Hello encouraging ones! My name is Jodi, I am (recently) a stay at home mom with three girls Kylie 10, Serena 3, and Gianna 15 months. We have recently decided to enter the homeschooling world "officially" in the fall. Since Kylie is still in public school, we decided to have her finish out the school year so we could have time to make some decisions in order to be (or feel) somewhat equipped to take this on. We want to be well prepared to handle our girlsí education.
The idea of homeschooling first sparked near the end of the last school year when Kylie was exposed to an ugly situation at school. My first reaction (in my own mind) was to pull her out of school and start homeschooling her. I felt desperate, but thought it probably wouldn't be wise to quickly make such a major decision like that after just having had our third baby, and try to adjust to being a full-time stay-at-home mom, and get ready to move. I knew I needed to think it over more, spend time in prayer, and talk it over with my husband. After all I had no idea what homeschooling was or could be other than having desks set up at home and "doing school" all day long. I wasn't sure that could work for us. Kylie had already been showing signs of boredom with public school. So after some discussion with my husband and seeking an answer from the Lord, I got a bit of confirmation. At this point I had never even mentioned the homeschooling idea to Kylie but soon after the issue at school happened she came up to me and said, "Mom, I think it would be neat if I was homeschooled." I was amazed! I didn't know she even knew what homeschooling was. So from that point on I knew we (or at least I) had to look into this further. My husband wasn't quite on board with the whole idea yet.
After doing some research and then sharing my findings with my husband we both now know that this is definitely what is right for our family. From what Iíve read and found out about homeschooling so far, I have a much broader picture of what homeschooling can be. Wow the unlimited possibilities, itís very exciting!
Although we know this is the direction we are to take, "fear of the unknown" messes with my head. So needless to say my confidence level is that of inadequacy on some days. But that is where you come in, I hope. I have made a couple of other attempts to get involved with other support groups, without much success I have read many posts on this site, and that alone has given me encouragement. This seems to be a very welcoming and diverse group.
Iím comforted to see many others so passionate about their kids and their futures. It's great to know that there are so many of you out there willing to help out us newcomers as we "take the plunge" into homeschooling. Hope to meet some of you soon!
I know exactly how you feel! I am new to this as well.....I am still scared to take my 6 year old, Robert out of school next year...I have started homeschooling my 3 year old, Kylie (how funny is that) and she is doing great.......we just started doing letteroftheweek.com and wow, it is amazing....she loves it! We will all learn together how to make this work and be successful.
Glad to meet you, hope to get to know you better!!
Quoted from Lopez5, posted March 13, 2007, 9:11pm at here
We have recently decided to enter the homeschooling world "officially" in the fall. Since Kylie is still in public school, we decided to have her finish out the school year so we could have time to make some decisions in order to be (or feel) somewhat equipped to take this on.
Hi, Jodi and Amber!
While I generally don't recommend waiting long to take a child out of a bad school environment, I can see some benefit while your child is still in school.
I recognize that it's frightening to feel as if you're taking your child's future in your hands, and I have an idea for you. While you're researching curriculum choices, look carefully at your child's current school work. Ask yourself whether their homework is something you would respect in a curriculum you were considering.
Sometimes when you realize what the standard (PS) really is, it helps reduce the fear.
Thanks Amber! It is somewhat encouraging to know that there are others in the same boat huh? That's neat that we both have a "Kylie" with the same spelling too! So, the letter of the week that you just started online, is that a curriculum you bought/are paying for? I've heard about that. I don't yet have my 3 year old on a preschool curriculum yet. I will have to check that one out. I've mainly been looking into how to start out with Kylie since she will be in 5th grade next year! Yikes! Have you met others or been to a park day yet?
Yes, Diane, I agree with you. Seeing the standard does reduce the fear some. Thanks for the tip. I will remember to keep things in perspective when I tend to slip into anxiety. I'm trying to surrender my (oxymoron) "perfectionist" mode.
You are right, this is an amazing and supportive group, and I'm glad you found us!
Making the decision to homeschool is, indeed, a big one. Every now and then I still get hit with a little panic attack because of the sheer responsibility of being the sole educator of my child. Then I step back and realize that I'm more of a facilitator...He's his educator; I just help along. I also take a deep breath and a hard look at our education system and realize that even on my worst, most unproductive days I'm far better than any public school out there.
At the risk of sounding like a homeschooling zealot, I think EVERYONE should homeschool their kids. The opportunities you can expose them to are priceless and the ways in which to homeschool are so endless that I'm certain there's a style out there that's a perfect fit for every family.
