I thought I’d write a little about why I chose to homeschool my daughter. See, I’m a huge proponent of public school. An education should be a right in this country, not just a luxury of the few. People have suffered greatly and died just so that public education could be available to all. I would have long discussions with a friend (who advocated homeschooling) about why I would send my children to public school.
Then I went to the kindergarten round-up. They told us the expectations of what the kids should be able to do by the end of kindergarten, things like recognizing letters, shapes and colors. Uhm, my daughter had been doing that for a couple of years already. They also joked that the first few weeks were mainly spent learning how to stand in line. Uhm, we had just gotten back from Disney World and you can bet she knew how to stand in line, in the sun, with ridiculous humidity.
I literally went home and cried. No wonder why US students are far behind students in many other countries. I wanted school to be fun and exciting for my daughter, not suffocatingly boring .
In preschool, when they were teaching something that my daughter had already learned, my daughter would get bored. Then she would get in trouble. She and her best friend would talk and whisper and giggle because they both already knew what was being taught.
She is so much like me. In Jr. High, I went from a school with progressive education and was in the Enrichment program–we were taking photos and developing them ourselves in 3rd grade–to a state where the education system where expectations were much lower. Not only was the general curricula less advanced, they wouldn’t let me in the gifted program because I hadn’t tested for it, and they didn’t do testing past a certain grade. I got bored, and I got in trouble. A LOT of trouble… Well, that’s a whole other section of my website.
Anyway, I knew that if my daughter went to that school, she would get bored, and she would get in trouble. Thank god I had my homeschooling friend! There was a special program that was part of the school district that was a homeschool support learning center. They had some classes there, like Math and Science and Drama that are often better taught in groups and/or needed pricey equipment. They also had fun classes, like Lotions & Potions, or Building Fairy Houses, where kids would learn things like measuring and construction in a delightful way. I don’t think the kids even realized they were learning.
So, I pulled my kid out of public school and enrolled at Willow Wind Community Learning Center. It was overwhelming at first-I knew nothing about homeschooling and had no training in “how to be a teacher.” But I learned. In the 9 years she was there, I met so many wonderful families, had great experiences, and I, myself, learned so much.
Homeschooling is definitely not for everyone. In fact, I don’t homeschool my son. His learning and my teaching style don’t mix. Instead, he is at a Waldorf-inspired Public Charter School. I am so fortunate to live in an area where there are so many choices for education.
My bottom line is, if you’re thinking about homeschooling, there are resources out there to help. If there aren’t any where you live, the internet has an almost endless supply of curriculum, lesson plans, and all manner of teaching tools available. There might be a (or many) homeschooling groups in your area. You can also try online classes, which is helpful if you don’t have the time or knowledge to be “the teacher.” Don’t let fear hold you back. If this is what you want to do, you can do it.