Homeschooling Questions

Updated on April 15, 2008
H.T. asks from Wasilla, AK
28 answers

Homeschooling moms. What's your favorite thing about homeschooling. What made you decide to start? Why do you believe it was the right choice for your family. Do you prefer public or private school curriculum. And why?

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So What Happened?

I would like to say thank you so much to everyone who responded to my questions on homeschooling last month. We have decided to go ahead and try homeschooling for a year and see how it works for us. I'm looking forward to a great school year ahead of us. Thanks again! H. T

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T.C.

answers from Seattle on

Hey! I don't know if this helps, but I was homeschooled 3rd grade through 12th. if you want to call and chat I'd be happy to give you the "insider's" perspective of being homeschooled. ###-###-####
:-)
T.

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E.E.

answers from Eugene on

Hi H.,
I homeschooled both my kids. My son was homeschooled until he was 12, then we went to an alternative public charter school based on Waldorf philosophy.

I was a complete "unschooler" which I loved and it worked great for our family. I did not use any curriculum. We just lived, had plenty of books around the house and got together with a group of people every week. Took a class here and there. (I did not do any testing).

I homeschooled because I do not believe much in traditional schooling.

My daughter went to school in 2nd grade ONLY because her brother at 12 decided to go to school, I would have kept her out of school much longer if I could have but she did not want to be home without her brother.

There are plenty of amazing homeschool resources for unschoolers. So it really depends on what your schooling philosophy is. I was a follower of John Holt who is a big advocate of "unschooling". He wrote several books, the best one to start with is his book called: Learning All the Time.

From my perspective, if you have a stimulating environment at home, lots of free creative play, no or limited TV, no or limited computer time, books, reading, and involve kids in the daily activities of sorting laundry (premath skills), counting, cooking, etc. They do not need to be "taught" things, they are learning from day one.

The closest analogy I can give you for this is you did not teach your child to walk, they did it on their own by watching what was going on around them, they have an intrinsic motivation to walk, and they do it on their own from experimenting moving, crawling, pulling themselves up, then eventually walking along furniture and then by themselves.

We did not "teach" them how to walk, much of learning can happen this way. I am a HUGE proponent of creative play, letting kids do their own thing and not getting in their way.

My son is 18 and graduating from HS this spring, has been accepted into a private university and will be going to college next year, he was completely unschooled until he was 12.

Personally, I feel that kids do not need a lot of formal learning until they are 10, 11, 12, depending on the situation, and boys can be later learners than girls in some respects because they tend to be more physical and need to experience those large motor movement activities (which does not mean sitting at a desk all day) where as girls are more in tune with fine motor movements and have more patience with sitting at a desk...I know this is a generalization so don't take it too literally.

I know that every kid is different in their own way, in how they learn and in how quickly they pick things up, begin to read, etc, etc. That's the beauty of homeschooling, you can go at the rate that fits for your own child.

Both my kids were late readers, this does not go over well in a formalized school setting. I could tell they were making progress in their reading so I did not worry about it, if they had been in school they would have been pressured to be reading before they were ready.

Both my kids are huge readers now and my daughter who is 14 wants to be a writer.

Put "unschooling" in your google search engine and you will find lots and lots of resources...if you are interested in learning more about it.

Also I will say, that you will never have the chance to go backward. I would never give up the time I have had with my kids. We have a strong relationship, I know my kids and they are really connected to each other because of the amount of time we all spent at home together, putting our values in place and letting them discover who they are before they were pushed out into the world of peer pressure.

Young children are not socialized and they cannot socialize each other very well, kids are socialized by older people that have more experience, not by same age peers. I completely believe this, so homeschooling for me was a fantastic experience.

When my son was 12 he wanted to see more about school, and have more exposure to the "regular" world, I did not want him to think he was missing something so I agreed to school but I found a school that still fit with more of my philosophy of education. I did not think it was the greatest place to be but it worked out fine.

Kids are very good at knowing what they want, if you can get out of their way and trust them to be who they are, they will show you the way.

All the best,
E. E.
http://elyorganics.com/

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J.S.

answers from Bellingham on

Hi H.,
I am a homeschooling mom. We started homeschooling with my 14 year old this past school year. Middle school years are very difficult in public school. I am not a teacher and was very worried about it at first. So we started public school curriculum at home through K12. It has helped so much with confidence issues and study habits. She loves it and now can't wait to start school every morning.

