“Why Homeschooling?” I’ve been asked after replying my child doesn’t attend any one of the amazing local school nearby in this top-notch district we live in. Instead, she is home-schooled by me. I didn’t really have an answer then, nor really thought of creating one. So I have stayed with the simple, “We just do,” and kept it at that. Typical reply was, “Nice.” And we move on to the next subject.
Then I started to think more and more about it, my replies, that is. Why do we home school? Do I just want to give myself a hard time while my kids have to bear the sub-par quality I can pull out of my head? Nope, quite the opposite.
Did I always want to be a homeschooler? Nope. I didn’t even know what it was about until recently.
Did I want to be part of a community that I thought was so cool? Nope, not that either.
Before I knew what homeschooling was, I had already (wrongfully) assumed what homeschoolers were:
Parents overly protective of their children, afraid of the world, or think the world is sub-par and their kids need to be shielded from its wrath; Parents who thought that the education system of Poway is no good despite it being the top selling point to every home for sale in the district; Parents who were religious zealots and that the world and their kids were enemies, and their kids would be doomed if they stepped into a public school.
Then here I was, just moved into the third decade of life and an “accidental” homeschooler. I did not fit any of my own stereotypes I had of home schoolers. I knew quickly that I was wrong – and lame – to think that way of homeschoolers, especially since I had not met a home schooler until my daughter was going to enter Kindergarten 2 years ago.
So if you have those thoughts or stereotypes of all homeschoolers, stop. Be better than me and open your mind.
So why do I homeschool? Short answer: A personalized and interest-based learning tailored to my chid. It allows us to tailor and bend to Klo’s unlimited academic thirst and pursue her love for math and science, being involved in academic, social and extra curricular activities in such a degree not possible, had we gone traditional. Had we gone traditional, it would be much later until she would be able to hone in and spend so much time and learn so much in her real interests. Yes, she still has to do subjects she doesn’t care for as much, but she has a great grasp and love for learning – and plenty more time left to do what she really wants – and I attribute this to homeschooling.
On top of that, had we gone traditional, she would have been kept with her age group until GATE testing and advanced tracks would become available to her when she reaches 3rd grade; meanwhile, sticking her with the assumed and expected learning abilities of kids her age and of some birthday cutoff date.
The turning point for me was when I had signed her up for preschool at the public – and much respected – school nearby. Nights after, I looked at that packet stating almost $400 a month to attend preschool 3 times a week for 3 hours each day. But it was not the money. It was what they told me after I had said this, “My daughter has been reading completely all by herself before she turned 3 years old. What can you do for her to help her move forward academically? What will she will be learning that I have not taught her already, or does not already know?” A few more words were exchanged and the final word was “Nothing.” I was not open to paying almost $400 for “nothing.” Sure the facilities are beautiful and the social interaction would be great. But so was what I could do with almost $400 a month and further her according to her abilities. So, after a few words with the hubby later that night, we both decided, we were the ones to do “something” with what we have – our little girl. If I was able to do what she was already doing at this point in her early life, I couldn’t possibly be that bad.
It has been a couple years now and no regrets. Homeschooling allows me to tailor only what she can handle. Had she been a slow learner, we can go at her pace and not be pressured by things outside of her abilities without the time and resources to “catch up.” But with her, she is a 1st grader at age 6 who fares very well in her subjects, home school enrichment sessions, and assignments that are fitted for kids much older than her. And she does well because she loves to learn, which opens her brain to it, she has no concept of what she is “supposed to be” learning or not learning at her age. She just learns it. (It does freak me out sometimes but quickly realize that it is my self-imposed limitations. If I had her drive, there would be so many things that I could be learning too).
How Do I Homeschhol? I will state that I do not do it alone and have the best of all worlds when it comes to homeschooling. We are part of a charter that offers her age group and a class room two days a week. It is a public school that she got in through a lottery, in her entry to Kindergarten year. There were 80 applicants and 18 seats open according to the lady I spoke to in the office. And she was one of the names “picked out of a hat.”
So what does she do the rest of the week? The Charter has a Wiki/intranet that tells us the things we are to cover from home. These are state and federal educational requirements that need to be met. Easy peasy. But we don’t stop there. Here is what she does at “home” or away from the Charter’s 2 days:
Monday: Mad Science class, Jr. Gaming & Programming class, Thread Arts class (each an hour and received via the Charter through a lottery).
Tuesday: At home on the Charter’s Wiki doing Language Arts, Math, and History. On top of that, Surgery Squad and Brain Pop and her numerous educational apps on her iPad. Her teacher has given us the books and curriculum for 2nd grade Language Arts to use instead. She has also advised that we take up a more advanced math curriculum than Saxon Math but have opted to stay with it and just go at a faster pace.
Wednesday/Friday: Full day at Charter 8:00 am – 230pm with kids her age and grade.
Thursday: Science 2 U (K-3rd grade), Considering Gods Creation Science (3-6th grade), Tapestry of Grace History (K-3rd grade), AB Art (K-5th grade)
Friday: Full day at Charter 8:00 am – 230pm with kids her age and grade.
Saturday: “Free to learn anything she wants” day and naturally she chooses educational pursuits. She is 6 year old and does partake in games tailored for her age on her MacBook and ipad, (some what I may think is meaningless and does nothing to advance her), but I keep in mind that she’s a little girl, she’s 6. She enjoys her app that lets her cut hair just as much as formulating monsters to fill her Monster Elements Table =)
Sunday: Family day and church day. She looks forward to this day every week. She loves her Sunday school class, loves God, and the people she interacts with. This and Thursdays are her favorite days, she says. Our day is spent at farmer’s markets, at the park, or lounging at home just like any other typical family.
Any given day: Field trips are plenty because we have that flexibility to do them. Museums during regular school hours? Sure! Watch Disney’s Frozen at 11 am on a Tuesday with other homeschooled kids? Sure, why not?
So if there be any wonder if she is learning something being home schooled with me, or get enough socialization, she is.
What about college?
As I write this, I come across this article: http://www.usnews.com/education/high-schools/articles/2012/06/01/home-schooled-teens-ripe-for-college
Though I have learned that homeschooling is the best way to feed my daughter’s academic abilities, a top-tier college is not our primary goal – but a love of life-long learning and personal development is.
My husband and I don’t really care for pushing a college route on her as many parents rightfully do so on their child. We actually secretly prefer her to be doing her own thing, perhaps be an entrepreneur, a creator of something, a creator of jobs for others and not an employee, living with great ability and skill to interact well with the world around her in confidence. It is these things that will get her further in life and into what ever interests her. Like homeschooling, we want her to have the ability to chart her course in life, to her liking.
With that said, if a top tier college is what she desires, and still wants to be a surgeon later as she does now at age 6, I don’t doubt that she will have many options and will have a well funded 529 ready for use because we didn’t shut her off from that possibility either.
So there it is – Why and how we homeschool. So, If I ask you, “Why do you (or do not) homeschool?” What says you?