Tag Archives: Education

It’s official – homeschooling mom-teacher of three

our homeschoolers

After MUCH debate, and several conversations with each child and each other, Hubby and I made a monumental decision this weekend.  We are homeschooling all three children now.

I’m terrified and excited.  I know it will be good for us, both as a family and individually.  This is one step closer to our dream life.  I always wanted to be a teacher, and now I’ll be teaching my children, each in the way that they learn best.  I’ve done the research, I’ve paid careful attention.  I can do this!  We can do this!!

But I have concerns, too.  What if I can’t do as good of a job with the littles?  What if I find I don’t have the patience?  The fortitude?  The whatever-it-takes to get it done?  What if we really need me to go back to work?  I’m finding there’s a lot more nerves there than I thought there would be.  A lot more questions than answers.  But I’m also confident that it’s the right choice.  With Hubby working out of town, the responsibilities to get the kiddos where they each need to be falls on me.  I’ve already taught Kyle how to read, and Kody is well on his way.  Kyle will continue to have more doctor’s appointments than most kiddos his age, due to his allergies.  And with Daddy being out of town, it’s tougher to stick to a school schedule.  Taking all of those things into consideration, we decided that the uncertainty is worth the plunge.

If I am low on patience, then I’ll schedule more mommy-time when I can get it.  I’ll spend more time visiting family, and getting out and about to museums, the zoo, and other activities that will keep the littles occupied and still be learning activities.  I’ll also be better able to participate in some of the homeschool days activities.  If we get desperate for a second income, then I’ll find something on the night shift.  (I prefer that anyways).  I’ll still continue with my freelancing, and my other businesses to create income when and how I can that way (Avon, anyone? Barefoot Books? There’s another one in the works, but until it’s a done deal, I won’t advertise it.)  I’ve learned a lot about blogging in the last few months, and will be putting some of what I’ve learned to use there, too.  I have a book and a couple of short stories in the works.  We’ll be working together as a family to submit those and learn about the publishing process (rejection letters can be learned from, too).  We will adopt even more frugal attitudes and involve the whole family in those activities (I made laundry soap a couple of weeks ago.  We were lacking the buckets to put it in, but I’ll be trying again soon… I’m also looking to take some “refresher course” on sewing… with my mom if she’ll do it (LOL) or a course from someone local… if you know anyone in/near Victoria, please drop me a line in the comments).

Tomorrow I’ll officially withdraw the littles from school and send off our letter to the administration.  I’ll have their curriculum completed by then, a la The Well Trained Mind.

Eeeeeeeeeekkkkkk!!!!  What have I gotten myself into????  LOL!!!  {Breathe, Kim… it’s going to be okay!}

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Homeschool Group Park Day

Today was an awesome day!  I got to meet my homeschool group for the first time in person… what an amazing group of ladies, man, and kids!!!  🙂  I’m feeling so good about our decision to homeschool, and not feeling quite so much like I’m floundering… we have time to figure it out!  Chris got to meet several girls, and one boy his age, and the boys played with a little girl their age… and there were a few in between.

We got to the Children’s Park, and there were three buses there.  I was worried, but since I’d made contact with several others about the date, decided to hang out and see if anyone else showed up.  Then the buses really started showing up.  I counted 8 total when a few of us had shown up and were leaving to go to another area of the park.  🙂  My personal “bus” (a ’99 Suburban qualifies, I think) was blocked in.  I made a 9 point turn to back into an empty parking space, then had to wait for a bus to back up so that I could get out.  I think this will be the last conflict with public schools, because I think this is their last Friday.

So we went to the area with the volleyball courts.  The kids had a blast, playing with all of the others… and I had a blast, finally talking with other homeschooling parents.  I’m so self-conscious that often when I’m in a group, people find me to be very quiet.  I should put the disclaimer here… that’s only until they get to know me… 😛  But I really didn’t feel that way today.  Instead, I felt very welcomed and very at ease.  I think many people are finally getting the idea that not all homeschoolers are fundamentalists or survivalists, but just for clarification, every one of the adults that I met today were just everyday people… not a fundamentalist among us.  😛  Out of the group, I’m the newest homeschooling mom, which is great, because I have a wealth of information to draw upon.  I’m also not the only one that homeschools a stepson who goes to visit mom once a month – there’s another (step)mom with that exact same situation, too.  We also have a homeschooling dad in the group.  We’re just a bunch of regular people who felt that it would be best for our children to teach them ourselves.  And I feel like a part of me just clicked into place, excuse the cliche, but like coming home.  So, THIS is where I belong!?!  😀

I hope that we’ll continue our get togethers every Friday, and field trips to accent our learning.  We talked (briefly) about a colonial day and/or Rennaisance day… of course, I’m a total history buff, so I loved the idea.  🙂

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Everyday learning Saturday & Sunday

I was sitting here thinking about the learning that takes place every day in our household with our mindset.  Sometimes it’s not so noticeable, sometimes it is.

