Wednesday, September 16, 2009 in homeschooling

Why I still homeschool

It’s September, and there’s been a flurry of back-to-school posts plus the flurry of not-back-to-school posts from the homeschoolers. And in our house we just went along our business. I did get a couple of emails inviting me to guest post elsewhere with our reasons for homeschooling, or our daily schedule, or whatever.

But, you know, we were busy. Doing stuff.

That, I think, is ultimately our homeschooling life. It’s not this “thing” we do. It’s life. It’s why we continue to do so, because it works for us. And yes, we are creatures of habit.

No, we don’t hate school.
No, we don’t hate teachers either. I think they have one of the hardest jobs out there. (the kids are the easy part)
Yes, I think public education needs serious reformation.
No, I don’t think everyone should homeschool.
Yes, I have wished all these kids would go away for a few hours each day.

Most of the time, we just roll along, learning as we go, grownup, children, teens and all. Mostly thing roll off my back. I’ve done this too long to defend myself to others or to get my feathers all ruffled when someone decries homeschooling or unschooling as something that can’t possibly work.

Whatever.

Sometimes, like the other week, when the grocery store clerk was absolutely shocked to hear that homeschoolers actually met up with other homeschooling families and their children *gasp* would play together, I get a little riled. Then again, she also had an opinion when I commented on the final price of my groceries. ‘Well, when you buy stuff like this..” pointing to my frozen boxed goods that we buy only occasionally, and only that week because of a huge looming deadline. I’m sure she did a snap judgment on the lack of vegetables, not knowing that we live across from a veggies stand and have all we can eat now. Thanks for that.

It’s our sixteenth year. Sixteen. In years. We might have a sense of what we are doing now. my family all know it works. Anyone who talks to any of my children – my CHILDREN, not me – for any more than five or ten minutes can clearly see we’re doing something right.

What ever it is, no matter how much they don’t/can’t/won’t understand it.

i know there are people fighting the good fight, being indignant for me, or watchful, and having the arguments. But for me? I’m tired. It’s been 16 years, it just works. Not in theory, not in a long discussion, not in a book.

Three of my children are arguably adults. They are, on their next birthdays, 17, 19, and 22. Two of them no longer live at home and live on their own as adults who have jobs, pay bills, interact in this “real world” people told them about, sometimes while they were active participants. The third one helps run the household, arguably a lost skill. Right now, she’s finishing up painting the kitchen. Unsupervised even. The youngest is 8, almost 9. Still a ways to go there, but like I said above – I think we can handle it.

So in the end, anonymous stranger, I don’t care what you think. Whether you feel my kids don’t get enough contact with other children, or don’t know X by Y, or spend too much time in front of this screen or that, or if home renovation is a useful skill or not, or will they be able to get real jobs or go to a real college, it doesn’t matter. They’ve been educated according to their talents, their needs and their own interests.

Not mine, not yours.

Theirs.

Because in the end, homeschooling my children is all about them. And it will continue to work just fine, thanks.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 in homeschooling

“It just works”

I posted a long reply to an email from our provincial yahoo group, and since the archives are closed, I thought I’d include my reply here. It’s a to mom considering homeschooling.

Hi!

Good for you for even thinking about it. It's my understanding that 
there are TONS of homeschoolers in that area.

I've been homeschooling for... 14? Maybe 15 years, I dunno, I can't 
remember any more. :D I have four children and the oldest two are DONE 
and adults. I only have a 16yo & 8yo, both girls, left. They largely 
teach themselves at this point.

His love of learning will likely be squashed on school. It happens for 
most kids. If you have concerns now, you'll have more when he starts. 
It's better to start homeschooling NOW than put him in school and "wait 
and see". The younger grades require so little work on your part, it 
just makes more sense to homeschool straight away, than to try it after 
he's been trained by the system. You'd have to undo a lot of things, so 
better to begin on the right step.

As for worries about the high school years - you have PLENTY of time and 
MANY options. Also realize you will never cover it all. Schools don't. 
Even a lifetime is not enough to learn everything. Your job is to 
prepare the children for adulthood.

The only other thing I can add is some observations about my two oldest.

Addison (my son - now 21) went to a private Christian school for a year 
and a half. It wasn't any better than public school. He went to public 
school for grades 6 & 7, his choice. It was also his choice to return 
home. He did exceptionally well when he was at school, and he says it 
was because he treated it like a game. Play by the rules of the game, 
then you "win" (ie, get good grades). He had a major accident in grade 
11 and didn't do any work at all. Then he went to NBCC-SJ, took their 
Computer Programming course (2 year program), graduated with a tie for 
the top of the class, and is now working for the Dept of Education in 
their student loan division in Fredericton. He also got married.  ;) 

Sarah (now 18) has been mostly working the last two years to save for 
college. She uses the computer a lot recreationally, and has chosen 
graphic design. She'll be attending the College of Craft & Design in 
Fredericton in September and has already been accepted. They asked her 
to take the GED, so we did - with 3 weeks notice. She passed with flying 
colors in all areas except math. In her case, that was fine as her 
interests didn't need good math marks, so we never worked on advanced 
math over the past couple of years. (She has mainly worked in fast food. 
She's the cashier who can actually give you change, so her math skills 
are good, despite test results.) She also play guitar and has been doing 
some web design work for us. Her current job is working at a computer 
access center and she's just redesigned the center's website, and 
updated 8 others in the next county.

