Friday, January 22, 2010
That's the question I get asked most often when I tell people I homeschool our son.
My first instinct is to say back, "Why don't you homeschool your child?" But I don't. Instead I politely answer that it was the decision my husband and I determined to be best for our son.
Then my most favorite question of all (I hope you read dripping sarcasm into that statement) "What About Socializing?" What kills me most about that question is that the people who usually ask it know absolutely nothing about homeschooling but since they've heard someone, somewhere mention it they use it as their defense for why they don't homeschool their child.
To them I just want to say, "I'm not judging anyone on whether or not they homeschool their child so please stop acting like the fact that we do is some egregious parental faux pas." Enough said. In lew of being fair here, I will say that I meet many, many people who think it is absolutely a splendid thing we are doing.
Now, I'm not going to go into all the research on this topic, but trust me it is out there. Let me just simple make this comparison. Who would be more appropriate for a child to learn day to day socializing skills from? A nose-picking, smarty pants, potty mouth child or a (hopefully) responsible adult.
Besides, if that isn't enough of an answer, as long as the child is involved in extra curricular activities with other children they'll be fine.
But back to the original topic of why I homeschool our son.
Each child is different as is each situation so there is no absolute one way or the other. First of all, I had been homeschooling our son from the day his little head came out all wet and the cold air smacked him into reality on this earth. Don't we all? We read to our children, we teach them how to go to the potty (thank goodness), we teach them how to eat, how to talk, how to walk, how to ride a bike...you get the point. So why would it seem strange then that we would not continue teaching. To me what seems strange and unfortunately the norm is to have your child get to four years old and say, "Okay child of mine. I'm done. I have completed my training with you. Now you are the schools problem." Ah, what?
Then there is the fact that in our case at least, he was mentally and emotionally weary, finishing his work within minutes and looking to be getting into some trouble like any All American Boy would. Which then created a momumental use of those two little words, "I'm bored!"
Frankly it was as simple as his little brain was not getting stimulated enough. He was getting left behind and forgotten because he was at the head of his class.
I know this from experience because I worked for a year as a teacher's assistant in a first grade class room at the same time he was in first grade - in the same school.
Then when he was in second grade I was the Room Parent. If you are not familiar with that title it simple means I was there - a lot. Which was fine with me. So I received first hand knowledge on how things operate in our schools today.
My husband and I had talked about homeschooling him when he was about to start second grade but he convinced me to give it one more year. By the end of that next school year it was obvious to both of us that the traditional school route wasn't working.
A couple of facts to consider if you are thinking of homeschooling.
1. Research shows that just one hour of one-on-one tutoring with your child is equal to one full day of school outside the home. Why? Two reasons. First, because one-on-one is simply more effective. Haven't you ever taking a group lesson to learn something and then on a different occasion taken a private lesson. Which was more effective? And second, because classrooms spend the majority of their day shuffling kids around, getting things out, putting things away, helping one child while the other twenty-three sit and wait it just isn't efficient for the child at all. Not blaming or judging here, just stating a fact.
2. Ivy league schools like Harvard and such are encouraging homeschooled kids to apply because they have found they are a more disciplined student.
3. Beyond the basics, you can gear your homeschooling to your childs strengthes. Why does that matter? Because if they are studing things they love they in turn will enjoy school more.
So anyway, here we are homeschooling our son. Is everyday smooth sailing? Not at all. But I've seen the difference it has made since we started last summer and how much he has excelled and at this time for now, it is the right decison for us.
This is our dining room where we do the majority of our school day. It is bright and sunny in here which is one of the reasons I love it so. Plus the fireplace is just around the corner and we can sit near it and read if we like. I keep a large majority of our supplies on this red chest.
This is the caddy I use to keep all the utensils we needs together. Each day I just pick it up and set it on the table. Although now that I'm looking at the picture I think we might need a bigger one.
Here is Ethan doing some school work.
And here is daddy teaching him how to play poker.
What? What? It's great for teaching him Critical Thinking Skillls.