A couple of examples that hit me today.  Yesterday, I was telling Chris that football sign-ups are this month.  He asked when football starts, so I answered in August.  He asked how far away was that.  Rather than rattling off the answer, I asked what month is it now?  He answered May.  I asked how long is it from May to August?  He stopped for a moment, and said 3 months.  I nodded my head, confirmed that he was right, and he headed out the back door to play on the trampoline, pleased at having arrived at the answer himself.  Chris is 13, well old enough to figure it out for himself, but again, it reminds me that if I just rattle off an answer, he’s not learning to how to learn.  Sometimes we all need to be reminded that we have to take a moment to learn for ourselves.  That’s my goal, is to teach these children that nothing is out of reach… anything they want to know, they can figure out.  I’m happy to help facilitate that learning wherever and whenever possible, and if I can’t help lead them to the answer, I can lead them in the direction that will find the answer.  This was a small, 2-minute conversation.  But it’s an example of a homeschooling/unschooling mindset.

A couple of hours later, when he asked me when we were going to start homeschooling, and I responded that we would start on Monday, I had to smile.  He doesn’t even realize that we’re ALWAYS homeschooling in our house.  🙂   He asked what we were going to do for PE, after he’d been jumping on the trampoline for nearly an hour straight.  🙂

Our more formal schooling will start Monday, when we head to the library for a copy of Where the Red Fern Grows (what he was working on in English class, and he wants to finish the book, because he said it’s really really good), and the movie, which we will watch AFTER we each read the book.  But I’m sure the discussions that we have about it afterward will be another one of those moments where he doesn’t recognize that we’re “homeschooling” again.  Learning comes so much more naturally when you discuss what you’ve read, talk about the differences between the book and the movie, discuss how certain parts make you feel (I already know I WILL cry, that book always made me cry), talk about the subject matter and all the other questions that he would have been tested over or filling out on a worksheet.  Of course, I’ll post our discussions here, and he’ll have an entry to make in his portfolio (which I consistently refer to as a scrapbook) to document it.

Today he’ll help us figure out how much we’ll spend at the movies this afternoon (we’re going to see Iron Man 2 – matinee), and how much we’ll save by going to the matinee over the later movie.  We’ll talk about a budget for concessions, and have a couple of math lessons on a Sunday.  🙂

And I’m sure tomorrow, he’ll be excited about “starting” homeschooling!  🙂

And, as I was about to sign off, all three of the boys came out here wanting to look at a tornado.  So we spent a moment pulling up  pictures of tornadoes, while Chris gave a very good abbreviated version of how tornadoes happen, and we spent a few minutes having a short lesson on how tornadoes develop, as well as the difference between a hurricane and tornado.  We also discussed which was more dangerous and destructive, and they went back to watch their movie (The Day After Tomorrow) with a promise to find out more about it soon.  Here we are, on Sunday, on Mother’s Day, with plans to watch Iron Man 2 this evening, but the kids got a 20 minute lesson on tornadoes and hurricanes at 1:40 in the afternoon.  I’ll add that to our lesson plan this week, for all three boys.  Anyone want to tell me that child-led learning doesn’t work?  😛

Chris just walked out here to tell me that Kody (one of the 5-year-olds) remarked when the tornadoes were done (on the movie), Kody said, “They should have called 9-1-1.”  Too cute!!!  🙂

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Searching out sites for homeschooling… found this one. :)

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Parents Defend Unschooling

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What are your thoughts?  Me?  I think I’m in a little bit of shock at the loss of journalism in… well… journalism.  There was a time that journalism was presenting a story idea and then discovering both sides of that idea to give readers (or viewers) a fair and balanced perspective.  By this definition, this clip (and especially the one before it, which had to have been edited heavily) could in no way be viewed as journalism.  The “follow-up questions” were all negative, and there was no information on the statistics (which are easily available on the ‘net) of the benefits of homeschooling and unschooling.  No follow-ups on unschoolers in college or in the workforce.  Just undocumented derogatory comments as to how the interviewer and commenter “couldn’t believe this” and “thought this was crazy”.  Unbelievable!

