There is an ongoing debate about whether to home-school or not and the reasons for doing either. In fact if you are considering homeschooling your child and ask you will basically just get opinions from either side. We decided to home-school the Gentleman in November and we all have learned so much.
I had considered homeschooling for pretty much his whole life but didn’t seriously consider it until he was in a public school for Kindergarten. He was in a great school and he had a good teacher so you are probably wondering why we pulled him out. Well…mostly because he was getting into trouble for things I thought were silly.Not raising your hand all the time, being loud (my kids only have two volumes…), not sitting still and talking when he shouldn’t were all causes for his having to move his name. I get that all of that can be disruptive for a classroom, especially a large one, but I can’t even remember to raise my hand…and I’m fairly loud too. In the beginning we punished him by removing privileges when he moved his name for those things and then I started asking when he was doing those things.
It always seemed to be during various lesson times when he was supposed to do his work and then sit still and quiet until the time was over. Apparently he would get it done quickly and then get bored and not be able to control his little body. Honestly though I couldn’t sit still for 15 minutes with nothing to do either. So we stopped punishing him for moving his name.
Especially when he asked if he was a bad kid for always getting Yellow and sometimes Red. I really didn’t want him thinking he was bad just because he couldn’t do what I can’t even do…and I won’t get labeled with ADHD like he would…yes it has been mentioned to my doctor and no I don’t have it.
The last straw so to speak was when they had inside recess in the gym. They were dancing and he didn’t want to dance. His teacher told him he could do what the class was doing or sit out and move his name down. He started tearing up and chose to sit out and move his name. His teacher emailed me telling me he threw a tantrum about it…which I DID clarify and it was NOT a tantrum as I know it.
I have seen tantrums and my daughter has thrown her fair share but he didn’t scream, stomp, kick, throw himself down or even yell. He teared up. He also did what I had been teaching him to do. Make a choice to do what you are asked or suffer the consequences which is probably why he teared up. To me that was a grown up thing to do. So we officially pulled him out of public school and went with homeschooling.
Yes I understand that kids need to do things they don’t want to do now and then but honestly…how many of you dance if you don’t want to and when would you for a meeting of some sort? I mean I dance all the time but I taught it to kids so…I might be why he didn’t want to dance in the first place. Poor kid had to dance with me a LOT.
Even before that I was asking what people thought about homeschool vs public school…don’t do that. Really just don’t ask that question. All you will get is opinions and those are based on their choices. Homeschooling is not right for everyone but neither is public school and there are benefits to both. Instead ask a few different questions like:
Why did you choose to home-school?
Did you know your public schools rating?
What do you miss about your child being in a public school?
What concerns did you have about choosing to home-school? And where did you find your information?
Ask public school parents:
What they love best about their child being in a public school
What do you love best about your child being in a public school? Especially those in the school your child would go to
What do you miss about your child being home?
This assumes your child is in Kindergarten of course but a lot of those questions work for kids already in a public school. If you are wanting to home-school there are TONS of resources out there that can help. Facebook groups, websites and even information on your State Government page. Start by learning what the law is regarding homeschooling in your state.
Indiana law requires 180 days of school days for homeschoolers. That’s it! No set hours, curriculum or anything. You set everything else. It was a bit overwhelming at first but I had been doing some research and had a basic plan for how I thought homeschooling would go when we pulled him out of public school. I gave us two weeks to sort of get out of the public school groove and just enjoy being home before we got down to lessons. Plus it was right before the Holidays so it was a bit crazy for us as it was.
Was I prepared? Heck no. Even if you THINK you are you really aren’t. There is a serious learning curve to teaching your own child and it just has to be learned as you go. You AND your child need to adjust to you being his teacher even if you were teaching him before.
My son went to preschool at our local YMCA for 3 years prior to starting Kindergarten at a public school. We worked with him on some things after school like writing and numbers, shapes, sounds etc but it is NOTHING like becoming his full time and only teacher. At least before if I didn’t feel like doing anything he still had his class….not so much anymore.
