Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Taking The Plunge

So, your thinking about maybe taking the plunge into homeschooling. After my "Why?" post I was happy to hear many of you are "thinking" about it.
Any family who is willing to go against the flow of the traditional public school system is thinking outside the box. Good for you! Your probably a bit off center like me and I like that in a person:)
I was just like you when I first started "thinking" about it. It's scary but the unknown is always scary. It seems like such a big step for most of us because it is so foreign to what our own educational experience was.


I remember being exactly where you are right now. Tons of stuff swirling around in my mind. Can I really teach my children? Will I ruin them for life? What will my in-laws think? Will I go crazy in the process? How much will it cost? Where do I start?....

Think about it you already have started. Who taught your child to walk, talk eat with a spoon? Now, I think I might have to hire a professional teacher to teach my children how to clean their rooms but I don't think it would help. What makes parents think that when their children turn 5 they are no longer capable of teaching them?
Let me start out by saying many people including myself preconceived the idea of homeschooling. Homeschooling seems to have a bad wrap. You can't help but think of a dorky kid that hides behind his mommy's leg at age 12. Or you may think you have to fit that mold of wearing long prairie skirts and buns.

I am hear to tell you I may be a big nerd but I am so not what you would think a "homeschool" mom is suppose to look or act like.

I'd love to help you on your journey. I'm not a pro trust me. We are just finishing up our 2nd year and I still have a lot to learn. Having a type A personality, I must say when I get myself into something I jump in with both feet. I grabed everything and all the information I could get my hands on. I've gone to curriculum fairs and attended different conferences. I've met with many different homeschool groups and listened to many veteran homeschoolers give advice. I have done academic research into homeschooling, looked at ALL the different theories of learning etc. There are so many different ways and methods to homeschool that it makes you dizzy. I find myself to be called the "Eclectic" Homeschooler. AKA the middle of the roader, the one who mix and matches all the methods together. I'm a big fan of the Charlotte Mason Theory but also love Unit Studies etc. I use MFW as our core curriculum. This mostly covers bible,science, and history for us. I use this for both my 2nd grader and 4th grader. I assign more advanced work for my 4th grader though.

You don't think your smart enough? Um..If I can do it you can do it! I told you before I am horrible at spelling and still count on my fingers for math. I am only one day smarter than my kids. It's working and my kids are learning! I'm teaching them to love to learn and I can't stop them from wanting to learn. How's that for a beauty school drop out!

You don't need an impressive educational background or lots of money to succeed at homeschooling. Research has shown that parents with only a high school education can do about as good a job as those with advanced degrees, or education degrees. It has also shown that those who spend less than $200 per child per year on homeschool curriculum can get as good results as those who spend thousands. I fall in the middle because I have an addiction to books. I often shop on Amazon though, way cheaper. Also the library has lots and lots of books for you and your kiddos. I get most of my curriculum at used homeschool book fairs.

First thing is to get your hands on some good homeschooling books. Some of the one's I first read were:
So You're Thinking About Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel.
The Homeschool Handbook by Mary Griffith

Also there are many websites and blogs out there about homeschooling. Visiting a curriculum fair is a good idea too (may be overwhelming) there is SO much to homeschooling you would be surprised. It's a whole new world out there that I think many don't even look into. It is such a fabulous alternative that NO ONE should reject it without first looking full into the face of it.


Let's talk about the "S" word. Oh, no not that word again! You will hear this over and over again. Socialization is really and truly a complete non-issue! People worry about it and they shouldn't. Let me just say that my kids are more social than most. The homeschool setting is ideal for socialization. Think about it, you have the normal school child who is locked away for eight hours a day with thirty or so of their peers and as a result are deprived of the chance to interact with those outside their own age group. Homeschooling on the other hand provides my children with opportunities to interact with people of all ages, occupations, and interests. Which I believe results in a well-rounded, sociable and confident individual. Unless you lock you children up in the basement, they will get "socialized."

Legal Stuff: really it's not that big of a deal. Homeschooling is legal! It's easy to figure out and if you join a group or a school they usually take care of it for you. Each state is different. I personally go through a private school.

