Monday, April 18, 2011

Back to Home Schooling

I’ve made a decision to return to home schooling. To be honest with you, I’m not quite sure why I stopped. 

We had wanted to home-school even before we had our first child. It was a decision we took a long time to decide on but were sure it was what we wanted to do.

We had both received a public-school education and it worked for us, but homeschooling seemed a better option for our children because we saw the amount of options, customization of subjects and the ability to control how they were taught. Not only that, but we felt that having more concentrated time together with our children would build a stronger family bond. 

We were correct on every level.

Since I worked my business out of my home I had the time and flexibility to home school and we studied everything from science to history, writing to religion, cooking to spelling, geography to government; the list went on and on.

My kids are now 13, 9 and 6 and I home schooled them up until a couple of years ago, when after my divorce, and while sharing custody with my ex who lives in the southern most part of the U.S., our circumstances changed and the kids were enrolled in school.

I have to say that that the children transitioned nicely into school. They made several friends and their teachers were pleased with their study habits. Typical of home schoolers- they knew they were in class to learn and they took education seriously.

I am happy to report that they've been excelling in school and have some of the best teachers I have ever met.  
But after two years of regular school, I’m getting the feeling that if I go back to home schooling, their education could be better than great…it could be outstanding! 

They could get more of what they want.

My oldest could learn more about the world of writing, publishing and illustrating.
My middle child could learn more about veterinary and clinical medicine.
My son could learn more about becoming a police officer or sheriff.

These are all specific areas of interest which they believe will be part of their future careers. 
The sooner they sink their teeth into this material the better off they'll be.

But public school does not exactly have the chance to expand on all of that...

Though there's nothing stopping me from providing it.. 

I used to do it before. I can do it now.

Let's take a break for a moment...

I imagine that if you are not a home schooler you probably think I’m nuts right now.

If you are a home schooler you’re likely cheering me on and welcoming me back into the home-schooling community. 

And if you are my students’ teachers, I'm willing to bet money that you are outraged, red in the face and searching for my cell phone number as you read this.

Regardless of who you are or where you stand on this topic, you may want to continue reading before you give me a thumbs up, a thumbs down…or a phone call.

Now, I have been on both sides of this ‘school’ fence, and I can say that I think my kids are getting a fine education, so I do not in any way plan to discontinue their education at public school.

But to be clear, I do plan on home schooling. 

Though it be in addition to their public school curriculum.

It can only help.

Education begins at home when we are teaching our children to walk and talk and when we teach them right from wrong. Just because our kids go off to ‘school’ doesn't mean that ‘school at home' has to stop, and I think I had confused that.

I assumed that because my kids began public school, I should just let go of that part of their lives. I began to sit back and let their teachers take over. I believed that they were capable of educating my children…
AND let me be VERY CLEAR when I say that I STILL DO.  

I respect my children’s teachers and I love all three of my children’s schools. 

But...

What I found is with my children in school, I tend to be somewhat less involved in their education now since I’m not ‘in charge’ of it. 

And that is the part that I am not happy with. 

Sure, I’m involved with their homework problems, studying, field trips, social issues, PTA and  obviously play a large role in teaching them morals, values and financial education, but….I don’t feel that’s enough.

Stepping back up to the plate and re-involving myself with other parts of their education I can reestablish my responsibility as a parent and help strengthen and  improve on the current education they're receiving by adding other, more specific and personalized subjects; like the ones my kids are passionate, but which school does not have a chance to expand on, due to time or financial constraints.

Hand in Hand-we can teach my children together; the teachers can continue doing what they’re doing (because they are great at it) and mommy can get back to what she was doing (because she was great at it too); we can work together at providing as much learning as we can for these sponges to soak up! 

So, we are returning to home schooling and there will be a celebration! 

Though, it might not be as much of a party for my kids as it is for me. Even though they love learning with their mom, they aren’t keen on the schedule. 

They will be schooling in the summer. 

You heard right. 

We home schooled all year round and had two vacations: 
A week off during their birthday and one and a half weeks off for Christmas.

I have no sympathy for them. Trust me, they’ll survive and they’ll be smarter for it.

I realized that there's a bonus in this for me. Since we are still doing regular school I will not have to go back to hours and hours of researching and comparing curriculum's, investigating so many different topics and spending so many nights, after the kids were asleep, preparing lesson plans months in advance. But I will be thrilled to plan educational field trips again, utilize different resources related to the subjects my kids want to focus on and see them soak up more of what they love; dogs, medicine, authors, law enforcement and more, in a fun manner and as a family.

Education begins at home, and whether it’s done alone or in combination with other forms of schooling, it can only be a good thing and will never be a waste of time.

Parents, you are teachers too!

You know your child's talents and interests better than anyone. 

You were actually your child’s First Teacher, and will be their same teacher for years to come.

Don’t retire because just because they go off to school, their other teachers need your support. :)

Happy Home Schooling!

Truly,
Amber

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