Through blogging I have “met” many interesting homeschoolers from across the country and around the world. Sandra is one such blogger and her On Living By Learning blog is one of my daily reads. I love her byline, “Learn, Grow, Explore, Change the World.”
On Sandra’s June 22nd post, A Homeschool Mixer Introduction, she plays along with Alesandra’s Homeschool Blog Awards homeschool mixer, answering 19 homeschooling questions. These are questions that all homeschoolers have been asked more than once in their homeschooling journey. My children are all grown, so I will be answering these from a slightly different perspective, looking back on twelve years of homeschooling. And since my answers will likely be on the long side, I will answer a few each day until we’re done. So stay tuned, keep watch, you know the drill!
- Why do you homeschool?
We began homeschooling in reaction to the education being offered at our local public school. Each of our children needed to homeschool for a different reason: Kat because of the psychological stressors occurring in her fifth-grade classroom and the lowering expectations of the girls in regards to academics, David because he needed more challenge than his second-grade classroom had to offer, especially in the science area, and Charles because his kindergarten class had too much violence occurring and we were concerned that he would gain the label of ADHD when he advanced to the more demanding level of attention that his upcoming first grade level would require.
Those were the reasons we began homeschooling. They were not the reasons we continued homeschooling after the first year. Somewhere during that first year we began to realize how much the public school had taken over our lifestyle. Homeschooling afforded us the freedom to study what we wanted, when we wanted, where we wanted, and how we wanted. We were in control of our daily schedule and that was a wonderful feeling of freedom!
- What technique or curriculum do you use?
The first few months we did school-at-home with an organized schedule and lesson plans. After a few months, I was experiencing serious burn-out, so we took a break over the Christmas holidays and I spent more time learning about homeschooling methods. While I was doing that, my children just kept on learning! My children were actively unschooling at the same time I was learning about unschooling. So for the last 11.5 years of our homeschooling journey, we were unschoolers. (I will always consider myself to be an unschooler, even though I am no longer legally homeschooling anyone.) We did use some curriculum, especially in the high school years, but always to meet a need or interest that one of our children had, such a college preparation or learning a language.
- Do your kids work above or below grade level (or both!)?
We did not worry about grade levels, so I never really kept track. In some subjects I am sure they were above, in other subjects, below. It didn’t really matter to us.
- What is your educational level?
I graduated from Finger Lakes Community College with an Associates of Science degree in Secretarial Science.
- Do you feel that your education level has an effect on your teaching (both limits and abilities?)
No, not really. There are some very intelligent people homeschooling that never had the opportunity to go beyond high school for more education. That does not mean that their education ceased at high school. And a secretarial science degree really doesn’t bring much to the table as far as homeschooling your children. I think what helps more than your level of education is a willingness to know your limits, to know where you need to seek outside assistance, such as co-ops or online classes or community college classes. The most important thing, though, is the mindset that you are never too old to learn anything. Homeschooling will be a lot easier if you believe in that and model that mindset.
Watch tomorrow for the answers to these questions:
6. What does your daily schedule look like?
7. Are your kids always polite and ready to learn?
8. Do the kids (or you!) get frustrated?
9. How has this affected your parenting?
10. How much free time do they have?
11. What do they do during their free time?
12. What hobbies do they have?