Both of them have stated repeatedly that they are GLAD they were 
homeschooled and didn't have to put up with the ridiculousness of 
school. They got to LIVE their lives, not observe from a classroom or 
read about it in a book. Or waste their time.

As for socialization - if you aren't planning on keeping your kids 
locked up in the house all day and away from everyone, they'll be fine. 
Join a few groups, take them out, make friends wherever you go. Don't 
try to stress about it.

Just try to be a generally good parent, and they'll be far better off 
than any alternative.

Andrea
Friday, November 7, 2008 in homeschooling, My mom drives me crazy

Emma and Mom go on a field trip

It’s pouring rain outside. That means I am writing this while offline and hoping at some point here is enough of a lull to hit the “publish” button.

When last we left our intrepid heroine, we were prepping for a field trip to a historical village. Does anyone else have trouble sleeping if they know they have to get up the next day at a certain time? I guess it’s part of my deep-seated fear of being late (which usually turns out fine anyway).

Emma and I got ourselves ready and out the door quite leisurely, and met our homeschooling group in the parking lot of the local mall. We co-ordinated a bit of carpooling, some snack pickup, and then we were all off again. It was just me and Emma in our own car, as unbeknown to her my mother was meeting us there.

After an hour’s drive down the highway, we took the turn off and didn’t see anyway. I went up to the regular gates.. and they were locked. Weird. Met another mom in the parking lot of the tourist information area and eventually we figured out where we had to be. Inside the entrance pavillion, we all met Emma and joy of joys – Emma found another family with two girls her age! They instantly became bestest friends forever, and would also be in our group. This is double-awesome because unlike the Miramichi group we left that had 6 girls all Emma’s age, this group is 80% BOYS in the 2 to 15 range.

I was a bit antsy as I tried to let people know my mom was coming, was not here yet, and oh by the way, Emma’s doesn’t know and we can’t let her overhear. Our group had to get going, so I let the lady at the desk know that one more person would show up and she looks a lot like me.

We had just settled in our historic house and they were starting the presentation when… *knock knock*. I opened the back kitchen door I was leaning against. “Hi Mom,” I said “Way to make an entrance.” When Emma saw her she went, “MAM! I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE HERE!”, swept her up in a big hug, and half the parents went “awwwwwww!”

Mom did a writeup of the actual educational parts. She helped the kids and I sort of wandered around. It was a really good time, and if you ever have the chance to do something like this, even if it seems expensive, it is totally worth it. I’m biased though, as I love this place and would work there if I could. The employees all dress in character and act like the original homeowners. 😀

(I kept saying “Let’s party like it’s 1899. It rocketh.”)

The boys and girls had been separated, as that was what life was like back then, so when they came together to share information, on Emma’s turn told them her finding in what I call her Announcer Voice, and one of the moms leaned over and said she did a really good job at public speaking.

Our group was done first, Mom and Emma were hungry, so we left. Mom was buying lunch, what could I say? 😀 The rest of the group was staying there for a picnic lunch, which me missed, so I’m going to have to make sure we go to the next whatever we have, as there’s a few parents I’m getting to know better.

Even if there’s a whole bunch of stuff we don’t agree on. 🙂

Apple stringing pinprick art Bare hallway Emma suits up River view Lunch with mam

Friday, June 6, 2008 in homeschooling, some sort of meme

A quiz to keep my homeschooling status

I took the Overachieving Homeschooler’s Quiz and got a 24, which means:

Not even close! Your fellow homeschoolers adore you. We all need to know that, at the end of the day, we could have done a lot worse.

Heh. So feel good about yourselves. I do! 😀

(p.s. – that was a really funny quiz.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 in education, homeschooling, how my children learn

Using technology in your home(school)

Amy  Bowllan from School Library Journal ask me to contribute to a conversation about using technology as a learning tool in the homeschool, and did I ever fill her inbox. 😀 You can read part one here. Long time readers will recognize a lot of it, unschoolers will be nodding their heads. Hopefully a couple of my kids might even chime in.  Although The Boy is now done college and is busy moving for his work co-op as an ASP programmer for the Dept of Secondary Education (talk about proof of concept…), so he might be too busy.

Added bonus: see Sarah using the computer at age 2, and in diapers (cloth, naturally 😉 way back in the dark ages when you had to pin and fold them). And yes I did ask her permission before posting that. Sarah has recently done some work for a local small business, designing posters and brochures, all on computer.

Boy, the first time in a long time where I write pages about some homeschooling topic, and it’s for someone else’s site. 😀

Meet Bobby

This is Bobby. Bobby came to live with us last weekend.

Meet Bobby

Bobby is a result of taking Emma (and the others) out for a wee bit of shopping, where we did not aim for the Dollar Store for a treat, but bumped it up a notch. This is what happens sometimes.

Now Bobby has made friends with Mr Bones and the Visible Woman. Sometimes I find Bobby and his parts in odd places, but mostly I’m just glad the CSI team has not stopped by.

Emma tells me that Visible woman and Mr Bones are an item, and in fact the parents of Bobby, but Bobby himself looks at us haughtily out of his one good eye, and Visible Woman already has a plastic fetus to take care of.

Yeah, I know. We ARE weird.