Monday, April 18, 2011

Confessions of a Wannabe Homeschooler

I have a little secret. A confession to make. But I'm just kinda...nervous about saying it out loud.  Because you see, once I say something, well, then I have to do it.  "We should get married someday..." BLAM!  Married.  "Oh, it'll be so fun to have kids running around..." BLAM!  Four kids.  "Hey, maybe we can buy this house off the internet..."  BLAM!  Moving to Michigan.  "Chickens might be fun..."  BLAM!  Eight pullets.  And I just don't know if I'm ready for another BLAM! right now.  Can't I go for five measly minutes without BLAM-ing my life and by association the lives of my poor, poor family who have to endure living with me and my predilection for constant "improvement"?

Before I even consider sharing my dirty little secret with you, I want to be sure we're clear on a few things. 1) The house is a wreck (as usual).  2) I am still wearing my pajamas.  3) My patience capacity is approximately a 4 on a scale of, like, a million.  4) I have no formal training or experience in the matter.  5) I am still getting used to Tommy being gone all day, five days a week.  6) Our house is full of animals.  7) I have done approximately zero hours of actual research on the topic.  Aren't those the seven habits of highly effective people or something?  Stephen Covey would be so proud.

Keeping all of that in mind, I want you to come in real close because I'm only gonna whisper it (which is totally different than actually saying it out loud): I'm thinking that perhaps, maybe, someday, if I could ever manage to be brave/foolish enough, I might want to homeschool my kidsShhhhhhh!  Ohmygah...what????  Who said that?  Nononononono....not me.  I mean...me????  You're obviously hearing things.  Didn't you learn anything from Nancy Reagan?  Just say NO to drugs.  Especially on weekdays.  Sheesh.

Sigh.

It's not that our district isn't good.  No, it's actually one of the highest scoring school districts in the entire state of Michigan.  It's not that getting them to school is some kind of hassle.  In fact, the school bus picks up and drops off right in front of our dang ol' house.  And I like their teachers.  And the facility is awesome and the programs are great.  Then why, Dwija?  Why would you do such a foolish, crazy, wack-o thing????

Because I miss my kids.

There, I said it.  I. miss. my. kids.  Realizing how fast they grow up and how much of their daily life I miss out on seeing and how much of our daily life they miss makes me want to hold on to every second I can.  The cruel joke of SAHM-ing is that once they're old enough to really remember and appreciate the time they spend with you, we usher them off to school to spend  most of their waking hours with someone else.  And then when they are at home, they have to sit down and do more school work in preparation for the next day of spending all their waking hours with someone else.

Now see, part of my "problem" is also that I had a bit of an...um..."unusual" childhood, which included attending a small homeschool/private type school with all the grade levels together in one room working on interesting projects and having classes like "Speech", "Map Skills" and "Logic".  No, I am not making this up.  And do you know what such a non-traditional education has resulted in?  Me having the ability to speak in front of a crowd, read a map, and use logic when solving problems.  And, as an added bonus, I can even read and do math.  I know!  Pretty crazy, huh?  I whooped those SATs, oh yes I did.  So my perception of what school is capable of providing can be a little...skewed.

I get that the public schools can't just cater to the wacky whims of every flower-child-turned-Catholic-mother-of-four, I really do.  They have to streamline their processes to try and get specific results, within a very specific time-frame, out of hundreds of different children, each with their own learning style.  Just because a certain child can only grasp mathematical concepts by doing (adding fractions by tripling a recipe for example) doesn't mean I can expect my daughter's teacher to set up a miniature kitchen in their classroom so they can all bake some pies together.  Just because I think rote memorization of multiplication facts is a complete freaking waste of time doesn't mean I can tell my daughter she doesn't have to do it.  Because, you see, I am not in charge here. 

I want to be in charge.  I want to know what they're learning.  I want to be there to see their Aha! moments.  I want to be able to decide that we're going on an impromptu field trip in the middle of the week instead of "doing school" one day without worrying about them missing something important or having to explain myself to their school.  But I'm scared.  I don't want them to miss out on the important social aspects of learning to get along with people of all different personality types.  I don't want them to feel out of place if they go to a traditional high school or college.  I'm nervous that their little bubble of interesting and reasonable things will pop someday and they won't know what to do with themselves.  I want them to be...normal.  But not regular.  And I don't know if I can handle the responsibility, or stay on task, or stick with it for years and years, or manage to take care of the small ones while still giving the big ones what they need.  Will they be happy and fulfilled or will they resent me?  Can we afford it?  Where do I even start?  I don't know.