I recently started her sister in the same program. Her progress has been amazing so far. The program we enrolled in is called Washington Virtual Academies. If you go to www.K12.com you will be able to pick your area. The program is absolutely free. and the amount of time online for school is minimal. You get all the books and school supplies in the mail. The children are still asigned a certified teacher, that is available for help. The best part is the curriculum is already set up and organized. You don't have to worry about skipping over anything.

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L.P.

answers from Seattle on

Hi H.,
I decided to homeschool after reading some books by John Holt and Dorothy and Raymond Moore. I liked their "natural learning" approach. But it's what you discover over the years that makes you glad you homeschooled. For example, our family is a lot closer than most~ my 15 yr dd and 18 yr ds are best friends. My husband and I both have great relationships with our children. We all like and respect one another. They are both bright, articulate, and a joy to spend time with~ their scout leaders, tae kwon do instructors, music instructors etc. have all told me this as well. Homeschooling has given my kids more real life experience and more real life socialization than they would've likely gotten in school. They socialize with kids and adults of all ages through homeschool groups, family, friends, and many outside activities. They had great mentors in other homeschooled teens when they were small, and now they are the mentors to the younger ones. They have more time to pursue extracurricular activities, more time to play and be kids, and more time to spend with family. We have enjoyed "off peak" travel when the crowds and prices are low. We have enjoyed making our own schedule or none at all, instead of being at the beckon call of the school district. We have traveled all over the world with our children. My daughter is a natural linguist because of this exposure at a very young age.
As far as curriculum, we didn't use a lot in the early years. We mostly went to the library and spent as much time as possible in museums, science centers, playgrounds, pools, skating rinks, mountains, etc. As they got older and wanted to learn specific concepts~ like reading and math~ I purchased a few tried and true items and went from there. Sometimes we have used a whole curriculum, but never through any school. We have stayed as far away as possible from "the authorities" because I dread "hoops" to jump through and simply never would bother anyway. But there are many states where you must homeschool through a school or have an approved curriculum, so you must check your state laws. As a stay at home mom, you will get a lot out of it too! You can find great friends and support in the many homeschool groups~ you may teach other homeschoolers in co-op classes or for extra cash (for example, I taught French). As a homeschool mom, you may find that your own career takes a back seat, though many moms find ways to work or have a part-time career. It is tougher though. Some advice: keep good records and keep track of what the local schools are doing if you might ever put your children in school. It will make the transition easier for everyone.
This is probably more info than you were looking for~ but I hope it's helpful. Good luck!
peace,
L. P.

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T.B.

answers from Seattle on

Hi H.,
After 3 years of struggling through every different type of preschool, including special ed, we decided to start home schooling. My son learns a bit differently (he's dyslexic), and school was just setting him up for failure. I know lots of kids who do great and love school- public or private, but for some learners it's just not a good fit. We plan on staying in the system however to take advantage of classes (other than language and math), social; not being so far outside the norm, and making sure we are on track with his peers. We are starting with Singapore math and reading is alpha-phonics with lots of creative hands on and music biased learning.

I love not having tears and struggles to go to school. And I really love seeing when it finally 'clicks' for my son, using our multi-dimensional approach. I just can't wait for more in-depth science, math and electronic projects.

Good luck with your endeavor and go with what feels right for you.
T.

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A.T.

answers from Spokane on

hi H.,
i know there are a lot of different reasons people homeschool...i went thru the same process you are going thru right now, when i started homeschooling. i am a certified teacher. i have worked in the public schools and there were some things i didn't like about what i saw there. when i unexpectedly got pregnant, i was forced to think about some of these child-rearing issues. long story short, let me give you the simplified version...i love homeschooling because i can teach the way i want to teach. i have a flexible schedule. i spent a lot of money on my college degrees, and who better to benefit from them than my offspring whom i love dearly? most importantly though, i believe there are things i want my kids to know (implicitly, and specifically at their young impressionable age)that aren't taught in the public schools--our family's value system, beliefs etc. i can incorporate these things as i wish--into an english, science, history lesson. homeschooling allows me to spend more time with my kids--not sending them away for seven hours of the day. i like that freedom. i also like the hands on, and experiencial learning homeschooling can afford...i could go on and on about this. please feel free to email me off-line to talk about it more if you'd like ([email protected]____.com)
A. t

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J.L.

