HW at I’m Just Sayin’ has posted a list of questions for homeschoolers. I think it’s great when people ask questions instead of making assumptions. You know how I love to yap so I just had to answer it. 🙂 Here’s my answers…
1. What was your motivation for homeschooling? Was it based on religious reasons? Was is it based on curriculum – did you want more freedom in choosing what your children were being taught? Was it based on socializing – wanting to have more control in the people with whom your children came into contact with? Was it based on logistics – the nearest school being 20 miles away? What made you finally decide to go this route?
The biggest reason is really corny. I like my kids and I enjoy their company. I didn’t want to send them off into the world at a mere 5!
The local school is right across the street and is a fine one. We just were already having so much fun learning together and I didn’t see how a school could nurture my children’s education nearly as well as we could.
There is a bit of “The Wall” involved, too, for those old enough to remember Pink Floyd. 🙂
Another reason is that my hubby and I love to learn and our kids loved to learn. I remember hiding my nerdiness in school and didn’t want that for my kids.
We are also nontraditional in just about everything. I didn’t want my kids spending all day in an environment where it was bad thing to be different, smart, quirky, etc. Maybe schools have changed, but when I went you were supposed to try to fit in and not be different in any way. I think different is good! It took so long for me to reclaim my eccentric, wacky self after public education and celebrate it. I love that my kids have no clue what’s in fashion and feel free to happily be their whole selves.
What helped me finally make the decision? A homeschool mom I knew online posted what her girls were all up to that day. It sounded so simple and yet so magical that I wanted that for my children. I always thought I’d only homeschool if I “had” to– if our schools were dangerous, if my kids were chronically ill, if they dealt with bullying and needed out of that environment… I finally realized I could just choose it because it’s a wonderful way of life.
2. Don’t hate me for asking this. How to you handle socialization? What steps do you take to make sure your children are around other children and adults? Are you active in a home school group? Do you spend a lot of time at church activities? Maybe you utilize the local Y for activities and they meet friends there?
Oh man. Someday I hope to have 1/10th of the social lives my children have. 🙂
- They take part in homeschool swimming, ice skating and other seasonal sports.
- They have season passes to the city pool in the summer.
- They have pool parties, camping parties and sleepovers.
- They take part in community theater– some for all ages and some children’s theater.
- I run “Homeschool Days” at a local historic site with various themes like geology, prairie life, Native Americans, weather and so on. They are really fun and hands on, and the kids and I tend to make a lot of friends every time.
- We get together with other HS families.
- They take part in things like gymnastics, Irish step dancing, T-ball, soccer and community ed classes.
- They join clubs like the library club, an after-school club and anything else that comes along.
- They have friends from town who go to public school. They play with them after school, on weekends and in the summer. Sometimes their moms let them skip school to come to our hotel pool parties and fun days. 🙂
- They play at parks and meet kids in the neighborhood.
- They take Japanese class with other HS kids, taught by a Japanese college student.
- They go to special events like Victorian retreats, art seminars and cultural presentations for kids.
- In the past, they’ve been in Girl Scouts and 4-H. They always tended to be busy during the meetings though and it fell to the wayside.
- We travel to lots of events like historic get-togethers and they meet new kids. They always get phone numbers and email addresses to keep in touch.
- They belong to email groups for homeschool kids their age and have pen pals (online and snail mail) around the world.
- We do volunteer work as a family.
- They are out in the world with us and interact with people of all ages all the time. We travel a lot and seek out ways to learn new cultures and meet new people, whether it’s asking the man who runs the Ethiopian restaurant about his homeland or befriending a little girl at a knap-in who travels the country in an RV with her grandparents every summer. We are friendly and we make friends. It’s that easy. One of the things I love about this sort of “socialization” is that my kids feel comfortable talking to adults and enjoy their company. They also happily make friends with kids of other ages, genders, religions, etc. because they have grown up immersed in the diversity of the world outside our little homogenized town.
3. Do you use the public school system for any part of your child’s routine? Some children here come to the school for band or chorus, or maybe for science class. Do you send your child to the public school to take advantage of any of their programs?
Not really. My kids do some summer activities like soccer that are loosely tied to the school system but for the most part we do our own thing. When my boys are older they may want to go out for football or something. Most of the other sports are available outside of the school.
4. Do your children begin and end school at the same time each day? Do they have a strict schedule, at least as far as waking up and reporting to the school area of your home? If not, when/how will you transition your children into following a more rigid schedule – awaking at the same time each day so that they can follow a routine outside of the home like for college and work?
