Saturday, March 27, 2010

Continue to Homeschool?

As many of you know, I am currently homeschooling our 3 year old daughter.  She'll be 4 next month and would start Pre-K in the Fall with the rest of the 4 year olds in our area.  Thus far her homeschooling has been more because she wants to.  She loves to learn and is very bright (of course I think so, she's my kiddo!).  We started last year when she turned 3.  I found a very easy online curriculum this mother came up with.  I tailored it to suit our needs and it's been working out beautifully.  We implemented nearly everything she suggested and kept our lessons to about 15-60 minutes each day, depending on Haylei's attention span for the day and the subject we were learning.  I've really enjoyed being the one to help her learn.  

However, I've been preparing her for what I call "real school" but I really mean public school.  I'll tell her it's time for a break and we need to potty and get a snack.  I remind her that in "real school" they do this too.  When she's acting out and wanting to do things her way, I remind her that in "real school" she must listen to the teacher to understand what she's trying to instruct her.  She responds well to this.  But today, when I was cleaning up the kitchen she told me, "Mommy, I don't want to go to school.  I want to stay with you all day.  I don't want you to leave me..."  That broke my heart.  Now I'm struggling with the reasons for homeschooling her.  Is it for selfish reasons or is it for her own well-being?  That is the question...

I'm not really keen on the idea of sending her to a school where random people can walk in and try to steal urine from the bathroom to pass a drug test.  The school she is supposed to be attending is smack dab in the middle of a drug-infested neighborhood and I don't really feel like it would be a conducive environment for learning.  I'd be worried all the time. (again, I see way too many "I"s in that paragraph...)

I'm a product of public school.  I attended public school and graduated High School with a 3.5 grade point average.  We had the occasional bomb threats that were popular in the 90's and the hall fights among teenage bullies.  Let's not forget the bus rides home!  Drugs being passed from older students to younger naive students, the ever popular "mooning" of the car behind the bus (which happened to be my dad one time and he pulled the bus over...thankfully I'd been picked up early by my mom!), and the M80 firecrackers that went off when the substitute driver was try to drive, very unsuccessfully I might add.
The other problem I have about public school is the number of children each teacher is assigned to teach.  How in the world can one woman or man teach 30 children?  What if one child is lagging behind?  What if one child is excelling?  Does the teacher spend more time with the one lagging behind, while the one who is excelling is left to fend for themselves?  Some of my friends who have their children in public school not only work all day but then come home to encounter of fun-filled 3 and 4 hours of homework.  Really???  3-4 hours!  You'd almost be better off homeschooling them in the morning and finish up in the afternoon.  Then focus on fun things to do with the children or attack that mountain of dirty laundry.  Just a thought...

And last but definitely not least, is my concern for my daughter's association.  Granted, we cannot allow our children to live in a bubble, but wouldn't you agree that we need to look out for them?  I do believe children need to know what is going on around us in the world.  I think shielding them can result in naivety which can result in serious problems.  Most (but not all) of the kids in our school district go to school because they have no where else to go.  Their mothers have no morals and most don't have fathers in the picture.  Do I send my daughter to be a good influence among these poor little children or worry she'll succumb to the pressure of their bad behavior and start acting like them?

I don't know.  I keep praying for the right answer.  

I thought we had an answer in a new Charter school in our area.  However, it looks like the school might be a ways off right now.  Then I looked into an online public homeschooling option.  At first it looked promising, but I've been hearing negative feedback recently.  A few weeks ago I ran across a blog talking about Charlotte Mason's philosophy of homeschooling.  I asked my homeschooling friend about it and she's reading up on it too.  I really like her philosophy of hands on learning.  We've learned Haylei loves this kind of teaching.  She thrives on craft projects, nature walks and simply learning.  She loves books and can't wait to read her first book "all by herself"...  I've been doing some research myself and the Charlotte Mason homeschooling seems very intensive.  

Building our own curriculum that suites the needs of Haylei is priority for me.  I want her to love to learn.  

My husband is very against public school since he feels like they fill the children with facts instead of teaching them how to learn.

I'm leaning towards Pre-K homeschool for now...we'll see what next year brings...


April said...

I know you feel torn, but if you go back and read your own post, the answer is right there in front of you. Right now your daughter is in her most important growing stage of her life. These are the years that she is developing her personality, her morals and who she is as a person. I used to have a friend in Chicago who home schooled her children until they reached their teenage years, then she sent them to public school. Are there other home school parents in your area where you could set up play dates, so she can get that interaction with other children her age? I'm no expert, but I hope I gave you some ideas to help you make your decision. Good luck!

Elizabeth said...

I don't have any children but most of my friends and church families home school their children.

There are lots of different home school options... from making your own curriculum to buying DVDs which is basically like sitting in a classroom you just dont have all the bad influences going along with the school environment... but the one curriculum I am most familiar with is a program called ACE "Accelerated Christian Education" which is going through school at your own pace. A very dear friend of mine has 9 children which she homeschooles with ACE and it works well. She is also very involved in a Home school group to get the children invovled in many activities... Homeschooling has come a long way... they even have football teams now.

