How close is your reality and your vision of homeschooling?

Discussion in 'General' started by Nancy C, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    We are considering pulling our 6 year old (first grader) our of private school and pursuing homeschooling for him as well as the 4 year old twins (I have been lightly HSing them).

    So, I am pretty overwhelmed and trying to gather as much pertinent information as possible.

    Before you began HSing, what did your vision look like? How close is your daily reality to this initial picture?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!!
  2. Dielle

    Dielle Well-Known Member

    My current reality is not a lot like my initial vision. But I first started thinking about it before I had children, so what did I know? I've homeschooled from the beginning. We started with something rather organized, but intense, using Five in a Row for preschool with Sage. It's based in children's literature/picture books. Then we did unit studies for awhile. Then we moved to being just eclectic homeschoolers for a few years, very relaxed sort of on the unschooling end of the spectrum except for math. And then I did a major change-up in things about a year and a half ago because I just felt it wasn't working well for my family. Now we're using Ambleside Online as a structure for our homeschool (the schedule and information is all free, and many of the books are available online or as epub books, but you'd need to gather them yourself, it's not a package you order). It's a literature based model that I really like. We don't use everything they have in the schedule, but it's a great starting point for us. And we don't look anything like a regular school. My kids are sprawled around the house reading or doing projects or working on scouts, or crocheting, etc. I do have a schedule and it's very relaxed for my K girls, more structured for my 3rd and 6th graders and then more relaxed again for my 8th grader (lots more work, but I don't plan out what she does day-to-day, I give her the schedule for the term, broken down by weeks and expect her to manage her time... though I do occasionally need to help her get back on track).

    One of the biggest things I'd say if you're planning to homeschool is to give yourself some leeway. He's 6. You're not going to screw him up if you choose the wrong spelling program. It can feel very overwhelming, I know. But take some time to "de-school" as they say... just getting school out of your system. And maybe find a co-op or local group that meets once/week. We had one for the first 7 years and LOVED it. It was just once/week for 4 hours, but it really gave some fun flavor to our education, and gave me somewhere to chat with other moms in a similar position. Now my oldest takes a couple classes/week with other homeschooled teens and in addition to our regular studies, we're going to start working merit badges into the schedule for Trey who just earned 1st Class in Boy Scouts and is on track to be Eagle by the time he's 13... without any pushing from us. He's asked for this, so it's how we're working things.

    My point in all of this is that it's ok if it doesn't look like you first imagined. Your imagination as homeschooling mom, will grow and change over time... even if you stuck with the same model of education forever, it would change as your children grew. Good luck! There are days that are stressful, times when I wish I'd done things a little differently (but isn't that life?), ones occasionally that I wish I could have a break, but I've never regretted my decision to homeschool. If anything, as my kids have grown, I'm more happy than ever that I made that choice a long time ago.
  3. Stacy A.

    Stacy A. Well-Known Member

    In my pre-homeschool dreams everything went smoothly. I was always prepared and organized, the kids were always laughing and smiling, and we were whizzing through everything with ease. :rotflmbo:

    However, real life is never like that. And homeschool is real life. So, I am often disorganized and unprepared (part of my may be better at this than me), the kids are sometimes whiny and don't want to do their work, and some lessons are hard.

    But, even in the midst of all that, I wouldn't change it for the world! I love being with my kids and seeing the light of understanding when they first get something.

    A perfect example happened just today. I've been fighting a cold, so I've been off my game for the last few days. I had "planned" on teaching the basics of Roman numerals today. I had one part of my lesson ready (a memory game), but that was it. So, I ended up just writing the numbers on the board and walking through the concept of Roman numeral with them. Then, I asked some questions to see if they understood the concept. When I thought they had the basics, I let them play the memory game while I frantically searched the internet for a worksheet or something to reinforce it. Found nothing. The kids were done with the game, so I cheerfully suggested they play again to get some time to make my own worksheet.

    We both finished at the same time and I gave them the worksheet. DS zipped through it with no problem. DD on the other hand struggled. I realized she had been using what I had written on the board during the game and didn't really understand the concept. So, I sent DS off and sat with DD to go over it again. This resulted in some tears because DD is a perfectionist and hates not being able to do stuff on her own. She feels like she should already know stuff and not have to have help - especially if her brother gets it and she doesn't. But, I tried to stay positive and kept right on explaining the concept step-by-step. As soon as she got it, the tears dried up and she had a huge smile. As she filled in the last few questions with no problem she was laughing. When I double check it and told her she could go get a sticker she was thrilled! Best of all, she now understands the concept and is eager to do more.

    So despite my disorganization, lack of planning, whiny kid, frustration, and the fact that my kids sometimes struggle with concepts, it all turned out great. My kids learned something and they are eager to learn more. At the end of the day, that is my goal.
  4. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I lurk in here all the time. :)

    I never thought I would homeschool in a million years but am giving it serious consideration now that I have kids and live in both an educationally underperforming state and city. My BF also homeschooled her daughter 2 years ago and I saw incredible progress in her in that short year.

    So that's where I'm at and why I lurk. :)
  5. NINI H

    NINI H Well-Known Member

    I evisioned school at home. That is how I started with my first. Homeschooling kind of takes on a life of it's own. It grows and changes just as often as the kids grow and change. I am so very grateful to be able to homeschool. As I see my happy kids discover new things daily. We struggle to find the right curriculum or approach often. But as we muddle through, I realize how blessed my kids are with all the options they have. If something isn't working, you get to change it for each child. It isn't possible to get that flexibility in school. I started out with a full curriculum program and am now very eclectic. I'll probably do things much differently for the twins than I did for the older two.

    When I first started out I was very unsure of myself and nervous of the responsibility that all their knowledge needed to come from me, LOL. Now I realize it isn't nearly as frightening. If I make a mistake, we have time to go back and correct it. We aren't perfect and that's ok. :)
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