answers from Medford on

Hello,
I homeschool my three boys and I love it. I first decided to homeschool because I want my kids to learn christian values and I want to be the one to raise my children. Kids these days spend so much time in school that the school really becomes the biggest infulence in their lives. My husband and I don't agree with all the things that the public schools teach our kids and allow them to be influenced by. So that is why we decided to homeschool.
My favorite things about homeschooling are number 1 - No homework. After we're done with school for the day we're done. It doesn't drag out in the afternoon and into the evening. This allows us to have more time for family activites.
It is also great because the kids can work at their own pace. If they are struggling in an area, they can take more time to figure it out and learn. They aren't rushed to keep up with the class.
You also have the ability to make learning a fun experience for your kids. I have found that each one of my boys learns differently and has different ways they like to do things. So in homeschool I can customized their lessons to fit their individual styles and needs making it more fun and interesting to them. When they enjoy what they are doing they really retain the information they are learning.
I prefer private school curriculum because we want to teach our kids Godly principles. So I use a chrisian school curriculum called Chrisian Liberty Academy. I love it. It is a great program.
Well, good luck to you. Just remember, it is never easy when you first start out, but don't give up. It gets easier as time goes by and you figure out what works for you and your family. I know that you will end up loving it and you will see the difference in your kids.

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D.M.

answers from Anchorage on

I did not like school as a kid. I was just outside the box. When it was time to send my kids to pre-school I started remembering all the things I didn't like. We also have my step-son who also never did well in school. My hubby and I compromised. I could homeschool until 3rd or 4th grade then they spent one year in school, and after that could choose.

I LOVE homeschooling. When my kids started school they were testing WAY ahead of their grades. When my stepson started for 7th grade, he said he had never before enjoyed school! My kids have the freedom to be themselves, find a curriculum that fits their needs AND intrests AND learning style! You can't do that even in private school.

I have used all the different styles of schooling. Each kid is different and has different needs. My youngest does better with a well rounded, fully devoloped curriculum and unit studies. My middle does better with a lifeschool approach and loves to learn completely on her own. My oldest (stepson) does better with computer based stuff, his favorite has been Willow worlds. It was what we used to bring him out of public school as a stepping stone into self work.

If you are just starting preschool; I loved the book Early Education at Home. You can even start it at 2 or 3 years. It realy taught me that homeschool doesn't have to be complicated or dificult.

Even though we haven't exclusivly homeschooled It has enriched my kids. We are very close. I know their learning styles and abilities, as well as difficulties. They find school fun and not a chore. They also can identify what they need, if they are not challenged enough, or if they miss something, and let us (or their teachers as the case may be) know. What 10yo can do that?

homeschoolfreestuff.com has a free e-news letter. I would recomend you sign up for it. You will read many heartwarming stories!

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C.A.

answers from Seattle on

Fav things: my kids of different ages are friends -- they spend time together so they get to know each other; I get to see them learn; I know what they are learning; they are learning things I want them to learn -- and not learning things I don't want them exposed to at this time (language, bullies, etc.); flexibility to play in snow or at beach or with friends or with dad on his day off; "school" is done in much less time.
Why started: I knew my firstborn always wanted to be around the "big kids", so I knew he would gravitate to older kids in school and either get hurt/picked on or learn undesirable language/behavior. I also knew he is easily over-stimulated so keeping him home helps his brain work better/calmer.
Why right: see above!
Fav curriculum: www.schooloftomorrow.com ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) program. Christian based program using workbooks for each subject. Designed for student to complete 12 PACEs (workbooks - avg. 39 pages each) per subject (Math, English, Social Studies, Science, Word Building/Spelling) per year. Other subjects also available. All material is in the PACE.
Child works at own speed - fast in easy subjects if wanted - and at own level - can be in 3rd grade math and 5 grade english or whatever works. Free online (no obligation) diagnostic testing (about the middle of the page of above link) tells you where to start your child.
As the parent/supervisor, I don't have to figure out how to interpret or prepare each lesson. Everything is presented to the student in the PACE - information, questions, etc. Child sets own goal (avg. 3 pages/day/subject), scores and corrects own work (with supervisor checking) using score keys. Check-ups (mini-tests) throughout the PACE and Self Test at end of the PACE prepare student for final PACE Test. Only the PACE test goes on their permanent record.
I did this for 7 years growing up and loved it.
It looks like I've talked much longer than I planned - sorry! Hope some of it is helpful.
Have fun!!!
C.

