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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homeschooling

We have a great school right across the street from us. I mean, for a public school, it's excellent. Their test scores are high, the atmosphere is nice and it's just an all-around good small-town school. No real complaints.

Homeschooling has long been an option for us, though. We've always said that if we ever felt like the public school wasn't meeting the needs of our kids, or if something else came up, we would be open to it. There's a bit of a problem, though. I'm not a teacher. And I don't just mean in the professional sense. Some people are just born to teach (i.e., Superman). They naturally thrive on sharing knowledge with little ones (or big ones). But, it doesn't come naturally to me. I mean, I can do a craft here, or a math workbook there. I can read a book with the kids or have them "read" a book to me. But when it comes to being the sole provider of their education, I have always been more than just a bit intimidated.

But there are things that are very appealing about teaching our kids at home. Mr. C is not being challenged at school. He enjoys his friends, and I know he learns some things at school, but math in particular is a joke. At home, Superman has been working with him, and he's doing basic Algebra. At school, they are literally learning 3-1 = 2 and 2+5 = 7. He's bored. He regularly asks to be homeschooled And J-Man is on the other end of the spectrum. He's not the most "academic" of our kids. He loves music. If he could just sit and listen to music all day, he'd be in heaven. J-Man does fine in school academically, but he definitely has maturity issues and impulse control that needs to be worked on, and in a class of 20 other 5-year-olds, I can't expect his teacher to be giving him the one-on-one attention he needs.

The clincher was yesterday when Mr. C got in a bit of trouble at school. He had a substitute, and he had to pull his card...twice. Which has never happened. He said he wasn't listening to the teacher because she was teaching "stuff I learned in preschool." Of course, that's not an excuse to disrespect his teacher or disrupt the class. I asked him about the other subjects--what does he do during science or history? He must be learning then. He said, "We mostly do math and reading. My teacher does other stuff sometimes, but it's mostly just math and reading." And that got me thinking--that's sad. The standardized tests focus on math and reading, and so that's what is focused on in school. But there are so many other things that I want our kids to learn. And not just academically, but spiritually, emotionally and physically. And so, the topic was brought up again last night at the dinner table.

I just finished reading the book, "The Cross and the Switchblade" and at one point in the book, the author "lays a fleece" before the Lord as Gideon did. So I decided to do just that. I told the Lord if this is something He wants us to do, I would like him to remove any apprehension that I, or Superman, have. (Superman's apprehension stems from his concern that I will get completely burned out if I don't have some designated breaks throughout the week.) I know that doesn't seem like much of a "fleece," but for us to both go forward with this without any hesitation would be a clear answer to my prayer.

So, that's where we stand. I know there are some homeschooling moms who read my blog--if you can give me any advice, please do so! I want to know--how do you avoid burn out? What made you come to the decision of homeschooling?

P.S. I talked to our social worker yesterday and found out we would not be able to adopt again until six months after we finalize with G (which probably won't be until summer), so that can be on the back burner for the time being. =)


11 comments:

:)De said...

Okay…first of all, I must admit that I am totally smitten with your family, love the way you talk about your children and the words you use to describe your relationship with your husband is very encouraging. I can see the hand of God in your life.

I say all of that because in the blog world I have found this weird phenomena where I am invested in the lives of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that I have not even met. (This year for my prayer time, I decided to pray for 1 -2 specific children per day. I made my calendar and typed in children’s names and when I finished, 90% of the kids were the children of fellow bloggers.) I think that your children’s education would be in very good hands if you were their teacher. I mean, you already are their primary teacher.

I began homeschooling when my firstborn RADling got kicked out of the 6th school in as many years. At first I began with the attitude that I was gonna show “them” how to educate a difficult child. What I learned pretty quick was that I had the most wonderful opportunity in the world to teach my child the things he needed to know and include the lessons of God into every subject. After the 1st year of just having him home, I brought my daughter home from public school and then as they say…the rest is history.
For me, homeschooling allows flexibility to meet my kiddies where they are and that may change from day to day. You can make your school look like whatever you want. I have 2 that need a very structured setting and 1 that learns best when she is hanging upside down from the couch and reading. With that flexibility also comes the opportunity to give yourself and them breaks when needed. On days when I feel like I would rather pluck out my last 3 eyelashes instead of teaching a lesson, I have library day or educational computer/movie time. Or they make pallets on the floor with blankets and pillows and read (while mommy plays FarmTown ~blush~). The biggest thing is to not get caught up in the “Am I teaching this right?” or “Are they learning?” Remember that over the course of a child’s school years they will have 12 – 18 different teachers with varying degrees of abilities and teaching styles. Yours won’t be the worst! Ha Ha. Sorry for the long comment, but if it helps any…I promise to be a support to you no matter what you choose.

Peace

Lisa said...

