Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mental and Homeschool Life

The title of this post made me chuckle.  Mental and homeschool in the same sentence?  Am I mental for trying to homeschool my kids?  Sometimes it feels like it!

These are the last of my weekly goal categories.  If anyone out there has actually borne with me through them all, THANK YOU!

Mental Life


Where I was

I have always loved reading.  I'm always in the middle of a book.  As a result of this love, I majored in English education in college.  I learned a lot in college and, until I started having symptoms of sleep apnea, I actually enjoyed my classes.  I've always enjoyed learning new things.

Where I am and Where I Hope to Be

Currently, reading on my own, listening to sermons and podcasts, and studying for what I'm going to teach the kids is the only learning I do.  But, I'm not being stagnant.  You'd be surprised how much you can learn when studying to teach kids!

Eventually, when the kids are older, I'd like to take some classes.  Not necessarily college classes for credit.  But, my church does offer college Bible classes and I've always wanted to learn to really sew.  Until then, books offer a lot.

Homeschool Life

Where I Was

If you had asked me when my kid were born if I would consider homeschooling, I might have laughed in your face (how rude of me).  I had never even dreamed of it!  Then, the kids got to preschool age.  Not only did we not have the money to send them to a preschool, we didn't think it was necessary.    Growing up, no one went to preschool.  What was the point?  Especially since I was perfectly capable of teaching my kids their ABC's and 123's.

So, I did.  I used a lot of information from the internet.  I quickly learned that the fastest way to search for these things was by searching for "homeschool preschool."  The more I did these searches and visited these sites, the more I read about homeschooling.  The more I read about homeschooling, the more I began thinking it was a good idea.

The first thing that struck me was that my kids could learn at their own pace.  You see, I was already having to sometimes do searches for "homeschool kindergarten" instead of preschool.  My kids were ahead.  And I've been there.  I remembered how bored I was in school and how I'd get in trouble for talking when I finished my work early.  I remembered how, by high school, I had completely stopped doing homework.  After all, I was able to be B's and C's by just acing the tests, so why would I put in the extra effort?  And forget study skills.  I never had to study, so I never had reason to develop those skills.  All of this came back to bite me when I got to college.  The idea that my kids could learn at their own pace - always being challenged and, in the end, being ahead of their peers instead of learning the same things as everyone else - thrilled me.  

Then, I read the statistics.  Homeschool kids actually develop independent learning skills.  They do better in college.  They LOVE to LEARN!  That is what I wanted for my kids.  Desperately!

Our "Schoolroom"
Finally, I realized that I could teach them from a Biblical perspective.  I have no illusions that I can protect my kids from the world completely.  But, I can , while they are young, protect them from things they can't handle, yet.  I can help them build their spiritual muscles before they will have to lift the heavy weights. 

There are many other reasons that I wanted to homeschool.  But, these are the things that first convinced me we should give it a try.  And that is what we did.  My husband had a hard time seeing past the stereotypes of awkward, weird homeschool kids.  But, he agreed to give it a year.  And then another.  He is now to the point where he sees how great they are doing.   He still has concerns about the social aspects, but he's coming around.

Where I Am and Where I Hope to Be

Decimal Street from Math-U-See
The kids are going into second grade next year.  We love homeschooling!  I get to combine my love of teaching with my love for my kids.  It doesn't get any better than that!

This year, I'm going to be trying some new things and sticking with some things that worked really well last year.  Here is our curriculum list:
  • Five in a Row (I LOVE that it is literature based)
  • Math-U-See Beta (This worked really well for us last year and the kids breezed through it while still learning what they need to know)
  • Sequential Spelling (I'm a horrible speller.  Thank God for spell check.  But, this makes sense to  me and my kids are really getting it.)
I supplement with the internet and the library.   We also have museum and zoo passes that help a lot.

I'm hoping that my husband continues to see how much the kids are learning and realizes that they have lots of friends and are doing fine socially.  But, most of all, I pray that God will show me where he wants us each year - still at home or in a public school.  In my dreams, we continue homeschooling through high school.  But, I'm open to the possibility that this may not be God's plan.  So, we are taking it year by year to see where God leads.

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