Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teach Your Children Well

We are starting school. For those of you that don't know, I homeschool our three children. This year they are in second, fifth, and sixth grades.
The most common thing people say about homeschooling is that the kids won't have any social skills. Obviously they have not met my kids. My children are the most friendly kids you'll ever meet. And they don't differentiate between old or young, cool and uncool, disabled and not. They love meeting new people. Everyone to them is a potential friend.
Homeschooling is what you make of it. There are families whose children are reserved or socially awkward. But there are also children in the public schools who are that way. But you know what? At home those awkward children are not called names. They don't sit by themselves at lunch.
Having said that, I don't believe everyone should homeschool. There are families that just shouldn't do it.  You don't need to be smart or a licensed teacher to do it, but you should be somewhat organized and extremely committed. You should be absolutely convinced that you are doing what is best for your children. You need that for the many days that you question your sanity. 
The days when you want to ship your kids off to a foreign land. 
The times when you want to lock your bedroom door and cry for an entire week.
 The days when you'd like to strangle the person responsible for inventing math.
I wonder how many homeschooling mothers give up because of math?!

One of the nice things about homeschooling is that it only takes a couple of hours each day. That is unless your son stares out the window instead of doing his English paper. Or your daughter writes in her journal instead of finishing her math. I have to share a funny story that happened with Sissy this past year. She was having one of those days in math. I sent her to her room to work on it without distraction. Later I came across her diary for that day. It went something like this.
9:10 Mom is making me do my math in my room. I don't want to do math.
  9:16 math not done
9:23 math still not done
9:42 math is still not done
10:06 I'm not done with math yet. I wonder why it takes so long to do math
10:15 math not done
And so on.
This went on for about two hours! This was one of the funniest things I've ever read! She eventually finished her math. And it only took a couple of minutes to do it once she actually concentrated and got to work.
I don't do any set curriculum. I pick and choose according to my kids' learning styles. Another nice thing about homeschooling is that you can slow down on a subject your child struggles with and breeze through those they are gifted in. I get to change curriculum mid-year if it isn't working with one of the kids. Each child learns differently and needs to be taught differently to get the most out of schooling.

It is amazing how much a child learns from daily life! They learn math from shopping and cooking. They learn extra reading skills because they have the time to read. They learn about gardening and animals and work and personal relationships. My kids ask questions about things constantly and are encouraged to look up the answers. They love to learn facts about animals and places and people. They learn a lot of these things from watching their parents or other adults. They don't learn from other kids how to treat peers or parents or how to act.
They also learn to dress themselves appropriately for the weather.

These are a few of the things I love abut homeschooling.

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