Hello everyone, I didn't know exactly where to post this but I am trying to make the final decision to homeschool and I felt that this would be a good place to start. I am a SAHM of 2 boys (ages 3 & 5). I moved here two years ago from the Gulf Coast area. I have always considered homeschooling, since before my children were born. My oldest just turned 5 so we have been exploring the school choices in the area. The only school I see slightly appealing is the Family School. Children are grouped by K-4 and attend 4 hrs a day M-Th. Does anyone know more about this school and how it compares to the public schools and homeschooling? I understand that people choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons but I would like to know if others here have any knowledge of this school or have had their children attend at one time. Anything you can share, opinions or otherwise, will be very helpful! Thanks! Amy
I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I'd be happy to share why we decided to homeschool as opposed to Family School. I have known families who do Family School, and they seem to like it quite a bit, and it got me interested in it as well. It seemed like the kids were doing really elaborate projects even in Kindergarten, and I was, at the time, not sure if I could homeschool..."Right" for lack of a better word. I believe most parents who come to the idea of homeschooling come to it with shakey confidence at best, and I was no exception. To me, the idea of not having to really think about what to teach my son seemed appealing. But the more I looked into it and the more I hung out with actual parents who homeschooled, the more I realized that Family school just wasn't for us. With all the instruction needed at home, it seems easier to just homeschool instead of to spend that much time following APS curriculum. True, he'd be at school only a half day, but the other half day wouldn't be ours to do as we wished. It'd be spent on instruciton and homework. 10-15 hours a week. In the end I decided that for our family, it would be better to homeschool him myself, that way I wouldn't have to follow anyone's curriculum but ours. I have the freedom to take time off, to go to the zoo, to follow his passions and interest, and to play.
Dannie, Thank you for taking time to address my concerns and share your insight!
I felt this way as well. If I will be spending so much time with assignments, then I might as well homeschool. And I wonder how different it is from public school. The only small plus I see in the Family School is that it is 1/2 day and that your child can be with other children and work together. Of course the classes are K-4 and while I don't mind him being around children of this age....up to 10yrs olds....on a learning level, I feel that it could cause some frustration and low self-esteem. But I do worry about my son getting enough interaction with others. My husband and I are not real out going so to speak, we have no family here on either side (only a limited amount of friends) and with homeschooling, more effort is needed to get children involved with activities and other events. My son almost never gets to play with other kids except his brother. I take them to story time at the library and notice that he really enjoys listening to the librarian and being around other kids...this makes me question how successful homeschooling would be for us and if he would do better and be happier in a school environment. But my heart is really in homeschooling. Something just tells me that it is the best route but I am really confused and not so sure about the so called "socialization" part of it. Anyway, that's my sob story. Thanks again for your thoughts. If you or anyone else has anything to add....please feel free!
Ah yes...What about socialization? That is the most common argument against homeschooling; both by non-homeschoolers and by parents who are considering it.
Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for everyone, just for us. I've never been terribly outgoing, always been happier with one or two close friends than with an entire network of aquaintences, and even still, I find myself nervous in front of groups. But public school was not going to happen, private school wasn't an option, family school wasn't right for us, and deep down I've always wanted to homeschool my child, even years before his conception. The thing that I've found in my homeschooling journey, is that socialization just isn't an issue. The number one thing I did that helped me was to find a local group and actively participate. At first it was really scary, but I knew that I would need support and that my kiddo would need some friends, especially as an only child. I made attending park days and activities a priority, and little by little I saw an amazing thing happen. Not only did my son make friends and develop relationships, but so did I. I found that before I could shake my head and violently resist it, I had an entire network of not aquaintences, but of friends. Real friends whom I could call up and chat with. Friends that could invite themselves over and that, likewise, I could invite myself over. Before I realized it I was so busy living life, doing things, making playdates (for him AND me!) and joining in activities or classes that the socialization issue just stopped being an issue at all. Before I could understand the change, I was able to answer the socialization question with "Are you joking? He spends time interacting with people of all ages. Some of his best friends are 4 years older or 2 years younger than he is. He can approach a grown up and ask questions without feeling nervous...Socialization is NOT what happens in school..."
I would truly advise any new homeschooler to find a group that suits them and their family and make a real effort to join in and participate. Fortunately, the world gets more and more homeschool friendly every year, and there is a lot to do, but having friends to do it with is amazingly helpful.
We homeschool here in Albuquerque also and what we do to support interaction is: - link-up with local homeschoolers for activities & playdates (ie. free membership and no-strings-attached membership in this group is great . . . and there are many co-ops to choose from, too options are great for newbies) - volunteer at local community centers where they can also make friends with senior citizens w/our close supervision - sign-up for 4-H, boy/girl scouts, or whatever interests your kiddo . . . the library = a great start - attend "Around Town" events http://220.127.116.11/cgi-bin/forum/Blah.pl?b-HSAT/
These are a few ideas . . . It's a whole new way of thinking outside of the box - isn't it free-ing?
My favorite response to the socialization issue is how teachers always say "We are not here to socialize!" and how they put kids' names on the blackboard for speaking out of turn, etc. And how recesses are shorter-in-time and fewer-and-far-between. This no child left behind business is a real mess for our growing kids, huh?!
I was where you were a year ago. Except add a newborn. I know folks who LOVE Family School, though they admit it gets stressful because there is a lot of work. I went to several of the meetings, trying to soak it all up and figure out what the reality of it would really be for us. And it looks like a fantastic program, academically! But SO MUCH work. For a kindergartner, I felt like I would spend less time homeschooling than family schooling. With a newborn, that seemed overwhelming. Plus, the thought of getting 3 kids ready to be there at 7:30am was also daunting! Plus, there is really no room for flexibility in the lessons/curriculum. It is entirely structured by the teacher. Perhaps you can count music lessons in your hours, but pretty much the rest of it is spoken for already. Finally, there were a LOT of parent meetings, and not necessarily WITH childcare. That was up to the teacher.
Oh yeah...most Family School folks will also tell you the teacher makes all the difference. Though they do try to match families and teachers well.
Family School is, I feel, everything public school SHOULD be: multi-age classrooms, teachers who intimately know your kid, parents who are actively involved in teaching AND the classroom, good communication between all, no grades, student involved assessments, a community, shorter days. In my experience, those who stay do so because they are very happy there. The rest eventually fall away.
I'd like to point out that for elementary school, 4 hours is way more than half a day. I just realized, too, you're talking about Kindergarten. Four hours is pretty long for K, IMHO.
Anyway, the weeks that we have places to go four days are really overwhelming to us--I prefer some days out and some at home--a balance. Also the family school location is pretty far for us.
We use Cub Scouts for group interaction--an hour a week there, plus park day and neighborhood play seems like plenty for my ds. Dd does Brownies, ballet, and park day. She'd like more interaction, but there are just few girls in our neighborhood.
It wouldn't work for us, but the people who use it like it.