Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why we chose to homeschool...

Well why wouldn’t we?
Our family and our children
Our children are 5 ½ and 4 and in that short amount of time we’ve already taught them so much. We’ve taught them how to walk, talk, eat, jump, run, play, brush their teeth, comb their hair and use the big potty. We’ve taught them the importance of helping out around the house and being part of a family unit by cleaning up their toys, washing dishes, bringing their dirty clothes to the laundry room, folding laundry, feeding the pets and vacuuming. We’ve already started to educate them by teaching them their colors, abc’s, numbers and how to write their names.  So why shouldn’t we continue to teach our children and teach them how to read, write, multiply and speak a foreign language?  We are their parents we made a decision to bring them into this world and it’s our responsibility no one else’s to make sure they grow up into healthy, happy, intelligent adults who will make this world a better place.
When we first had our daughter we searched for a home in a good school district and made sure she had all her shots (which we weren’t too keen on getting due to all the severe side effects) so she could enter Kindergarten. Ever since the birth of our children we’ve both worked outside the home and my mother has graciously watched them for us. This past fall we entered my daughter in a Public Pre-K program which is free to families in GA.  I was still not able to quit my job though and my aging mother needed a break from our energetic daughter. When we enrolled her we had pretty much made the decision we were going to homeschool . School was from 8 am – 2:30pm so I cut my hours at work to part time and my mom only had our son from 9 am – 2:25 pm which was much easier on her. Throughout the year there were several instances that occurred at the school which really finalized our decision to homeschool . Not to mention all of things you hear in the news about public school violence and education. So this summer we will be moving to another city in GA and I will be quitting my job to become a dedicated full time stay at home, homeschooling mom.  I am nervous and excited and so very happy that I will finally be able to be with my kids throughout the entire day.
Our personal experiences with public school
My husband was homeschooled throughout most of his elementary education.  Despite a bad family life he enjoyed homeschooling and he was able to get the help he needed with his learning disabilities, which he would not have received in the public education system. He was also able to devote a lot of time to reading and books which is a passion of his.
My personal experiences with school were very poor. I got picked on and made fun from elementary through high school. I was a straight A student and graduated with a 4.0 but feel that I didn’t receive a quality education. Subjects I liked and enjoyed such as the art and music were not focused on as much as they should be. In middle school classes were often too slow moving for me and I slept in most of my classes.  High school was the worst part of my education. I went to a city school up North that was over populated, had poor teachers and had criminal activity daily. The one thing I remember most about my childhood education was going home after school and crying wishing I could go to a private school where I had hoped it would be better. The teasing and picking on has scared me and as a result even as an adult I deal with low self esteem.  Sports and standardized tests were the focus at our school.  My junior year I took a several AP or higher level classes so I wouldn’t be bored but then I seemed to end up with all of the really stuck up kids who didn’t accept me because my family wasn’t as well off as theirs. And my senior year I took an electronics Vo Tech course because at that time I wanted to go to college to become a computer technician. Well the class was exciting and fun and I did learn a lot but I was the only girl in the class and was again teased and picked on. As a result of my bad experiences I really don’t won’t to subject my children to that type of torture.
Our reasons we are choosing to homeschool
We have a lot of reasons for choosing to homeschool, and here they are. We want our kids to be able to think and make decisions for themselves. We don't want them to be forced to fit into a  mold. We want to provide them with the resources and let them delve deeper into the subjects to come to their own conclusions and thoughts. We want them to be able to express themselves as they please and have their own beliefs. They shouldn’t be forced to believe what others are telling them without researching and exploring it on their own. We want them to enjoy learning and realize that they will be constantly learning new things throughout their life. Learning doesn’t end once high school and college are over. Learning should be enjoyable and what better place than at home where they will not be constrained to a classroom for 7+ hrs a day. We want them to be in a safe environment where they don’t have to fear getting bullied, shot or peer pressured daily.  We want them to be able to enjoy subjects like art and music and know that those are just as important then math and reading. We want them to know that school is not all about passing standardized tests and the “No Child Left Behind Act”. We have religious reasons as well even though that is not our main focus. We want to be able to allow our children to explore and travel. Hands on learning is so much better than sitting in at a desk every day, day in and day out. And we want to take all of the politics and government rules and regulations out of children’s education. Schools are becoming so political and those politics and views get passed down to our children.
Homeschooling in GA our 2011-2012 plans
We were very nervous that we would not be able to homeschool do to GA laws, curriculum costs and of course going from two incomes to one.

