wife to Jake, mommy to my 3 crazy munchkins, Lily (7), Jonah (5.5) and Kate (4). Taking this crazy blessed life one day at a time.

3.26.2013

To homeschool or not.

Jake and I have had the homeschooling discussion on and off since we've been married. 

We like the idea, him more than me, but I felt like I could never homeschool. I felt like I just wasn't one of those people that could do it. 

Jake and I were both in public school until graduating high school. We survived, why couldn't our kids? 


But, now that we are in the public school system, my views are changing. 

We live right down the street from Lily's school. It is a great school and Lily has done very well there so far this year- her "report card" is filled with almost all "exceeds standards" which of course makes Jake and I grin. 

But, at the same time, I know that she can do better. She is capable of more than what she is currently working on at school. 

But for me, the bigger issue is not the education itself, but what she is picking up at school, what she is learning from her peers, things that are the opposite of what we want our little girl to be exposed to. 

Now, I am NOT a helicopter parent. At all. I do not want to keep my kids sheltered from everything that goes on in the world. 

BUT, I do want to help them keep perspective. Keep their focus on what life is really about.

I am not saying that I am for sure going to homeschool, but it is something that I am actually thinking about and will start to look into. I want my kids to learn at their own pace and also be surrounded by good influences. If I were to homeschool, I would want a Christian curriculum for sure. 

But, I have many many questions that I am hoping you all can help me with!

- How do you even get started? 
- How do you choose a curriculum?
- What do you do with your younger kids while schooling your older  kids? 
- How do you teach your different aged/different grade kids at the same time? 
- What sort of time commitment per day is it?
- Do you need to keep to the same timing/routine each day?
-Can an ordinary mom really be successful?
- Is it hard for your homeschooled kids to be in sports or do extra curriculars through the school since they don't go there and may not know anyone? Does it make them feel like an outcast?
- Do you need to have a separate, designated "school" space in your house to homeschool? 
- How much money do you need to put into it to make it work?

That's all I can think of for now- if you have anything at all to add, please leave a comment on here or facebook! I am very interested in getting information about homeschooling and making it work!


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this is a completely personal preference for each family, but as for my thoughts as a Christian parent: I believe we are called to be "different" than everyone else, and I want my kids to grow up knowing that it's okay to be different and believe different things than most because we aren't necessarily going to always "fit in", but I personally would rather them grow up "in it" with our guidance and instruction than have to figure it out on their own later when it's probably going to be harder to be thrown into. Not that we can't teach and instruct those things while being at home-again, just my personal thoughts and preferences. As a mom getting into the start of schooling, it's a tough choice to make!

HeatherM said...

We are planning to homeschool and I had all the same feelings you do. I was actually pretty against it when my husband first brought it up, but God really made it obvious to me that he wanted homeschooling for our family. I tried to fight it, but I finally surrendered and I feel so at peace with it now. That does not mean its for everyone or that God doesn't approve of public school. It's just wants right for us. We are going to use classical conversations - a curriculum and co op that appeals to what we want our kids to be learning. We also have something in our area called the Vision Program. Each homeschooled kid enrolled in the program gets up to $2000 towards learning related expenses including physical education, music, field trips, etc. my kids will be learning how to ski, playing soccer and going to museums with this money. This program makes me feel like my kids will still be able to experience activities that public school kids get to do and more. I would check and see if your city has a program like it. I believe that you can do it, but if it is just not working after a few years, you can always put your kids back into school. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Good luck!

Molly Emerson said...

Lauren,
As you know, I began homeschooling Katy when she started junior high and never expected to homeschool the two little ones. I thought I would do it just for junior high and then send the little girls to Forest Glen. But when we saw the fruit of homeschooling- we became very convicted that this was the path for all our girls and our whole family. (So thus - I have been homeschooling for 11 years now! Katy is now a sophmore at Wheaton College!!)
Education was no longer about the academics but rather their hearts. Prov 24: Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life- became the verse for our school. The academics is the easy part. I can give you some advice on that, as I have had all types of learners in my home! There are many different approaches. We do a classical model and I began by reading the Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. If you google it - she has a very helpful set of forums that are very useful.
If you ever want to talk more in depth, please let me know as I would love it. I have walked many mothers through their first years of homeschooling. Love and think of you often, Molly

Anonymous said...

There is so much that can be said on this topic. First, let me address the issues that we felt were most prominent. To get started, there is a homeschool conference every year in Worcester, there might be on held closer to you as well. The Mass. Homeschool Assoc. called MassHOPE would be able to give you lots of info. At the conference you can take seminars on getting started, setting a schedule and tons of other topics. You can also see most of the curriculums and get an idea of which one will work best for your kids. Let me say that I went through several curriculums when I first started. It takes a couple of years to decide what really works for your kids. You might also have the issue of one works better for one kid and another works better for another kid. In elementary school the curriculums are mostly books and workbooks so it is not a big deal to have different ones for each kid. That being said, if you use the same one for everybody, then you only have to buy a new workbook for younger kids each year. Can an "ordinary" mom do it. You know I am about as ordinary as anyone. No advanced formal education, no training in education...just a love of my kids and a commitment to do what we thought was best for them. That is all you really need. It takes patience, love and it ain't always easy! (but parenting isn't either)Your kids might give you a hard time sometimes, that is the time to tell them "this is the way it is. When your work is done we can talk". I would say that it is best to keep the same schedule, or close to it, every day. We all benefit from routines, especially kids. For time commitment, minimum would be probably 4 hrs in the younger grades. It goes up as they get into middle school. Some days are longer than others. If you do a lab or take a field trip it can be longer. You divide your time between the kids. When one is working on their workbooks you help another. It all works out. You find your own rhythm. We did school at our dining room table for many years. Some people have desks for each other their kids, others use a coffee table that is large. Again, you find your own way and do what works. You can plan on a couple hundred dollars to get started. How much extra depends on how much extra you do. Field trips, science experiments, teacher aid books etc. are all very helpful but not necessary. You plan things out and once you buy the teacher aides you don't have to buy them again. You can buy a different one each year, you don't have to buy them all at once. As far as the socializing, there are tons of places to get your kids social interaction. Scout, little league, dance, gymnastics, you name it. I don't think my kids every felt like outcasts. I remember Rachel going off to college and coming home and being proud that no one knew she was homeschooled. LOL. Going to the conference will help you get lots of info and things to talk about in your decision. Homeschooling is just one year at a time. It is also not for everyone. I always told people that if you decide not to homeschool, you must stay in touch with what they are learning, who their friends are, and maintaining the "family dynamic" and family priorities. Our kids are exposed to all kinds of stuff and unless we stay in touch and in prayer we will have trouble "maintaining". We are the line in the sand. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and enough love to be real parents. I know that you and Jake will make the best decision for your family. If you decide not to homeschool, don't do it out of fear. "Perfect love casts out all fear". Make the decision based on what is the best and loving choice for your kids. You guys are great parents, you'll do just fine. Kate

Emily Shoemaker said...

Caleb (and his brothers) were homeschooled, and he offers these resources for your perusal:
veritaspress.org
www.homeschools.org/whatIsCLASS/aboutUs.html
www.hslda.org

and "Homeschool Your Child for Free" by Gold and Zielinski

Hope that helps!