Sunday, October 28, 2012

So, You Think You Might Wanna Homeschool?

I am not saying that everyone should homeschool their children.

Up until a few years ago I thought the only people who homeschooled were hippy dippy people with way too many kids and an itch against the government.


Never mind.

It is not for every person.  It is not for every child.  (I use it as a threat for Andrew; he would wither and die without school.  Wish I could say it was the academic challenge.  Nah, it's the sports.)

It IS for me and for my daughter though and I am done judging whether or not other people should do it. 

It's funny that when other people tell me they are considering homeschooling based on what I have talked to them about, I cringe and feel guilty. 

But wait, wait, don't let ME tell you what to do.  My goodness, this is such a HUGE step. 

I mean, if I jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge (or the Sydney Harbour Bridge, take your pick), would you follow me?!

But, since you asked.......

I homeschool because my daughter was miserable at school.  She was on par academically according to the National standards.  But I think - from what I've seen of children who supposedly scoring the National average - that the National average is too low.  Even in Australia, where it ranks among the highest in the world.

I also have very high standards academically.  I want more than the National average.  I want her to understand what she is being taught, be able to apply it later in life and also apply it to higher level thinking.  I want her to go to university.

Most people homeschool because they also want to instill Christian values into their curriculum.  Not me, but I have no problem with that.  (I DID have a problem finding non-Christian based science books, however!  I AM speaking to God now, but I still didn't want His version of evolution, thanks.)

In any case, I saw no reason to keep my daugher in a traditional schooling environment when she was miserable.  The people I know now who were miserable at school don't remember what they learned there anyway.  What a waste of time.

And I really have spent the last twenty-five years unlearning what I learned in highschool socially.

I am also a big academic geek.  I love books.  I love learning.  I love learning new things.  I love projects. 

I love picking out our books on the internet.  I love going to the library.  I love getting a curriculum together.

I am also extremely able to get things done.  I don't know that I would call it organised.  I have too many children and way too many projects in my head and way too many thing to do and things to clean and groceries to buy and novels to write and places to be to be truly organised.

I look like I am flying in twenty different directions.  And I generally am.

But I am able to prioritise and get done what needs to be done. 

This means I can set a curriculum for my daughter and generally stick to at least a loose time table.  We do maths and some form of English every day, science and or history 2 -3 times a week.  The English lately has been way more writing than anything else.  But that's the point of English, right?! 

We are spending more time on big projects at a time rather than 20 minutes helter skelter here and there on little ones bit by bit.

I don't know if this is right or not but it seems to be making us happy for now.

We are super busy.

And super happy.

There are a few ways to go with homeschooling and I am already beginning to realise that homeschooling is as individualised as the way students perform within a traditional school.  I mean, did all of us really learn the same things even sitting in the same classroom?  We all had our own unique experiences no matter how cookie cutter they tried to make us be.

I chose to homeschool with my own curriculum rather than a long distance school of learning for several reasons.  One was price.  The other was that I didn't want to go Christian-based.  (And the more economical ones tended to be Christian-based in our area.)

The other was that my daughter is older and the online long distance learning was already beginning to sound like a traditional school to me.  I wanted more freedom and flexibility than the online curriculums seemed to offer.  And then again, there was price.

I am also very capable in picking out a curriculum.  This is because I enjoy being informed about the National Curriculum and I like knowing that I am staying on target nationally.  I did well academically as a student and I can remember enough from my time at school to know what I expect my daughter to be capable of as well.

I'm a pretty demanding teacher.

But then we get to paint chairs and do artwork and look at horse books and call it science.

We also get to read "Black Beauty" and call it an autobiography.


Fun stuff like that.

I love being home with my daughter.  I really do wake up at 5 AM psyched to start the day. 

I've found the job that's right for me.

How nice that it's the right one for my daughter - and the rest of my family - as well!!!

It might be for you.  Only you know yourself and your children well enough to decide.  And you DON'T have to be a hippy, have an itch against the government or be Christian to do it. 

It's a huge step, but not half as scary as jumping off a bridge!

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