View Full Version : Thinking about homeschooling!!

04-03-2011, 10:07 PM
So this is my first post here. I have been lurking around the past few days though. My kids are currently in their last couple months of kindergarten and pre-k at a public school. I have a set of 6 year old twin boys and a 5 year old daughter.

I have had the urge to home school since they were babies but decided to give school a chance first. I have not been too pleased. My kindergartners are gone 35 hours a week and I feel like they are hardly at home. We use to do all sorts of home lessons prior to them starting K but now they come home so tired and overworked I do not like asking them to do more.

I also do not like the habits they have picked up. My son use to be the sweetest boy with kind words for everyone and now every other comment out of his mouth is some sort of insult or teasing comparison. My daughter has had her share of isolation at times from pre-k girl cliques. My other son is doing fairly well but I do not ever think I will enjoy the hit and miss nature of good teachers in public school. It pains me to see my twins having such different experiences partly because one teacher has 20 years under her belt while the other has 2 years. I also thinks one of my sons requires a different approach to learning since he seems to be a more tactile hands on person.

We are scared we will not have the patience to handle homeschooling our heathens so we have decided to give it a go this summer shortly after school gets out. If we get through the summer and are confident we will proceed but if not at least that will be well prepared for next year.

What are some thoughts here on this summer approach?

04-04-2011, 10:16 AM
We did the summer approach last year and it confirmed our belief that homeschooling was the right choice. DS is 9 now and we spent the summer and fall repeating his 3rd grade curriculum from PS. I was blown away by how much he had not covered. He is also a very tactile learner and sitting in front of a teacher for 7 1/2 hours a day was not for him. He was bored out of his mind. It is normal to feel insecure (I was totally worried) about taking on the challenge of homeschooling, but think about this: Who knows your kids better than you? Who knows the best way to spark their interests? A teacher with 25+ kids in a class room, or you? The beauty of it is that when you see them losing interest, or your patience is thin you can let them have imaginary play time, or read to themselves (or whatever works for you and them). It's on your and their schedule , not the 15 minute recess arbitrarily squeezed into their day.

I think the biggest challenge is sifting through all the curriculum that is out there and deciding what you'll use. We tried some things that we didn't like and discarded them. After several months we found what worked best. My only regret is that we didn't start sooner.

04-04-2011, 10:38 AM
do it!

how far apart are your kids? yours sound very close to mine. Irish triplets. twins then a singleton born in a year. I homeschooled mine for pre-k and K, then put them in school. I felt EXACTLY like you. they were gone ALL DAY and EXHAUSTED. school schedule is just too much. for kids and for mom. we broght them back home, had 3 more kids and things, even though chaotic are great! I saw those little "lights" go on! I did that! my Kindergartener now is reading Frog and Toad becuase of ME! yeah homeschooling! you only get them for such a short, short time. enjoy them while you can

you can so do it! jump in

04-04-2011, 11:10 AM
When my daughter was in preschool, I started homeschooling her on a whim. The summer before her Kindergarten year, I asked my hubby what he thought about homeschooling and he said that if he saw results at home, he would support me. We used a website called First School and another one called Letter of the Week. It didn't take long to convince my hubby that homeschooling would be a better option for our daughter. I've been homeschooling her for 4 years now (in August) and will start homeschooling my son when he turns 3 in December. I've never regretted our decision :) I also agree with what Lisa posted above me: picking out the curriculum was difficult. We've tried so many different things over the last 2 years and have finally settled on the setup of The Well Trained Mind.

04-04-2011, 01:02 PM
we have decided to give it a go this summer shortly after school gets out. If we get through the summer and are confident we will proceed but if not at least that will be well prepared for next year.

What are some thoughts here on this summer approach?

Last summer, we tried to HS, though we didn't use the term or even think about it that way. We just wanted to make sure DD retained what she'd learned in PS while getting DS used to a more structured learning environment.

It was a flop. I didn't have it planned out well enough, we all used the excuse "But it's summer!" to get out of anything that looked academic, and I let myself get wrapped up in other pursuits.

We're trying the summer approach again. This time, we're going into it being 99.9% sure that we're HSing in the fall. We're also prepping DD well in advance so there are no surprises when, nearly every weekday, we will be doing reading and math for 1-2 hours. The rest of the time will be spent doing fun science, nature exploration, doing arts and crafts, swimming, playing soccer, riding bikes, and other normal summer stuff. I'm very curious (apprehensive) to see how DD reacts to this. She's been begging to be HSed, so this is her trial run.

Good luck with your summer experiment!

04-04-2011, 01:50 PM

I started homeschooling my 7 year old this fall, we couldn't have realistically started in the summer because of a move, but I don't think it would have worked well anyway. After being in the PS for two years DS needed the summer to decompress and get used to the idea of homeschooling. It took me all the way up to starting school to decide on our materials and there was a learning curve and stress for both of us getting started. In hindsight I would not have wanted to go through that during the summer, I think it would have turned DS off and it was good to start at the same time the PS kids were heading back to school. My newbie suggestion would be to be sure to keep your summer learning really relaxed and very child-led with no academics. But it also depends on the willingness of your children. I would have no problem bagging summer school entirely if they are resistant and if they are receptive then go ahead and do more.