I just don't know.

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42 comments :

  1. Dweeja...The social aspects kids gain from school are irreplaceable. When I taught high school, I had kids that came from being home-schooled. THEY STRUGGLED SOCIALLY! Regardless of how many outside activities they were involved in and how many play groups or homeschooler activies they participated in, they still struggled relating to other kids, being accepted, or fitting in with any group. Personally, I feel that personalities are formed in school as much as learning what is in the books. And, that is just as important if not more valuable in life. Just my thoughts :)

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    1. See, I disagree. I think that there are systemic problems with the teen culture is this country that are endemic to packing them all in at the same age in the same place with little other contact. Certainly they develop certain codes of behavior, mannerisms and language but this is not necessarily a good thing. These same teens from local high schools may integrate well with each other but they fail to integrate in other social settings with people who are both younger and older as well as adults. Home schooled kids are never in such an isolated environment and don't develop the same hindrance. I think you are comparing apples and oranges, different social comfort and familiarity with social codes from one clime to another. I would also disagree that those painful, awkward developing adolescent identities that drive adults nuts are just as important as what is learned in books. I don't want my kids to teens forever. I want them to adults.

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  2. WELL. . .

    I want to tell you to just go for it. Everything you mention as your motivation is perfect. And having the background that you do with your own education, you know it can work-and that, indeed, kids truly thrive in homeschool.

    We have been at it 10 years, and I have no regrets other than that I didn't start earlier with my older kids.

    And we have transitioned easily into "real school" at high school. And I actually would rather have them home for high school as well, but can't get the spouse over that hurdle :)

    All this is not to say that there aren't many days when I feel I haven't an ounce of creativity left in my body, or that I simply cannot answer another question. But those are the days when we have the luxury of resting, reading, playing games, or going to the park. When I think of how my older kids were stuck behind a desk for eight hours a day in grade school, I almost weep. And yes, I feel some loss over those years-especially as I have now had the time with their siblings at home.

    Sometimes I feel wistful at those "right of passage" times that happen in school (first day of kindergarten-or each school year, plays and productions, etc) but I also remember hauling little ones with me to help out at school, and then feeling how tired we all were at night when it was time for MORE homework. Evenings are relatively so peaceful now.

    One thing that is essential is for you to build in a plan to have regular breaks yourself-even if it is just an hour each week to go somewhere and read a book-alone!

    Also, if possible, finding a homeschool support group helps quite a bit. Just guard yourself from getting involved in too much, running yourself ragged, trying to duplicate school. The blessing of homeschool is what you do right in your own home as a family.

    I could go on and on. Feel free to email me if you want to chat more. I'll pray for you with this decision.

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    1. Hi, there. I'm reading this in 2013, but in case this feedback reaches you, I want to say how great your comment was! I have been homeschooling for several years, and agree so much with everything you said. At the end, I almost felt it was me talking. But said so much better! Yay for Dweej, so went for it!

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  3. I am a public school teacher. I love my jobs. I love

    I say go for it. I have had kids come out of homeschooling to public schooling, and they take a while to adjust, but they get it. They aren't weird.

    As for rote memorization, yeah, it seems wasteful, but when you're like I was in college, still counting out six 7's on my fingers, I did wish I took time to just learn that 6 x 7 is, in fact, simply 42!

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  4. Of course you know what is best, no one else can tell you that. Both my parents were teachers, and their take on homeschooling was this:
    While homeschooling can be great for kids and parents alike, the more people that know your kids, that know how amazing they are, that tell them they are smart and beautiful and great they are, the better off a kid seems to be.
    I just think that is a nice way to put it. I know when I have kids (granted, even if they are not the sharpest tools in the shed, lol) I want any one and everyone who thinks they are awesome to tell them so. At home, they might just hear it from my husband and I. But at school and in public they will hopefully hear it from a great more deal of people.
    Hope that made sense, and didn't sound too preachy or conceded or anything. Just my two cents :) Whatever you do, I think you will do great!