Warning! You may suffer from what I like to call PPA: Parental Panic Attacks. I do! It's normal.I believe it's part of the homeschool life. You will question yourself often. I think most homeschool mom's tend to ask themselves over and over,"Am I doing the right thing?" Or "what did I get myself into?" Trust me I am tempted on hard days to drop my kids off at the nearest bus stop and wish them well.
I also suffer from burn out from time to time. Usually when I over commit myself. I'd have to say being too busy is our biggest challenge. I try to find a happy medium between "Over scheduled vs. Mom,I'm bored!"

Even though we call it "homeschooling" we are never really home. I recommend getting your kids out of the house and enjoy school outdoors or do school at starbucks etc. Yesterday we did school outside the airport and watched the planes fly in. I like to use the world as our classroom. Make it fun and different. Enjoy your time learning together and have fun with your children. Make memories! They grow up too fast!

Remember there is no right or wrong way to homeschool. Every family is different and the more confident you become the more comfortable you will feel about tossing things out or adding new things.
Remember to listen to your heart and don't worry about what others think. Do what you want and what you think is best for your family.
There is so so much more I could write about but I have to start my day....
If you have any questions please ask away and if you are a homeschooler that can add information to this post please comment away...

Have a good day and don't forget to send in your Red Envelopes! Today is the day!

It is also Day 35 for us at the 40 Days for Life campaign. 297 babies have been reported saved from abortion
297 -- Praise God!!

16 comments:

tmm said...

I did not comment on your first post about homeschooling, but the more I thought about it, I decided I would express my frustration concerning a 'reason' you gave...

I am a former public school teacher, the mother of two daughters, 12 and 5, and a very conservative Christian.

I am NOT a supporter of homeschooling. I will not go into the reasons I oppose it, it is MY beliefs/opinions and I respect you for following YOUR beliefs and opinions.

The attitude that you expressed in one of your paragraphs, and an attitude I have been confronted with by many other homeschoolers, offends me as a mother.

You state:
I guess it’s just because we love our children.

I teach my children every day~~not in a formalized setting~~but I teach. I am the one raising my children NOT the teachers that have my oldest for 6 hours a day~her foundation of morals and beliefs has been laid by my husband and I and the foundation is being strengthened daily by us~her beliefs are exercised daily. She has been called to defend her beliefs and does it beautifully.

I put my children on a school bus each morning BUT I too love my children.

If homeschooling works for you and you feel it is the best scenario for your children than I commend you, but please do not infer that you love your children MORE because you school them at home. It is insulting and inaccurate. And sadly it seems to to be the attitude of many HS I encounter.

Tammy

Bridget said...

Tammy,
I am sorry that my reason about "I guess it's just because we love our children" came across that way. I don't doubt that you love your children any less. I was posting more in a defense I guess. Almost all my friends and family (who some of them even read this blog)send their children to public school and I KNOW with out a doubt that they LOVE their children. I'm not saying that I love mine more just because I school them at home. Many of my friends have their own reason for not homeschooling. I know that homeschooling isn't for everyone. On my end it is insulting that most people don't support homeschooling without really looking into it. They just assume. And sadly it seems to to be the attitude of many parents who send their kids to ps. It is a great alternitive and if you can swing it, it is so worth it. Thank you for your time in posting a comment. Many blessing to your family.

Twisted Cinderella said...

Thank you for this post. I look forward to discussing things with you as I begin my HS journey.

Bridget said...

twisted cinderella~ We felt that way about our kids as well. I started to see my son change when he was in school (something only a mother knows)Again another reason we homeschool. My husband and I often do the reason 124 we homeschool lol.

Following Forward said...

Hi Bridget!

I found your blog through Krystyn and I have loved reading through some posts! I loved this post especially! I have a 20 month olf daughter that I look forward to homeschooling starting with some preschool stuff. I do have several questions and hope to get answers in the future, but thank you for being an inspiration to those of us that are wanting to start the journey!! :)

janenes said...

Quick question. . .I have two friends who recently started homeschooling through CAVA (associated with ps, I think). Is there a big difference between that and the program(s) you are using?

TurNorBurN said...

tmm, what exacty is a conservative christian?
A christian is a christian, there is no other way.

Too Many Kids In The Bathtub said...