We are not structured at all. Learning is organic here. How we learn and what we do varies by season, day, schedule, you name it. This works best for us for now.
I think it’s a non-issue to get concerned about how kids will adjust to a schedule years in the future if they don’t have a strict schedule now. If you get a night job, it takes a few days and you adjust. Shrug.
My daughter Victoria has been a night owl since birth. When she was 6 she decided to join T-ball. Practice was at 8 a.m. 4 days a week! I thought she’d crash and burn. She did it for three summers. She was never late. She adjusted and made it work, and for 2 months each year she went to bed early and got up at 7. After T-ball she went right back to being a night owl. Now at 10, she’s an early bird again because she’s figured out she gets more computer time if she beats the other kids up. 🙂 Kids (and people) acclimate.
5. How many spelling bees has your child won? Oh, I’m kidding. We all know most of the recent national spelling bee winners have been home schooled children. I just wanted to throw a little funny in there?
My girls were somewhat bad spellers until this year. They might be ready for some bees now, but 2 years ago they would have been out in the first round. Now they rock at spelling. I love how that happens.
6. Do you have a sense of humor? It’s probably a little late for me to ask that but…
No, I’m very serious all the time and mostly scowl.
Okay, that’s a lie. Yes, I think I have a pretty good sense of humor, though my husband thinks I don’t laugh at his jokes nearly enough. I mostly roll my eyes at those. He’ll read this, so I have to say that he tells very good jokes. They’re quite unusual.
7. Where do you find your curriculum? Do you shop for it and order it? Do you create your own?
We’re “relaxed eclectic” homeschoolers, which means… hmmm… well, it means a little bit of this and that and the other, but never really looking like school and very child-led and hands-on. We have several billion books, workbooks on everything from the solar system to presidents to penmanship, an occasional history curriculum that we don’t usually get to and masses of other stuff. We use the internet for lots, we do lots of learning through games, lapbooking, field trips, historical reenactments, you name it. So far the kids have tested far above grade level in most subjects every year and have never been below grade level, so this seems to be working for us.
8. Do you have any worries at all about teaching your teenagers the higher level math and sciences? I, for one, could not teach chemistry to my children but I could probably teach them calculus. Is this a concern for you?
Nope. Here’s why…
- To be brutally honest, I never paid attention to teachers in high school and learned it the first time on my own just fine. Generally the night before the test, actually. I’ve found that I am learning way more this time around along with my kids. I even like it. I can figure it out well enough to help them, and I’ll bet sometimes they’ll figure it out well enough to help me. We’re smart people. 😉
- There are several billion web sites out there to help kids with this stuff.
- There are scripted curricula to use if you want to go that route.
- Teens can take classes online or at local community colleges.
- There are computer programs, books and many more resources to help.
- If any tricky subjects come up we can use tutors, form a coop for that class, work with another family or find another way to master it.
- Hubby and I complement each other well. When I’m really lost I say “Go ask Daddy.” That and “look it up on the internet.” Between those two resources, we’re pretty well set.
9. What bothers you the most about the reputation home schoolers have? What things do you hate to hear people say about you for your choice? I really hope you don’t say that it’s my previous post.
A lot of people think we’re all the same– all conservative, all doing school-at-home, all married and middle class with mom at home, all doing it for the same reason, whatever. We’re as diverse as any other group of families. I also am just dumbfounded when people still think socialization is an issue. It can be, but that’s not the norm. There is no norm.
10. Be honest, do you, at least in your mind sometimes, judge those of us who choose public school? Do you ever think we are making a bad choice for our children? Are you vocal about that disapproval?
I don’t judge those whose kids are in public school and enjoying it. I don’t think the world is a one-size-fits-all kind of place. I do feel sorry for kids who are stuck in public school and suffering– being bullied, feeling miserable, falling between the cracks or whatever. I do judge the parents who complain to me that their kids are being tormented and then do nothing to get them into a better environment. I don’t care whether people homeschool or not, but I do think children have a right to learn in a place where they feel safe and happy.
11. Is “home school” one word or two? I’ve seen it both ways. With spellcheck, it shows it as ONE word when used as a verb, but two words when used otherwise. Please enlighten me.
I say homeschool. Most homeschoolers that I know use one word. I tend to see it with a hyphen when it’s outsiders talking about us. I don’t think anybody cares though. 🙂
Um…that’s it. I look forward to your responses. And if you have any homeschooling friends, send them on over to weigh in.