Well that is my 2 cents which I hope helps inform you alittle.

Marsha said...

I follow Charlotte Mason's methods and incorporate others too. I guess I'd be labeled an eclectic homeschooler. I don't think you're selfish for wanting to teach your daughter at home. We only get our kids for 18 years, then they fly the nest and are on their own. If you can prepare her for that day, aren't you accomplishing just as much as a school teacher would? Best of luck in whatever you decide!

LilyBelleMommy said...

I know I don't know you at all and my opinion prolly doesn't matter in all reality to you BUT..... I have ALOT and I mean ALOT of experience in this matter. And some observations as well. I too am a child of public schools and I turned out fine. My daughter is 4 last year she went to a private pre K program plus I work with her at home. This year she goes to a Pre K program at the elementary school she will attend next year for Kindergarten. She LOVES her school. I know what you are thinking every child is different. Yes this is true. My daughter goes to school during the day (she actually does a full school day
830-2:30) and she loves it BUT I also CONTINUE to work with her at home. Here are some things to consider. Homeschooling is ALWAYS an option. SO why not let her try "real school" with the other kids who it will be there first time in school also so they can all experience it for the first time together and she can have life long friends. If she doesn't like it you can always pull her out and homeschool. BUT if you try homeschooling first and it doesn't work, then she'll have to go to public school into a new environment with kids who are already there and know the routine and have already made their friend groups and that could be very hard on your child. Just some things to think about.

Susie said...

It's a huge decision and I hear ya! I went to private schools and financially, we can't offer our children that option. I dreaded the public schools but we are in a awesome district and I am there ALL THE TIME volunteering so, I am way more comfortable with the school now. And, she really need to develop socially. Anyway, I hope you take the year and decide what is best for you:-)

Mommarock said...

I have sent my son to school, then homeschooled him, moved, sent him back to public school hoping that it was a better area, and that this would be a much better school.. so here I am again thinking I need to take him back out and homeschool him again as his grades and attitude have slipped. He was well ahead of the other kids when he returned to public school from homeschooling, and now, he is struggling to pass. What is that telling me? He tells me himself (he is 11) He HATES school, he begs me to homeschool him. I have to work for a while longer, but then I am thinking I will quit, and go back to homeschooling. I am researching the options now as far as his curriculum which I build myself so that I am prepared ahead of time.

Connie said...

My kids both went to public school (one is 24 and works full time, the other is 22 and a senior in college). Both did exceptionally well in public school but most importantly, neither suffered any of the humiliation, name calling,etc., that I did as a student.

What was the difference? The school district. We purchased our house based on the school district. It's one of the top in our state, has the lowest discipline issues, and the highest secondary continuation.

To find out about your district and local school, call them and ask for their annual report. It's required by law in our state and I believe most schools have them. Once you have that information you can make a more informed decision.

My kids are healthy, happy, and well rounded. It was the perfect solution for them.

Best of luck! Soon yours will be as old as mine and you'll look back and wonder where the time went!


Connie said...

Oh, and "homeschooling" works hand in hand with public school. That's what we did. It gave us time together to explore and learn new things and the kids brought home things that we later studied because we found it fascinating.

They don't have to be mutually exclusive. Also, a positive attitude on your part will really help. We always presented school and their teachers in the best light even when we didn't agree. We'd talk to the school/teacher and find out why they were doing something a certain way and then support it with the kids or work to change it.

Great life lessons in going to school where everything isn't your way. It's about adapting and speaking up.

Luvmy9 said...

I have nine children. I homeschooled eight of them, but we had different times put them in public school from half a year to a whole year.

There is such a difference between homeschooled and public schooled children. I could see it in my own and other people's children. Homeschooled children are more polite, considerate, have more confidence, speak more easily to adults and don't have an "us and them" attitude towards adults. They were better friends with their siblings and with me when they were homeschooled, vs public school. I know there are good kids in public school. I know many myself. But, I am telling you what I observed in my own children and in friend's children. These are generalizations and don't fit every child.

You, and others, say you turned out fine in public school, but you haven't been to school recently. Even people as young as early twenties tell me that school isn't the same as when they were there. It is getting so much worse.

I was careful with my children, taught them manners, taught them good grammar, didn't allow them to watch PG13 or R rated movies or TV shows, for example. But, the majority of children with whom they were thrown together in public school had no such instruction or guidelines. So, they picked up a lot of bad things that I wish they had not been exposed to at such a young age.

This is a decision only you and your husband can make, but listen to your heart. When you send a child out as young as 4, she will believe everything she is told, for good or for bad. I always felt that I needed to lay a solid foundation before I sent my children out to deal with the world. So, most of my children were homeschooled up until high school and then they went to school with a stronger sense of who they were and what they stood for.

Everyone has opinions. Ultimately, though, you have to make the best decision for your daughter and your family. Well, good luck with your decision! Hope my thoughts have helped.

PS. Kindergarten is so easy to teach. I could never make it last the entire year. We always went into first grade before the yaer was over. And, that's another advantage. You can go at your child's own pace.


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