I read a well-thought out response to these clips, so rather than continuing on my own diatribe, I’m going to refer you to Heather aka Swiss Army Wife.  Read her response, her blog.  Maybe do a few more searches of people knowledgeable and experienced in homeschooling or unschooling.  THEN, please comment, and let me know what you think.

I am embarking on my own homeschool adventure with my 13-year-old stepson, and looking forward to it.  We will not be unschooling (much to my regret, but I defer to my husband’s wishes on this one, as it is our first true foray into homeschooling).  I have several friends who are teachers, am studying to be a teacher myself, but am wholeheartedly in agreement with the unschooling philosophy.  Now let me point out something that was only mentioned once (that I remember)… what they are talking about is NOT unschooling, but RADICAL UNSCHOOLING.  I have no problem with others being in favor of radical unschooling, and I do believe in theory it would work.  Maybe there will be a time when I feel that my youngest children could be raised that way, but my older children have all been in public school, all been exposed to a much different lifestyle, so radical unschooling is not an option for them at this point in our lives.  I do, however, think that I’ve lived my life with the principal of unschooling, as my children were growing up, always taking time for whatever “teachable moment” that I could find, and promoting natural learning and curiousity as a lifestyle. And the fact is, I applaud the parents who have broken the mold and chosen to unschool their children in face of so much opposition.   That’s my personal take on it. 😀

Let me know what you think!

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Homeschooling Announcement

So I’m very excited to announce that we have come to an agreement with Chris’s mom.  I don’t have dates yet, but he will be moving back in with us, and our homeschool adventure will begin.  Our tentative plan is to get him moved here sometime in the couple of weeks (before school is out) and get him withdrawn from public school.  He’ll have a couple of weeks of deschooling (the decompression time where we find our feet), and we’ll take that time to get him enrolled in some extra curricular activities, meet our local homeschool group, and get him into some counseling.  This is a tough time of year, just before traditional school ends, so we may have to get creative (i.e., art classes, or something along those lines), but I’m so glad hubby & son’s mom came to an agreement that works for both families.  We haven’t told the twins  yet, because if something falls through, I don’t want them disappointed.  So we probably won’t tell them until we go to pick him up and get him moved.

So… my job this week is to go to the library (tomorrow) and get the books that I have rented before.  Then I’ll finalize our plan for homeschooling.  I had started a plan when he lived with us before, but abandoned it after he moved home, never fully developing it out.  I’ve spent a lot of time over the past several months learning about different learning styles, homeschool options, and the sort.  So I’m very confident that it won’t take me long to finalize what’s already in my head onto paper.  But even though I’m an adaptable person, I need that plan to get started.  😀

I am a fan of unschooling; however, since Chris has been in public schools for the last 7 years, I think we’ve come to a decision to do eclectic homeschooling.  Essentially, I am going to design a curriculum (NOT unschooling), and utilize unit studies to allow Chris to basically pick what he’s learning about, while I make sure that he is gaining instruction in all traditional areas.  We will also be making the shift to a lifestyle of unschooling, where we involve him in and teach him subjects through the use of real-life circumstances.  For those unfamiliar with this terminology, it’s the belief that children learn…  math, for example, the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions not by studying a workbook, but by doubling or halving recipes, working with budgets, calculating the MPG on the family car, determining how long it will take us to go on a trip at a steady pace of 60 mph, etc.  I have a strong belief that the majority of children will learn easier and retain the knowledge better when using real world examples.  But I have agreed to the use of Unit Studies along with the unschooling due in part to the fact that both father and mother want some quantifiable knowledge of what we’re learning, and also because this is our first foray into homeschooling, so the worry is there that we will at some point need to re-enroll Chris in public school later.  So it’s essentially a fail-safe for us.

I shouldn’t leave the little ones out here.  When I begin Chris’s homeschooling, I am also going to begin working with them more actively.  They wouldn’t be enrolled into school until September, but I’m hoping that we will now be able to keep them here, and utilize natural learning with them, too.  Again, I will offer unit studies to supplement that as necessary (for my husband’s peace of mind), but hope that they will be able to unschool as a lifestyle.

I will post our journey here on this blog, under the tag of education, so you can follow along if you wish.  Tomorrow… library.  I’m very excited about this!  It’s a new lifestyle for us, one I’ve wanted for a long time… for all of our children.  And it’s the first step to our dream life.  😀  So strap in, and hang on… we’re changing our lives!

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