Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I homeschool my kids...sorta
I homeschool my kids....sort of. Let me explain.
As a former public school teacher I have seen first hand the downside of public schooling. Teachers can't give individual attention to the students who need it. There are too few resources in schools. The social aspect, especially as kids get older, is distracting to learning. I had thought about homeschooling Yip and Yap and had discussed it with my husband. But he was against it. Of course, I may not have argued very convincingly.
In my heart I am a teacher and I would love to return to the classroom someday. As well as seeing the downsides of public schools I also recognize that there are many positive aspects of public schools. Teachers have experience and resources most parents don't have access to. Sometimes students will listen to their teachers before their parents. (Yes, really!) There are lots of great teachers out there and there is so much students can learn from different teaching styles and personalities.
The boys' birthday is at the end of August and the cutoff date for kindergarten here in Illinois is September 1st. Technically, we could have sent them to kindergarten. (Our school system only offers full day kindergarten by the way.) Wisely, our preschool teacher advised against sending them. They would be the very youngest in the class and they just weren't ready. They were still immature and would rather play than sit and work. Go figure? Sending them to all day kindergarten wasn't going to work...yet. We decided to hold off a year and send them back to preschool.
Over the summer I worked with them a bit here and there on their numbers and letters, things like that. But I kept having the nagging feeling that I should be doing more. They may not be ready for full day kindergarten but why should that stop them from learning the basics? So in the fall I decided I would start teaching them at home; reading, writing, math. I didn't invest in any big curriculum or drop a lot of money on educational books and supplies. The resources I've used have been mostly free from the library and the internet. So far, it has been working fairly well.
Every morning after breakfast, we have a short math lesson and then a writing lesson that lasts about 30 minutes, sometimes longer. Later in the day, usually when the baby is sleeping, the boys have one on one time with me when we work on reading. Usually we only do this for about 15 minutes each. I don't push it more than that unless we are reading something the boys are really into. Sometimes I'll tie in these lessons with books the boys have been reading or a holiday. We've made quite a lot of progress, but I'll get into that later.
The rest of the day we'll work on craft projects, do science experiments,read, play games or just play. We bombard our local library once a week and pick up anything the boys may be interested in. Pirates, trains, space, snakes, spiders, human body, where babies come from, presidents, holidays, cowboys and Indians...we've checked out lots of different books!
During the next couple weeks I'm going to have a separate post for math, reading and writing and talk a bit about what the boys and I do here at home. The first post, math, will be coming up on Monday. These posts, of course, won't cover everything that we've done over the course of the year but it will hit the highlights and some of the more successful methods we've used.
So there you go. I homeschool my kids...sort of. We plan on sending them to public school next year and I am confident that they'll do great! I don't know what the future may bring. I might return to teaching; I might not. We might move and end up in a terrible school corporation and we might think again about homeschooling. Who knows? But for now, this is what we are doing and this is what works for us.