I started by asking questions in Facebook groups I joined about how everyone else was teaching their Kindergartners.
You will get a LOT of different answers here too. Some set schedules of lessons with work books, computers, and some even go to classes. There were some who did a more leisure approach and just let the kid do their lessons as they wanted or off and on throughout the day. Some used various home-school programs for reading, math and science. You will have to find the right curriculum for you and your child. That can take time but don’t give up.I SHOULD have asked myself a few questions first.
Do we have the resources?
You can homeschool your child for as little or as much money as you can or want to spend. We chose to buy some workbooks and pay for ABC Mouse but there are tons of free worksheets, websites and especially the library that you can use. There is a United Arts & Education store near us that is fantastic on school supplies and they have tons of workbooks and so much more.
What groups can we join?
Find Facebook groups and local groups to join for support and meet ups. It is always nice to know you are not alone and it can be fun to make new friends and get together to learn and play. Check your Government page about education for homeschool information and you might find a few ideas there as well.
Do I have time to homeschool my child?
As a stay at home (but not really AT home) mom I knew I had time but I also run a blog that requires lots of writing, playing and research…so I was worried about how much time I had. The reality is I have less time than I thought…but we make it work. Also, the events I review count as field trips AND he learns things while we are there! Fantastic!
Do I have the patience for it?
Patience I thought I had until we started homeschooling. I quickly realized I had less than I thought! We bumped heads so often I thought I would have to send him back to public school for both our sakes!
Luckily we found our groove before that and I rediscovered my patience. I am not ashamed to admit I lost it and almost gave up a few times before we finally figured out how to work together to teach him. By we I mean my son and I! There was a HUGE learning curve to homeschooling that I heard about but didn’t believe.
That learning curve took us almost two months and probably would have taken longer if I hadn’t realized we had already been homeschooling him while he was in preschool. He was a tad ahead in Kindergarten which was why he got things done faster in certain areas.
I remembered working with him and how he was very independent. Like frustratingly independent…so I showed him how to figure out what to do on his own and let him go. He asks for help if he needs it and lets me know (more politely now) when he’s “got it” and I back off.
How does my child learn?
This last question is key to teaching your child. If you know how your child learns you can figure out the best curriculum for him and a schedule of sorts to go with it.
My son learned best on his own. Crazy I know but it’s true. I showed him how to do something or what needed to be done and he would work it out and ask for help as needed. Our method of homeschooling is going to be different than anyone else’s because it is unique to my son. If my daughter is home-schooled (we won’t know until she is ready for Kindergarten) then she will have a different curriculum than my son because they are different and learn differently.
We do workbooks, work sheets, play games and use computers and tablets for reading, writing, math and science. Our local YMCA has a home-school gym class that meets twice a week that we signed him up for so he can get his exercise and play with other kids. No not just his age either. He is in martial arts and swim lessons there as well.
We do art and science and music at home but are looking for inexpensive classes to sign him up for and Spanish is hard to teach and learn. I am looking for a program or something we can all sign up for but we don’t have a lot of money so we might have to learn together at home.
The Facebook groups we joined have weekly meet ups and field trips to museums, state house, recycle plants, skating and playing. Socialization is NOT a problem and in fact our schedule is sort of full…a lot. I know that is a common worry but honestly if you take your kid out or sign them up for any sort of class they are good. We even maintain a few friendships with kids in public school. Like I said what works for us will not necessarily work for you but there are tons of options.
I am happy to say that he is doing much better and no longer feels like he is a bad kid. Academically I think he is still ahead but we don’t know for sure because we don’t have tests to tell us or anything to compare it to. The important part is that he is doing great, is happy and healthy and that he is learning things. The things he needs to learn at his own pace and the way that is best for him.
If you are just starting out on your homeschooling adventure or are considering it for your child remember you are not alone. There are plenty of groups out there you can join for support and to meet up with people to play and learn together. Just remember not to ask which is better homeschool or public school because the answer is quite honestly that neither is better than the other but one is better for your child.