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  5. I just posted a "fleeting" very quick mention of homeschool on my blog this morning. You have given it a lot more thought than I have. I sooooo agree with everything you have said. I think a lot of the school system's way of teaching is boring and senseless. I would love to teach my kids but just don't know if I have the patience... well maybe not so much an issue with patience but more of needed some time alone at home to regroup. I Must have this and it scares me to give it up. Very interesting post!

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  6. Just read jbrad's comments.

    Have to take issue. My kids who were homeschooled have gone on to take leadership positions at school and had/have good friends. What they do not do is bend easily to peer pressure, and they are self-disciplined when it comes to classwork. The teachers report that they are always happy to get homeschooled students.

    My first to be homeschooled is now a college freshman. Actually, he entered college as a sophomore because he had so many independent credits. In high school, he was president of his class, VP of the student body, president of the National Honor Society, was in several choirs, played soccer all four years, was president of the pro-life group, lead the student body prayer at the end of the day, and, I could go on and on (he is doing many of these same things in college-and more).

    But what finally allowed some of the faculty-and other parents-to deem him a "success' was when he was voted on to the homecoming court his senior year in high school.

    That tells you something about us as adults and what "society" values.

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  7. Thank you all so much for your thoughtful comments so far. It means a lot to me that you'd take the time to share your experiences and opinions! Every bit if it helps. I sure do appreciate quality dialogue, oh yes I do! :)

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  8. I was homeschooled from third grade on until UD. I turned out totally normal . . . ok I couldn't keep a straight face. Seriously though I will homeschool my kids and have actually already started a little. I just see so many advantages to homeschooling. One of the big ones to me is that I can travel with my kids and have that be a learning experience. We won't have to schedule it around vacation time when the rest of the world will also be there all touristy and crowded. When and if my husband travels for work we can pack up and go with them. The kids won't have to miss a day of school. :)

    As far as socialization is concerned . . . We were involved in other activities. 4H, homeschooling groups, youth group, etc. In every one of those groups/activities I always had friends. It's probably true I didn't socialize "properly." I never fell in line with the "cool" crowd. I wasn't big on peer pressure. I never tried drugs, never once smoked a cigarette and missed out on other such "social" activities. Weird right?

    Also when I was in school, BEFORE homeschooling, I was the kid who played under the slide. Alone. My teachers all thought there was something wrong with me and my socialization skills. Turns out I was an introvert and was perfectly happy playing by myself. I was miserable when I was forced to go "socialize" with a bunch of kids I didn't know. I had friends but we usually hung out after school during extra curricular activities. When we could hang out one on one instead of in a group.

    I guess you can judge for yourself how I did socializing in college . . . :)

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  9. That "them" there at the end of the first paragraph should be "him." I only have one husband! ;)

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  10. Lack of socialization seems to be the biggest myth with home schooled kids. My middle son is extremely social, and the other two aren't bad at socialization because they are schooled at home, it is because they have Asperger's Syndrome. (They are actually a bit more social than typical autistic kids because, I think, they are not constantly overwhelmed with large classrooms.)

    You definitely have your heart in the right place for this and I think that is what counts more than anything else.

    What I love most about home schooling is the flexibility. The world and your house is your classroom, and no it's not at all expensive! Of course, I learned this after going out and spending several thousands on books, computer programs, etc. Most of which have still not been touched to this day.

    Find a local home school group and ask questions. They will know a lot about the laws in Michigan as well as tips on getting started. Many of them also have get-togethers quite often...you know, for that whole socialization thing that seems to be more important than a proper education these days ;).

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  11. i think you should go for it. It looks like everything else you wanted to do and did paid off. You can do it!

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  12. We are in the same boat, my hubby went to a boarding school, and I was in a private prep school for girls, and honestly, I completely value our backgrounds and non traditional education we received.

    His school offered programs outside the curriculum which allowed him to graduate early, in addition to learning so many other valuable assets!

    I attended a Catholic school, which gave me an opportunity to study world theology, engage in peer ministry, ecological groups, and advanced programs in logic and theory, not to mention community service. I felt like I walked into the world with a healthy serving of humility that is rare these days!

