Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teachable Tuesdays - Why Homeschool?

This is my second year to completely homeschool. I can honestly tell you when we first decided homeschooling was right for our family I was at peace with the decision. But I quickly became overwhelmed with all the information available. I had no idea where to start. How do I know what curriculum will best fit my child’s learning style? How do I even know what his learning style is? How do I know if he can do the work? What if he’s already passed what is recommended for his age? AAAAHHHHH…

The questions flurried in my head for hours and even throughout the night. I had many sleepless nights fretting, wondering and doubting I could really do this! But, I was assured over and over through my prayers that this is what God had laid on my heart and therefore He would be with me – ALWAYS!! So, I finally realized that God MUST be at the forefront of our schooling. So, from then on I sought out what God would have me teach and how.  I must say, our first year was a little rough. Trying several different curriculums, tactics and teaching methods. Thanks to the WONDERFUL preschool Tyler attended, he already knew his ABC’s, numbers to 50, how to write his name and some basic phonics. Half of kindergarten was done for me! So, I began by printing some FREE worksheets from this site to get him started in math. I bought simple handwriting & phonics books and we did some GREAT daily devotions from this site. Basically we did some minimal work until I figured out where to go with him. He began reading in October of Kindergarten, so I ran out and bought some ABeka readers, which I love! (In fact, we still their readers.) You can read more about our First Grade curriculum choices on this post.

So, what’s the point of today’s post? I just wanted to encourage you NOT to give up if you’re thinking about homeschooling. Yes, some days are challenging and it does take time to get a routine established (at least one that you’re comfortable with). But, trust me…its gonna change throughout the year anyway – so don’t fret over it!!

Here are some tips on getting started in your homeschool journey: 
  • Do as much research as you need to be informed.
  • Don’t over-research or you’ll just confuse yourself. (Trust me - I did this!)
  • Be purposeful when asking questions to homeschooling friends or in online forums. You'll get more out of the answers if you know what direction you're going (or think you're going).
  • If you’ve prayerfully considered this option for your family, God will guide you to the curriculum He wants you to use!! Trust Him!!
  • Find some online tests to evaluate where your child is in certain subjects (i.e. Math, English, Spelling & Reading). The other subjects can be started at any point (i.e. History, Science) if they’re in elementary or middle school. (High school is its own deal & I would recommend talking to someone who’s had experience homeschooling HS students.) Here is a GREAT website that has several online placement tests you can use. I used the Quick Reading Assessment from this page & just copied each list on to a piece of paper & recorded their answers, rather than having him read over my shoulder on the computer.
  • Until you are fully committed to a specific curriculum, take full advantage of FREE online communities!! I download the FREE weekly unit from this website. Just sign up & it will be delivered weekly to your inbox. I don’t use all of them right now, but I do save them onto my computer so I’ll have them for future use! Plus, this way I get to pick & choose what I want to use from each unit. VERY cool!!!
  • During Kindergarten when we started early math work, I printed the FREE math worksheets from here instead of buying a book. Then, when I knew he needed more than just a few addition/subtraction problems a day I searched for a math curriculum I liked.

Basically, the key is to RESEARCH, ASK, STUDY and do it again!! There are tons of online forums you can sign up for that allow you to read entries, reviews and ask questions of other homeschool moms. Those are GREAT places to start if you don’t have friends who already homeschool.

Now, on to the cost of homeschool v. public school. Well, since my children have never attended public school I can’t say for sure, but I’m willing to venture a guess that its either equal or LESS to homeschool your children. Yes, we have to buy curriculum, but you can find most of your choices online at a discount with FREE shipping, etc. Just do the research. This is one of my favorite sites to search for new curriculum. I also watched garage sales/teacher sales for readers (that’s where I found most of his 1st grade readers for $1 a book!), flash cards, out-loud readers, general books, etc. Sometimes you can even find math manipulatives at garage sales!! What a score!  The point is…you DON’T have to pay FULL PRICE for anything if you don’t want to! Even if you choose to use one curriculum for everything (i.e. Sonlight, ABeka), you can sometimes search for at least the parent/teacher guides and readers for a discount – just search!

Other reasons homeschooling is less expensive than public schools – the gas of driving your child to and from school and the clothing - your child doesn’t need all the outfits if they’re at home. Often times my kids spend the entire day in their pj’s!! Plus, they can wear “play clothes” instead of their nicer clothes when they are home all day. We only have a few “nice” outfits that the kids are only allowed to wear to family functions, church, etc. Otherwise, they have some not-as-nice clothes they wear to play in the yard & no worries over the stains, etc. PERFECT!!!

And, the MOST important reason we’ve chosen to homeschool our children – our ability to teach all subjects from a biblical perspective!! We’re so blessed to be able to teach our children in the ways of Christ, knowing EXACTLY what’s being said to them and who’s influencing them. What a true blessing that is.

Please believe me when I say, we don’t look down on people who choose the public school route or even private school. The hubster and I are both public school children. We completely understand there are situations, beyond ones control, that do not allow the option to homeschool. So, yes, we know we are blessed – beyond blessed!!


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