Hi Bridget-
I am so thankful you are writing things like this. I too get a bit uneasy at how many people have these pre-conceived notions of homeschooling. I do not judge those who chose to send their children to PS. For us, there is no other way to school our children but home school. I AM SO THANKFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO HOMESCHOOL!!!!!! AND FOR OTHER MOMS WHO STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT AS ADVOCATES FOR WHY WE CHOSE TO DO THIS!!!!!! Blessings to you and your ADORABLE family!!!!!!

PS. How did you plant avocado and orange trees? I SOOO want to do this!!!!!

Clarissa. said...

I found your blog through another blog I follow. I came here to read your reason's why you choose to homeschool. Although I don't intend to homeschool my kids, at least not officially, I do have an open mind about the benefits of homeschool and wanted to read your opinion.
Like tmm, I was a little offended at some of the claims and assumptions in your post. I love my children, I teach them, I care about what they are learning and who they are friends with, and I do my best to incorporate as much fun into their life as possible. I live in the DC area where I have the opportunity to take my kids to many museums, art galleries, and countless exhibits. We explore God's creation and man's inventions.
Although they are in public school for 6 hours of the day, I am confident that nobody else is raising my kids. Daily, I see my fingerprint in their actions and speech - although that is not always a good thing.
I felt compelled to post here, to really say one thing - I venture to guess that my reason for sending my kids to public school is the same exact reason that you are homeschooling your children: because that is what God called you to do.
Next time someone asks you why you homeschool, tell them "because that is what God has called me to do". It is kind of hard to argue with that.

Bridget said...

Tmm & Clarrisa,
What are your reasons for not homeschooling? Just wondering?

TurNorBurN said...

Clarrisa, no one should be offended, read her blog carefully, why don't you home school, if you can you should, for the school system is teaching our kids false truths about our past and taking God out of school. why would we send our kids to school where we then have to explain to them that what they learn is not all true.
CONFUSION. we are sure you love your kids, homeschooling does not have to be a calling from God, it is a chose to teach our kids the truth and let noone put false truths in their heads. more than half the time kids are turned away from God due to our lovely school system.

Clarissa. said...

My husband and I decided to send our kids to public school because we felt like they would have better educational and social opportunities and variety there. I'm not claiming that is true for other families, but I think it is true for ours. I have friends who are great at homeschooling, but just can't picture myself in that role. It would take God's divine intervention to mold me into a great homeschooler. If God leads us to homeschool, I will, and I will rely fully on His strength to help me along the way. I will follow His direction, not social pressure to homeschool.
I understand why people homeschool and I can see your point of view, but it just isn't mine.
Currently, public school is working for us so we will continue with it until I have a reason to do something else.
God comforts me with His words in Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." I believe that as I faithfully seek God's will for my life and for my family's, He will be faithful to lead me as He desires.

Jennifer said...

Homeschooling is awesome!!!! I totally agree. I care more about my child's education than anyone else. Great post.

GrOwTh SpUrTs said...

I just have a kind defense to make for homeschooling. I am a homeschool mom myself. I was definitely called to do it. And God has definitely equipped me for it. One of the reasons we were called to do this was because I felt a strong burden on my heart that my kids could not be spiritually equipped to "defend their faith" at such a young age. They are so moldable when young and to send them to the world to be shaped by the world before their foundations are laid is a scary concept for us. They can tell others about Jesus when small, however they just can't be expected to stand firm on some things that they haven't completely comprehended yet. I have been called to lay those foundations on solid ground while they are still so malleable. A recent study showed that Christian families who homeschool had children who kept the faith when leaving home. More than 90% of them! The Christian families who sent their kids to school? Only around 30% stayed true to their God. As a parent, instilling the love of Christ in them is the NUMBER ONE responsibility. And I was called to homeschool as a way to do that more effectively. I think it can be done in the ps system, but I think those parents have a major, major job ahead of them in todays schools. Even those who have always supported the public school system are realizing all the ways in which it is failing, aside from the absence of God. Why not choose the more effective method if you can? But maybe you are called to (and are absolutely able to) offset that at home. We felt called to homeschool, didn't think that I could by the way, but God made me able. More than able.

