Sunday, January 16, 2011

Of My Soon to Be Non-Socialized Kids

So, some of our big news this last little bit is that we have decided to begin home schooling. It was an agonizing decision, considering that Arden attended a wonderful school with a great teacher, but I kept feeling like I needed to pursue that avenue for whatever reason. After visiting with many, many people, both home schooled and public schooled, we decided to give it a shot for the remainder of this school year. So far it has been wonderful! Before I go too much further, let me hasten to add that I don't think homeschooling necessarily makes kids turn out better or worse then their public schooled counterparts. I mention this because I have noticed that when I tell some people that I homeschool, they immediately go on the defensive, assuming (I would guess) that I do it because I think my kids will turn out better. That is not the case at all. I have two main reasons that I am doing it. The first is that I want my kids to grow up loving to learn. I had been volunteering for Arden's class grading papers for the teacher, and I couldn't believe how dull the paperwork was! I even fell asleep a couple of times in the middle of helping Arden with his homework, and it was then that I thought surely, they could make this more interesting! So, that is my quest with homeschool--I want to make it super fun, so my kids love to learn. Secondly, I really do enjoy being with my kids! I love doing crafts, science experiments, snuggling and reading to them, playing at the park, cooking with them, etc., and...well, once Arden got home from school and got his homework done, I hardly had any time to do those fun things with him and the girls before it was time to start dinner. Not cool in my book.

Of course, there are pros and cons to homeschooling, the same as any other major decision. There is definitely something to be said for a rested mom who has had time during the day for herself. I won't get that with homeschooling. There are also lots of fun assemblies and extra curricular opportunities at public school that my kids won't get to do. To me, that's not a really big deal, because you make other opportunities. For example, we are doing a day a week at the nearby charter school where Arden is signed up for some fun science classes, the Lego league, Literature, and a craft class. We signed him up for gymnastics as well. We are still in search of a good service project we can do....lots of fun things available for homeschoolers!

The biggest question I get from skeptics when I tell them that I homeschool is the one about socialization. It always surprises me that that is such an issue because that is the least of my worries with homeschooling. Sure, you can isolate your kids, and perhaps some homeschoolers do, but in general, homeschool kids are among the most "socialized" kids I know, simply because they have more opportunities to interact with people of all different ages, rather then just kids around their same age that they see at school every day. Not only that, but I know there is a lot of drama that goes on in the public school that is silly, but easy to get caught up in. I remember this from my experience in second and third grade, although I suspect it is multiplied in Jr. High and High school! How nice to just avoid that altogether, if possible!

Anyway, so those are a few of my thoughts. I don't claim to be a better teacher then someone whose profession it is, but hopefully I can make up for it in the time and attention I am able to give my little kiddoes. Again, we'll see how it goes the rest of this year, and if we decide to continue, but so far, so good.

So, we are done with week two. I am still trying to figure out how much structure to have, and how to organize things. It is coming, though. I've got lots of fun books on order that will hopefully come this week or next, so we can finalize our curriculum. In the meantime, we have been getting tons of books from the library about all sorts of things.

Our most recent trip to the library...I think we had 89 items checked out. Eeks! The kids had to put a limit on my book-checking out, because I tend to go crazy at libraries.


For geography this term, we are studying the states. We went for a little train ride this last week, complete with peanuts and pretzels! We visited Alabama, where we learned about Rosa Parks and a little about the Civil Rights movement. We also made a quick stop at the Huntsman Space Center and learned a little about stars and solar systems.


In history, we have been learning about the Revolutionary War. We have read a lot about the Boston Tea Party, George Washington and his spy efforts, the war, and the issues that were involved. We checked out the "Felicity" books on CD and listened to all of those, which are a fun way to introduce the issues of the day, then we read a little more about them in books that are more specific to the events that happened.

In math, Arden learned how to tell time on a normal (not digital) clock. We also have been working on adding multiple digit numbers and money, and we have had a couple of "stores" where the kids have been able to buy things. It is great practice, and Arden is great at counting out $$ and adding sums together, while Maile is getting good at counting the coins and telling me which are dimes, nickles, etc. We have also found some fun math games on the computer which Arden really enjoys.

For writing, we started a "Fortunately, Unfortunately" story, which we are also illustrating, and have written letters to people and a postcard from our Alabama train ride.

For science we have done a few science expiriments, which I will include photos of later if I get to it. Right now I need to wrap up this blog, so I have time to write a few more things.

If anyone has some neat ideas for projects or fun ways for kids to learn things, please pass them along! I would sure appreciate it!


AC said...

I'm split on the homeschooling issue. on one hand, my personal experience with homeschooling has been largely negative, but I think that's because of the ones doing the teaching.

When people pull their kids out of school because they don't agree with what's being taught it saddens me. Denying knowledge in this time of learning is a horrendous crime.

However, it's very well known that the US public school system is incredibly lacking in its success, and unfortunately so many smart children are left with a hate for the sciences.

Everybody loves to learn, that love needs to be nurtured and I believe you are going to do an excellent job educating your children. They have brilliance in their genes and it shows.

Rebecca said...

I am with Anna about the homeschooling thing, I am excited to try it with my kids.
Aaron, I don't think that most people pull their kids out of school because of what the teachers are teaching, but rather what the other kids are "teaching". When we lived in England there was a huge uproar about an incident on the bus. Some of the older kids in the back were having sex. On the bus. With kids as young as 6 around. Is that the kind of "education" I want my kids to get?! Heck no. I am not going to keep them locked up in the house, but I don't think that is something that young children need to be exposed to. I don't think that is denying anyone knowledge by being careful about who and what is influencing our kids. There is so much crap in the world these days. I agree with you though that I think Anna is going to be a great teacher!! :)

AC said...

@Becca You're doing it wrong, and I'm facepalming.