But after a lot of research I learned that the
GA homeschool laws are not that restrictive. A declaration of intent letter, monthly attendance records and a yearly progress report (that doesn’t have to even be sent in) are all that is required.  We can so do this!

We also learned that curriculum doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. For the first few years we are not planning to purchase a full curriculum from just one source, like Abeka. Or use just one style of learning, like Charlotte Mason. Both great programs by the way. The books and other materials we do purchase will be inexpensive or free.  We will be utilizing books we received through online giveaways, used curriculum sales, goodwill, etc. And we will be utilizing the many free online programs that are available, the Wii (yup you read that right video games can be educational), computer programs and games, board games, printable resources from various websites, workbooks and educational toys. We think we will get by just fine with our eclectic mixture, at least through the elementary level.  The plan for the fall is to implement a workbox type system, similar to
Sue Patrick’s. So we are essentially going to be eclectic hybrid (not totally religious, not totally secular) homeschoolers. So I guess that makes us hippy homeschoolers sort of, lol, no offense to hippies.

As for going down to one income well we are already pretty frugal and have no debt. We use coupons, shop thrift stores and only buy stuff on sale. We know we will get by just like we always do. I plan to do what I can from home to earn some extra cash and I’ve got a slew of ideas but I don’t want to put too much on my plate since homeschooling the kids is my number one priority.  There’s definitely going to be an adjustment for the family to new schedules and prioritizing time.

I carried my precious ones for 9 months (well almost) and have and will always be there for them to teach them and care for them until the day I am no longer alive. They are my everything and I cannot wait to be there beside them when they read their first words, add their first numbers, explode their first chemistry experiment and show me on a map where the USA is.
Please share with me your reasons for homeschooling and how your first years went?


Unknown said...

Those are great reasons!

My hubby is not quite as enthused as I am, but we're going to take it year by year to see how it goes.

I want to homeschool because I love my girls. I don't want the freedom that comes from shipping them off to school. I love watching them grow and learn :)

Kathy Balman said...

@Aurie I cannot wait to follow you on your journey through homeschooling. I am so thankful there is a great support system amoungst homeschoolers (even though right now all my connections are virtual). I'm so thankful my husbands on board. I think its because he was homeschooled for a little while so he knows how great it will be for them.

Mary Prather said...

Great post!! I think you will be so happy with your decision. We live in Peachtree City -- where r u? I didn't know you were a Georgia gal, too!

Thanks for posting this link at Three Thinking Mothers. I am going to share it in our FB page if you don't mind!

Kathy Balman said...

@musicalmary Yup I'm a GA gal. I live in Jasper now but we are planning a move to Savannah in a couple of months.

Heathahlee said...

We have home schooled our only child, our 11 year old son, since he was in first grade, after having a bad experience in a small private school in kindergarten. We have loved it, and I can't see us doing anything else. Mississippi is one of the easiest states to home school in. All I have to do is submit a curriculum list to my attendance office at the beginning of the year.

Great post!

Kathy Balman said...

@HeathahLee Thanks for stopping by. It is so encouraging to meet others who have been successful and are homeschooling still after several years.

Theresa said...

Hi Kathy, Just checking this out. The reply feature and having the person get an email was what I liked about Disqus. I don't always remember to go back and check posts I comment on to see if they replied.

Theresa said...

Oh wait, sorry, no, I see it now!!!

Love it!!! I am going to do this!!!

Great thank you so much for sharing!

Kathy Balman said...

@Theresa let me know if you get this reply in your inbox. If you do I will send you the widget directions its really easy. Also I noticed that the reply to comment was missing its on my blog now so you can check it out. Beside each name you will see reply to comment. you are also able to comment on others comments on my blog.

Kathy Balman said...

@Theresa lets see if you get this one too. you didnt check the box with this one. there is also ways to make the reply to comment a cute little box and various colors I'll tackle that later though.

Amanda Pelser said...

Thanks for sharing! Excited for you!

I've been thinking about my first year and our reasons for homeschoolings as we prepare to start Kindergarten in the fall.

Why Do We Homeschool?


Kathy Balman said...

@Amanda Pelser Thanks for sharing your post! It was a great post and I love your reasons. Thanks for linking back to mine as well!

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