Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Homeschool??

We are seriously debating homeschooling the girlies. Sometimes I smack myself on the forehead and think I'm crazy (usually after a rough day with the girls) and then other days I think it is the best idea I ever had! It is something I have been thinking about almost since the day I gave birth to the oldest and now that kindergarten is just around the corner, I get panicky, thinking of her going to public school.

Hubby and I are the most easy going people you would ever meet. We wake up some weekends without a plan and say, "Hey, let's go to Berkley Springs for a drive." Or if friends call us up and invite us over at the last minute, we'll be there in a flash! We like to live a natural sort of existence, we buy organic meat from a ranch, grow our own food, try to buy organic at the food stores when we can afford it, and we don't succumb to the pressures of keeping up with the Joneses of the world. We always envisioned taking family vacations to historic areas and parks and throwing in a lesson while we are there. Visiting museums and teaching our girls about art and at the same time, teaching ourselves, too.

I think we live in an ideal location, we are 3 hours or less away from: DC with all the lovely Smithsonian's and historic districts; Mt. Vernon and Monticello, Luray Caverns and Williamsburg in VA; Gettysburg and Amish country in PA and more. Lots of farms and parks nearby to teach the girls about animals and farming. I don't doubt my ability to teach, but I worry about how I can juggle teaching and caring for the younger two.

Some part of me looks forward to Oldest going to school so I can focus more on the younger two, and then the other part of me fears that all our hard work in teaching her will unravel when she gets there. I know I must let go and let them grow, make choices and learn from their mistakes and successes. I just want them to be the best they can be and to grow knowing they can do most anything. Can they really learn all that being in a crowded class room with 30 other students? Can I really teach them to be independent and assertive on their own?

Oldest already knows how to write her name and writes all the letters of the alphabet. She knows her numbers and basic addition. She surprised me tonight with making pudding all by herself. She measured 2 cups of milk and mixed it all and came to get me after she made it. First, I was mad that she didn't ask first or come and get me for help, but when I saw what she did and that she did it right (and no mess all over the place), I was proud of her. Pudding is not something I make often, so I was impressed she had made it correctly. I have long suspected that she can read, but she doesn't realize she can. I let them help me cook from time to time and always show them and explain what I am doing next, why we measure ingredients and what happens when it gets hot and cooks. It must all be sinking in better than I thought it was. These are the moments that make me confident in homeschooling.

I also worry about taking on more than I can handle. The sacrifices I need to make in order to home school. Can we afford to buy the materials we need? Can I find a support group with the same or similar agenda I have? Do I have the patience? Maybe I should let her go to kindergarten and if I don't like it, I can always take her out and home school her. At least this way, she can make some friends and if I take her out, she'll still have her friends. Whatever we decide, we need to do it soon. Three more months before school starts for 2007-08 and we need to be sure and mostly, I need to prepare myself with supplies if we decide to home school.

I like the freedom that homeschooling offers, too. That is the biggest bonus after quality education. To not be confined to a schedule Monday through Friday, September through June. To pack up and go on a trip anytime without having to get permission from a school. If there is an exhibit during the week, I can go and avoid the crowds on weekends. And with Hubby working the 3 pm to 11 pm shift, he will be able to see the kids during the day instead of kissing them on their foreheads while they sleep and a quick breakfast before they go. It seems I am leaning more to homeschooling and I'll have to do more research before I commit. If I see a school desk at a yard sale, it's going to end up in the back of my car, and my decision will be made.

9 comments:

lady macleod said...

I plant my vote firmly on the side of home school, no equivocation.

there are loads of support groups, and how to sites about home schooling all over the net.

i have no doubt you are capable of carrying it off. whatever you decided I am sure it will be right for your family.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Jenny, it is so easy to homeschool in the US these days. There are seminars teaching you how to teach, conventions where you can buy texts and materials, networks with other homeschooled kids. I'd have done it myself if I lived where you are. By the way, do you live in the Blue Ridge Mountains? And if so, I'm SOOOOO jealous.

Elsie Button said...

it is a hard decision - but it sounds like you would do an incredible job - a job that you are already doing anyway! we thought about it briefly too, but we do have a brilliant school just down the road (the one that i work at, when i am not on maternity leave!). i would love to teach betty at home though.

