New here, lots of questions.

Crissy - posted on 02/07/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Hi, I'm Crissy. I have a 19 month old and an almost 4 month old, so they aren't quite ready for serious schooling.
What I am struggling with right now is whether or not I'd like to home school, or go through the public school system. I was not home schooled, and I really enjoyed public school, but I can also see that there are some great benefits to homeschooling.
I am wondering why you all chose home school over public, and if you have any advice on how and when to start?
Thanks for your help!

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Naomi - posted on 03/03/2009

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Hi crissy and Donna, I am not homeschooling either -yet- as I'm expecting my first child in june. However, I was homeschooled until Grade 10 and then went to public school for my last 3 years. I also currenty manage a homeschooling bookstore tied to a homeschool registration association, so I'm pretty well immersed in that world again and doing LOTS of thinking as i prepare for my own child to come. I meet people coming from all different perspectives as teachers shop here too and have had time to form my own opinions.

I can say I am exceedingly thankful to have been homeschooled as a child, specifically in the early years of elementary. I also teach sunday school and watch kids who attend public school and honestly I'm not impressed with their social skills compared to homeschool or independently schooled children I know. I'm not keen on exposing my kids to what i see as increasingly negative attitudes and atmospheres at ages when their peers opinions make such a huge impression. I'm glad I was at home until I was old enough to discern negative behaviours from positive ones and make good choices about who I was going to be. so that's one big thing for me

Another is just learning styles and the one on one ability to work with who your child is. my husband didn't do well at school, just cus he's so visual and hands on, ( ex: he got 100% in geometry areas of math but failed completely at the algebra sections... that to me is a learning style issue, not his own intelligence.) and we want to provide our kids with whatever they need as individuals to learn and excel and ENJOY it! When I did go to public school I thoroughly enjoyed it, because a) it was my own choice to go, and I knew I could go home at any time. and b) it was such a novelty that I wanted to do well and please my teachers, and I did very well.. cus I wasn't burned out and bored like all my classmates from 9 years of sitting in desks.

As for how and when to start... my mom had a very easy going attitude with us, she didn't worry if i learned to read very early but my brother took a few extra years, especially for those early grades she let us take our time and play if we needed to, and it was so beneficial for all of us. Our only really structured subjects were english and math. everything else, I don't even know how I learned science but I did! I think we took feild trips a lot :P she understood that kids love to learn naturally and will do so most times if allowed to follow their interests. but she also made sure we knew our times tables and grammar ;) for example: she let us choose our own projects much of the time, my brother WITHOUT fail chose indians every year! I dont' know how many years he learned about indians, lol. but now, after graduating with a political science degree, he is applying to work with the assembly of first nations, and is very interested in aboriginal affairs. His interests as a child showed up in his career choices. that will be a major factor for me in directing my children's learning.

I've written lots, I'll go now, hope all this is helpful!

good luck!

Tama - posted on 02/12/2010

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I have really enjoyed reading the other responses and wholeheartedly agree with what has already been said! My kids are almost 5 and 7. I am homeschooling because I taught public high school and I don't think that sitting in a desk and doing worksheets all the time is the best and most meaningful way to learn. I wish for them a continued desire to learn and not to just study for a test to make a certain grade. Check your state's homeschool laws to see what you are required to do and then DO ONLY THAT. We are in GA and are required to send in a form saying we are homeschooling once per year for each child that is 6+ in Sept. We are required to send in monthly attendance (what a joke!) We are required to make an end of year progress report (which for me is a box of cool stuff my DD has done and notes tossed in w/ books we've read and other "big" things we've done). We are required (starting in 3rd grade -- which we determine since she's not in a grade level...) to do standardized testing every 3 ys. I am able to give any test I want and give it at home. The progress reports and test scores are not reported to the state. I'm to just keep those for my records. :)

Homeschooling does start at day 1. Your babies learn at an amazing rate when they are newborns and no one is "teaching" them to do the things they do. They talk, they walk, they smile and laugh. They play and are curious about how everything works. Children are curious and have a desire to learn. My take on homeschooling is that children want to learn and my job as a homeschooling parent is to listen to their needs/wants and try to help guide them when they have an interest in something. My son (5) is really interested in taking things apart and in electronics. My husband does cool projects w/ him on the weekend b/c I'm not adept at that kind of thing. During the weekdays though, he may take apart an old cordless phone w/ real tools or we may read books about how things work. I follow their lead and do things that interest them. My daughter (7) leaned to read and I've never done any "worksheets" or lessons on reading. My son has an interest now at 4.5 in reading. He knows his letters and sounds (w/ reminders on a few of them) and he is trying to read things that he sees every day and he asks lots of questions. I read w/ him, give him books he can read (BOB Books are the best!) and give him plenty of time to "practice". I don't push them and don't require that they do worksheets or projects or whatever unless they ask to do it. Pretty much looks like playing all day and that's just fine with me! :)

