test my children every 3 years. As with the rest of the homeschooling requirements in GA I am not in anyway required to provide these results to the state. I must just maintain a record of the testing.

Now my vent about the testing question is this: How do you know if your child is learning anything in public school? Does one test answer this question for you? Let's say my child made straight A's all year and had a wonderful school year with great teacher feedback, then when the national standard test comes in....not so great. Does that mean my child didn't learn anything? NO... Likewise if my child's grades are mediocre and has performed poorly in class and struggles through the year, but returns a average or above average national standard test score. Does that score then mean that my child has gained the knowledge needed in the classes or does that mean that my child has learned to use logic and elimination to test well ?

I know my child is learning or not based on the increased knowledge base they gained. I am also working with my children daily, watching their skills grow and progress or not... unlike public schools if they don't progress we don't move on. We continue to review until they do learn the material. Does this slow us down and make us "behind" the other kids their age??? Well I guess that questions is relative wouldn't you say?

5.) I recently saw a poll on a homeschooling e-group that I belong to that asked the number one question that you get as a homeschooling family... Here it is... "What about socialization?" When I hear this question I giggle a little inside. Do you believe that children socialize at school? I think this may be one of the most common misconceptions of public school. How many times have your children come home with a note or had to move their clip or gotten detention for talking? That is their socialization!! Yes there are appropriate times to talk to one another, but they are few and far between. At our local school the kids were allowed 30 min on the playground each day to socialize. Aside from that they are not given much time to be together in a social way. Homeschooling kids are allowed to have open conversation and play time off and on all day long. There are other homeschooling kids that we attend frequent field trips with, we go to the park, we have Boy Scouts & Gymnastics & Clogging, we have the pool and library. If we get any more social we won't get our homeschooling done :)

Well these are the top few questions I have been asked. If you have questions for me I would love to hear them. I am just beginning the journey that I hope to continue through high school. I am by no means an expert, but I love writing about the experience.

Have a fabulous day!


belle said...

Thank you - one question - how committed are the children to being homeschooled?

Jenjie said...

Ha Ha Ha... Well it depends on the day. I am laughing but that is true. Committment to homeschooling comes and goes on both the part of the teacher and student. My kids do like being homeschooled, they enjoy the flexibility and the freedom that homeschooling brings. My committment to keeping them on a schedule and keeping them focused is the key to their committment in being homeschooled. If I waver so will they. I am enjoying homeschooling more and more each day. It is quite a transition for everyone. But well worth the effort.

Allyson said...

Very well-written...i think you covered it all! Homeschooling ROCKS!