Hi all. So happy to have found this website and the plethora of information available to homeschoolers. It is, in fact, a bit overwhelming to me in trying to make decisions about the coming year.
Long before I had my girls, 10 & 7, I knew I wouldn't be sending them to public schools. I had the opportunity myself to experience private & public and the difference was enormous to me.
It was about time for me to send my oldest daughter to school when I heard of APS Family School. I hadn't made any decisions, the thought was Montessori or homeschool, but didn't want the expense and wanted to be involved, so Family School seemed perfect.
4 1/2 years later, we left Family School this 05-06 school year. The stress was overwhelming and my thought was - If my kids weren't enjoying their education, why would they continue this family tree? They didn't even have the time to be kids. So we made the jump.
I'd bought so many materials with great plans to school thru summers (which never happened because we so needed a break). We've been using a mix of those plus Family School ideas. We have been so much happier as learners and as a family.
I cannot help but feel my kids need more. I'm contemplating using the K12 program because the structure may be easier for us since I run a business at the same time. Has anyone used it? Are there any unbiased evaluations of all the different programs on this site or somewhere?
My heart also tells me to Unschool. What a scary dive that would be coming from a schooled background. But my kids love to learn & explore. Would there be room for both? Are there any kids out there who have been unschooled who would write a story about it from their eyes?
I am hoping to make it to some of the planned field trips and park days soon between driving my kids (crazy) to their lessons. Hope to meet some new faces.
We attended family school last year (until March) and decided to leave also. I have two boys 10 and 8 years old. I had homeschooled them prior to that. We spent maybe 10 -12 hours a week homeschooling prior to Family School. It was some what structured but mostly random with the kids taking the lead on their interests. I decided to go to Family School because like you I thought they needed something more and felt somewhat insecure. At Family School the boys did very well academically and socially so my fears were put to rest and on reflection we decided homeschooling worked the best for our family.
Through my experience with everything, I have learned that happy motivated learners learn and retain because they enjoy it. They have the time to discuss what they learn and make connections and therefore become enthusiastic about learning. School doesn't have to be high intensity drill work in order to learn. Our whole family has enjoyed reconnecting and learning together. I was glad to have gone to Family School because I realized I wasn't doing a bad job eventhough I was not perfect.
There is no one way or a perfect way for homeschooling. Combine ideas and methods so they work for you and your kids. That is the beauty of homeschooling. Have no fear your children will learn and be happy . Give yourself and your children time to decompress from the stress of Family School and then you will be able to find your direction for educating your kids whether it is homeschooling or you decide on a different direction.
Please let me know if I can support you in any way. I wish you the best and I am sure you will do a great job.
There's structure and then there's structure. If you're an unschooler at heart, you're likely to be very unhappy with K-12. I support unschooling philosophy, but we use Sonlight materials and some structure (increasing with time). I love their literature based approach to education, as well as the fact that my kids love to read! I also love the fact that we have plenty of time for them to be kids and for our family to do things together.
Diane mom to ds 8 and dd 6 in the southwest of ABQ
Try http://www.homeschoolreviews.com There are reviews for MANY different programs. We also use Sonlight, and am afraid I'm too much of a control freak to be an unschooler, although I like the idea of it. Not only that I'm too much of a worry wart so instead we are eclectic homeschoolers. Good luck, Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne...that was me 3 years ago. You would be amazed how good the transition has not only been for my daughter...but for me most importantly. I am no longer stressed and worried but confident in my daughters abilities. It has been such a wonderful joy in our life to become unschoolers. I knew in the beginning that unschooling was what I needed to do...but was totally incapable of letting go. I love who I have become. Who knew that unschooling would change my world so much!!!
My suggestion would be to trust in your children and follow their lead. They will let you know if and when they need more structure. I have an 9 year old son and we are in our second year of unschooling after a year at family school....and we are still decompressing. For us, unschooling is the only method possible. My son makes that very clear! When I begin feeling insecure, I turn to Sandra Dodd's website or books by John Holt and David Albert. They all reassure me!
I can see how unschooling works for younger kids, but I'm a little confused how it would work when you start to hit the mid school/high school years. Perhaps it might work better but I remember not wanting to do anything and not being interested in anything as a mid/high schooler. I am 100% sure that there is A LOT I don't know about unschooling. I'm not sure I would even know where to start. I'm also pretty concerned that if I did "let go" that I would not engage her enough and instead of unschooling I would fall eassily into no schooling - my schedule is pretty hectic. I try now to let Cecilia kind of guide what we're doing, for instance, she can either do worksheets, play math games or get on the computer, but she has to do some sort of math - the same goes with reading - she has to either read to me, do studydog, starfall. worksheets etc - she can choose but we have to do it. Th same is true for handwriting, science and social studies. On some level, I think she needs order and schedule (or maybe that's just me) for whatever reason, I think she does better with it. How can that be balanced with unschooling? Sorry to babble - just curious. Jo-Anne
Hi Jo-Anne. Maybe the below websites might help explain. Unschooling is really "thinking outside the box." You have to completely change your thought process and question everything. That is why I love it.
When you say, "let go" and that you would not engage...that is definitely a no-no with unschoolers...we would consider that neglect. Most people think that is what unschooling is. That children just run around (nothing wrong with that though..they are kidlets) and don't do anything and the parents don't pay any attention. Wrong...as an unschooling parent, you have to be very in tune to your kids. I am amazed by talking to people that they have a really bad impression of unschooling and unschoolers. In CA it was not that way..just here in NM. I cannot figure out why???
What you are doing with Cecilia is how I started to edge into unschooling. Once I saw the amazing decisions that Sorscha made for herself...it was easy to let go of everything and trust her completely. She's not an idiot, but I think that we, as adults, can sometimes assume the worst of children and that they will just sit around all day if we don't tell them what to do. Kind of like they are second class citizens or something. Again...wrong. haha
Check out these websites about unschooling high school, college, and now adult unschoolers.
And you were not babbling. I loved your questions and input. We all learn from one another. Hmmm, that's an unschooling thing...can't be taught...unless you want to learn.
Have fun and if you have more questions I would love to help. Also, anyone interested in unschooling is more than welcome to come out to a Rio Rancho Unschooler parkday. There are many other mothers who would love to talk to you. I also suggest checking out the Live and Learn Conference coming here in September.