I saw a lot of you mamas are home schooling your kids and am very interested to hear about your experiences. My kids are still too small for homeschooling to be unusual, but I have really mixed feelings about public school, once they get a little older.
So please, share your experiences. The good, the bad, the fun, the frustrating. Are there many resources for homeschooling families? Are you part of any homeschooling groups. How has that worked out...I know Willow touched on this a little. How have you overcome criticism from "concerned" family members? Where have you found support?
Well for starters children are never really too young to start. I have 2 3 yr olds and the have a pre pre K right now. THe extent of their day is alphabet flash cards, coloring, and puzzles, puzzles, puzzles. I have only been in this relationship for a year so Home Schooling is new to me from this side. I was home schooled for a few years when I was younger. There are tons of resources out there for you but the first thing you need to do is figure out what the state law is for your state.
As for issues.. some family members are going to disagree and until you show them that it really does work they are likely to be sceptic about it. I don't know your faith but most home schoolers you find are going to be Christian. This is our biggest issue since they tend to frown upon our lifestyle. Just find a some that you do agree with online or otherwise and stick with them.
Try checking out Moominmama's blog: Nurtured by Love http://nurturedbylove.blogspot.com/
I know her from the Todaysparent forums (at todaysparent.ca). Her blog is a beautiful testament to homeschooling (she is more of the "unschooler" type).
I come from a family of teachers, so when I announced that I was pulling the girls out of public school there were many raised eyebrows. Homeschooling was like a slap in the face to them...at first. I used to feel like I spent almost as much time explaining homeschooling as actually doing it. In time the shock wore off and the results spoke for themselves. We actually found Hoopdance while searching for a "Phys-Ed" activity we would be interested in.
I had a bad experience with an attempt by the school to "teach" about Native Americans. The girls who are Native and proud, were exposed to a lot of misinformation and subconscious racism....and when they tried to share their experience as First Nations people they were teased by the other children and "corrected" by their teachers. It left a bad taste in my mouth. I pulled them out and enrolled with the State as a Homeschooling Family.
I found most of my course materials on Amazon.....I chose by reading reviews carefully...many are very helpful. I love how in depth we can go with a subject we are interested in. I love how we can "do school" all day or not for three days...late at night , early in the morning. I'm not super structured about it, but that works for us. I love that we can incorporate Spirituality into our work without offending anyone. I love how Art and Math are related....and amazed that a 9 year old wants to learn Latin.
The hard part....They're sisters...they fight, and distract each other, they vie for my attention sometimes. Somedays They want to mummify a Barbie Doll and I want to clean the bathroom. But overall it is the best gift I have probably ever given them, and I have learned so much from this...and them.
A site that I use a lot for free printables is http://donnayoung.org She has things like Cursive writing worksheets planners etc. Really alot of stuff. This is already too long....so I'll stop
In Vermont it is very simple. You go online to the State under Education. The state has an outline of subject material they want covered. It is VERY broad. The areas here are Math/Science, Language Arts, Health and Phys-ed, Some type of History/Social Studies, and Art/Music....Then you say within that framework what you are going to teach. You send it in they approve your plan or tell you what they feel needs more....and you homeschool away. At the end of the year we have the option to have the children evaluated by a teacher and take standardized testing....or as we are doing. We send a portfolio with examples of each students work in each subject area from throughout the year...showing progress. and they "evaluate" not really how well your child is doing...but that you are doing what you said you were going to. If your child is not progressing as quickly as you thought they would you can just explain that and show where they are now.Or if you said you were doing Math Level 1 and your child is ready for 3 you just do 3 and show the progression. Just contact your state...the office people are usually very helpful and will tell you what you need to do where you are.
I suppose the thing that bugs me if that I'm ALREADY my children's teacher. For the first, forumative years of their life home IS school. Then once I've "built the vessel" I hand them over to some institution to "fill them up?" It seems like a double standard to me. But I'm also majoring in education in college, so it's a DOUBLE double standard, you know? I'd like to find a near-by campus that offered certification/degree in distance education. I foresee a need for less traditional teachers. Teachers who work with home-schooling families, who offer courses on-line, ect. From what I understand homeschooling is a growing trend...I'm so glad to know there are many non-traditional families like yours involved.
Pull all of our little bricks out of the wall....and watch it come tumbling down.....We will build a new world where creativity and free-thinking are valued over competition and cookie cutters. Love respect and tolerance are honored and children appreciate each other for who they are not what they have.
Public school has it's place....but I wasn't impressed.
I don't know about where you are - but here (in Calgary specifically) our school boards offer classes to homeschooled kids. So, you can homeschool, but send them to classes (say 3 classes each, 3 days a week for a semester). The cost per class is fairly small ($65.00 per class, per semester). If I were in your shoes, I would look on the internet for your school boards, find the homeschooling regulations and contact people, and start phoning about your options.