Monday, February 28, 2011

Can I, Will I, Shouldn't I?

Can you believe this school year is almost gone? It flew by so quickly. I cant believe I am almost through my first year of home schooling! It has been a exciting, fun, stressful year. So it's obvious my plan for my kids school year is going to be to home school them again. I started off not really wanting to home school. At the time private school was no longer a option and I had two other choices, public school or home school. The school in our area wasn't too bad. Everyone knows NC doesn't have the greatest schools unfortunately. But I did a a lot of praying and talking to other women who have had their children in both situations. So I decided to home school for 6 months to start. If I didn't like it then I could put them in public school. 
You may have thought the same way or in the process of thinking about home schooling. You are probably a little afraid and confused if you are considering it. To be honest, my thoughts were more about me. I got my high school diploma through adult education courses. I attempted college but it wasn't for me at that time. I was pretty sure there was no way I could educate my children. I also lack patience and I love to be social and spend time with friends. I knew that was going to be rare. 
But I decided to home school anyway and off I went. I love to read, so I read almost every book about the subject. I spoke to friends, visited friends "class rooms" to observe, stopped to cry, searched the Internet, and went to a home school convention, oh and cried again. 
What I learned is that there is not only one way to home school. I was surprised because I can walk into many public or private school classrooms and I can pretty much get an overall picture of whats going on. But home schooling was so different. I saw very different styles. I picked what "style" I thought I was which was traditional and planned from there. 
as I got more into the curriculum part I realized I am not traditional so it was back to the drawing bored. Ugh, I was frustrated! Some one told me to relax and spend the first year getting to know my kids. Sounds strange but it was true. My kids were gone all day and I had no clue how they learned. Were they traditional, wiggly, social, distracting  .... I had no clue. 
I spent some time trying to get to know them and I have gotten to know so much! 
I realized we are not one "style". We are completely different for every subject. I made some mistakes in my choosing this year. For example the spelling work book I chose is not for us, it is too boring. 
I found out there are so many different ways to teach. There is classical, Montessori, traditional, Charlotte Mason, independent, unschooled and eclectic just to name a few. I fell into the eclectic category. I love so many different ways and I learned how to mesh them all together so it can benefit them. Wow, this was not too scary after all. It was actually a fun process. As the year passed I learned so much and I realized no wonder there is a show called, "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" I realized no, no I was not! 
Overall, the year taught me that I have to be a willing learner. The more I showed my children that I was interested in their subject too and I was learning right along side of them the more excited they became. There have been very stressful days too. I found out Cameron does not wake up in the greatest mood on Monday so we do a relaxed unschooled day on Monday. The rest off the week is our normal week. We started off taking Fridays off and that changed mid year. I learned to go with the flow and not get crazy over a strict schedule. 
The one thing I was right about was my social time with my friends alone during the week. I don't get to "hang out" alone with out the kids during the week. But  a lot of my friends also have their little ones all week long at home. I met other home school families who will get together at a drop of a hat. There are so many activities for them to do and have benefited from being around all different age ranges. 
I am not totally against public school. My soon to be 16 year old goes to a school of choice public school. She has no interest in home schooling and I am ok with that. There lies my insecurity of her teaching me and me not being able to teach her. She is smart and just as social as my other girls. I do  have to worry more about who she is getting involved with socially in high school. One great benefit of having my other kids at home, I can monitor that.  My oldest daughter plays sports and is busy with dance lessons. My home schoolers are doing the same exact things. It just shows me that home schooling is not some weird un- social activity. It is quite the opposite. 
I am looking forward to this next year and once again learning so much I had forgotten. Although the reasons for me to make this choice to home school came out of the blue. I really think it has been a blessing to our family. God works in wonderful, mysterious ways. I hope I encouraged some of you to consider educating your children at home. It is a experience that most people can never say they have had. But they should want to. 

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