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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

After Homeschool-Part 2

It's been a while since I posted about our decision to homeschool. If you feel up to doing the clicking you can read my first post, "Before Homeschool (part 1)" HERE. I originally linked that post up with Shell, so I thought it only best to come back to PYHO for part 2.

It's been over a year since we began homeschooling.

Before I go on I feel I should tell you I have two boys (for those of you who don't know). My youngest is in kindergarten and my oldest is in 6th grade. We homeschool both of them. My original post was primarily about my oldest and his struggles in the school system through 4th grade. My youngest pretty much lucked out in the school department, and he doesn't know any different. He's been doing the HS thing since Pre-K, and loves it. My update is really to tell you about how my oldest has been thriving since the switch from public school.

Over a year has passed since we made this life changing decision. What I have now is two very happy children. When I take a long look at where we were and where we are now with my oldest, the difference is like night and day. He went from being a depressed, moody, anxiety filled and angry boy to a peaceful, funny, joy-filled, smiling young man. What I love the most since our lives have changed over the past year is that I can see that he actually enjoys learning again. I can see his eyes sparkle when he has the chance to tell me something he knows or wants to share something he's reading about. When we do science or social studies, he can share his thoughts and ideas with me without getting in trouble. He can stand while he does his work if he wants to. He can breathe again.

He seems like a different kid. He's so at peace and comfortable with himself again, and it's wonderful to watch.

After a year of homeschooling I have come up with a list of misconceptions about homeschool kids and families. These are my opinions. Some might seem strong, but that's how this whole blog thing works, right?

#1 Homeschool kids are socially deprived. My kids have more social time than they ever would at public school. We spend 3-4 days a week doing activities with others HS kids. We go to PE at the YMCA two days a week, and schedule other activities and trips on top of that. The kids have been able to really build a strong bond with their friends. Generally at public school, my oldest was allowed to socialize during lunch (25 min), and at the car line each day. If he talked outside of these environments he was in trouble. How is a child supposed to build friendships like that?

#2 Homeschool kids are weird. Sorry, but the stigma is out there. Yes, I've met some weird kids along the way, but I've found where they go to school is never a factor.

#3 Homeschool kids don't receive a quality education. This was a big thing for me in the decision making factor of things. Would I be able to provide them with the same quality of education they would receive at public school? Am I educated enough? Will they surpass me in academic ability sooner or later? Here's the thing...I believe that if your heart is in it, you enjoy learning yourself, you enjoy teaching your children, and your top priority is your child's education, it doesn't matter where you take them to school. The HS curriculum that's out there is awesome! You can truly find top notch stuff! HS has become so common that there's curriculum for every child and every family. I find I'm smarter than I thought I was. I have the ability do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13), and I truly believe God will equip you for every good work(Hebrews 13:21). I do not have a Doctorate in Education, and yes, maybe they will need some calculus whiz to step in some day. When that day comes, we'll get one. It's that simple.

#4 Homeschool kids are sheltered.  Yes, they are! I would be lying if I said my kids weren't being sheltered. I included it as a misconception because I think the world tells us it's a bad thing. When in fact, my kids are sheltered from school shootings, bullies, cussing, gangs, popularity contests, girls that are barely dressed, drugs on campus, teachers who don't care about them(no offense to great teachers-I do know there are many of you!!), school policies that treat them as a number or score rather than a child and student, curriculum that omits values and character, truths that have nothing to do with the God that created them, and we shelter them from drowning in a classroom that is triple the size it should be. So yes, I guess, my kids are sheltered.

#5 Homeschool families are a bunch Bible bangers. We love Jesus, believe in God's word, and I consider it a blessing to include biblical truths into our daily lessons. However, this is not the only reason we HS. Since we are a Christian family, I find many people think this is the reason we made the choice to HS, but surprise surprise-it's really not. We decided to do this because I believe my children thrive in an alternate learning environment from the classroom. They need the ability to learn creatively according to their needs. Not the needs of the teacher, other students, or the school board.

#6 Homeschooling will take 8-10 hours a day.  Every child is different and needs different levels of instruction. So I can only speak for my children, but I can usually get through the majority of my oldest son's lessons in 4-5 hours a day. This includes his independent work(or homework). Granted, he needs to be on task for this to happen(and that's not every day-he is a 12 year old boy!), but for the most part it's 4-5 hours. My youngest, who is in kindergarten, takes about 2 hours to complete his work for the day. This may not seem like a lot of time. It didn't to me when I started, but I realized quickly that I have two students. Just two. At public school their teacher has 30. The one-on-one time my children get with me multiplies their learning time immensely. How much actual one-on-one instruction does a child in public school get? Not much. You can get a lot done when you have 1 or 2 students. We're not sitting at the dining room table for 8 hours a day. That's for sure!

