I had several questions about why we chose homeschooling in the first place and how someone could start doing it now, if they wanted.
Honestly, I do not remember what made me look into homeschooling in the beginning. I was probably surfing the internet, clicking here, clicking there (NO idea how I get to some pages!). I know that the decision was never a “Yes or no, right now” sort of choice. We came to it the long way around, especially because Byron is a good bit older than I am and was raised not only in and by a different generation, but in an area that was almost like a different country when compared to my upbringing.
The 60s versus the 80s, black versus white, country versus suburbia—it took us a long time to work out terms for our trial run!
Remy always enjoyed the learning games we would play when he was 2 and 3 years old. I would write out the words of his favorite things—truck, ball, Mama, Daddy, bunny, book, car, baby, Remy—and as I would write each letter with his crayon (he liked to choose different colors) I would say it and he would repeat it. At the end of the word, I would say the word, he would repeat that. After playing this game for a little while, he could say the word without me prompting him. Then a little after that, he could give me the word without the letters being dictated to him. I hardly realized that he had learned to read!! Sure, he could only read about 10 words, but he was TWO and he could READ. We kept playing that game, mostly because he liked to have me sit on the floor and play with him, didn’t matter what game. And scribbling was cool, too.
We moved to Florida in September of 2004. He had just turned 3 and had never been to daycare. A few days after we ripped him from his familiar home, we moved into a hotel (we lived in the hotel where we worked for months) and put him in full time daycare.I was miserable!
So was he. He had a difficult time transitioning, although I can’t blame him since we hardly gave him a chance. We were asked to remove him from 2 different daycares before he finally started doing better at the only daycare choice in town that we had left—the one that took in the “difficult” kids. I have since realized what a wonderful place that daycare is, but at the time it was a bit of a stigma. We also know now that he was acting out all along because he was bored silly. LOL Once he “graduated” from there, he moved on to public kindergarten.
His teacher there was a blessing! She loved having him in class and did not hesitate to let us know that he was a handful! She saw that he was well ahead of other kids in the class, and because she was lucky enough to have an aide in her room, she was able to keep him busy and learning. When I told her that we would be moving, she cried. I was proud and angry all at once because 1) she was upset to be losing him and 2) she was upset to be losing his test scores. Whaaaa…?? Then she told me that she was gaining a new student as she was losing Remy and while Remy could read well, this child only knew the letter “X”. Somehow it was hard for me to feel bad for her, even though I was proud that Remy could make a teacher feel that way.
We moved back from Florida on March 1, 2007. Since Remy didn’t turn 6 until August of that year, we had already agreed to homeschool until then. We would decide whether to continue or enroll him when the decision was forced upon us. It only took a few months before Byron (the hesitant one) realized Just. How. Much. Remy knew!! One of Remy’s favorite games was to randomly tell Daddy facts he had learned from a book or a worksheet, or show off his mental math skills in the car. The ability we had to be flexible with our scheduling and all the stuff we didn’t have to do “for school” was enormous, too! The main benefits for us, then and now, are the hours, subject availability, safety, character development, and social opportunities.
1. Hours—we are night owls. Getting up at oh-dark-thirty is NOT for us. I remember it well and Remy sleeps like me. It would be a scene, every morning.
2. Subjects—we can choose whatever subjects we want. Or not. We can choose unit studies, different publishers, mastery or spiral, any language—the sky is truly the limit, and public/private/charter/whatever schools just cannot offer that.
3. Safety—shootings, stabbings, stupid rules that are necessities in a large school setting, bullying, internet—we don’t have to worry nearly as much. Still some! But not as much.
4. Character development—we can make sure certain things are covered that we, as his parents, feel are required. We choose to include Bible studies, but we do not homeschool for solely that reason. In fact, it wasn’t even a consideration when we made the choice.
5. Social opportunities—SOOOOO many people are concerned with socialization. This issue has been debunked so many times now, but it is still the first question many people have. You can read about it here, here, here, or here. We have many chances to interact with many different kinds of people of all ages—just like you would at a job, within a family, or out in public.
I’m not saying that there aren’t folks out there who try to take advantage of the potential for isolation and “homeschool” to cover up other things—it has been in the news a couple of time lately. You can read about one here. They are few and far between, though.
To begin homeschooling, go here and click on your state to find out what the laws are for your area. To find support in your area, you can use Facebook, search via your favorite search engine, or even ask your local librarian. It took us some time before we felt comfortable venturing out into a group setting—I always thought we were doing something “wrong” – but don’t let it stop you!! Check your YMCA or local grocery stores for school-aged kids out during school hours. Just ask them!! We homeschoolers aren’t contagious superfreaks, after all.
Ok, maybe a little 🙂
I can help you find answers, too, so if you can’t seem to find someone local, ASK!!!
I will cover other curriculum choices in another post, including more for the younger set. It is easy to homeschool for free, or to spend hundreds of dollars a year, and tons in between! It is all overwhelming to newbies, but there are tons of “been there, done that” parents out there willing to help.