Over the years we have had many questions as to way we home school our kids. Because there are many reasons why we have chosen to home school the kiddos I figured I would start at the beginning of our journey.
When Mara was in the Head Start program, which we love and have continued to have our other kids involved in, Dean started talking about homeschooling Mara starting in kindergarten. Frankly, I freaked out. How can I teach her? What do I teach her? I’m not smart enough to teach her. She’ll be weird and unsocialized. We don’t have the money. These were just some of the objections I thought of right off the bat. I have found that these were also the first questions I got from everyone that we talked to about starting this journey and still with strangers today.
It took Dean a year to convince me to even try it. I let everyone’s negativity, or as they put it, concerns, drag me down. The closer to the start of her kindergarten year, the more I doubted my ability to teach her. When I look back on it now, it seems so silly that I was so scared. Really, can you really screw up teaching kindergarten?! ABCs, 123’s, colors, patterns… yep, I was terrified! I felt like I had so much to prove and that our families were just waiting for us to fail. Which of course made me feel like I was going to fail right off the bat — that’s right, fail kindergarten, and ruin her FOREVER! Sadly, this is how I felt for quite some time.
We moved half way through the year and I talked Dean into putting both Mara and Adrian into school for the rest of the year because I felt like Mara was behind (since she’s a bit stubborn). and that I wasn’t fit to help Adrian (he was taking a special ed class because of some delayed learning). After all, there are professionals for kids like him, and I was just his mom.
After the move, Mara became quiet and moped around the house. I discovered from the first day that the bully in Mara’s class picked her out as her favorite, and Mara didn’t tell us until the year was almost over. I talked with her teacher and she simply said, “well we can’t keep our eye on EVERY kid all the time.” I totally understand that but Mara had gone to a few different teachers and aids for help and they all brushed her off. She later told us that that was why she never told us. She didn’t think we could do anything about it anyway, so why even bring it up.
She had homework every night. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t remember homework until maybe 3 or 4th grade. We also only saw her for a couple of hours a day.
Adrian regressed and was always cranky. We figured out he wasn’t getting enough sleep and couldn’t focus on anything by the second half of the day. They started to give him naps which helped a little but he still wasn’t “getting better” like he had been before the move. He missed his old teachers and the move was just too much for him. He also had homework every night. He was 4/5 years old at the time and was bringing home 1 to 3 pages a night! He was also in school full days so we didn’t get to see him much either. We did the math and even counting weekends, the school and bus had our kids more than they were home. 8 hours more!
At this point I was starting to feel ready to give this homeschooling thing another try. I missed the kids during the day, they were not happy at all, they were not getting enough sleep, and I had no clue as to what they were being taught. This is also when it dawned on me that I couldn’t really screw up teaching them, at least with kindergarten and 1st grade…right? I just had to focus on the basics: reading, math, phonics. How hard could that be?
The first year was ok. It took time to learn their learning style, what workbooks worked best, and so on. But with only having to focus on the basics I discovered how easy it really was. K-mart, Wal-Mart, even the dollar store had all I needed and more. I didn’t have to have all the high-priced curriculum stuff that you always hear about. And they did great!
I will be writing more on this in the near future. What’s to come: Pros and cons of homeschooling, misconceptions of homeschooling, how to handle negativity from family, friends and strangers, stats on school violence vs homeschooling, and the big one–that God plays the biggest part in our decision to home school our kids and our reasons behind this.
If there are other questions you have that I don’t plan to cover, let me know. I do want to remind everyone that these are our thoughts and our beliefs and I know that not everyone thinks the same way and that’s okay. I only ask that you keep in mind that everyone has different views on this topic, so please be respectfully in your questions and comments. Thanks!