Thursday, November 10, 2011

Do You Home School?

At the moment my teenage son is home schooling himself, and he is also taking 2 courses at the local technical high school. At the moment it's working out really well, but it didn't always in the past. But then, public school didn't always work out well either, but sometimes it did.

You see, I think home schooling is a beautiful thing if you can do it, and if it's right for your child. When my kids were very young my husband wanted me to home school them. I didn't feel comfortable about it, but I looked into it. It's not that I didn't think I was smart enough, it's just that my personality is too restless. I did not like public schools though especially in Florida where we lived. I saw the value in home schooling, but I felt that I am not disciplined or patient enough to be a good teacher.

I was perfectly happy with all the educating & mommy schooling from birth to 5 or 6, but I wasn't sure what I
would do after that. When my oldest went to Kindergarten he learned the "F" word. It was a shock and I wanted to pull him out of school, but I was about to give birth to our third child and didn't think I could manage.

Not long after that we moved to Boston and I began to investigate the schools. We lived in the heart of Boston and my Pre-K and first grade children were going to be bused to 2 different schools. So I decided to home school. It was a bit unplanned and spontaneous, but that's the way I am anyway. Fortunately with children as young as mine were that's not so much of a problem.

We made daily trips to Boston Common & Gardens as it was right across the street. We visited the library often and all my curriculum came from a nearby discount bookstore. Boston is full of museums, historic & cultural sites so there were endless opportunities for field trips. My son began to grasp the phonics instruction about mid year and everything was smooth sailing after that.

The following summer we moved to NH and I asked my son if he wanted to go to school or continue home school. I knew the school he would go to was quite good, but I wanted it to be his choice. He wasn't sure, but his younger sister really wanted to go to school. She had been "playing school" ever since he went to Kindergarten, and she was sure she wanted to go to Kindergarten. It turned out to be the best thing for her as she is a highly social person and has a competitive nature. She thrived all the way from K through 12th grade in public school, getting top grades and taking on leadership roles.

It wasn't quite the same for my older son. He was bored at first and felt he wasn't learning anything new. It took him longer to make new friends so he was kind of lonely. His grades were always good but I realize now that it was a little too easy and he didn't push himself much. Unfortunately I had to work full time and home schooling was not even possible.

At the same time, my youngest had to go to child care and he hated it. He also hated kindergarten and elementary school and told me that every day. He begged me to home school him because he knew other kids from church that did this. He did well in school and the teachers thought he was a perfect student, but when he came home he would dump all of his pent up anxiety & frustration on his family.

Finally I had enough and said okay, we would home school starting with 6th grade, but we were going to follow the school curriculum because I couldn't afford books. We got all the books and lesson plans from the school district, and I supplemented that with some inexpensive workbooks. I was still working, but just part time, so I made sure he knew what to do each day and followed up with him when I came home.

After about a month or two I could see the change in my sons personality. He had calmed down quite a bit, was taking an interest in a variety of things and was taking responsibility for his own education. He is not a very social person, he enjoys his family and a few close friends. He has always hated crowds and he learns best through reading, listening & taking notes. Home school was perfect.

Unfortunately I had to go back to work full time and he had to go back to public school for 7th and 8th grade, but I promised he could do home school in high school. By the time he was ready for high school the state had adopted a program called VLACS (Virtual Learning Academy Charter School) which was free. This was a good fit for his core curriculum and we supplemented that with home designed electives. Now, as a junior, he takes his 4 core subjects with  VLACS, and is also doing two- 2 year courses (culinary and video production) at the technical school.

So my point in telling this long story is that home school is great for some kids, it's even the best option for some kids, but it may not always be a good fit for the parents. Also it may not be a good fit for every child. It is a big commitment of time, energy and money that some parents may not have to spare. I didn't have many resources available to me so I kind of "winged it". One way or another we have to find the way to do what's best for our kids.

I'm happy to be able to offer some home school resources on my site. You can see "The Old School House Magazine" and "The School House Catalog" are now advertised on my sidebar. If you home school or are thinking about it, check them out, it may be very helpful to you.

3 comments:

  1. I like this post! I love HSing but it is not easy and not for everyone!

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  2. Homeschooling Rocks. I homeschooled (and actually she did the work) my daughter for several years. I wish I had kept all my kids home throughout public school time.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am going to homeschool my Little Bit and we are in the process of adopting him a little sister. I am a trained teacher and I am so excited to homeschool my little blessings :D

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