Saturday, July 14, 2012

Recent Questions About Homeschooling (updated)

We started homeschooling after our son had been in public school for a few years, so I often get questions from those thinking about starting later. We did not homeschool all of our children and we are glad there are wonderful public and private teachers out there.  I want to say that from the beginning. I don't believe homeschooling is for everyone. (Collective gasp from some) :)

Some are afraid of the cost of homeschooling, their ability to guide learning, socialization with other children (if there aren't siblings), and a support system for themselves. Others worry that they can't stand their kids attitudes now so how could they deal with them all day at home? I may not answer all of your questions adequately here, but keep asking other homeschooling families. Your children may learn differently than mine, you may discover you like only textbooks (eek) or that you have enough siblings who can entertain each other at playtime, so you won't have to seek out groups and friends as much as other homeschoolers do. Every family is different, yours is unique too.

"Why did you start homeschooling?" And "I can't homeschool because....."
These can be somewhat answered in my posts: Me? Homeschool ?!! and Homeschooling? YES, you can do it!
You can also find a Homeschool Highschool post.  

I do want to add that if your child/children have an attitude problem they may not be the only ones who need an attitude adjustment. Yes, I'm talking about you- mom and dad. There should be parental love and authority in the home. Your kids will respect and love you back if you take the lead in this area. Whatever discipline you choose for bad behavior should be consistent and THEN there should be quick forgiveness when the offender has repented. On the same hand, if YOU have been hateful, unjustly angry or harsh, YOU should apologize and ask your child's forgiveness and start again. Hopefully they have seen your willingness to forgive them in the past. My son once said, "It's hard for me to believe that God can forgive me sometimes.....but I know that He does because you and dad always do." .....Wow, what a profound thing that was for me to hear. Even if I haven't done everything right, and I haven't...No parent is perfect. We all think we will be better parents than our parents. Get a wake up call now, instead of later. We ALL, including our parents probably felt/feel that we are doing a better job than the ones who came before. Snicker, snicker, our parents and grandparents are thinking. Humble yourselves and parent with grace. God gives you grace, a clean slate every day, right?

Here's the part of Ephesians 4 right after we are admonished to "put off" the old nature and "put on " the good stuff:Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." -Ephesians 4:25-32

What have you used to homeschool and where did you get it?
Most of what we've found useful is on the right hand side of this blog under the title: "Curriculum and Websites We've Liked" You can also look over my posts under "Homeschooling" tags.

I bought used books online from Vegsource (even if you're a meat eater like me), The Swap, The Homeschool Classifieds, and Amazon, new books from Pennywise Learning, A Beka, Christian Book Distributors and many more. I borrowed from the public library, and the homeschool section of our church's library. We also used free online sites as much as possible when we started out. Great sources are homeschool conventions held in larger cities. There you can put your hands on the materials first hand and see if you think they would work for your family or not.

I found worksheet generators that were a lot of help. Though the original site I used can't be found there are plenty around now. Just a Google search away here. If you are determined, have a closely-supervised internet account, and own a library card, you CAN homeschool for practically nothing, especially in the early years. If you have younger ones who will use the same curriculum soon, look for materials that can be reused instead of consumables. Consumables are those subjects that are workbook heavy, which are used up and thrown away. A money saving tip here for some consumable workbooks is to have the child write on a separate sheet of paper so that those using it in coming years may still use the same book.

We like reading real books as much as possible for history, and I will often check out just the textbook from the church library for American History, for example, and not require answering tons of questions, but discuss what he's learned through reading it. AND have him read a few books... at least one or two of them being biographies from the same time period as the text. I think this approach has fostered a love of reading and history. I'm eclectic in my choices for texts and will use whatever is available to get it done. (AS long as they are historically accurate texts) A word here about "The Classics". Just because a book has achieved the honored title of "classic" doesn't always imply that it is literature fit for children, or adults, for that matter. Use discernment.

What will they be doing with their free time? What about kids their own age to play with?
If you'll be homeschooling your other kids they will have playmates. Incorporate fun learning along with the sit down bookwork. I never let my son spend all day watching tv or playing video games. I used to babysit three younger children and he learned to play with them. There were board games and leaning games. Giant bubbles in the swimming pool outside was a science lesson and tons of fun. Hand microscopes and magnifying glasses made the world a wonder for days on end. He used the couch cushions and blankets to build forts when he'd read about castles, allowing even the baby to crawl through the maze. A huge spiderweb was made in our whole living room with a ball of old yarn. Kids scissors were used to cut it all away and clean up before dad got home. It builds compassion and responsibility when kids are encouraged to play with kids of varying ages. Don't forget the many adults your family can learn social skills from and lend a helping hand to. The elderly neighbor, the art teacher, grandparents, people at church... There are church groups for Bible memorization and fun games such as AWANA . Christian based sports groups such as Upward Sports. Look around for a homeschool group in your area and/or another homeschooling family with kids the same age.More questions to come....

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