I know it's a while off yet - our daughter only just turned three - but my husband and I have been talking about where we're going to send Bea to school year after next. She's going to go to nursery school next year, just to get her used to the idea of being away from us for little bits of time, but at the moment we're not sure about where she'll go to school after that. We've discussed homeschooling, though, which is what brings me here.
Do any of you homeschool your kids? Why? What's it like, and do you enjoy it? Would you recommend it?
Homeschooling can be done well.
It can also be done very, very badly and absolutely ruin a child's life.
I know people who have done it because while there was an abundance of schools nearby, none of them were good. One of my friends was technically enrolled in a charter school, but did all her work at home. She started going to college part-time at 16. She's almost 19 now and a straight-A student.
Another friend homeschooled for high school through the same charter, and did very well. Her sister also decided to homeschool. She failed half her classes and never did any work. Her parents couldn't be bothered to make her work. She ended up dropping out.
The difference is the first two girls were highly motivated and able to work independently.
I'm homeschooling my 6yr old right now. This is our first year, kindergarten. And I absolutely love it! And so does he. I don't wear a denim jumper or have braided hair, and we don't do Bible studies (no offense to those that do). We're a young, secular homeschooling family in a major metro area. Our county is one of the top counties in the country in regards to public schools. But my husband and I have different ideas of what's important in a child's education and growth than what the federal or state government has. In my county alone there are over 3,000 homeschooling families. There are so many resources here, whether its co-ops, museums, county rec classes for homeschoolers, etc.
There are many reasons to homeschool and there are many reasons not too. Right now, this year, homeschooling worked for us. I plan to keep him home next year as well. I have no problems sending him up to school with the rest of the neighborhood kids if for some reason it's not working for us.
I have never homeschooled (my oldest is 4) but I have looked into it quite a lot. The best homeschooling situations I have seen have involved co-ops and charter schools. Typically kids do the majority of their academics at home and then participate in extra-curricular activities away from home (music, art, science lab, drama, sports). The families that I know that do home school are very bright. They usually study for 2-3 hours a day and since the pace and curriculum is molded to the individual child it is very efficient. I've also seen how crippling it can be to keep kids from any kind of large group/social learning. I would love to homeschool, but my son loved his time in preschool this year and is already looking forward to kindergarten in the fall. I live in an area with great schools, but I am still skeptical of how good his education can be with 20 other students his age. When it comes down to it, I feel like I am responsible for the education he receives and I will supplement as necessary to see that he has a well rounded education. If he ever wanted to homeschool (I'm not betting on it) I'd be happy to give it a try.
I keep going back and forth on the subject. We have time as well since my son isn't even 3 yet BUT it is a decision I am taking very seriously and want to know as much as I can on the subject before I make my decision.
I recently moved to a small town with only 1 choice of school ( and not a great choice!). We speak 2 languages at home and really want our son to learn both well!
We also want the freedom to take our son travelling with us when we want and when the prices are cheap!
There are pros and cons to each situation. Read homeschool blogs! I found so much great info on them and I also realized that there are so many different styles of homeschooling! I really like some and not others!
A Close friend did homeschooling. She was in a program on-line where she had to a lot of work. Her parents let her decide to do homeschooling, but then had to be involved with it to make sure she did the work. She did finish high school. I think it depends on what school is like. I know my friend was miserable in high school and wanted to try something new. When the kids get older I do think you need to be able to either hire tutors or find a program or both that can compensate for a real teacher if you're not good at math, science, language, etc. One of my friends' mom is a private tutor for home-schooled kids, since she can do algebra and calculus etc.
I think in general a classroom environment is fine for most children. It does depend on the schools in the area, but if the schools are poor I would consider moving before I would do homeschooling. I also think you should give the schools a chance. I think a lot of parents worry too much about schools that are fine which is the attitude of my parents. My mother supplemented my education by reading to/with me for a long and helping me do my schoolwork.
I think homeschooling can be bad. I think its' not just up to kids; it's up to the parents. The worst thing you could do is not take seriously the responsibility that comes with homeschooling. I've heard stories of kids just doing housework and babysitting younger siblings. I think there are many programs and tools that make it more of an option today. I also think the "evil government" stuff is melodramatic.
I wish you all the best,
We are seriously considering unschooling. We live on a tiny island in the Maldives, and there are no schools nearby - that's our main motivation! I also love the potential for child-led learning, lots of travel and field trips, and letting children learn through their own passions and interests. I recommend reading a lot about homeschooling/unschooling to help in your decision-making. I also see your daughter was born a day after mine :)
We homeschool and have since our oldest was preschool age. Our reasons for homeschooling we originally based on two things. 1. educational needs for our daughter at the time. She taught her self to read at age 3 and it pretty much has not slowed down since then. Since we were involved in many social situations (playgroups, sunday school, friends/family activities) we didn't feel preschool was necessary for her because she had already mastered all the skills she would learn there. My MIL is a preschool teacher and she agreed with this. We continued adding socialization and extracurriculars and just let her work at her own pace at home. 2. My DH's schedule is and was such that he works 80+ hrs a week including several overnight shifts. When he comes home from an overnight shift, he naps, but generally has that day free. If the kids were in school during that time we'd miss out on valuable family time. They would see him very little if not for those special post-night shift days because he always leaves before they wake up and often returns home after they are asleep (at least when they were younger anyway- bedtime was in the 7pm hr! we don't make them go to bed quite that early anymore- haha).
So those two reasons led us to homeschool #1. We were always open to changing our decision as needed and we agreed that just because it was best for #1 did not mean it would be for #2. However, it is difficult to have one in school and one at home and we found ways to meet #2's needs and learning styles at home too. We do lots of outside activities and we are part of a co-op that meets once a week. We could do much much more actually, but we have to set some limits otherwise we'd never be home and that's not realistic in our family at this time :)
I personally LOVE homeschooling my children. It warms my heart to watch them learn and grow everyday. I love being with them and we all enjoy time together and get to experience alot of cool field trips and experiments together. I am not the most natually organized person, but homeschooling forces me to work on those skills and 2 years ago I switched curriculums to a different format (we used Sonlight before and now use the My Father's World multi-age cycles -- both are biblically based, which is a 3rd reason we now add to our list of why we homeschool, but it was not part of our original decision and it's not the top reason for us) and this newer format forced me to do alot more prep work. I love preparing the weekly documents and lessons and really look forward to it every week. Since we use a multi-age type program, I teach the older girls the same topics and then we break out into two-somes (me + one of them) to work on additional age (and personally preferred) appropriate subjects and add-ons to the main topic. They also have subjects they work on independently and I check their work or do it with them as needed (like math and writing). Our oldest DD loves learning languages so she does that on her own. She also takes some enrichment classes online- she does alot of extras, but she's not your typical 11 yr old.
Let me know if you have any specific questions. The topic of homeschooling is quite broad and my best advice is just read alot about it - don't stress so much about which curriculum you will use or exactly how you will implement it in your house -- instead, I'd focus on your reasons for choosing this option and the benefits. Then you can tailor the education to your specific needs and seek out advice online from people who can help you with more specifics or help locate the perfect program. Also google homeschool resources in your local area. There are alot of co-ops and parent-led groups. You can often join or participate in their field trips or play days before officially joining or if your children are not yet school age. It's a good way to network with local homeschool families. I'm not a huge fan of strictly online programs or all computer based... so that's why I love the local resources. I'm very outgoing-- I could never sit home and encourage my kids to be so called "weird unsocialized homeschoolers"