Thursday, August 21, 2014

Let's Play 20 Questions

                It is that time of year and parents everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief. The children will return to school and the parents can return to the world of sanity.  It’s not quite the same with me.  I too am filled with giddy excitement but for a different reason. With the children returning to school,  I know that I will get to actively pursue one of my favorite hobbies, education.  I homeschool my three children and love it.
                As this new school year starts, I'd like to offer a glimpse into homeschooling on our blog.  I thought I’d begin with how I started homeschooling so here goes. It all began with 20 questions...
                A few years ago, my 3rd grade daughter was miserable and bored.  She hated going to school. For a child who loves to learn, I was so worried.   My 1st grade son, who has Asperger’s, was doing well in school but it didn’t seem to challenge him.  His potential was being ignored.  What was I to do?
                That is when I began to consider homeschooling.  Let me say that I applaud all those who work in public education.  While I was unhappy with my children’s school experience, I still approve of public education as a whole.  The problem for me was that it didn’t work for my children.  My journey to homeschooling began with a list of 20 questions I created to help me really learn all about homeschooling. 
                I interviewed several homeschooling parents and asked the following questions:
1. Why did you decide to homeschool your children?
2. What steps did you take in order to prepare for homeschooling?
3. How do you set up the physical environment in your home to accommodate homeschooling?
4. What advantages do you think your child may have over a child who is not homeschooled?
5. What disadvantages (if any) do your children face because they are homeschooled?
6. How often do your children socialize with other children? What do they do when they are together?
7. Do your children participate in any extracurricular activities (i.e. music lessons, clubs, etc)?
8. Do you keep in contact with other families that homeschool?
9. Do you use an on-line public school like Connections Academy or K-12? If so, what do you use and why did you choose it?
10. If you do not use one of the above mentioned programs, how do you decide what to teach your children?
11. How do you measure your child’s progress?
12. What does your daily schedule look like? How many hours a day do you spend on school?
13. How do you find “me” time amidst all the things you have to do?
14. What is the best thing about homeschooling and what is the worst?
15. As you have homeschooled, what has been difficult or frustrating for you?
16. What advice would you give to someone who is considering homeschooling their children?
17. Do you know of any resources that would be of assistance to me if I homeschooled (groups, websites, books, a person, etc.)?
18. How long do you plan to homeschool?(through elementary, middle, or high school)
19. How do you foster independence in your children?
20. How many children do you teach at home and how do you meet their individual needs?

           After considering other homeschooling parents' answers to the questions, I took some time to answer them myself.  My answers were focused on what I would do in the future. 

           And that was the beginning.  After studying the answers of others and my own, I decided homeschooling was just what my kids needed.  This fall I will journey into my 3rd year homeschooling my children and will be working with a 5th grader, 3rd grader, and Kindergartener.    It takes time, effort, dedication, patience, and planning. I won’t say that I don’t have a small GIANT amount of trepidation.  But this is what works for my family. There is an old quote that says, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” My children’s education is more than just my hobby—it is my mission.  It is a good thing I have so much fun homeschooling!   

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