The "style" of homeschooling we find ourselves in is called "unschooling" and it really feels "right" to me. The kids learn what they want to learn at their own pace. I support them and give them opportunities to learn by taking them out to the Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Museums, etc. They learn real life things by grocery shopping with me, cooking, gardening, going to the park, hiking, swimming at the pool, going to the library, going to the DMV, having the oil changed in the car, etc. The list could go on and on! :)
We are involved w/ other homeschooling parents and that is GREAT b/c the kids play together and we have mommy-chat time. There are also homeschool groups that put on different events (science fairs, etc.) I am floored all the time at how amazingly the kids get along of all different ages and backgrounds. You just do NOT see that social "problems" that come up in schools. Kids are polite, well-rounded, respectful, no peer pressure, no ganging up on someone else and teasing. It may happen, but I've never seen it. THAT is how I want my kids to spend their "social" time w/ friends!

One book a friend recently recommended that I absolutely LOVED and would recommend to anyone homeschooling or thinking of homeschooling. It's called "The Well Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling".

Best to you!

Jennifer - posted on 08/24/2009

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Hi Crissy...my son is a teenager now, he was in public school but around sixth grade I removed him. I desired to do it earlier but didn't have anyone who was homeschooling that I knew. I'd only heard about it.I had alot of problems with public school. By sixth grade, he could only write his name in cursive and some other things. That was just it for me. I always volunteered at school, only a handful of teachers had the compassion that I saw when I went public school. Now, it's all about the State Tests. Homeschooling gives you so much more freedom and alot more education. There are alot of resources. If you decide, do it early and have all the resources around. A co-op or local homeschooling resource so your children can interact with other children.

Jennifer - posted on 05/02/2009

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Number one: Let your children be children. It's so easy for them! :) Number two: I homeschool because I want my children to enjoy learning. I want them to learn what they are interested in learning (after all, learning is so much more than memorizing for a test, and we truly only learn what we want to, right?). Fortunately, you have time to choose.



I would check with the state you reside in to make sure that you are meeting any requirements (such as homeschool names, your high school diploma, if needed. They require this in NC...). Next, make a game plan. (In NC we have until the child is seven to come up with a name for our "school" and send in our high school transcripts.) Only you know your child best, so you know what he/she will be capable of in a few years. Keep in mind that since they won't be in a public setting you join a homeschool group in your area. Not only do the kids get to hang out with each other, but you'll be able to go on fieldtrips, there will be other moms to talk to, and get advice from, and YOU will have better control over who your child is hanging out with.



The best thing about homeschooling, in my opinion, is that the child is under no time restraint (again, this may be different in certain states) to learn how to read and write. Once your child can do those things, they can do just about anything, but it's not absolutely necessary to be reading at four, or at six, or even at nine. THe child does not feel "stupid" for not being able to do what his/her classmates are doing. In other words, there is no competition, and your child gets one on one attention for things they DO have difficulty with.



Make it fun. Make it safe, make it cozy. Good luck and best of wishes!

Holly - posted on 05/02/2009

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Hi Chrissy, I just wanted to write to say that I agree with everyone on here, but I most specifically agree with Jenni W's entry. I was a public school teacher for many years, but am now staying home to raise my children. My two youngest are not yet old enough for entry into a public school, however, homeschooling starts, in my opinion, right from day one. There is so much pressure put on parents to place their kids in nursery school, then preschool, then right into public school, but as a teacher in that setting, I can honestly say that we noticed the difference not with the kids who attended pre/nursery school, but rather with the kids who had parents that were involved in their lives and who spent quality time with them. THis is the first stage of homeschooling. I have left public school until my kids are out of the house. Why is that? It is politically frustrating; there aren't enough teachers; there are too many hands in the pot when it comes to decision making on what's best for the kids (and too many of those hands have NO IDEA how to teach) and I sadly watched too many kids struggle, become frustrated, loose self confidence and become negative...all in the elementary school setting!! That is my main reason...and I would bet a lot of parents' main reason to keep my kids home.

You are already homeschooling your 19mth old and 4mth old. By communicating with them, guiding them to make choices, spending time with them and loving them...this is all homeschooling. It's too bad more of our society doesn't realize that homeschooling is the most natural way to learn and to teach...and it has nothing to do with the "No Child Left Behind" act!