#7 Homeschool kids can only be friends with other homeschool kids. False. My oldest wasn't a huge social butterfly in public school. In fact he was quite the introvert. He really didn't come out of his shell until after he began homeschooling. But, he did have one close friend who he is still very close with. They still have lots in common, get along fantastically, and they do sleepovers still, and have a blast together. Where they go to school is never a topic of conversation, and one doesn't think the other is strange because of it. Interesting.

Overall, I believe wholeheartedly that my boys are happy. I'm not saying HS is for every family, and that the public school system is awful, and every teacher is horrid. We had some wonderful teachers in public school and I know many educators personally. But, most teachers I know would agree that they have some of the same frustrations I do as a parent.

I feel blessed to have the boys home and I pray this is where God keeps me. I know it's the best thing for our family. If I had to give you one word for what we've gained as a family since we began homeschooling it would be PEACE.

PS, I'm posting to Shell early so I can link up late to this homeschool hop I found too! Sue me.


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At September 29, 2010 at 5:48 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

I love your home school success story! I'm going to share it with some friends. I was nodding my head in agreement while I read.

I wonder the effects on the kids that never step foot in a public school. I think all the time "my son doesn't realize how blessed he is". I wonder if he will be able to recognize that when he's older.

At September 29, 2010 at 8:55 AM , Blogger R.M.Gilbert said...

I love coming in here as I homeschooled each of our kids for a time before we put them into a public school. I think there area lot of misconceptions to homeschooling and even some w/in the public school system. Since I've been on both sides of the fence, I feel the need to say that no matter how your children are schooled a parent needs to be involved. It was true when I HS and is true now.

We spend a great deal of time 'teaching' our children outside the school setting, have conversation after conversation about their day--everyday. And do follow-ups and are in constant communication with teachers. Our kids are pretty well monitored and we shelter them a lot. Despite their being in a public school.

Parental involvement is key for sure. It's wonderful to hear that HS has been such a blessing for you. I think it can be a wonderful experience for both the parents and the child.

At September 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM , Blogger Di said...

I think homeschooling is an awesome option. I would love to be able to homeschool our kids. Financially it won't be feasible but I will make sure that I am supplementing their education past what they get in public school just like my parents did for us!

At September 29, 2010 at 12:36 PM , Blogger Amanda said...

Thank you for posting this! Homeschool is something that sits in the back of my mind. It was refreshing to read this positive post on it :)

At September 29, 2010 at 3:54 PM , Blogger That One Mom said...

I know many homeschool families and they all have similar successes. It can definitely be a great alternative to the rigid classroom enviornment that excludes all but auditory learners and "average" kids.

As far as the Christian thing goes, I know Christian homeschoolers, Buddhist homeschoolers, agnostic homeschoolers, and Jewish homeschoolers...

At September 29, 2010 at 4:53 PM , Blogger Shell said...

It really sounds like you are doing what is best for your family!

At September 29, 2010 at 10:28 PM , Blogger purseblogger said...

I am so happy you are doing what you feel is best for your kids. It sounds like it was definitely the right decision.

At September 30, 2010 at 10:17 AM , Blogger Mariposa said...

I love this post! I was homeschooled K-12 and enjoyed it alot. And I was only a little weird... lol I plan to homeschool my children when I have them. :)

At September 30, 2010 at 11:15 PM , Blogger Permanently At Lunch said...

I think this was a great post to read and reflect upon.

A lot of those misconceptions DO exist, but my favorite was where you portrayed the 'sheltering' in a positive light.

I am a school social worker, so if there are horrible things going on in the school? I am the first to hear about it.

You are right for wanting to protect your children from some of the things that happen...

-Elizabeth @ Permanently at Lunch

At October 2, 2010 at 12:50 AM , Blogger Deb Chitwood said...

Great post! Your points are so true! My homeschooled children are 20 and 25 with college degrees, and none of us regrets homeschooling through high school. My husband and I love that we were able to shelter them, and our children never felt they were missing out on anything. They had plenty of socialization, but my husband and I were the main influence in their lives. It was wonderful to pass on our values so easily!


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