Homeschooling- When We Decided We Were Ready

Homeschooling. I won’t even waste my time going over all of the stereotypes. You are probably thinking of one right now. I have to say that I have gone from being totally against it, to being so excited about it I find it hard to sleep at night. For about a year I have slowly collected books, organizing drawers, pencils, paper, construction paper, paint, workbooks, and other materials, as well as researching homeschool blogs, support groups, curriculum, learning styles, and a million other things. The more I learned, the more I liked it. I was reserved as to how having the kids at home all the time (like Summer) would be and wanted to make sure we all got alone time, and the kids were able to socialize.

My Reasons:

#1: After watching my 4th grader struggle with math homework for 2 hours after being in school for 8 hours a day, and then watching her stress out at the age of 8 when she was in third grade over the Texas State Test, and sometimes finding her in tears over the demands to keep up with her peers in school, I really wanted to take control of her education. She is smart. So smart. She is a great reader, she has a great imagination, she actually likes science and technology stuff, but like most of the kids these days, she hates math. They moved too quickly to prepare for this state test…they covered everything fast and only an inch deep, then on to the next one. Public school was not all I had hoped it was…but what were my expectations really?

#2: The school was not the one to blame because it was a great school. It was small (like she had 24 kids in her grade, 12 kids to a class) enough so she could get one on one attention. Her reading improved exceptionally when we moved from a big public school near a military installation to the small country one when she was in Kindergarten. We knew all the teachers and even the principal called our family by name every morning we dropped them off. It was a great school, but the Texas Education System is what failed. We were active parents when our kids were attending school. Always at the parent teacher conferences, emailing the teachers, etc. We were helping our daughter understand her homework….a lot. We teach them something everyday, so I know she learns things.

#3 & #4: My Kindergartener and fourth grader would tell us what they would learn in school that day…sometimes…when we thought of every way to ask them that is humanly possible. At times, when they would tell me something that they learned it was very one sided and did not show the whole picture. For me, several instances came to mind. The way some of our nation’s leaders are portrayed (positive and negative), the history of slavery, the history of the women’s movement, the civil war, the 9/11 Terrorist Attack, our banking system, our judicial system….ok…really everything it seems right? Through my life, I learned there are always two sides of the story and that a government is too big can be detrimental. Call me crazy…believe me I am used to it…but if you are following my blog, we have similar mind sets……I know that you know that there is something way bigger than us that is happening right now in our time of life. We just believe in having an open mind, research, research, research, form your own opinion, don’t develop straw men theories, and have solutions, not problems. It took me 29 years to figure that out. My kids get a head start, and I only imagine the change they will bring to those around them and even farther.

The #4 reason is that I never could get them to tell me anything they learned. Not that it wasn’t happening, but that it was of so little interest to them that they totally pushed it to the short term memory and will probably completely forget what they learned the next morning. I get it, learning can’t be fun all the time…but I still don’t get it. Kids learn all of the time….no matter what is happening….what we WANT them to see and what we DON’T want them to see. So relax…your kid is learning something, trust me. 🙂

#5: Don’t judge me, but…I hate getting my kids up early to accomplish an important task, like starting their day which was usually hurried (even waking up early), messy, crying from brushing hair, can’t put pants on, shirts are too tight, I forgot to make lunch, where are my shoes, where are your shoes, and utter chaos=unneeded stress. My great well behaved kids (they really are, military dad helps with smooth efficiency lol) are not morning people. Most kids aren’t..but after reading many studies about kids not getting enough sleep or working best in their natural cycles it started to make me think. No, I don’t believe in the total free loving mind set of unschooling (no judgement here, rock on unschoolers because some of my methods may be unschool-ish at times) and letting my kids sleep and wake when they want. But I do believe in a calm stress free environment (when i can control it, which is most days..unless I am feeling a little moody:/ but that self meditating helpful hint is for another article!) where there are no tears but happy faces and rested, healthy bodies.

#6: Sickness. I hate seeing my kids sick. I love going barefoot outside, and yes I believe some germs are good…but these new strains and mutated bugs are all a little too creepy for me. I took my kids out of school when the scare of the ebola virus was going on in October 2014 and it was about 30 minutes from our town. Too close and not worth the risk. I was tired of the yearly flu we would all get, or sporadic stomach bugs, strep throat, and whatever crap was going around school. No lice, thankfully….but they wouldn’t last in my tea tree oil oasis of a home, lol. That really was an easy one 🙂

AND ANY OTHER PERSONAL OR FAMILY REASONS YOU HAVE FOR TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATION, AND YOUR FAMILY’S PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH.

