I originally wanted to homeschool because Monster 1 is an A.D.H.D. insomniac. Instead of medicating him I wanted to teach him to deal with it. There are days I regret that choice. Aside from knowing that the public school system would pressure me to medicate him; I worried about how he would function in a public school setting. Would he be able to resist pulling Susie’s hair? How long could he realistically sit in a desk? How is a teacher going to handle him? Don’t get me wrong. Monster 1 is a sweet kid. He is very kind and will go out of his way to help anyone. But he does have terrible impulse control. Even for a 10-year-old.
My husband was originally against it. What about socialization? How do you even homeschool? How much does it cost? (We will deal with all these questions later) Thenthishappened.
The year before Monster 1 was to start school they arrested this teacher. At the school he would have gone to. He was producing child pornography as a side gig to teaching 3rd grade drama. Uhhhhh, no. So we homeschool.
What about socialization?
This is the question I get the most. What about it? At what other point in life are we expected to sit in desks around other people roughly our own age? Rather than pigeon holing them in a group I choose to expose them to a wider range of people. Remember that any plan begins with the end goal in sight. (Yes, there’s even a plan for raising the kids.) I’m not raising children. I am raising 4 men and a woman. They don’t need to be taught how to be children. They have that down.
At this stage in their lives they do need room to play and be accepted on their level though, and that is provided for. We have various home school groups, 4-H, and our local library is very supportive of home school families. The rather old-fashioned idea of “neighborhood kids” is still very alive and well too. Just kick the little monsters outside for a while and they will come back with more. I promise.
How do you homeschool?
Well, that depends on the child. Public schools may try to cater to your individual child with an Individualized Education Program if necessary, but they have 20+ other kids in the class too. I have 4 other kids in 3 classes. See the math there? Each class can only move as fast as the slowest student. Which leaves the über smart kid, and I like to think all my kids fall under this category, bored. When they get something we can move forward instead of having to wait on little Billy to get it too. Each of my kids can move at their own pace and we can make sure they get it before moving on. I do think each of them is ahead of their age group because of this. You have to figure out what works for you and your child.
So what do we do?
From un-schooling to tiger parenting, there are a lot of guiding theories. I am probably somewhere in the middle but leaning towards un-schooling between the 2 extremes. I encourage them to learn and always be curious. They see me researching any little thing that crosses my mind and they ask questions. They love collecting “Fun Facts” about all the world around us and we talk. We talk a lot, read constantly, and incorporate school into every aspect of our lives. They each learned to count and add while stacking wood. I taught them to read by reading to and with them. Monster 1 struggled with learning to read until he found a show on Netflix he wanted to watch. But it was in Japanese with captioning. After struggling for a year to get the kid to read – he mastered it in a matter of weeks. Whatever motivation works.
They do still have book work. North Carolina does require testing once a year and I make sure we master the levels they will be tested on for that year. We hate testing.
Who wants to be quiet all day?
It’s like taking the kid for shots. They hate it. I hate it. But done it must be. Not only does it ensure your kid knows all they are supposed to, it highlights what still needs work. So it must be done. We still hate it.
What are the legalities of homeschooling?
It depends on your state. North Carolina requires registering your homeschool and the number of students in it. Standardized tests and an attendance record for the year are also required. More information about N.C. specifically can be found here. Some states have very rigid requirements and others have almost none. Look through the requirements. You may be surprised at how much of public school is just filling time. North Carolina requires grammar, reading, spelling, and math. What about history? What about science?
How much does it cost to homeschool?
This is also entirely with in your control. Completely free curriculum can be found online like easy peasy allinonehomeschool.com or you can sign up for any number of paid programs. You can buy workbooks likethesethat we use for our book work. All of my monsters started on ABCmouse.com and loved it.
What if you don’t know what you’re doing?
Resources do exist for issues beyond your skill set. Monsters 2 and 4 have been through speech therapy. For awhile Monster 1 was in therapy for his A.D.H.D. There are countless resources and help online. Your local library can be a great resource as well, check out their monthly calendar for programs. Our family doctor made the referrals for speech and A.D.H.D. therapy.
When is the school year?
Public school systems run 180 days a year and usually Mon-Fri. We have school year round and run from Tuesday through Saturday just because that’s what works for us. As a result, our lives are more flexible and so much easier. Something comes up like a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day and we can schedule around it instead of just missing that lesson. The crazy hectic week leading up to Thanksgiving or Christmas? No big deal to take it off. That first really nice day after a long cold winter and rainy spring? Ditch school and go to the park. These days are few and far in between but it is nice to have the option. Still check your state’s requirements.
No one said it was easy.
But it is worth it. In a lot of ways it is easier than the public school route. I don’t have to schedule teacher conferences. Bullying is not a problem. We can get first appointments instead of being crammed in at the end of the day. I know exactly how and what my children are being taught.
The public school year is 2 months old here. A child I know, while riding the bus, was dropped off at the wrong school. A teacher has already been accused of punching a 9-year-old student. In the face, with a closed fist. Another pedophile has been found in an elementary school. 2 of those are in my county. All of them are in my state. I avoid the news channels so all this is just what came across my Facebook. Since we homeschool I don’t have to worry about any of these things affecting my kids. I do pray for the children who are affected.
homeschooling has been awesome for us. Not everyone is in a place in their lives that it’s possible and I count our ability to as a huge blessing. I do believe that our children’s lives are enriched for it. Instead of reading about dinosaurs we have the flexibility to go see them. All kids love drive thru petting zoos. An aquarium trip is school too! An added bonus is how much you will learn.
Sawfish at the aquarium
So do you homeschool? Why or why not? Any questions, please feel free to contact me!