Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why I Love Homeschooling #1 & 2

Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. It's not easy having the kids home 24/7...even our "laziest" days are pretty crazy. My biggest challenges include finding time for myself & getting everyday chores & responsibilities done in the midst of a constant stream of chatter, discoveries, quarrels and questions...oh and let's not forget trying to make ends meet on a single income, either ;-), but...

Just about every day I think of a new reason (or more) that reminds me why I am so happy to be homeschooling my children, and I thought I'd share them as they come to me. If you're on the homeschooling journey too, please share some of your homeschooling blessings!

#1 Chloe (3yrs) has just started sleeping in a bit (thanks to the extra hour of darkness acquired from the daylight savings shift), and so for the past few mornings I've been waking up later to the sound of the school bus going up the street. As I'm laying there rubbing the sleep out of my eyes at 8:45 am (instead of her earlier 7:15), I am so very thankful that a: for the first time in 8 years, I am actually waking up on my own instead of to a crying, hungry baby, and b: my children are not on that noisy, crowded bus that spews migraine, asthma, and even cancer inducing noxious fumes into the air.

#2 They learn while they are playing...and they don't know it!

I felt a bit guilty this morning for NOT insisting the kids finish their "bookwork" before I let them go outside. But it's hard to resist the beautiful springtime weather & the opportunity to get something done without interruption while they're outside playing. I looked out to check on them a few minutes ago, to see them playing in the sandbox. Sand is great fun & lends itself to many imaginative activities, and when you include measuring cups, spoons & a few other kitchen utensils it becomes...MATH! Right now they're playing "restaurant", and making up their own recipes, measuring leaves & sand, sticks & rocks. They're learning...and they don't even know it. I love it! :-)

(Another great place for measuring cups & spoons is the bathtub. But you may want to buy multiple sets & always make sure you have a designated set for your own kitchen. My hubby, who likes to do the cooking, gets this little irritated twitch when he has to go fish the measuring spoons, or whisk, or turkey baster out of the bathtub toys...thank goodness he loves me!)


Amber~ Care and Feeding of Wild Things said...

I love this post Maggie! There are so many compelling reasons to homeschool. My eleven and thirteen year old boys have begun what I am calling a Pro-homeschooling onslaught. They are trying to convince me to begin homeschooling. In my opinion, they have very good reasons to want to be homeschooled. Now, even if it is not (easily)legal to homeschool in Italy (meaning we would have had to go through many bureaucratic hoops), where I really wanted to homeschool my boys, I know it is within my legal rights to homeschool them now that we are in the states. Two things are holding me back from making a quick yes decision. One, they are getting older and mathematics will get more challenging- this is my weak point. However, I could pay for them to audit college math classes, or for private tutoring etc. So it is still do-able. The other constraint is that I don't want to spend all the day urging them to do their schoolwork. I don't want all our interactions to become about school. Basically I don't want to have to be a drill sgt. How would I know ahead of time if it would work for our family. Any ideas?

Maggie said...

Wow Amber, that's awesome! Homeschooling is a great adventure for the whole family :-) Of course, the short answer to you question: "How would I know ahead of time if it would work for our family?" can't. It's a big leap of faith, but one that is always worth the plunge. There are, however, lots things you can do to ease the transition. Since your boys are already excited about the idea, you can use that to your advantage. Maybe go over a list of pro's & con's with them so they know they're still going to have to put some effort into it, maybe write up a contract with them (nothing too elaborate, but just so they know ahead of time what your expectations are). Set up some consequences so they know they'll be rewarded for meeting/exceeding expectations...and what will happen if they don't. Then...make it your job to make learning fun for them! :-) Homeschooling, for us, has been more about promoting a life long love of opposed to "completing the assignment." Let them have a part in choosing what they'd like to focus on and then see how you can work in all the other subjects. If they're interested in cars, for example, they could learn about the history behind the automobile, the mechanics & science & math that goes into how they are built & how they work, etc...

As far as curriculum choices go, this book: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, is great for helping you get an idea of what will work with your teaching style & their learning styles. I'd especially suggest that you take a look at the Math-U-See Program. I've heard really good things about it & will probably be getting into it with my kids this next year.

Good luck to you & please don't hesitate to ask if you have more questions I can address!

Amber~ Care and Feeding of Wild Things said...

Thank you Maggie! For the links, for the encouragement, for the information. We have lots to think about. I asked my eldest son yesterday to create a power point presentation that he can show to my husband and I, covering the pros and cons of homeschooling, the pros and cons of different curriculums and the national statistics of home schooled children vs. public schooled children -especially their achievements. I told him if he showed the initiative and tenacity to research and complete this little assignment, he would probably be an excellent candidate to be a homeschooled student. Plus, I want to see his effort, and how much this means to him. Another plus, is I will not have to convince my husband alone, the kids can add their two cents. (My hubby is still not convinced of the merit of homeschooling- it just isn't done in Italy, except by foreigners- mostly American kids on service bases). Again thank you, and I am thrilled to hear all about your experiences in homeschooling.

Maggie said...

Amber...I think you're a natural ;-) I hope your son does a good job on his presentation because he would be very lucky to have you for a full-time teacher!