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B.D.

answers from Seattle on

I have 3 children. My oldest and my youngest go to public school. I home school my middle child. She is a slow processor, and her brain can't handle large chunks of information. She was gettin behind in public school. We just started home schooling this year. My favorite thing about it is the one on one time I get to spend with my daughter. I find that I am also learning alot, too. It was the right choice for me and my daughter because we were both frustrated about the lack of one on one time she got in public school. We are signed up with the k12 program, which is public school, but I teach it to her at home on the computer with the guidance of an accredited teacher who monitors our progress. My daughter is a lot happier, and she is doing wonderfully in school. We can take extra time on things that are harder for her, and we can move ahead on the things that are easier for her. we have a lot of fun doing school, and it allows us to spend a lot of quality time together. I hope this helps you.

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S.C.

answers from Portland on

I see you already have a ton of responses, but I also home school my kids. I have 2 that are school age. My oldest, who is 9, was reading at age 4, but her birthday is in late September and they wouldn't allow a 4 year old in kindergarten. It was that and the fact that the elementary school she would have gone to was the worst rated in the state at that time. I have her in the next grade up.

I love it. We start school around 9:30am and the day is over by lunch time. They get lots of 1 on 1 and extra help if they need it, or breeze over stuff when they don't.

I use the Calvert curriculum. Its very thorough and there are add ons that you can use, if you wish. I like it because I don't have to spend the entire evening prior planning for the next day's school day. I can sit down with the kids and my manual and just start. It helps you along if you need some advice on how to teach a subject, if you feel you need it.

My hubby's parents are both public school teachers, and while they were resistant at first, they saw how it was working for the kids and are now very supportive and will help in anyway they can.

You have a lot of information to sift thru with all these comments. Enjoy... I think its very worth the time and effort.

S.

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J.M.

answers from Portland on

My favorite thing would be both knowing my kids better, and protecting their innocense as long as possible.

I decided to start because my oldest sons fourth grade teacher could not get my son to stop daydreaming or turn in his homework. We tried all the regular means(daily task and check list sheets) but he wouldn't cooperate.

It was the right choice for my family because my kids seem to need more time to develop emotional maturity to deal with the crap the world throws at them. We put our oldest in public High school in ninth grade and has flourished and still is holding a 3.75 in his sophmore year. We have done more of an unschooling approach in that we covered the basics, and let them research the topics they love. It has helped that all of them are avid readers. We have used the eduactional CDs and edhelper.com for english and math and gutenburgproject.org for classical story readings.

We take the required tests every year to see how they are doing. Last year the 4th and 7th graders were at the 12th grade level in everything but math. They seem to follow my lead, I did the same.

Public schools are notorius for teaching our kids materials that are inappropriate. Public schools are also filled with neglected and abused kids that share their knowledge with the innocent. I tried to put my daughter in public school but she learned jokes about sex on the bus and her teacher could not handle her emotional immaturity and was calling me to school all the time because she refused to listen to him.

I have a great joy in my heart as I hear my six year old son pretend to take care of his "babies" and says that only one need to sleep with him because the others understand that God is with him, but this little one does not.

It is amazing how much information the internet has to help with homeschooling. I am glad that I live in this day and age. Good luck! I do also know that there are some Moms the don't have the temperment for homeschooling. Doing what you think is best for your kids is the important thing.

J.

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A.H.

answers from Portland on

I started homeschooling my daughter because she started reading so early (at three) that I thought she'd be bored in first grade. She's now 8 almost 9, and doing really well. My son is 6-almost-7 and is also thriving.

It works very well for our family. We don't follow any set curriculum (although I do use Singapore Math for their math) but do a (very) relaxed version of Classical education, which for us means reading "great books" but if necessary in a child's version, and tying everything together with a four-year progression of history...(ancient world, middle ages, enlightenment, modern day) that repeats 3 times, each time in more depth. The book that inspired me was "The Well-Trained Mind" and, although we don't follow it precisely, that gives me the basic structure.

After their schoolwork is done, the kids also have lots of time to play, invent, practice their musical instruments, draw and paint, build elaborate lego cities, and pretend to be Darth Vader(!) I think, for me, that the best thing I can do for my kids educationally is to give them the gift of time to explore their world without wasting time on a school structure that has more to do with controlling groups of kids than allowing them freedom to follow their own interests.

However, if my kids ever did want to go to school, I would send them. So far, they have shown no interest.

A.