Gin said...

I say go for it! I think you would be great at it...

I do think it would be good to do some research on it, try to find out more about homeschooling in your area, what the state laws are, maybe try to attend one of those conferences that "coffee" talks about.

I do get the feeling you're not going into this blind, tho - that you've given it a lot of thought and you will continue to do so.

I think your idea of sending the little one to kindergarten to at least get some exposure to other children, that type of educational system, etc. is good. It will give you an opportunity to see how she does in such an environment, and you can get a feeling for what seems to work and doesn't work. Also, you will have a chance to meet and interact with an educator who might be able to give you some feedback on your child, her strengths and weaknesses, etc. that you can then put to good use.

Best of luck!

~ Ocean

sufferingsummer said...

"I know I must let go and let them grow, make choices and learn from their mistakes and successes."
They can successfully do this at home, I believe, and maybe an outside activity or two. My good friend In Eugene OR (http://bellaartgirl.blogspot.com/) has been home schooling her daughter this last year for the first time (first grade) from what I have read there and now reading on your site, you are already home schooling!
Before our daughter was born we made the decision to home school. Husband and I have been randomly making lists here and there so that when the time comes we are over full of ideas. Pretty much every plus that you listed are our reasons for choosing that route. That and my brother is a public school teacher (jr.high) and from his descriptions of different classrooms in different districts I just couldn't in good conscious send my daughter there and expect her to be able to dig out a decent education through all the social muck. This isn't to say there aren't good schools out there they are just becoming fewer and farther between and I feel like we can offer enough social options out side of the home on a regular basis to not need to get that aspect of her education of life in a school building 6 hrs. a day every day. I so do not operate that way and can't imagine trying to fit my daughter into such confines...oh we will have expectations and a schedule of sorts just not so confined to a desk and a chair for so many hours, sitting thinking in a box...this family has always lived outside of the box and we intend to continue to even when Kindergarden rolls around.
wow...didn't know I felt so strongly about that, guess I should write my own blog on the subject. Mostly I wanted to say; you shouldn't feel guilty about whichever decision you make because ultimately you know your children better than anyone else and know what it is they need. You can trust that.
oh and it can't hurt that the kiddos see so much more of Dad...we have the same schedule and we love it because our daughter is actually awake most of the time he is home!
Good luck with your decision, you are obviously a thoughtful enough individual to make the right one for your family and I commend you for putting so much thought into it.

sufferingsummer said...

p.s.
wish we could just meet for coffee and chat so I didn't have to leave ridiculously long comments on your blogs!

The Good Woman said...

I really think that education is not 'one size fits all'. So much depends on the child, the family, education available etc. I'm sure that you will make the right choice for your family - mainly because you want to and are giving it so much thought.

The one thing I am pretty sure of though is that our children learn an enormous amount from their parents regardless of where they go to school. My pet moan is parents who feel that education begins and ends at the school door.

jenny said...

Thank you ALL for your encouraging words about homeschooling.

It certainly does my mind some good to hear so many positive things about home schools and yes, I HAVE done some internet surfing, but not around town. I will head to the local library next week and I am sure I will find some sort of group that home schools.

Lady M, EB, Gin-- Thank you thank you for making such nice comments. I truly feel I have made some great friends through Blogging and I look forward to future posts from all of you.

WUASTC-- I do live in the Blue Ridge mountain area and it is beautiful up here. We sacrifice convenience for beauty.

SS-- We are alike in many many ways, arent we? If you are ever out here, you have a standing invite to come over and play!

GW-- that is a pet peeve of mine too. And when parents think schools are the ones who teach and then let their kids sit in front of the TV all day. We dont have a TV in the car AND no video games. Imagine how many people *GASP* at that!!

DJ Kirkby said...

Hi MM, I think that maybe you should ask your little'uns what they want to do about going to school. Number 3 son would love to be home schooled but we can't afford for either of us to give up our full time jobs and home schooling just wouldnt work in a council/welfare housing estate! Number 1 and 2 sons just love school and all the social aspects there and would have never opted to be home schooled. If you decide, as a family, that home schooling is the best option then you will do an amazing job! Make sure that you give yourself enough slack to be able to find your feet in your new role within your ever expanding realm of domestic goddess-ness!