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[deleted account]

Both my husband and myself had problems in public... especially in elementary. It was the repetitiveness for my husband and for me it was the environment. I was teased by not only my classmates but my teacher, to the point that I was having panic attacks at the idea of going to school (in the first grade). My parents pulled me out and homeschooled me until I got accepted into private in 4th grade. I did return to public for high school and after switching to a different high school (too much drama to focus on studying) I did very well and loved school.

So basically I don't want to chance it. Especially since we are in the school district that my husband was in and did horribly in it because they refuse to have an accelerated learning program.

Lillian - posted on 08/08/2010

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Hi Chrissy. I have a 12 year old daughter whom I have decided to homeschool this year as an experiment. I chose to do it through distributed learning as I would like at least for my first year to have the curriculum teacher lead. My daughter suffers from ADHD as well as serious abandonment issues (I adopted her 2 years ago). When her bio mom quit seeingher and the schools had no time for her her grades slipped form a B average to a c/c- average. At the end of this year it was reccommended that she do a online math course so she could better handle the gr. 7 year. Without a doubt homeschooling will be the best option as she has now placed #26 in all of Canada in the math course. She ended the scholl year with a c- in math. and is getting an A in the online course all because she knows that if she needs help she won't have to fight for it. I also decided to homeschool as she was teased by a teacher for telling her that evolution was a theory, not a fact. At home we can work on her abandonement issues and build up all the confidence that was lost in the public school system. My friend Homeschooled her daughter for the first 4 years and only put her daughter in school because she has had a difficult pregnancy and her daughter is maintaining strait A's because of her early discipline and work ethic that was instilled in her.

[deleted account]

Our schools won't put our children in the grade level that they need so after 2 years of discussion we have decided to homeschool. Our kids are happier and they haven't lost anything from it either. Our kids are in sports, as well as having friends.

Jessica - posted on 05/08/2010

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My oldest is going to be turning 2 this month and my youngest will be turning 1 next month. For children this young the main thing you can do is read, read, read. Also, to help with logic skills introduce them to puzzles. My oldest put her first puzzle together by herself at 15 months after only 1 hour of showing her how the pieces fit. The puzzle was for ages 2+, she is now turning 2 and she can easily put puzzles together by herself without been shown and the puzzles she's working on are for 3+.

Another thing, to expand there vocabulary we listen to audio books. We have been working with Shape and Colors as well as recognizing the alphabet. There is so much you can do with young children that you're probably doing already, and you don't even realize it.

TONIA - posted on 05/06/2010

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I WANT TO HOME SCHOOL MY FOUR CHILDREN. I HAVE READ A LOT OF THE ADVICE AND FEEL SO MUCH BETTER ABOUT MY CHOICE. THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL THE INFORMATION.

Maricel - posted on 03/28/2010

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WOW! thanks everyone for sharing your experiences..it's really changing my decision to really homeschool my kids...God bless you all and your families...

Jenni - posted on 03/23/2009

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Hi! My son is turning 5 this weekend and we have been "homeschooling" for this last year. I put it in quotes, because I use the term lightly :) I am a big believer that there is no need for preschool. The name itself means "before school age"...therefore, i don't buy into the hype of all this "your child has to be in preschool" or they will be so far behind if not in a preschool program". At this age kids learn best by being home and learning everyday living skills...folding laundry, making beds, helping clean etc...Yes, we work on shapes and colors and yes, he can count to 110 by himself, but that is all just stuff he has pciked up through games and "playtime". That is my motto...we "play with purpose!!!" I have read a LOT about how the kids who are pushed to read and write do begin to fall behind about 3rd grade...that if you let it develop on its own, then they stay interested. We are spelling basic words and doing sounds of letters, because my son really really wants to right now. I haven't pushed it up until now...if he loses intrest in a month...that's fine. He'll circle back around to it eventually. Also, we are doing some writing, but at the preschool age, you really need to focus on fine motor skills that help with writing...crumpling, tearing, tracing, cutting, gluing...all of this works those finger and wrist muscles that aid in writng when they are older :)

Hope this helps...I wouldn't stress the whole "when to start" thing. You'll know when its time! That's the beauty of homeschooling...you get to watch your child and know when they are ready and what they are ready for :)

[deleted account]

i have a 2.5 year old and a 10 mth old, so mine are not ready yet either but i am sold on the idea and have been researching as much as possible so i will be prepared.



my husband and i are interested in homeschooling for many reasons.  we are planning an authentic catholic approach. we are very excited about this option because the public schools are just awful. the politics is offensive and i cannot imagine sending my kid to school fr 7 hours a day to be subject to the luck of the draw with teachers. my husband and i will be team teaching.  we have flexible schedules so it should work out.
i am also curious about when to start and how exactly.  i have found some info but am looking forward to hearing from people wo have first hand experience. 



hopefully someone else replies to your post...just thought i would reply since i am new here too.

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