We all understand the anxiety that goes along with this decision, we've all been there. The thing to remember is that there is so much more to learn than what comes "in the box". And although some homeschoolers do the whole desk and classroom thing, most of us are much more casual than that. My son, who is 4 does some of his best learning in the car, in the bathtub and at the dinner table. We do have curriculum that we use for a few subjects, but flexibility is the key to keeping learning exciting and fun!
Take a deep breath, determine what your goals are, and the best way to get there. One common thing that new homeschoolers tend to do, is spend tons of money!! Although some of the curriculum is well worth the money, be careful about getting "caught up". It's amazing how quickly you can spend if you don't have a plan first.
Most of all, enjoy. You've given yourself the opportunity to develop the kind of relationship with your kids that most parents dream of.
Dannie and Shari...and others, thanks you so much for taking the time to respond to my intro. I can tell that once I meet you "real" homeschoolers and hear about your "real" experiences I will feel much more at ease. Like Shari said, The thing to remember is that there is so much more to learn than what comes "in the box". There is a whole world of possibilities out there! The more and more I read and find out about all this the more I tend to agree with Dannie too that "everyone should homeschool." But of course it's natural to be zealous about the things we are most passionate about...our kids! Thanks again!
I do appreciate you sending me that blog! You know, that thought has crossed my mind. Why not start now? I mentioned that to my husband a couple of weeks ago but he is set on really having a plan and curriculum to go by. It's kinda hard for him to let go of "formal training" since that is what he is used to and has always excelled at. Kylie, like me, is more of a free thinker and does better with spontaneity and variety. I hate sending her off to school everyday, I want her home with us and I think that is what she wants too. I do admit though that this is my security blanket... I'm holding on to the fact that she is still in school for a couple more months and I have this time and the summer before we take the big plunge. Silly huh? I let my insecurities get the best of me. I know there are way more pro's vs cons to pulling her out and just starting now. I will pray that my husband would be in agreement. Chris and I want to take the girls to Disneyland (as a surprise) this summer so we are just "waiting" until Kylie gets out of school. Maybe I could just say, why wait??
Is it really true that the schools don't really introduce anything important after testing time? That's interesting. I guess that wouldn't surprise me though.
Hi Jodi, I did the same thing this year. I have three girls in school and had problems with the schools and took all three of them out. I have one in 5th grade too. They were all excited to be homeschooled. While I was deciding if it would work out, they couldn't wait. So good luck you will enjoy it. It is a lot of work, but it's great. Chauntel
Thanks, Chauntel, for the encouragement! Isn't it interesting that (from what I've heard so far) the kids are always the ones so excited and ready to jump into the idea of homeschooling but it's usually us parents who tend to fret over the idea. Maybe I should take a tip from the kids, just relax and go with it and trust that everything will work out and fall into place. Thanks!
Well, gosh, I just ditto all the wonderful stuff everyone's already said! It's all so true . . .
Tip #1: The first year of homeschooling is all about YOU (as mom) finding your confidence and your groove. That is THE #1 most important thing . . . because YOU are leading the ship and the captain must be confident. Truly, be easy on yourself this year and just take one-step-at-a-time. You're going to find yourself re-focusing, re-affirming, questioning and re-deciding about 1,000 times. Keep coming back to your personal truths, hear the voice of god (truth) regarding raising your children, and feel out your own family's needs . . . you can't go wrong doing that.
I want to give you some hope. Something about finishing the first year of homeschooling (going through all the different seasons) will make you feel very settled. (Just as when you move into a new house . . . you have to experience each holiday, and every kind of weather, there for it to really feel familiar . . . ) Such it is with any change, I propose . . .
You can't go wrong by just focusing on your relationship right now. Reconnect with your kiddies. Get close again. Really get to know them inside-and-out . . . and then you'll be able to customize their homeschooling experience in a voracious way! It's gonna rock! And it'll be SO FUN and SO REWARDING in the process!
All you need this year is: your car, your kitchen, the great outdoors, and the library. (I read that in a recent homeschooling article) It's so true, though!
Tip #2: Join this group . . . become a member. Why? It's free! There are TONS of nice people/kids/families here! There are ALL SORTS of field trips, cooperatively-taught-interactive classes (very gentle and fun), social gatherings, family dances, and even a Celebration of Success party each year! If anyone's warning you about "The Socialization Issue", well here's a solution for you! We socialize our brains out quite often and the kids are REALLY welcoming. The group IS diverse and really interesting! Can't speak highly enough about the alliance-building, teamwork that goes on in this particular co-op (the only one I'm currently familiar with right now).