    My school experience meant challenging each other to pursue the highest academic standards. Our healthy competitions amongst peers consisted of outshining your classmates by performing the most ministry work and volunteer work, not determining who was wearing the newest fashions. Our academic bar was set much higher, and we always pressed to hold the highest GPA!

    For my brother in public school, they looked at academic success and drive as "nerdy". Yes, let’s review that perception, because the academically driven individual with early college acceptance letters, highly ranked SAT scores, and 4.0 GPA is surely, soooo inferior! Ha!

    Not to mention the spiritual development, morality and free thinking! Our Franciscan Sisters were very compassionate and open to ALL creeds, races and denominations! They gave us an opportunity to grow as free thinkers and embrace God in a way that many people I came to know didn't understand.

    We have been back and forth on home schooling for mostly the same reasons; I want to be close to my boys! They are the sweetest, smartest, most sociable little guys I know! They have never spent a moment in daycare, and are thoroughly elated when it comes to learning something new! When we go to parks, the zoos, aquariums, church, they are the first to run up to new kids with an outstretched hand and present them with friendship! They play well and engage others while respecting boundaries as much as any preschooler can.

    It’s definitely a tough choice, I don't ever want to feel like I put our boys in a position where they weren't prepared for the world, however the world is what we make of it!

    We want to preserve their genuine excitement for learning, without anyone putting them down for their curiosity. We want them to feel free to speak their mind and engage in healthy debate, and not assume any conflicting conversation means only two things, have an argument or walk away and repress your opinion.

    I love that my husband and I can sit around and talk about philosophy and history and religion and science and politics, whether we share the same views or not (although we generally do).

    And of course, I want my boys to be open to learning about religion, understanding God, helping mold their personal values, and this isn’t something that is allowed in the classroom these days.

    When I hear people say that home schooled kids are socially awkward all I can reflect on is my sweet husband. Who was considered "socially awkward" for not engaging more with his older (public schooled) brothers and friends.

    However, what they didn’t consider was that he wasn’t disengaging because of lack of social skills; he just had enough personal values to remove himself from engaging in the activities of his peers from the local public school. Things such as underage drinking, promiscuity and drug experimentation, what I guess some people consider being "typical HS kid experiences".

    The things he had learned in his non-traditional education gave him the strength to remove himself from any peer pressure, and assertively and confidently make his own decisions.

    How is that such a bad thing? I can only pray our boys are blessed with that same inner strength to make their own decisions and not concern themselves with social standings.

    Good luck in your decision!! God bless! <3

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  13. Such a personal decision. Not a one-size-fits-all decision.My sons have been in private school and now public school. I now am a public school hs teacher. I can tell you, the curriculum is anything but rote or boring. I am glad I have a close connection with our boys and I also am glad I am not with them24/7....Your mileage may vary.

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  14. I wonder about the time factor - the working on the property, redoing the house, feeding the livestock, cleaning, cooking, gardening time factor.

    I have known wonderful homeschooled kids who are outgoing, intelligent, articulate and who care a lot about the world and the people who live in it. I also have known homeschooled kids who distrust everyone because others are not in their particular religious/political/social group.

    I think your reasons for considering homeschooling are great - you want to be with your kids, you enjoy their company, you want to help them learn - all wonderful reasons. I don't sense the "the school system will teach them to be terrible people" attitude that I hear from a few other homeschooling parents.

    If your school district has a program where they can participate in extracurricular activities (theatre, sports, service clubs) and still homeschool, all the better! And don't forget the opportunities for socialization that your parish religious education program can offer: they can be with kids their own age, and can make friends and connections with other like minded people (and so can you).

    It sounds like you are doing a great job of considering your options. Good luck, and know that I am praying for you! (I'm lighting a candle right now!)

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  15. Does your school district (or any in the area) offer alternative programs? FOr example, in the Chicago Public school district there are a couple of Montessori-based schools, and about 4 or 5 other "alternative" schools that follow different pedagogical methods. Also, in some districts (Milwaukee and some in PA), the public schools were faced with over-crowding and not enough $$, so they offered to subsidize and support parents who were willing to homeschool their kids. These families receive online support, programs, standardized testing, and other things so that they can homeschool their kids for very little money. Just some thoughts...

