Monday, August 10, 2015

Uncensored- Homeschooling

The opinions posted here are my own, and based solely on my personal experience with homeschooling.  While these may not be the "popular" opinions, they are mine.  I am sharing them, specially for those who may be curious about homeschooling, who may be considering it, or who are just simply nosy.  Because you know we all are a bit nosy.

Homeschooling is not "school at home".  Not in this house at least.  There are plenty of people who recreate a classroom environment at home.  That's fine and dandy but it isn't for me and my crew.  We do school at the dinner table, on the couch, in the bed, outside on lawn chairs.
We have a set number of assignments to do each day. We don't set timers, we don't have an alloted timeframe to do a subject each day.  Does that mean they get to goof off all day? Of course not.  It means if math is challenging, we work on it until we get it right.  Can't get cursive quite right? Not a problem.  We work for mastery, simple as that.  Some days school goes smoother and we are done earlier than others.  We don't "teach subjects" to the kids, we like to think we teach them to learn.  I love to see the spark in my kids' eyes when we talk about a topic they like, and watch them find a book, or a documentary so they can learn more about it.  That's what I've always dreamed of, sparking the love of learning.

I use secular curriculum.  I can imagine many shaking their heads right about now. When we first started, I used a Christian curriculum and I didn't like it.  It was filled with worksheets and my kids didn't respond well to that.  I also didn't feel it broaden my children's view of the subject matter the way I want it.

Don't misunderstand me.  I am not passing judgement on anyone who uses Christian materials.  We all use what we believe to be best for our kids.

I wanted my kids to get the type of education I received as a kid.  I grew up attending private catholic school, and it doesn't get any more conservative than that in my opinion.  We prayed before each class period, we had mass once per week and attendance was mandatory.  We had a chapel on campus and it was normal to spend a few minutes in silent prayer during recess. 
But it was in this same school where I learned about evolution in science, and eastern religions in history.  I want my kids to get the same broad understanding I received as a kid.  

Does that make me less of a Christian? I don't think so.  But I'm sure some will think so.  I try not to worry about everyone's opinions when it comes to how I raise my family.

Oh here comes a biggie.  It seems the million dollar question these days isn't about socialization of homeschool kids.  It's about whether or not parents without a college education can homeschool their kids and do so effectively.  

The question is, if you weren't good at math in school, how can you teach your kids math?  or science? or english? and the list goes on.
Well, do you know if your kids' teacher in school was good at the subject they are teaching at school right now? 
Let me be honest with you about my decision to homeschool.  If my husband and I hadn't attended college, I wouldn't have ever considered homeschooling.  Call me a chicken s***, but I would have been terrified to even attempt to do so. We may be on the minority here when it comes to our education level, and I don't know what the answer to the million dollar question is. 
What I do know is there are thousands of resources out there to teach those subjects you didn't particularly like in school.  Like biology in my case.  There are co-ops where another soul braver than me can teach my kids how to dissect a frog, etc.  There are online classes, and classes offered by retired teachers too.
I worry less about whether a homeschool parent has a college degree; and more about whether the kid is learning.  That goes for kids who attend regular school too. Do parents need a college degree to help kids with the homework they bring home from school?  Because, let's phase it, a lot of learning happens at home after the kids get home from school. 
Neither of my parents went to college.  I attended school and yes, I needed help with homework too.  Here I am, many moons later, with both a bachelor and master degrees in engineering.  I think they did a fine job helping with homework, and inspiring me to find the answers on my own.

You know, when you say "Oh I could NEVER do that", I don't believe you.  You want to know why? Because I was THAT person who said I would never homeschool. Then I was phased with a crossroad and we had to consider it.  When someone utters that phrase, I wonder if they are passing judgement.  Do they think I don't love my kids as much as they do? Do they feel I took the "easy" way out?

People say "oh I don't know HOW you do it".  I've been hearing that phrase since my twins were born.  I don't know HOW I do it either, I just do.  Because it has to be done.  Because I love my kids and want what's best for them.  How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.  That's how I tackle our homeschooling journey.

And while I'm at it, let me state this for the record.  There is nothing wrong with my kids. We don't homeschool because they have "social" issues.  They are well adjusted, fun, easy going, kids.  They make friends easily, they are typical kids.  There are no labels or diagnosis for any of them. Our decision to homeschool them had nothing to do with their ability to attend "regular" school.  Don't ask me if they have (insert a label here) because you are bound to get a "look" and a reply you may not like.

Homeschooling isn't free by the way.  We don't get anything from the school district we are in, at least not in this state.  That means the cost of curriculum and school supplies is all on us.  Paper, pencils, electricity, food, ink for the printer, internet?  It is all paid by us. There is no "taxpayer" money funding my homeschool.

I could go on and on but I'll leave you with this.  We all don't look the same, homeschool the same, or share the same educational philosophies.  We all arrived at this decision from a different place.  Some people do it for religious reasons, others because of the school district where they reside, others because they feel their kids are better served at home.  I've found homeschoolers and regular people are very quick to assume all families arrived at the same place from the same location.  Just as we are all different, so are homeschool families.  

As for us, our kids are better served at home for now.  What the future may bring, I do not know.  Our kids are learning and thriving, and we are learning along with them.  They have friends, they are happy, and so are we.

1 comment:

Alisha, ESI Homeschooling Mama said...

I love this post Kayra!

You are so right that homeschool varies from home to home.

We have schedules. We use them to keep us from spending so much time on one subject we can't do the rest. Alaina does this in reading. She will read for HOURS! We also use them to keep us from pushing through a course when it just isn't clicking. When time is up we put it away and start again the next day when our minds are fresh.

It's what works for our family.

Thanks for letting us see inside your home school!