And I think it is also a false stereotype (or a sweeping generalization) that homeschool families condemn those that send their kids to school. I have plenty of friends who send their kids to school for various reasons and a lot of those reasons are reasons that are beyond their control or they simply don't feel led to homeschool. And that's fine with us. At least the homeschoolers I know. I can't parent those children, I wasn't called to be their mommy. You are the mommy, you know what's best for them specifically. And you no doubt love them. If you choose to send them to ps you know where they need reinforcements, etc. And you feel you are able to accomplish those reinforcements. And that is okay with us. Why wouldn't it be? And even it it wasn't we have no say in your children's lives. We are called to look at our own lives and the lives of our children. It would be wrong to be condemning. And I am sorry on behalf of those that have been. It isn't Christ-like. Only you and God know the big picture that is your family.

But us homeschoolers, we get a bad rap. We get looked down on and criticized for our choice to teach at home. And by people who don't really know anything about homeschooling except the stereotypes and assumptions. You think public schools get a bad rap? Pheww, homeschool and see the looks and questions we get sometimes. We just want people to educate themselves on it and really take a look at it before passing judgement on us. So even if we don't all agree on the whys and hows of homeschooling we should at least be able to recognize the fact that homeschooling is a viable choice for educating our children. And if the method is researched and studied I think you will find that the effectiveness of it cannot be denied. And that it really does deserve a spot as a great option. But it's just that, an option. Which option you choose is up to you.

GrOwTh SpUrTs said...

I just have a kind defense to make for homeschooling. I am a homeschool mom myself. I was definitely called to do it. And God has definitely equipped me for it. One of the reasons we were called to do this was because I felt a strong burden on my heart that my kids could not be spiritually equipped to "defend their faith" at such a young age. They are so moldable when young and to send them to the world to be shaped by the world before their foundations are laid is a scary concept for us. They can tell others about Jesus when small, however they just can't be expected to stand firm on some things that they haven't completely comprehended yet. I have been called to lay those foundations on solid ground while they are still so malleable. A recent study showed that Christian families who homeschool had children who kept the faith when leaving home. More than 90% of them! The Christian families who sent their kids to school? Only around 30% stayed true to their God. As a parent, instilling the love of Christ in them is the NUMBER ONE responsibility. And I was called to homeschool as a way to do that more effectively. I think it can be done in the ps system, but I think those parents have a major, major job ahead of them in todays schools. Even those who have always supported the public school system are realizing all the ways in which it is failing, aside from the absence of God. Why not choose the more effective method if you can? But maybe you are called to (and are absolutely able to) offset that at home. We felt called to homeschool, didn't think that I could by the way, but God made me able. More than able.

And I think it is also a false stereotype (or a sweeping generalization) that homeschool families condemn those that send their kids to school. I have plenty of friends who send their kids to school for various reasons and a lot of those reasons are reasons that are beyond their control or they simply don't feel led to homeschool. And that's fine with us. At least the homeschoolers I know. I can't parent those children, I wasn't called to be their mommy. You are the mommy, you know what's best for them specifically. And you no doubt love them. If you choose to send them to ps you know where they need reinforcements, etc. And you feel you are able to accomplish those reinforcements. And that is okay with us. Why wouldn't it be? And even it it wasn't we have no say in your children's lives. We are called to look at our own lives and the lives of our children. It would be wrong to be condemning. And I am sorry on behalf of those that have been. It isn't Christ-like. Only you and God know the big picture that is your family.

But us homeschoolers, we get a bad rap. We get looked down on and criticized for our choice to teach at home. And by people who don't really know anything about homeschooling except the stereotypes and assumptions. You think public schools get a bad rap? Pheww, homeschool and see the looks and questions we get sometimes. We just want people to educate themselves on it and really take a look at it before passing judgement on us. So even if we don't all agree on the whys and hows of homeschooling we should at least be able to recognize the fact that homeschooling is a viable choice for educating our children. And if the method is researched and studied I think you will find that the effectiveness of it cannot be denied. And that it really does deserve a spot as a great option. But it's just that, an option. Which option you choose is up to you.

Bridget said...

Growth spurts:
I couldn't agree more! Well said! I didn't know anyone who homeschooled when I started. I have very few friends that homeschool most send to ps and I again KNOW that they love their children.