04-04-2011, 02:11 PM
We started out homeschooling, so I may not be the best person to give this advice, but...

It completely baffles me that so many people (and I've seen people say it a lot) think that it will be a good test run for homeschooling to try it over the summer after a kid is finished with a full year in school. Between the preconceived idea of "summer vacation," the real need for a break for formal learning, and the broader need to deschool, I just don't get how it could possibly be a valid look at what homeschooling would be like. I mean, if it works, I guess that could be a positive indication, but if it doesn't then I don't think its necessarily a negative one and it might turn the kids off to the idea of homeschooling in general if they're suddenly doing lessons while their friends all have time off at the pool. It's scary, but I think parents just have to take the plunge if they think it will work for their families.

But, like I said, not our situation, so take it with a grain of salt.

04-04-2011, 03:42 PM
Thanks for the warm welcome and response. We decided to start off with the MBTP 5-7 environment unit which is 9 weeks.
My daughter is 15 months behind the boys. She will be 5 next week and my boys will be 7 in October so I feel this will cover all three pretty well.
My DD has only had half day pre-k and I feel she will be ready to explore the concepts offered in that unit.
For my son that I feel is behind I can take a look at his skills and see where he needs assistance.
My son who seems to not be challenged enough this year will probably benefit most from the advanced lessons.

I am not sure my children need a summer to decompress. They pretty much know that I will not let them lounge all summer and expect lessons when we have huge chunks of idle time. They miss having the time and energy to do home lessons. Mostly we have used kumon workbooks and brainquest activities/ workbooks for our lesson times and other lessons I come up with.

So far we have talked to them about doing home lessons and review in the summer and left the "school" aspect out of the conversation. I do want to take advantage of the behaviors they are use to during the day, like sitting in a desk and listening to a lesson. If I wait too long I will have to reestablish these habits myself.

We are planning to take it light and not push them too hard and of course we are planning to summer it up!
If we do continue with homeschooling we will probably take our breaks during parts of fall and spring. I am a nursing student right now so I will have times I am very busy. My husband is a stay at home dad and will do the schooling during my peak busy times.

04-05-2011, 10:26 AM
It completely baffles me that so many people (and I've seen people say it a lot) think that it will be a good test run for homeschooling to try it over the summer after a kid is finished with a full year in school. Between the preconceived idea of "summer vacation," the real need for a break for formal learning, and the broader need to deschool, I just don't get how it could possibly be a valid look at what homeschooling would be like. I mean, if it works, I guess that could be a positive indication, but if it doesn't then I don't think its necessarily a negative one

If a person was to literally jump from PS one day to a full-time HS curriculum the next, I could see the concern. However, testing the HSing waters after some summer-time decompression makes sense. I don't see it as being a question of if it works or if it doesn't; I don't think it's that black-and-white.

Rather, it's about getting your feet wet and trying some different approaches. Is the morning the best time for your family to hit the books? Are unit studies really going to be embraced by your kids like you'd hoped? Are you going to need to be more hands-on than you'd thought? And, possibly, if my kids and I are at each other's throats after a few weeks of light HSing, then maybe we do need to re-think HSing altogether. I'd rather come to that realization in August than in October.

It didn't sound to me that the OP indicated locking the kids up in the house from dawn til dusk all summer and never letting them go swimming with their friends. If parents dip their toes in the water first, it could save everyone from some unnecessary discomfort.

04-05-2011, 12:13 PM
this is how we made the transition.

We told them mid-year (when next years tuition was due) that we would be homeschooling. They remembered what it was like from Kindergarten and were THRILLED. Come summer instead of the normal "summer school" activities we did anyway (summer bridge workbook, flashcards and journal writing ) I started them on the curriculum that I picked. A couple times a week we would have "school" . We had to work the kinks out such as, thats not how Mrs. So & So does it" and hand raising, lol. The summer got us in the grove of what hs'ing was going to be like.

it's terrifying to start out, imo. I think becuase your kids have been in school, you see what they are doing and know you can do it yourself. once you do it for a while you will not have the fears anymore

04-05-2011, 12:18 PM
How awesome that you have your husband there to help you school them! TWO teachers! I love it!

I also love the summer approach - within reason! When I first started out two summers ago, I jumped immediately into books and pencils and hard-core learning. Hahaha, joke was on ME! My kids rebelled! They needed time off and they needed to deschool and forget all the "stuff" they had learned in public school. Within 3 weeks, I put the books and pencils away, I took out the crayons, butcher paper, craft stuff, and story books. We had a pleasant rest of the summer just BEING together and learning this and that. My then-10 year old son had fun doing science experiments and getting into really reading on his own. This was a kid I never thought would enjoy reading, but he picked that up on his own and flew with it!

