Sunday, May 11, 2014

To Homeschool?

The decision of wether or not to homeschool has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life! When I tell people that we are considering homeschooling for our children, they look at me as if I had suddenly sprouted a second head. We are not religious and do not have a community of homeschoolers to which we can easily attach ourselves. (I think homeschooling for religious people is much more widely accepted. There are more support groups and more curriculum choices available...Things are changing for the secular homeschooler, but it's still a pretty taboo topic in most of our circles).

Our oldest daughter attends a wonderful montessori preschool. She is four now and we couldn't be happier with her teacher and all that she has done for our daughter over the past two years.  We now have a second child who is two and we would love to enroll her in the same preschool for the coming year...but preschool is very far away from our home and also very expensive for two children.

We have been looking into homeschooling options for our older daughter once she finishes kindergarten.  There are a number of reasons for this:
  1. We live quite far away from even our neighborhood school. Driving to one of the charter schools in our area would require me to be in the car for over two hours a day.
  2. School days are so long! Add a seven hour school day to our two hours of driving to ten hours of sleep for the girls and there's really not much time for anything except for eating!
  3. Our school board has been taken over by political extremists. Yep, it's really very scary...
  4. I really like being with my kids (most of the time)! 
  5. Time. Homeschooling families generally complete their school material in a few hours in the mornings and then have the rest of the day for family time and extracurricular activities. 
  6. I don't believe in a one-size-fits-all education. Children learn different ways and someone who is managing 30 children and jumping through hoops for the school district is not going to have the time, energy, or resources to tailor their teaching for each child.
  7. I want to be able to take my children hiking and skiing and to the beach and to museums and to other countries! Experience is the best teacher. 
  8. I can pick my curriculum. I can use Singapore Math and Montessori methods. I can augment our science curriculum so that it is accelerated and challenging and fun. I can follow my child's interests.  (Also, I don't want to have to augment a public school education at home. After a 7 hour day it would not be fair to her to make her do more work at home.)
  9. Bullying, negative peer pressure, etc. These are things that every child will have to deal with at some point, but I think it's far better to ease a child into these situations with the tools to handle them than to throw them to the sharks at five years old as a kindergartner. 
Our original plan was to let her finish her three year montessori cycle and then to pull her, but we've made some great friends who are starting to homeschool their children next year. Also, a new secular homeschool curriculum was just released (Bookshark, I will go into more details on it in a later post) that will fit our family very well. It feels like the right time to start our homeschool journey.

I plan on keeping this blog updated with what's happening in our homeschool. I hope you will keep checking back for updates!

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