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B.K.

answers from Anchorage on

Hi H.,
I think it is wonderful that you are considering homeschooling your children. I have a 5th grader that I have been schooling since the first grade. We were not happy or impressed in anyway with our kindergarten experience, and we do not plan on going back. I love being able to stay up late and do fun things like watch the Northern lights and not worry about getting to bed because we have to be up early for school. We can have long heavy duty breakfasts and gather on the couch to read together in our pajamas. When my 16 month old takes a nap we have a tea party just to talk about girl stuff or play games. Whatever we do it is a nice one on one visit. My daughter loves to learn. We do not follow a set curriculum. This give us lots of room to pursue interests that my daughter has. I can work with my daughters learning style and teach things in a way that sticks with her. I don't intend to shield my child from everything, but it is nice to know all the kids that she pays with and be able to monitor what is being said and done. Here is a good web site
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/index.htm

I would encourage you to talk to other moms who home school. It is very rewarding and yet it is time consuming and can have many challenges and frustrations. I would not change it for one second and plan to home school my second child as well.

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D.H.

answers from Bellingham on

Before my husband and I were even married we pretty much knew we were going to homeschool our children. Why? We truly want to help our children be who God has them planned to be and quite honestly the public school does not have the best interest of your child in mind. We have the opportnity to build Godly character and have a close family bond. My kids are each others best friends and it's so wonderful to see that they really want to be together. They do have lots of other friends, but obviously most of our time is spend with each other. We do get to see the public school through nieces and nephews and its amazing how young kids today learn what we learned at a much older age. The kids today have lost their innocense and it's really sad. We choose each child's curriculum based on where they are, what their ready for and what their learning styles are and boy, is there oodles and oodles of stuff out there! If you have to choose between public or private and if homeschooling was not an option, I would choose private. Keeping in mind that it costs an arm and a leg as the kids get older and I truly believe that you have a lot of the same in private school as public, but the school is in a little more control of what the kids learn and are exposed to. My husband and I had to take ourselves out of the situation and really think about our kids. It wasn't about not ever having a break, or doing what WE want to do (the inconvenience of it all). We need to be the teachers of our kids. It's a very hard job and there is no break, and some days you really wish you were somewhere else, but there is nothing like seeing those little light bulbs go off in your kids while they're learning, whether through games, activities or book work. Children learn what is truly important and parents have the freedom do know what's best for their families. Good luck with your decision!

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D.F.

answers from Anchorage on

Hello H.,

My favorite thing about homeschooling was getting to spend more time with my only child. He attended private school until eighth grade and time was just moving to fast for me. It seems as thought he was just born and now he's a teenager. I decide to home school my son because his homework consumed our whole evening and his grades did not reflect that. I homeschooled him in half the time and his grades improved to a 3.8 average. It was the right choice for our family because we are self employed and our hours are flexible. We could travel when ever we wanted to and my son can go to school year round and work also. Another great reason is that I could mold and shape his thinking before his exposure to peer counseling. I used the School of Tomorrow curriculum, which really made my job easier. They provided everything and I was his supervisor. (schooloftomorrow.com) I could add whatever I wanted him to learn and discover who he wanted to be. I hope this helps. Blessing to you.

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B.H.

answers from Richland on

My kids are grown and I'm a grandma now but I have homeschooled all of my children off and on when they were growing up.

I've written several articles and done some curriculum research which I've posted on my website.

Some of these webpages might be of interest:
http://www.JaredStory.com/homeschool.html
http://www.JaredStory.com/homeschool_comments.html
http://www.JaredStory.com/report_card.html
http://www.JaredStory.com/kindergarten_report_card.html
http://www.JaredStory.com/1grade_report_card.html
http://www.JaredStory.com/2grade_report_card.html

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B.R.

answers from Seattle on

Our family is a little different. I had decided that I would never home school, because I could not teach my kids what they could learn in school.
Then a couple of years ago my hubby was diagnosed with a rare disease (MELAS)which causes strokes, and seizures, and stuff.
Well our family decided to move back to WA state so that we could be with family, while we walk this awful path of death and dying.
Because of this and issues at school my son asked to be home
schooled. So I started to home school him in 7th grade. I used WAVA (Washington Virtual Academy) which uses the K12 stuff.
Then my youngest daughter who was in 4th grade got to the point that she could not walk into school without getting sick. She was having major panic attacks. So I pulled her out and started to home school her with WAVA.
Then my son decided that he missed his friends and wanted to go back to JR high. So I sent him back.
We finished out the year of home schooling with our daughter, and started again this year. But in November she decided that it was time for her to go back to public school. One week after going back her father had another major stroke.
My son hates JR high, and is excited about high school.
I am not sure if I will let my daughter do JR high or if I will home school her for it, just because all my kids hate it.
But for now they are all in public school again and doing good.
Another issue we are facing is a Levy failure. If it fails we are going to have 45 - 50 kids in a class. This would not be good for the kids. So I would consider sending my son to live with his sister so he can be in a better school, with a drama program. My daughter I would consider either home schooling, or changing districts with her.