Your children are 5 and 6 years old. I guess my best advice would be - have fun with them! Teach them through games and books. Read to them constantly! There are so many story books out there that touch on all subjects for all ages! Take them on day trips and sneak learning in with all the fun. Museums and zoos are great places to start! Parks, your local library, the grocery store (if one box of pasta is $2, how much for 2, 5, or 10 boxes? My kids loved these problems when they were younger!)

The Kumon workbooks are great! Especially for summer - pleasant and fun to do! As are the Summer Bridge Books.

One caveat - During pretend-play, your husband MUST wear the Princess tiara! THAT one thing will make the summer shine!

Enjoy your summer and I wish you the best of luck on your new journey into the land of homeschooling!

04-05-2011, 01:27 PM
We pulled our son out of school after kindergarten. I was 90% sure that we would homeschool in the fall, but I wanted to see if my son's behavior improved over the summer (he was very stressed, uncooperative, and upset frequently by the end of the school year). With some work on our part, his behavior did get better and I couldn't imagine sending him back to school in the Fall. I wasn't going to base my decision to homeschool on a "trial run" because I knew that this was the right decision and we would figure out a way to make it work.

We didn't do any formal schooling last summer. We just wanted him to be able to have fun and relax after such a stressful year.
When we started in September, we began with one or two subjects and added more slowly. It's not so scary once you start! Just remember to be flexible and keep your sense of humor!

One caveat - During pretend-play, your husband MUST wear the Princess tiara! THAT one thing will make the summer shine!

Ha! Sounds fair to me!

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
04-05-2011, 02:28 PM
First I must say that you should never doubt your own ability to teach your children. You are in fact the one that has taught them everything they knew before they went to PS. We tried to give PS a chance and it was not for us as well. Just the sheer fact that you are considering HS is reason enough to give it a try. And to be honest the first year is the hardest. You are under pressure to make sure that your children are up to par with those in PS. And I must say before you start to feel that way, it is natural. But do not let that take over your desire to HS. Once you decide to HS give it at least 2 years before you decide to give up, (if you ever decide that is). It really does take some time to find what works for your family, and every family is different. Just relax and know that as long as your children are learning on a steady pace you are doing fine. If it ever gets to where you are fighting to get anything done you need to take a break, and maybe try a different method. Your methods will change as your kids get older and their needs change. It is a good thing that your children are so close in age as many things you can do with them will be easier as you can do it as a group.

04-05-2011, 10:40 PM
Thanks for all the kind words and support!!

04-05-2011, 10:55 PM
There's a point made in a lot of these posts that's a good one. Every homeschooling parent gets something wrong at the start. There will be something, probably more than one thing, that won't work the way you'd hoped. That's not cause to throw in the towel, though. The beauty of homeschooling is you can scrap something that bombs and try a new approach until you have something that sticks. It was that way for us with math, for sure.

You absolutely can do it. As someone said, you've already been teaching your kids every day of their lives. You know how. And you care enough to want to do this for your family. It sounds like the way to go for you all.

04-11-2011, 06:57 PM
Very exciting! We're starting up this summer too, not really as a trial, but more because we aren't the type of people to just sit around all summer ... we need things to DO! (Okay, I could probably sit around for a week or two LOL) We live in AZ, so starting next month, hopefully, we'll spend most of our day in the pool, but I'm sure there will be plenty of time to get some fun learning in :)

We were thinking about Oak Meadow, but as I research more I think it might be too slow. MBTP looks to be our choice too, same age range :)

Anyway, good luck to you and your kiddos! We have a daddy home too (HE'S the one in school, though), so we'll also be a multi-teacher home!

04-11-2011, 08:16 PM
How exciting Amy! We will have to share our experiences! i will more than likely be blogging!

04-12-2011, 02:42 AM
Fun! What's your blog link? I need to add mine to my signature, but it's Chronicles of the Mommy (http://blissfulology.blogspot.com).

04-12-2011, 08:16 AM

mine has been mainly about school this year.

04-12-2011, 08:10 PM
I can relate to your concerns. I pulled my daughter out of PS this past September after several issues that had been looming over the years. I had considered HS the year before, but like many, I had my fears and convinced myself I just couldn't do it. After she started 2nd grade, I ran into a neighbor who homeschooled and she informed me of the "HS community" that we had in our area. Being so new to the topic, I had no idea that HS families got together for group activities and classes. It was a great shove to get me going. I pulled my daughter out of school the following week, and never looked back. She did have to go through a period of decompressing; however, I took this opportunity to get out there and see what types of resources were available for me. I started introducing subjects in short segments and after a couple months, I cannot believe the transition. She has gone from a timid little girl who was afraid of her own voice, to an outgoing child who has a thirst for knowledge.

I peeked over her shoulder today while she was doing her math lesson, and I saw that she had written "I love school" on the top of her dry erase board. It brought me to tears! Just this past fall, she would cry and beg me every morning not to make her go to school.

Needless to say, homeschooling has been one of the best choices I have ever made, and even only seven months in has been an extraordinary experience for our whole family. Best of luck to you.

04-12-2011, 08:44 PM
Autumn, that is such a great change! It's amazing to me that there are people who just give a blanket disapproval to homeschooling!