Monday, April 30, 2012

Homeschooling Update/Thoughts

I get a lot of questions about how homeschooling is going. Tough question to answer. I've really only had 2 solid weeks of homeschooling experience which was the first 2 weeks in March. We did do work the week before we left for Europe, but it was intermixed with trip preparations. I had intended to do more "sit down" homeschooling in Europe, but that didn't happen more than twice. (Why, oh why, did I think I would review math on a transatlantic flight?!? But I do still think the kids learned A LOT just in our sightseeing... they know the rivers that flow through Paris and London, they can tell you about the lives and painting styles of Monet, Degas and Van Gogh, and they know how to get their mother to buy pan au chocolate any time of day.) And last week after we got back? Nada.

So today we start back into homeschooling full swing. Starting off with breakfast out followed by a trip to the library where I already have a pile of books already on hold (mostly on flamingos - our animal of the week!). I've done a little brainstorming on what I want to accomplish in the next month. I believe that our homeschooling year will extend into the summer. Partially as catch-up time and partially because I like the idea of a little bit of schooling all year long.

What has really been on my mind lately is what to do about school for next year. Do we continue to homeschool or do the kids go back to public school? I want to make it clear that we have a great public elementary school (although some would say that's delusional), but after all I've read and researched and observed, I do think that homeschooling is best option. Then why is this even an issue? Because my kids miss school. I think they mostly miss their friends. What I can't figure out is would this continue to be an issue when we aren't traveling as much, when they make better friends with kids in the homeschool program, and if I make a more concerted effort to schedule play dates.

I realize that I am the parent, and I make decisions for my kids that are in their best interest. My kids would eat McDonald's 3x a day if they were calling the shots, and, of course, I have no problem telling my children that fast food for every meal is not in their best interest. But school somehow seems/feels different.

And if I'm being completely honest, there are times when I miss school. The ability to drop my kids off in the morning and not worry about them until mid-afternoon. To run, play tennis, shop, sew, organize as I please. But that is only sometimes. Mostly I like having my children with me.

Right now they are registered to be back in the homeschool program for next year, but there is a lot to think about between now and then.


Angela Miller said...

That is the best part of homeschooling...the fact that you can adapt to make schooling fit your life. I bet your kids learned more on your trip to Europe than most kids their ages learn in months of public school. I think your kids will adjust to homeschool life. Find other ways for them to engage with friends.

I have days where I think it would be nice to send my kids to school so that I can go grocery shopping without them, read a book, get projects done around the house or whatever, but then I'm reminded that this time with them is so short and really don't want them anywhere but here at home :)

Anonymous said...

Don’t be too strict with the lessons. I also thought we’d run through the summer when we first started because we had so much catching up to do, but we quickly discovered our own kids just resented it that their neighborhood friends were all outside playing over the summer. Didn’t last long. Learning should be something a child wants to do, not rushing through because their friends are all outside.

You do need to make a decision about next year just so the kids will not be in limbo. How can they commit to homeschooling if their parents haven’t? From a kids’ point of view, they figure mom will tire of this so why put any effort into it. Children like to know parents are in charge and things will be taken care of.

Find other ways to give them the social life they want. Lessons of one kind or another are always good (dance, scouts, church groups, sports, etc.) . One thing we learned was that as the parents who were usually home and apparently liked having kids around, we usually had the neighbors kids after school. As long as they are dropping in on their own and can leave any time, I didn’t have a problem with it.

The trip sounds like it was a great experience. Kids soak up so much more knowledge when it isn’t contrived.

Good luck with the next 18 (or so) years.


educator said...

Real life experiences like trips can teach children a lot because it involves body, brain and senses in the learning process. But I find that if I write out a lesson plan before the trip, they learn much more, and I can document it too.

How To Create Your Own Lesson Plan