As for which curriculum works, each school uses different ones. And it can even vary within a district.
I feel that public school is good for kids learning to play with other kids. But I also feel that some of the things they learn from other kids is not so good.

I think this is a decision you need to make within yourself. I loved homeschooling my daughter. But I also love having the time to myself while she is at school.

Hope this helps
Bev
www.Footsteps4him.com (our family page)

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B.A.

answers from Seattle on

I was homeschooled and it was a great experience for me! That's probably my main reason for planning to homeschool my children (the older one is only 2.5 right now). My parents didn't really use one set curriculum for me. They picked different brands depending on the subject. I started homeschooling when I was almost in middle school so I was able to have an active role in choosing curriculum as well. I believe that helped keep my self-motivation at a higher level than if I hadn't had any say at all.

I hope you hear from some currently homeschooling parents, and best wishes with your decision!
~B.

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A.A.

answers from Seattle on

I love homeschooling for the flexibility and freedom. And also I just love being w/my kids. My kids are both very smart, imaginitive and active and are not limited to the confines of a traditional classroom. This works very well for them and they are thriving! My curriculum style is "ecclectic" and we do participate in our school district's homeschool enrichment program. A great resource for gaining some guidance and clarity in curriculum is a book called "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum" by Cathy Duffy. Best of luck to you in your endeavors!

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N.K.

answers from Portland on

Hi H.,

I am a mom of 4 (3 boys; ages 15,15 & 11 and 1 girl age 29 mos.). I have been homeschooling all of them for 7 years now and every year I do it, I am more convinced that we are doing the right thing for them. We just started high school with the 15 y.o.'s this year.

My favorite thing about homeschooling our kids, is being able to be with them all day and have the flexibility of being able to do stuff that we would not be able to do if they were in a public or private school. I used to look forward to having them away at school all day so I could have some "time to myself" but have since found that I LOVE having them around all day. (Okay - well not always LOVE - but it's nice most of the time).

The reason we started homeschooling was because when my 15 year olds were in public school (in second grade), we discovered that they were not learning to read. We were working with them so much at home, that we thought we may as well just school them at home. We brought them home thinking that we would put them back in school when they got caught up, but never ended up doing that because we found that home was a much better setting for them. Those were our initial reasons and we have changed our reasons over the years.

There are too many reasons to list why this is the right choice for our family, but with everything going on in the public schools and all the curriculum changes in just the last few years, we truly believe we are doing the right thing. Schools have changed a lot in just the last few years. I am amazed at how many examples I have seen where the public school has stepped in a taken control of situations in families where it was definitely not their place and caused major problems for families. Also, just the books I have found in school libraries that I would never want my kids to read. Ugh. Don't get me started. The laws have changed so that schools have to teach sex ed along with educate on alternative lifestyles to the children in elementary school! I believe that it is the parents responsibility to teach these subjects to their own children not someone else who doesn't have the same values our family does. Also, when it comes to curriculum - I do not agree with the WASL and I believe that teachers are feeling a great deal of pressure to teach to the WASL.

My husband and I serve on a board of directors for a homeschool support group/homeschool co-op. It is a wonderful organization that helps parents in so many ways - but mostly it offers classes taught by the parents in the co-op to help supplement your schooling at home. What I like about it most is that if I need a Chemistry or Biology class for my kids (I know nothing about those subjects) I can rely on the expertise of other parents who do and have them teach my kids. They also offer arts and crafts, PE, computer classes, etc. The list goes on and on. There are so many resources and curriculum's available to you out there if you homeschool and this organization has been wonderful in just creating a place where parents can support each other in their homeschooling.
Here is a link (if you are interested) to our local co-op, http://www.firstclasshomeschool.org/co-ops/us/wa/fc3/ but they are also all over the US now - so you can go to this website if this one is not in your area and look for one that is: http://www.fchm.org/pages/ . I would be happy to e-mail with you privately if you decide this is the direction you would like to go or even if you just have more questions. Please feel free to contact me. Good luck in your decision making. Joyce

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S.S.

answers from Portland on

Have you heard about www.connectionsacademy.com ?
It's actually a public school program that allows you to "homeschool" but with the help of a teacher. your child is assigned a teacher that you keep in contact with by phone and email and they design all of the assignments specifically for your child and email them to you. They also grade everything for you and you can connect with them if you need help teaching certain things. As the parent, you're actually considered the "coach" and not the teacher...you just guide your child's teaching but the assigned teacher does most of the work.
The best part? It's free because it's a public school program!!!
I'm planning on using it when my oldest turns kindergarten age.

