Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Schooling...longest post ever

We have made the decision to not send Macy to public school next year, but to home school! Believe me, I never ever thought I would want to do it or actually do it.

I know I had a lot of questions when I started to think about homeschooling, am I am guessing a couple of you do too, so I thought I would try to answer a couple in this post.

Disclaimer-My intention is not to bash public schools in the post, Seth and I are both products of the public school system, I have a number of relatives that are teaches and I was even one myself before kids. I just want to answer some questions that we will probably get about homeschooling and also to make a post that the kids will read someday and see what we were thinking when we made this decision.

When did you decided to home school?

- In the past I have said "I would never home school my kids!", or "I just don't have the patience and skill!" but a few months ago something just hit me one that Macy would be going to school in a few months and I did not want her spending the majority of her day there. Not that I don't think she wouldn't do well in the public school system, I believe that she would do very well. She has zero separation issues, likes to makes friends and can sit and obey a teacher. And it isn't about me being away from her, I have zero separation issues as well. Anyways, it just sort of hit me one day, I think I read something about homeschoolers or something that made me think it really isn't a bad idea to home school. So I did research about it and prayed for about a month over it before I even brought it up to Seth. I thought for sure he was going to say "No chance" and that would have to be the end of it. But thankfully Seth said "You have about a 5% chance of me letting you do this.", so I was excited because it wasn't a definite "no" and he had the chance to meet a homeschooling family and is now supportive of the idea and said we can take it year by year. Although, I wouldn't go buy him a "My Kids are Homeschooled" t-shirt to wear just yet. But of course, I wouldn't do this without his approval and support.

What are your reasons for wanting to home school?

-There are a number of them and here are a few (not necessarily in order):

1. More time to "train them up the way they should go", this was a big one for me. It seemed like it would be really hard to constantly combat certain things, habits and other "worldly" issues they would be picking up daily. Not saying it can't be done, but it seems like it is getting harder and harder as the ability to discipline students is being stripped away in the classrooms.

2. Getting to choose our own curriculum. I have taught in the public schools and private schools and after going to the private schools, I know there is a number of high-quality and challenging bible based curriculums out there.

3. Flexibility. We won't be ruled by the school calendar. This one sounds really appealing to Seth.

4. More time for them to be kids. Kindergarten, for example, should just take about an hour a day. So there is lots of time for playing outside and it is not like they will have a bunch of "homework" since all their work will already be homework. Also, they won't have to constantly deal with the pressures to grow up so fast. They won't have to keep up with the latest TV show, clothing line, etc.

5. More time together as a family.

6. They won't have to take the TAKS test! That is such a huge deal here and it seems like students are taught for the test.

7. No watered down (or all together absent) history or science.

8. Getting to personalize lessons for the kids.

9. Giving the kids a teacher who spends one-on-one time with them. I read that the average teacher in the classroom spends like 10 minutes a day one on one with a student or something like that.

Aren't you worried your kids are going to be doomed to be unsocialized weirdoes?

-I was, I am not now. That was my biggest concern at first, but I did a lot of research and met non-weirdo home school kids. One article that particular helped me really helped explained how the idea of kids getting "socialized" in a class of 30 other students their age is a relatively new one and not really the best way to socialize them. The article also went on to remind me that in the real world, you are never only interacting with your peers, always with people of other ages. Plus, we do plan to let them out of the house every once in awhile. And I am embarrassed to admit this, but even when I was teaching I know I said "We are not here to socialize boys and girls, get your work done."

Macy, Charlie and Emma have never been to daycare, preschool or a MDO program and so far I think they are all well-socialized. Macy is just about the most social child I know. At church, for example, she’s always one of the first to greet visitors, adults and kids.

How can you possibly think that YOU can teach them everything?

-I will be the first to admit that I am pretty clueless in anything involving geometry, chemistry and basically any subject in the 12th grade. But THANKFULLY there are a ton of great curriculums and guides, as well as co-ops, even lessons on the computer, or tutors. And plus the kids have a really smart dad who can easily breeze through any of the tougher subjects.

What about college, how will they be prepared to enter college?

-If we continue homeschooling through High School, they can enroll at the community college while still in high school. I think it would be great to get them in 1 or 2 classes before they go off to college to not only get credits, but also to prepare them to work in a classroom setting, having to work in groups, having different teachers, etc. Also as mentioned above, there are a bunch of co-ops here, but we probably won't join one until all the kids are school age. I know there are home school kids who can't cut it in college but I also know there are public and private school kids that can't cut it as well. I don't think they are at a disadvantage because they are homeschooled. Also, I would ideally want all of them to go to OC or another Christian school, but many universities go out of their way to seek out homeschooled kids nowadays.

What about sports and clubs?

-Sports aren't really an issue until they get into high school and even then they have a number of home school sports leagues here in Frisco that I have found. I have also seen a number of clubs and other activities, including a yearbook, debate club, 4-H, even a prom (sorry kids, we probably still won't let you go to that. :)) and a bunch of things.

I know this is a record-long post, so I will go ahead and stop, but if anyone else is thinking about it, I encourage you to look into it! I am excited about the upcoming school year and will be sure to post updates when we get officially started in fall.


Summer said...

I am looking forward to watching this journey. I love the idea.

Ryan and Katie said...

awesome! i think many parents can do homeschooling well and i have no doubt you are one who will be amazing at it!

SuzSpeaks said...

how exciting!

Ted and Anne said...

Hey Katie...really enjoyed reading your blog. I think you will do an amazing job homeschooling Macy (and siblings when it's time!) Good luck on this new adventure :) p.s. Thank you...yes, I did cut my hair! And of course, I'm growing it back out, ha!

Natalie Hudkins said...

Wow! I totally agree with your reasoning! If anyone can do it you can. :)

Kelli said...

That's awesome! I definitely think you are doing the right thing. There are so many positives. You will do great if you made it through the "Teach your child to read book" - that isn't easy as I am finding out.