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  16. BTW. This is the program we are currently using for nursery school. http://www.angelicum.net/ I like it for flexibility, great books program, low cost and Catholic. :) Growing up we used Seton. http://www.setonhome.org/

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  17. I have the same thought browse thru my mind all the time ... (my hubs is totally against the idea) so doesn't make it an easy consideration * * with my 1st grader having a blast in public school & excelling beautifully; it's more of a far off idea (if we lived on a farm in Vermont with mucho kiddos like I dreamed as child ... all because of "Baby Boom" ;) it may not be so far fetched) ... but so think it's an awesome idea if it works for mama & fam' * *

    ps. holla for the Stephen Covey shout out! read his 1st book; 7 habits when I was 19!? found out recently his son is a writer too :D pretty cool!

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  18. Dwija, you love you kids like crazy and would do great teaching them. Heck, you are already teaching them so much with your positive attitude in this latest adventure of yours. They are learning to turn life's lemons into lemonade, and what better skill could one have than that. They will let you know if it is not working and want to go back to "regular school". Also look at different programs. I don't know what you have, but here in BC some programs will provide you with everything you need minus the pencils and calculator and a bit of paper, and others will give up to $1000 a year per kid as well for computer/extra books/tutoring or whatever you think they need. And if you all decide to take the leap...best of luck and have fun!

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  19. I just have to tell you how glad I am I found your blog. I know this is a very serious and personal decision, but your description of it had me rolling with laughter. I love your writing style so much, girl. And while I don't have an opinion on homeschooling, I do have an opinion on your blog, and I love it.

    Well, I technically do have an opinion on homeschooling. I think that you should do whatever you feel is best for you and your kids. I think a few others have said it "no one answer fits all." So you go for whatever feels right...even if it's another BLAM moment. :)

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  20. D -- When I met first met you and the kids, I thought you already DID homeschool. You all fit the profile perfectly!

    God has a really funny way of bringing us to see what he already sees. He sees you embracing life and children and learning. He sees you giving everything you have for your family. All of the pre-homeschooling prerequisites are already met. You love your children enough to form them in every capacity God has given you. You love them enough to pave a special way for them....just for them....as you desire to make their educational world the best that it can be.

    Rest assured that no one is better equipped to negotiate your children's learning journey than you are. No one will sacrifice for them as you will. No one will tailor their learning to best suit their needs the way you will. No one will show them the compassion and discipline and formative structure that you will. You were their FIRST teacher and you are the BEST director of their learning.

    Institutional teachers do the very best that they can to offer a quality learning experience for our kids. But they, necessarily, have limitations that we do not have when we homeschool. When we learn at home, there are no school hours. We simply learn through doing...always. Homeschooling is not really about "schooling". It's about living with learning in mind, all the time (and sometimes we use books).

    Homeschooling in our area is not an oddity, it's just another segment of our community. And it's a great community. So....come on in....I have a few dozen homeschool friends you'd love to meet.

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  21. I have this secret thought all the time. You would be awesome at it, Dwija! Thanks for the fun memories of Speech, Logic, and Map Skills....:-)

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  22. I think you should follow your heart. Whatever you think is best for you and your kids. Roy's sister is home schooling their daughter and she seems to be doing ok socially. We she is an awkward teen girl. I don't know how any of them do socially.*lol*
    Do a bit of research to see what the "rules" are in your area.
    I know whatever you do it will go fabulously.

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  23. My sister in law sends her kids to a school that only meets 3 days a week and the other two days are facilitaed through home schooling. There is a pretty good balance of school guidance, socialization and parental choice. Is there anything like that in your area? It might be a good place to start and see how you like it.

    My sister in law has three boys, 9, 5 and 2 and she does struggle a lot on the two days at home to give the 9 year old what he needs while the 2 and 5 year old play and attack her with requests. But, it can work.

    There is also nothing that says once you try it, you have to stick with it. I do think your reasons for doing it, like giving them a personalized learning experience and more unique field trip opportunities are good ones...maybe just missing them is just part of them growing up though and not enough to keep them with you. I can definitely see the other ones though. And you know how important it is that someone that you've never met, that lives thousands of miles away from you thinks your reasons are solid before you proceed. Ha!

    You'll figure it out. Have you asked your kids? One of my nephews isn't very social and loves that his mom teaches him, but my other nephew realy misses being around his friends. Maybe they can help give some input at least?