It might really help you out.
Good luck!

S.
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C.D.

answers from Portland on

I decided to start homeschooling our second grader last year because I just did not like what I was seeing coming out of the public schools. And even the private school I had attended when I was younger was starting to go down hill. I also like the fact that I *know* what my child is being taught all the time, every day, not just a note from some teacher, outlining it. I also want to teach him Christian values that he *will not* get at public school. We are going to start our next son, who will be in first grade in the fall, in homeschooling.

Another nice thing is the flexible schedule. My husband works in law enforcement, so schedules are always changing. So, we can do school while dad's at work, so when he's off, we're all off. And, with vacations, we can take them whenever we want and plan school work accordingly. We will be going on vacation in mid-May and I have been doing a little extra on different subjects so that by the time we are back from vacation, we won't have much to do before the school year ends and he will still be on schedule.

Hope this helps with your decision. : )

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J.J.

answers from Portland on

Homeschooling is absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend a book by Lisa Welchel called 'So you're thinking about Homeschooling". You can find it on Amazon and probably even find a copy on Ebay. She goes over several homeschooling styles so you can determine what style would be best for your family. If you are in the Portland/Vancouver area, there is an excellent curriculum fair at the Portland Convention Center coming in June. This time with our children is precious and it passes so quickly. If you can do it, savor it and enjoy it.

When you homeschool, you influence your childs behavior all day - not ill behaved children or adults that don't necessarily share your family's values. Other advantages include: special attention for those behind or ahead that they wouldnt get in a group setting, one-on-one time with your own children, specialized learning to their learning styles, customizing curriculum to each child (example you may be in 3rd grade math and 4th grade English). There is so much more! I apologize, I am writing a very fast reply due to my time constraints but I am sure you will get many replies from many others telling you even more advantages your children will get from homeschooling.

Again, I highly recommend Lisa Welchel's book for a good overview when you are considering homeschooling.

Good Luck!
J.

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E.W.

answers from Portland on

When it comes to homeschooling, lots of people will have lots to say (including myself). Take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Every family homeschools for different reasons and in different ways. As for me, I honestly believe that the first few years of a child's life makes who they will become. They develop study habits and will learn to either love or hate school and learning. They also learn how to get along with other people as well as how to become self-reliant and confident individuals. I started homeschooling because I was so frustrated with the public school system I figured I couldn't do any worse. I wanted my children to have the opportunity to excel at their own pace. I also wanted God and our family morals to be the greatest influence in my children's lives. Because of homeschooling, I have a great relationship with my kids (now 20, 17, and 10). I know them much better that I ever would have if they had been in school 30 hours a week. Our role as parents is to raise our children to be successful, productive adults. They can't be isolated from the world then be expected to know how to deal with it when they grow up. I've experienced public school, private school, as well as home school with my kids. I'm not at all impressed with the public school education system, especially in the elementary grade levels. Middle school is a difficult age for most kids and what goes on in the public school system is scary. My middle son started out homeschooling in kindergarten and is now in a public high school and doing great. I believe it is because he had the homeschool foundation and was able to develop a good foundation and confidence in himself without having to deal with peer pressure when he was younger. I mainly stuck with Christian based curriculum (Abeka). I did this because the public school system is required to exclude anything to do with Christianity. Yet that is what our country was founded on. However, I've also used Saxon math which is public school curriculum. It really depends on the learning style of the child, the teaching style of the parents, and what you feel is important for them to learn. Successful homeschooling takes commitment and dedication. As the teacher/parent you can't be a slacker or your children will learn to be slackers. It scares me to hear about "unschooling". Will these kids be able to succeed in a traditional schooling environment if they decide to go to college? Yet, one of my favorite aspects of homeschooling was having flexibility. It is possible to have flexibility and structure at the same time. Some days you wonder why in the world you decided to homeschool. Other days you know why and you see the advantages of homeschooling. Homeschooling is not for everyone. I've seen many families successfully homeschool their children. I've also seen families where the parents are doing a disservice to their children by homeschooling them. Whatever you do, enjoy your children. They grow up way too fast!