Rainy Day Project: Home Made Weather Stations

Rainy Day Project: Home Made Weather Stations

“It is up to you to choose your life’s journey.” – MC

How homeschooling provided solutions for my reasons above:

#1: In Texas, the homeschool law is very simple. Teach your kid reading, spelling, grammar, arithmetic, and good citizenship http://www.thsc.org/homeschooling-in-texas/state-requirements/ – so the law is easy to follow, no state mandated tests, no attendance (although we do keep attendance..nothing wrong with covering your A**), no monitoring or hovering of the state or federal government. I purchased Cathy Duffy’s 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum (http://cathyduffyreviews.com/) and dove in. It had everything. I purchased programs for my kids’ learning styles, and now, we get work done without tears or frustration. They still take tests form the programs or ones I create, or with flashcards, but there is no unneeded stress from tests that really mean nothing to a kid’s passions, or aptitude for learning. When your 6 year old is flying through her math workbook, and your 4th grader is finally having “AHA” moments, then you know they are really getting it…and liking it!

#2: We are now ultimately and solely responsible for what our children learn and how much they learn. Wow that was and is a scarey realization. You mean, I can teach my kindergartener to read, add, and all that stuff? I can re-teach my 4th grader multiplications? What about algebra? What do I do??? Yeah I went down the rabbit hole with my fears, but then, as we always do, we dust off the negativity and jump, head first. It totally worked. I have the confidence now after all of my research, the Cathy Duffy book, and just DOING IT to teach my kids.

#3: They get the whole story. We tell them multiple theories on what happened in history, we talk about it, and then they decide what they feel is correct. For instance, my kids and even myself had never learned that the first slave owner was a black man, and he owned a black man (Anthony Jackson, you look it up for yourself. Antonio Jackson is listed as well.) There were white slaves/indentured servants who worked off their debts for crimes, or not being Christian, being Irish, Polish, whatever. Some were owned by black slave owners. I am not saying this to get into a debate, just do your own research, which is what point I am proving. We teach our kids to do their own research. They have a laptop with a kid search engine, and they are learning to use it to look up everything. I am wanting my kids to grow up knowing there does not have to be labels on people. As I grew up a bit differently, than that. But I changed, educated myself, and opened my mind to A completely different world I once thought EXISTED! 🙂

#4: I knew what they were learning in school!! We talked about it all day, at dinner, and now it is just something we do. They remember, thanks to fun projects on pinterest we find, and other homeschool websites. we don’t do projects everyday, but we are always reading and listening. While they play with kinetic sand, play doh, build stuff, they listen to biographies I read, or stories I find. They remember it all day using their kin esthetic learning styles!

#5: My kids wake up between 8 & 9 AM, with no tears and no angry emotions from anyone! No screaming, fighting, crying, running, searching, etc. They wander out of bed, make their own breakfast, do the dishes if they have to be done, brush their teeth, get dressed, make their beds, and get their work out for the day. We start around 9/9:30 and finish by or a little after 12 when it is lunch time. We do yoga stretches to start or as breaks, and get a snack if we are hungry, take a break if we are cranky, watch a documentary if we are sick, take our time if we are a little tired, and wait to brush hair until they are ready. Maybe people don’t agree with that, like some think that kids need that stress, to be responsible and develop social and fundamental rules for themselves of how to behave and schedule their day. Why? So they can grow up, get a job and rush to it everyday, have a family with a schedule and groups to belong to, and things to do and just go, go, go? They doesn’t even sound like fun or any American Dream I would want my kids to feel like they have to live. I thought I did, but discovered something, I don’t have to. I can just live to be happy. For another article though.

#6: No sickness! We have not gotten sick! Well, the first three days of homeschool we were sick. My Kindergardener brought something home, go figure, on her last day of public school. It only motivated me more to ensure our homeschool was successful.

So there it is. Those are some of the reasons why we decided to jump in and homeschool. You have to make your own. Here are some videos that helped me tremendously:

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