Ok...you already know that I am a type A personality. That's a big hurdle to cross when deciding to homeschool. Then throw in that I'm with you and would never, ever declare myself able to teach anything. I'm just not good at it and it doesn't come naturally.

Now look what I am doing? The last thing I ever thought possible. Homeschooling. Ha! I think God has a very funny sense of humor. ;D

I ditto everything :)De said. Truly. Don't sweat the small stuff. If it's a day they "can't" (code for won't) don't worry about it. Do the educational video/library day/reading day or heck even play day. Because they will make it up on the days they can learn. They can move at their own pace and you can do it at your leisure. Plus you have the opportunity to do "learning all the time". There's a book by that title and it's excellent.

The first rule is: Google is your friend. It will help you teach all the things your kids are interested in.

You can do this. Plan a break for yourself once a week. If you can't do it with a sitter do it with a video. If they only have 4 days of school they will STILL get more than 2 days of public.

time4learning.com has been a huge help and they can move at their own pace while you are checking grades online and sitting with them while they take a test. You can try it for free for 2 weeks. And it's FUN!

Great for attachment stuff too.

Will be supporting you either way!

Lisa said...

Yeah...it's me again.

You could always give it a try on spring or summer break to get a comfort level before "committing."

We do school year round in smaller increments.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Ooooh, that's a tough one. For me, I would get burned out on Genea quickly. She is just soooo oppositional, passive- aggressive, adhd etc. But she does really well in school and gets the social interaction with kids her age that she never had before she came to us. For 4 years she had not engaged with any other child. If she really needed homeschool I would try really hard, but for Genea I think she benefits from going. JMO.

Melanie said...

Reading your comments makes me so wish that I could stay home and homeschool my kiddos! I homeschooled my children after we adopted Jordyn age 8 for the first year so that she could learn the English, have surgery, and get acclimated to being in America. At the time, I had Anna in the 8th-9th grade in an online homeschool curriculum (so that I did not have to technically teach the higher grade), Amanda in 3rd grade, JonMarc in K and Jordyn learning English and reading. I have to say that I loved homeschooling my kiddies. I enjoyed playing educational games with them and having Bible lessons. I felt pressure to be organized-I am so not an organized person, and to keep all their work documented just in case I had to prove myself. I did gt overwhelemed at times, my housework was never-ever caught up, and I worked on top of all that I was doing. But- my relationship with my kids grew deeper. We laughed and played and learned together and now I miss that. I am the one working, my DH is the one at home, and all my kids are in school. I miss them, I don't see them enough and I don't get enough time with them. My advice: Enjoy your time with them! They grow up too fast! Life is too short! Homeschooling is such a wonderful and great time with your children. My Prayer is that God would turn the table around for us again in that Tim would find a great paying job, I could work part time day shift as a Nurse and be home more with my kids. I want my wife and mommy role back :( Not sure if that helps you but it helps me put things in perspective. Please pray with me.

:)De said...

Shanti,

We now have school set up in the living room. We started off at the dining table, but quickly ran out of space. Our set up now uses desk that can be folded and put away on weekends and holidays. Our posters, bulletin boards and charts are still hung in the other room (cause I don't care about holes in the wood paneling.)

wideopenspaces said...

Hi Shanti-

Just found your blog via Design Mom and I know we would be fast friends should we meet in person. We just received our referral in December for a 5 month old baby boy from Thailand. We already have 2 biological kids at home, and I am chomping at the bit to start the process, right this moment, to adopt one of these kids from Haiti (the country that 1st got me interested in adopting). My husband is also looking for a job and we are about to put our house on the market because e want to move closer to our old friends and church. Oh, and i started homeschooling this week. See, I'm crazy just like you. 4 days in and all I can say is - I love it. Wish I would have been doing it the past couple years. And I am so not the homeschooling type.

xo - Emily

Heather Rae said...

As a certificated public school teacher, I say go for it! I have been so completely disgusted the last ten years with the emphasis solely on math and reading. It isn't like that in all districts, but certainly in the majority of city area schools. I wasn't allowed or encouraged to teach other subjects until I moved to a tiny, conservative town in the mountains of far northern California. Your kids will enjoy a much broader education with you at home. :)

Cher said...

I found your blog through Design Mom and love it! I really want to adopt... :)

I homeschool my kids and here are a few posts from my blog about the subject. They are in chronological order so start from the top!

http://cherileeanderton.blogspot.com/2008/09/long-post-alert.html

http://cherileeanderton.blogspot.com/2008/09/so-whats-it-like.html

Cher said...

One more!

http://cherileeanderton.blogspot.com/2009/02/so-far-so-good.html

Britts said...

Wow! What an undertaking!
I'm sure you'll do great...BUT make sure you take time for yourself!!!
BTW, I LOVE Cross and the Switchblade. What a great story!

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