    Good luck!

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  24. First, I have to tell you how much I love you. I have been stalking your other tabs up there, and you are awesome.

    I wish I had some great insight to add to your homeschooling discussion, but all I really have is this: loving, attentive parents will raise kids who thrive anywhere. That's not to say that there won't be bumps or challenges, but because you are obviously a thoughtful, involved mom, your children will be fine whether you homeschool or send them to public school.

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  25. That's hard - I wish I had some words of wisdom for you... But I can tell you that at age 16 my mother withdrew me (well... and I kind of quit - it was a mutual decision) because I was bored with what they were teaching. We did home schooling for a year and then I decided to get my GED because I was working full time and the home schooling just didn't work out. I think perhaps you should take it on a kid by kid basis. Does one of your children seem to enjoy the social interaction while another is withdrawing from participating in school activities? Maybe the withdrawn child would benefit from being home schooled. Again - I'm no expert. I have no children (though I was a nanny for 10 years :) But I'm all for asking the children what they would like...

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  26. Your reasons are sound. You (and Tommy) are both educated - it's definitely worth looking into!

    Read blogs/message boards. Read books (David Elkind is wonderful for perspective). Talk to people (Full Spectrum Mom is great -she helped me a TON!). See if there is a co-op in your area (I just found one here and I am THRILLED! and it doesn't even start until next fall).

    The great thing is, you can buy complete curriculums now(lesson plans, et al) and someone else has the work all portioned out for you.

    That being said - as Paula has already mentioned - you have A LOT on your plate right now as it is - with your work, the house, the babies, the garden, animals...donkeys, etc.

    I would also reiterate what FSM mentioned - find SOME way to get a break EVERY week - I don't have that right now - and there are a LOT of days I want to pull my hair out...and there are days I wish I'd sent my kiddo to school, too.

    Okay - that was entirely too long. I'm done now. Good luck!
    ~amy (of amy & jim) ;)

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  27. Follow your heart. You know what's best for your kids. Don't worry about what other people think or think you should do. You seem to be contemplating this for all the right reasons.

    When my kids were preschoolers, I was one of the few moms who was a stay-at-home mom and did not send my kids to preschool. I never felt pressured either to do the whole preschool thing because it was part of society expectations. I took them to early childhood classes, to story hour at the library, to Sunday School.

    They turned out just fine despite that lack of a preschool education. My second daughter graduated as valedictorian of her high school class of nearly 400 and is today a successful Spanish medical interpreter. My other daughter also has a good job. And my 17-year-old excels academically.

    I have never, ever, regretted the extra time spent with my children.

    The years pass too quickly and you are a wise mom to realize that.

    Good luck with your decision.

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  28. O M Effin G, Dweej!!!!!! I must say that after reading all the comments up there, mine would probably sound the stupidest and highly inappropriate. But SERIOUSLY woman, is there anything that you CAN'T do??? You're like a gift that keeps on giving, know what I mean?

    I admit, my first automatic reaction to Dweej's little hush-hush revelation was: "No! Don't do it!!! You're nuckin futs, Dwija!"

    But even as I'm writing this comment now, somehow I know that you CAN and will in fact EXCEL on it if you ever decide to do homeschooling for your kids.

    Like you, I also feel like every time I blink somehow my daughter has grown an inch. Time flies and whenever I thought about it, I feel like I want to scream, "Wait a minute!!! I still haven't gotten the chance to ____." Unlike you, though, I feel 0 confidence in my own ability to teach anything to my daughter. As you probably already know by now, most of the time it really seemed like she's the one teaching me stuff.

    Well then, that settles it, doesn't it: I was never homeschooled and see how I turned out. Whereas you, you've experienced it, and dang, you're one amazing woman!!!

    OK, time for me to tug my little tail in and hide in the corner. I feel a sense of incompetency coming up. LOL

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  29. I'd say go for it. You have all summer to figure out what you're going to do and if you're nervous about being the full out teacher you can always use a correspondence curriculm where you're more mentor than teacher. It is more expensive then sending your kids to public school, but I guarantee your kids will have both more playtime and more Mom and Dad time if they're at home. So much of public school is just lining up and waiting rather than actual learning. I was homeschooled and loved it! As long as you keep those kiddos in a ton of extracurriculars, I think they'll love you for homeschooling them!

