Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wish List Item #4

4. "Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know."
5. If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

We do not have a child with special needs that can't be met in a public school. We are not over zealous Christians hoping to shield our children from the harsh realities of the world. We are not a military family that moves every few months. We do not have a horror story of abuse and/or maltreatment at the hands of a teacher.

Our choice to homeschool was borne out of a desire to have shared family experiences. You see, our oldest daughter went to school; for Kindergarten, 1st grade and part of second. During those years she went from an only child to an older sister of two siblings. We moved twice, and I went from full time employment to no outside employment. That's a lot of life changes between (then) ages 4 to six. Our daughter would come home from school crestfallen to learn of all the "first's" she missed. Baby's first smile, first laugh, first time rolling over, first steps... her brother and sister were growing up too fast, and she felt as though she were missing most of it.

Our son went to Pre-K several days a week at ages 2 and 3 but did not want to go to Pre-K 4. When it came time for him to decide what he wanted to do about Kindergarten he made his choice with no discussion. The school district registration packet came in the mail one afternoon addressed to him. I told him what it was and left it on the kitchen counter. Dear son picked up that packet and calmly, without a word, put it in the trash. He has never looked back, except to express a slight regret at not riding a school bus!

Now for our last daughter. She is smart as a whip, and much more advanced than the older two were at this age (now 4). This year she is in Pre-school 3 days a week at the same school her siblings attended. While she loves the classes and her teachers, she absolutely despises leaving the house to go to school. We were discussing the idea of Kindergarten while baking cookies yesterday afternoon. Looking up from her chocolate balls and confectioner's sugar she says to me "I'm better off just being homeschooled". Did I mention she's 4?!

Now let me clarify, we do not allow our children to have total say in their school choices. If we sincerely felt a child (such as #3) would be better off in school, they would go. But we do listen to their feelings, and let them know their opinion is valued, then every year we review our choice on a kid by kids basis.

We are very blessed to have a wonderful homeschool network to share field trips and play dates and tips and frustrations and friendships. For us, for right now, this is the absolute best choice for our family.


jean-marie said...

I really like your way of thinkin'. If I don't get a FT teaching job soon (like a leave replacement,) I'm probably in for the long haul of interviews and settling in 'til Sept. In that case, I will want to dive into FT homeschool kindergartening for our 4-year-old in January and am interested in local support groups. Can you give me info about yours?

Natasha said...

I'm glad youre blogging with us. I'm scared to death of what our public school system will be like when its finally time for me to make those decisions.

Your take on these issues are quite intriguing. Thank you for sharing.

Nan Patience said...

When it comes to things as important as family and education, it's good to feel like you're doing what's best, even if it's not what "everybody" does. Having the support of a group such as East End Homeschoolers, of which you're a leader, would make a big difference, too. Good for you!

It sounds like you give your kids' feelings a lot of weight, which is good, then they grow up to feel that they matter, which they do. I give my kids feelings a lot of weight compared to generations past, but not as much as you. I tell my kids, "It's time for school, get your bag, get your coat, if you miss the bus today I'll be mad as heck."

I'm not cut out for homeschooling my kids and think public school is the greatest invention since sliced bread. Where can kids go during the day, be with all their peers, learn from experienced and dedicated teachers, and get gym and recess besides? School! Yippee! Fabulous. Where do we sign up? Hey Little Bird, Monkey, what color composition books do you want?!

Come on, don't take me too seriously. I'm only serious when I'm not joking.

Mom of 3 said...

Nan, you make me laugh out loud!!! In the end, Dadof3 and I have the final say, which does not always coincide with our kids' wishes. But at least they feel like we hear them, even if we don't listen :)

I contacted you privately, and am more than happy to help you get your feet wet.

Public school may not be a bad choice for your child(ren) depending on where you live and what their personalities are like. It is important to realize that you have choices, and that whichever one happens to be right for your family can be implemented without major trauma...usually :)