Tip #3: While you're finding your groove, put rigidity aside. Liberate yourself from the "shoulds", "what could have beens" . . . remember, your child has even asked for this closeness called homeschooling. The world's your oyster and this is a great time for you to just open up your mind and see how you can help your children be the best THEMS they can be. If someone starts judging you, realize that may happen and just focus on what matters . . . that you, ultimately, are the parent with the say-so. There is TONS of support out there. Yes, some of us have disapproving relatives; but, even they are wow'd by the children eventually. And if not, they're very close-minded . . . it is wise to not worry about their opinions and to trust your family's decision. After all, you are the unit that matters most . . . and the only unit you'll have to look back upon when they are grown-up.
Jodi, congratulations and best wishes! I hope we meet you soon at an event or a park day!
By the way, there is a VERY COMMON process that occurs when kids begin homeschooling. It's called DESCHOOLING. Have you ever heard of that? It might be really helpful to know about it because it's going to seem like they're regressing or unwinding . . . that's VERY normal at first. The length of the "DESCHOOLING period" is in direct correlation to how long the child was in the system. They may resist books and/or any form of "formal learning" until they get their frustrations and anxieties (about what happened to them while in the system) processed. Like you, they are finding their identity. For the first time, peer pressure is no longer an issue and they are redefining themselves. Also, the judgments passed from teachers no longer is relevant . . . much of what they've learned about themselves is reframed. Their worldview paradigm is shifted a bit . . . yes, they get to step out of the box because they are no longer "just a number." Just want to encourage you that they WILL recover, become more positive, and become more interested after this process of deschooling occurs . . . it's like a system purge! (Think of how you felt each summer when school was let out . . . it's the same thing . . .)
Thanks-Oh-So-Much for all of your wonderful words of encouragement! Wow you really have a way with words to put a gal at ease! I haven't been on the board much this summer....well, because it's summer! I will take your advice and join the group! That's all I needed, was a little nudge. Admittedly, it is a little scary...so many new things to encounter. I realize I need to break out of my (shyness) shell a bit and expose my kiddos to it all! Its sounds like a lot of fun - all that you mention about the group......field trips, gatherings, classes, dances, and just to celebrate and embrace this wonderful commonality we all have with each other called homeschooling.
About the whole DESCHOOLING thing....I really haven't heard too much about that. I guess I do anticipate some of the resistance you speak of. We hope to have a much different approach to school than what she (Kylie,10) was used to. I get excited about it too and frequently tell her that I will be learning right along with her since school for me growing up wasn't enjoyable or stable therefore much of it didn't stick, unfortunately ...but that's ok right??? From what I hear, it's never too late to learn!
Carissa, all of your tips and info are so much appreciated - especially the "putting rigidity aside" ......so many great reminders!
Thought I'd pipe in here. I don't know why, but for some reason, this thread has slipped under the wire and I hadn't noticed it, until now.
Jodi, Your situation, experience, and feelings sound so similar to mine when we were at that same stage almost 4 yrs ago.
You see, I, like, you, felt that God was telling me to build a proverbial homeschool ark, but I didn't want to listen. He wanted me to get going, while I was unsure and distrusting. My hubby wasn't much help either. He leans towards procrastination, like a moth to the flame.
And I had a new baby, and had no idea if I could juggle teaching my twin boys while caring for a little baby.
A bunch of situations kept occurring, among them:
1)my sons playing during recess with 3 other classrooms and only one teacher. Having to take one of my sons to the hospital to receive stitches after some of the children, unsupervised with only one teacher, were throwing rocks and chasing other kids.
2)Bullies picking on my kids until finally my kids started fighting back, because the teachers did nothing. My kids are tall, and because the bully was small, my kids got blamed! My sons were very frustrated and feeling hopeless. It promised to just escalate.
3)Teachers placing my sons between Spanish speaking children, just so she could separate them from talking Spanish. The plan bombed when the kids just talked OVER my sons, or passed notes back and forth to each other. My sons were constantly distracted and irritated. The teachers refused to do anything, because moving the Spanish speaking kids would halt their English Immersion experience....
4)Jackson loves computers, and he always had to wait for a turn each week to use one. And often he missed his opportunity and was very frustrated.
5) Jeremiah has some special needs and requires time to complete a project. If he is told to hurry up, so the rest of the class can move on to the next subject or project, he gets anxious and upset. He needs to have complete focus on something without interruptions. If he doesn't complete something the way he wants it, then he is an unhappy camper. He also loves to do art, but he and his classmates were told constantly to finish up their projects at home, while he was really into what he was doing and didn't want to stop. And why should a child stop their learning and enjoyment? Would you?