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  30. Wow, I am so grateful to all of you for your continued advice and input! It's incredible how varied and diverse people's backgrounds can be, yet they can all come together to enjoy and discuss the same topic.

    I'm just...kind of speechless and very thankful :)

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  31. I home school my kids! I love it when the light goes on and I know that I taught them that! I love controlling what they are learning. The neighbor girl came home and told her parents to turn out the lights that her teacher told her that she was killing the polar bears by keeping them on(1st grade). Anyway, my girls can socialize with kids their own age, teenagers, adults, and elderly people. They aren't just learning to socialize with their own age group. Who ever has a job where they only work other 37 year olds? You need to consider what is best for your family and for you! It is exhausting and rewarding! My kids went on a field trip to school to visit with a friend whose mom was ill. When we got home that afternoon, they both told me that they were glad that I schooled them at home and how they didn't want to go to school again!

    Pray over this and listen for what the Lord wants you to do!

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  32. You can do it if you want Dwija don't let money deter your decision. There are many ways to homeschool on a dime!

    Your post made me laugh because we were somewhat schooled the same way although I was homeschooled "Speech", "Map Skills" and "Logic" were also my subjects ;).

    We decided to homeschool for now. Don't know what the future holds or if we will continue when we move but for now it is working for us. Like you I have almost 0 patience but somehow it is working and we are all loving it. My husband helps with some of it as I have to work 3 out of 5 mornings, but the beauty of homeschooling is you can be extremely flexible.

    If you have any questions on curriculum or anything else let me know. I've tried most of them growing up, lol!

    xo!

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  33. I was home-schooled for grade 3 because I had trouble dealing with the overstimulation of a classroom in earlier grades. My mom was a teacher before she had me, and when I went back to school for grade 4, I was half a grade ahead of the rest of my class.

    I was also incredibly lonely that year and felt like a freak not being in school. Going on bi-weekly home school group field trips didn't help.

    High school was a bust socially and I was academically bored. I was still lonely.

    University was amazing - everything that high school is "supposed" to be like, and I'm now a successful professional. I think this would have happened regardless of how I received my education.

    When I think back on that year, all I remember is the pure joy of learning in a calm environment, and being so, so lonely.

    Just one home-schooled kid's experience.

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  34. Dwija - I just read this - !!!!!!

    I knew it was just a matter of time. ;o)

    Send me an email or call me if you want to talk seriously about this.

    Love you guys!

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  35. Dude, if you're in your pajamas and the house is a mess, you're already in homeschool mode. Homeschoolers are not given a box of patience to tap into when necessary. It's just as frustrating as any other part of family life.

    My first reason for homeschooling was academic (which I'm going to gloss over at the moment). The second is the "in charge" aspect, too. I'd rather my kids get a consistent message from one trusted source than fight for their attention and trust with someone else.

    That all sounds very militant, but I promise I'm not meaning it that way.

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  36. Dwija - You could SOOOO homeschool. If anyone is a great candidate for a homeschool mom, you are the perfect one.

    As for those who bring up the "socialization" aspect of homeschooling and its drawbacks, well, they have either been exposed to kids who were not given proper opportunities to socialize or - dare I say it - they are the naysayers who are simply unaware of all the opportunities for homeschooled children to socialize.

    As someone who has gone from wanting to homeschool (before having children) to thinking I couldn't do it with a child with autism and now back to wanting to do it because I know it will give him a higher chance of success with learning than public school or private school will, I have done my homework - really, really done my homework. If anything, I truly believe homeschool children actually have MORE opportunities for socialization and with a wider varying group of individuals than what public or even private schools can offer students.

    I say Go. For. It!!!

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  37. I dont know if they have anything like this in Michigan, but here, we have what is called "half day home school" where for (you guessed it) half the day YOU teach your kids the fundamentals and for the other half they attened a public school for P.E., Music, Art etc and are even allowed to sign up for that schools sports teams so they dont lose out on social interaction. That might be an ideal situation for your family if something like that is offered, or if a school is willing to work with you on it....

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  38. TO put in my two cents.

