Sunday, June 08, 2008

Evolution of a homeschooling family.

Distant past - I read an article in a magazine about how a family had kept each one of their daughters home to homeschool for 1 year during their middle school years. They felt that this helped the parent/daughter relationships. I thought this was a cool idea and filed it away in my brain.

1998 - I sent my oldest son to Kindergarten. He was fine. I cried though. I had 2 babies at home, aged 2 years and 2 months. It was very difficult getting the kindergartner to bed on time with the 2 little ones and my husband worked in the evenings at that time, so I was alone at night with the kids. It was a struggle.

Go forward a couple of years and the 2 year old now is 4. She decided that she'd like to go to school too and so we sent her to preschool. It only lasted a couple of months and she decided she wanted to stay home. I wasn't all that sold on preschool anyway so I let her become a preschool dropout.

Now 2 more years forward and my youngest son also drops out of preschool. Now 2 preschool dropouts!

My daughter did well in kindergarten and first grade. The year she was in second grade, she seemed to be getting more and more shy. She wouldn't go with her teacher until I would take her directly to the teacher and put her hand in the teacher's hand. She also started being friends with a little girl who would be friendly one minute and the next minute, would not be friendly at all, which my daughter could not understand. It would hurt her feelings and she would cry.

My youngest was in a kindergarten class taught by a very nice young lady from our church. He was doing well, but still didn't want to go. I had to take him to class and sometimes he'd run down the hall trying to escape. He just wanted to be home.

Oldest son was doing okay, mostly, but hated homework and seemed kind of depressed at the end of fifth grade.

The summer after fifth grade came and the article I'd read on homeschooling kept coming to mind. I discussed with my husband keeping my son home for the 6th grade year instead of sending him to middle school. I was concerned that my husband would be against it, but he said "I don't have one good memory from middle school." So it was decided. We kept the oldest home instead of sending him to 6th grade at the local middle school.

I started reading everything I could on homeschooling, researching Kentucky's laws and started making a plan. I looked at the 6th grade general course of study on the World Book website and went from there. We started having fun and my son seemed much happier.

Meanwhile, my daughter had been placed in a split class of 3rd and 4th graders because they said she was advanced. (At the end of second grade, she'd been 'average' and 'holding her own' but not advanced, so I'm not sure how she 'advanced' over the summer. I do know she's quiet and well behaved.)
Anyway, she was struggling in the split class. She said the teacher didn't have time to teach her and the aide would not teach her because "that's the teacher's job" and consequently, I had to spend hours in the evening teaching her the concepts so she could do the homework and all the work she hadn't done during class time.
My youngest meanwhile, was crying every single day on the way to school.

Homeschooling all 3 started to seem like a no-brainer. We made a plan to pull them out too, deciding to do 1 year and then see how it went.

I researched curriculum choices and found a homeschool support group. I joined homeschooling email groups and started a blog. The kids have thrived with homeschooling and I'm so glad we are doing it. I wish we had started from the beginning, but the way we did it, the kids definitely know what they are missing and don't want to go back. They definitely don't miss public school.

Now I'm planning our FIFTH year. It's become a way of life. I was just counting the years and I commented to my daughter that I couldn't believe it's been 4 years already and she said, "Homeschooling is fun!" Of course it's not always fun, we have our whiney days and our days when we're struggling to figure out a difficult math concept but we enjoy that we get to spend so much time as a family and we really enjoy our freedom and flexibility.


Red said...

We too are entering our 5th year coming up. We started when the two hurricanes hot Florida.

I had heard about home schooling here and there and thought...What freaks. Who in the world would want to spend that much time with their children.

*Raises hand* I do.

I wish I had started years ago, but hey, who knew.

Dana said...

Thanks for sharing that! It is interesting to see the different ways people get started. I agreed begrudgingly to do kindergarten and here we are with my eldest entering fourth and my son getting ready to start K. And no plans for marching them all down to the school like I envisioned those early days.

Amy said...

Love hearing your story! This fall will be our 14th year.....Wow! And we certaily have 'evolved' since we started too. And like you said....I just couldn't imagine doing it any other way.

Erin said...

I enjoyed your story on how you decided to home school your children. I am starting to home school my daughter this year she will be in the 3rd grade. I also have three children and stay at home. I am not sure of pulling my boys out just yet but it may happen in the future. At least with the youngest one. My oldest is FINALLY in a class that acomidates his needs. He is Aspergers and Bipolar. So I am not sure homeschool would be best for him. Any way I am really excited about homeschooling my daughter for not only the education benifits but for the one on one time I will be able to invest in just her with two brothers with special needs she sometimes gets the job of third parent. I am looking foward to the time for her to be just a kid (Mommy's girlfor once she can be put first if not only for a few hours)

erin said...

I enjoyed reading your story. I also have three children 12, 8, and 6. My boys who are 12 and 6 both have special needs. So most of my time when all three children are at home is with one of the boys. For example my youngest does not feel pain normally and will be having surgery later this week for an arm he has broken about 2 weeks ago. Any way I feel like homeschooling my daughter will bring us closer and Will giver her some time to just be an 8 year old girl. I am looking foward to giving her the time to have mommy all to her self.


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