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N.W.

answers from Eugene on

My favorite thing about homeschooling: field trips! We design our science and history lesson plans around these.

Why we started: to spend more time with our kids, tailor academics to their ability and interests, to include spriritual training as an integral part of their education.

Why it's the right choice for us: We get to all learn together.

Curriculum: private. We like the flexibility.

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A.C.

answers from Portland on

Hey H., I too have been pondering the same questions, and i have found my solution. I was not so sure about being a fulltime mom and a full time teacher, so I found this publically funded school for homeschool kids, it's in Vancouver and you can send your child there for as many classes as you would like and then pick up the slack at home. It's kinds like a charter school. Anyway, not sure what they have in the Portland area! Good Luck to you on this venture!

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K.W.

answers from Anchorage on

Hi H.!

I think it's great that you are considering homeschooling! How blessed your kids are to have a mama who is open to possibilities outside the box. I also commend you on coming straight to the source to learn more about it...other homeschooling mamas!

I am an unschooling mama of 2. I have a curriculum, but it is more for *me* than it is for the kids. I use it as a resource, for ideas and such, rather than a presribed schedule or way to do things.

The further I walk down this path, the more my reasons for homeschooling/unschooling grow and evolve...there are several reasons I wanted to homeschool, and continue to do it. Here are my top 10:

1.)I love my kids, they love me, we love to be with each other, and they *want* to be at home where they feel grounded, safe, secure, confident, *FREE*, connected, etc. We experience joy together!

2.)Dd *wants* to homeschool...it is her choice

3.)I knew that the only place my kids would be *totally* free to be who they are, to explore, to test boundaries, to be free of the punishment/reward system; free of limitations, expectations and judgements, etc. was our home and the world around us

4.)We really value our time together, more time to bond and connect (I suppose this is a repeat of no. 1, but it's a really important one!)

5.)To avoid the rush-rush-rush, fast paced, and oftentimes forced academic and socially-pressured environment

6.)freedom to choose, freedom to learn through living...not through being taught, freedom to say 'no'

7.)freedom to sleep when they are tired, rest when they are sick, raise their voices, run around at will, express their feelisg (even, no, especially the really frustrated/angry ones) concerns, likes, dislikes, ideas, etc. in a safe, empathic and validating environment, learn at their own pace and have their needs met where they are, without the pressure of *shoulds* and *shouldn'ts* (i.e. *should* be reading, *should* be counting to 100, *shouldn't* be coloring outside the lines)

8.)the kids get to be a part of every day life...they learn so much more than just the three 'r's, and everything they learn is interwoven...math and science happen while we cook breakfast, more science happens in our kitchen, outside our house, in our fish tank, social studies happens everywhere, etc. Homeschooling offers a more holistic, integrated and natural approach to learning.

9.)while some may argue that homeschoolers have less socialization, I find quite the opposite to be true. while we do spend a lot of our time at home...baking, cooking, doing art, crafting, playing music, reading, housekeeping, hiking, playing, snuggling...we also spend time in town as well...the kids come into contact not only with kids their own age, but kids of varied ages, young adults, elders, people of many cultures and colors and shapes and sizes, in many different types of situations...grocery stores, dr. visits, playdates, library, art exhibits, live performances, playground, farmer's market, local farm, restaurants/cafes, classes, museums, etc.

10.)It's fun!

I see that you are living in Alaska. I find Alaska to be an *awesome* place to homeschool. Though it looks like the legislature wants to add more and more restrictions to homeschoolers, as of now, homeschooling in the state AK is de-regulated. That means you have total freedom to choose how your children are 'educated', and there are many options...Independent homeschooling, correspondence programs, magnet schools, etc. You can choose to use a packaged curriculum, to mix and match, or to use none at all.

There are so many business that are homeschool-friendly....have classes for homeschoolers, etc. The entire state seems to be very supportive of homeschooling, and parents are very strong in advocating for themselves and for other homeschoolers and our right to choose and to educate our children in the ways we see fit. There are so many resources throughout the state...I feel very supported in my decision to homeschool, and in our *way* of unschooling!

To answer your other questions, I believe it is the right choice for my family because we are thriving, and because we are all finding joy in this way of life! As far as a curriculum goes, I prefer to follow my heart moreso than anything else...the curriculum is really secondary.

Hope this helps...blessings upon your journey!

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