    I'm not saying you should homeschool or that shouldn't. (Although I'm a big fan of homeschooling and plan to do it, I do realize it isn't for everyone.) That you'll have to figure out for yourself-- what works best for you and your family. BUT... if you can move across the country to a house you bought on the internet and fix it up and grow a garden and raise goats and chickens, then I'm pretty sure you can hack homeschooling.

    I did want to answer some of the objections. Just to play devil's advocate, you know.

    To me "the time factor - the working on the property, redoing the house, feeding the livestock, cleaning, cooking, gardening time factor." That list is not only not an obstacle but is one of the biggest reasons TO homeschool. Because all of those things aren't distractions from learning but opportunity to learn the kinds of things they can't be taught in a classroom. Letting kids help out in cooking and cleaning and working on the property will help them to learn valuable life skills. Seriously, biology is so much more interesting when it is hands on and not just reading a boring textbook. Feeding livestock, gardening, not only are they good life skills but they're opportunities to go deeper, learn more.

    Reading, writing and 'rithmetic kinds of learning don't take up nearly as much time as you think they do because at home you don't have to deal with all the classroom management stuff. You don't have to wait for everyone to put their books away and sit down and be quiet -- Johnny! I'm telling you for the third time!-- and all that kinds of stuff. So much of school was so boring to me. My happiest times in school were the few classes where we could work at our own pace and I didn't have to wait for everyone to catch up. I spent so many hours reading books furtively under my desk while waiting for all the slower kids to finish their worksheets so we could move on to the next subject.

    Like Rachel above, I was always socially awkward as a child. I never fit in. I hated the social aspects of school. Gee, I'm an introvert. The thing is socially awkward kids will be that way whether they are homeschooled or in traditional school. I think we tend to notice the trend we expect to see. People ignore the well-adjusted homeschooled kids and the awkward public school kids and focus on the awkward homeschoolers and the well-adjusted school kids because they fit the narrative they expect to see. Also, I doubt that your kids will be lonely because there are four of them. Instead, they'll grow closer to each other and to you. And isn't that what you want as a mother? Kids who enjoy spending time with their siblings. Who don't think that it's uncool to hang out with their baby brother or sister?

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  39. Also, one of the ways I became much more comfortable and confident about the idea of homeschooling was to read lots of homeschooling mom's blogs. You get peeks into how people do it. What a typical day feels like, how it works. You start to see how many different ways there are of approaching homeschooling. And you start to see how it might work for you. If you want some links to my favorite blogs, let me know. I'll set you up. There are so many cool, hip, smart, funny women who homeschool because they love being with their kids and sharing the exciting journey that is education with them. They make me so eager I just can't wait to get started. (Though yes I also have those freak out moments where I wonder about every single one of your concerns.)

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  40. Danielle Dartez DeAsesJune 10, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Dwija-
    First of all I want to say that after reading several posts I've decided you're even more awesome than I remember from UD. I only wish I'd gotten to know you better then.

    When I was pregnant with my son, I was certain- CERTAIN- that I would homeschool him. My mom homeschooled my siblings, I knew other families who homeschooled, and I had a very high expectation of education based on my experience at UD. I knew that it would be the right thing for us.

    Then I found myself single. I can't tell you how hard I cried when I realized that would have to put my three-year-old son (my BABY!) in daycare/preschool so that I could go back to work to support the two of us so we could move out of my parents' house. But I did it. I got a job and sent him off to "school".

    Over the following weeks and months, I watched him blossom. He became more talkative, social, and downright fun. I would pick him up and we would talk about his day and he would shower me with hugs and kisses.

    And I realized that each family has to find their own way. I still believe in homeschooling, and I think that for some families it is a fantastic experience, and I think that should you decide you can make that journey with your sanity intact, you'll be terrific at it. But it wasn't the right path for us, and God had to use my circumstances as the 2x4 over the head that made me see that. My son likes school, loves spending the day with his friends, and does extremely well in that environment. I miss him terribly while I'm at work, but when I get home we appreciate and enjoy each other that much more - and it gives me more patience for the incessant questions.

    And when I thought about it some more, I realized that when I was a kid, I really loved school too. I homeschooled for one year and found it incredibly boring, and without the competition of my peers, I didn't perform to the best of my abilities.

    My rambling point is that everyone is different, and everyone will have their own opinions about schooling, but in the end you have to choose what's best for your own family.

    I'm glad to have found you!

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