6)One of my sons' teachers, who was also his brother's teacher (and who had done a super job teaching him the year before) became pregnant early in the year. She had a complicated pregnancy and missed many days going to appts, taking time off for rest, etc. My son had a very difficult year and fell far behind because of the lack of consistancy, the worry for his sick teacher, and the influx of babysitter-substitute teachers.
7)Jackson's teacher making the entire class re-do an English test, just bacause Jackson mispelled Ship...and spelled it Shit, instead. She couldn't just come to me and tell me what happened, nor could she just mark it incorrect on Jackson's test. No. She lied to the class and said that she had lost the tests and asked the class to retake it. >
There were many other things that occurred during their 1st grade and part of 2nd grade. But 4 weeks into 2nd grade, I knew that homeschooling was our best option, and I needed to do it now and not wait. My hubby kept saying, let's just wait until October...then November, then after the New Year, etc. I told him I knew what God wanted me to do. I prayed hard, did my research, joined a homeschooling support group and asked tons of questions. Then I marched into my childrens' school with our Letters of Intent (SC Law) and gave them to the bossy front desk secretary, who at first tried to give my sons a Tardy Slip for being 4 minutes late! lol
Then we were FREE!!!
I jumped right into a School-at-Home program with school desks and schooly material, instead of giving us some time to de-school and adjust to our new routine and lifestyle. Jackson & Jeremiah went along with it, though. They were just appreciative to be able to stay home and learn in the comfort of our home without any stress, deadlines, or confinement.
After talking, crying, laughing, and sharing with some fellow homeschooler friends in my old homeschool support group, I realized that my family needed to take some time off from 'school', and learn in a more natural environment....outside, hands on and seeing how the world works.
So, we immersed ourselves in museums, zoos, visiting community events and businesses, talking with all sorts of interesting people, learning about geography, cultures, and local laws. Then we went outside and studied bugs, fish, birds, water, plants and a million other things. We caught lightning bugs, we captured tadpoles and watched them turn into frogs, we listened to all sorts of music, and researched all of the classical musicians. We moved onto art, visiting museums and researching the internet, and getting our hands covered in paint, glue, markers, and all sorts of sticky things.
Our family watched dozens of shows on the Science and History channels, discussing everything that we were amazed by. We read books by the ton, laughing, crying and jaws dropping at the fascinating places the books carried us.
We sat outside under the clouds and looked at charts and talked about different cloud types. We discussed weather, lightning and storms. We were awed by nature's fury and earthquakes, volcanos, and tsunamis. Then we looked at stars and planets through a microscope and created models to hang from our ceiling. We watched Bill Nye the Science Guy and the Magic School bus. Learning never stops. It is all around us.
Math seemed more challenging to integrate into a free-learning environment, until we realized we were living math all around us. We counted everything, we cooked, mixed, poured, divided, and conquered math. And had fun!
Homeschooling has been such an amazing journey for us, and the best has happened since we took the pressure off and realized that learning is not reserved for desks and chairs or with someone preaching and dictating to us. Learning is a journey. Learning is not filling a pail with water, it is the lighting of a flame.
Jodi, If you every feel like talking, sharing, or need someone to listen and give support, don't hesitate to contact me, ok?
I've been there...and done that....well, actually I'm still doing that. Learning never stops...for all of us.
Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my intro. I went to the "Sprayground Day" last month but I unfortunately missed meeting you because Carissa told me that you all had already left. She mentioned you specifically, since your twins and Kylie are the same age. She also said what nice, nice people you are!
This group seems so great!!! Just reading everyone's posts really put me at ease that yes, you've all been in this place too. I've only been to one park day, the sprayground day, and the parade so I have met very few of you thus far. I'm sure that will soon change with fall rolling around.
Lisa, I could so relate to your stories and feel your pain about your boys and the struggles they faced in PS. It's really heartbreaking to know that a good deal of PS'ed kids are faced with these ever-increasing corruptions, my prayers go out to them. I can sense Kylie's relief that she doesn't have to face the bullies at school anymore, yet I want to create a balanced feeling in her and reduce the anxieties of those painful memories as she WILL be out in the world again someday BUT then she will be well-equipped!
Your son, Jeremiah, sounds a lot like Kylie. She is also artsy and tends to need frequent nudging. Though she's never been tested, I suspect she may also have some limitations that hinder her from keeping up with everyone else. I could definitely see how she could fall through the cracks in "the system."
It sounds like you have been on a wonderful adventure with your kids since the day you "marched into that school with your letters." Good for you. It's so encouraging to hear about your situation, where you've been and how far you've come.
Thank you so much for your encouragement and your open offer of support. I'm sure we'll meet someday soon, I look forward to that.
Oh! P.S. I so love your sense of humor, you frequently have me laughing aloud at your posts!!!