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  1. #1

    Default Considering Homeschooling- Many Reasons

    Hi all,

    My kids are currently enrolled in our local public school. We've been mostly happy with it but now, for many reasons, we are considering homeschooling.

    I am a former Teacher, turned Realtor. I never thought I would homeschool but we're looking at all of our options. Two of my step-kids were homeschooled so I know there is more than one way to do it, but their homeschooling was extremely religious and not science-based, I definitely do not want that.

    My reasons for:

    1. Coronavirus- we don't think this will blow over. We're also disgusted by the TEA requiring the STAAR next year when we don't even know if or when school will be starting again. Even if it does, we don't know if we want to be exposed to that amount of risk.

    2. We're moving and the school where we're moving may not be as good as where we are now.

    3. We have the flexibility- my husband and I are both self-employed.

    4. We did not like the online learning options from the district. They were a nightmare!

    5. My son is GT and since I've taught middle school in this district, I already know that the GT program isn't very good.

    My reasons against:

    1. My son is ADHD and Gifted & Talented. I have a hard time keeping up with him and sometimes he has to be micromanaged.

    2. My daughter is extremely social and this whole quarantine has been very hard on her.I know there are a lot of socialization options when you attend church but I'm an atheist and we won't go to church. How will I make sure she has enough time with peers?

    3. While our schedule is flexible, I can't and don't want to be a full-time homeschooling mom. With the district resources, I was spending 4-5 hours a day teaching my son and it was a headache.

    4. Finances- we aren't prepared to pay for curriculum or materials right now.

    5. Extracurriculars- My daughter plays violin but she does not want to take online classes for it, she says it's too hard. This was supposed to be my son's first year learning the Viola and I think it will be good for him.



    So, I guess those are all of our reasons. I don't have any idea what curriculum I would look at or even if homeschooling is right for us. Just curious what you all think?

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  3. #2

    Default

    Welcome!

    What state do you live in? Some states (Like CA) have cool homeschool hybrid charters, and I suspect with Covid, more will be springing up all the time.

    Yes, online learning is pretty much a disaster, especially if a kid doesnt work independently. As you know from the headache youve gone through already with your son.
    Luckily homeschooling isnt like that!

    About finances - The more expensive the curriculum is, generally, the more geared to nwbies and less useful seasoned homeschoolers find it. Its not expensive to homeschool.

    About peer groups - As long as you arent looking specifically for “secular homeschool playmates”, you will probably be fine. What would you do if YOU (or an adult friend) wanted more friends? Join a club, take up a hobby, that sort of thing.

    Time involved - you didnt mention the ages of your kids, but I generally get through homeschooling both my kids, doing my housecleaning chores, and making a full meal for lunch.... by lunch time. My youngest (8yo) requires all of my attention for about two hours it takes to get through his schoolwork. My oldest (14yo) is more a “check in” basis, where I check to see what hes doing between my other activities. The age makes a difference, for sure!

    It sounds like youre interested in trying out homeschooling, so why not pick a single topic, and see how it goes? Choose a funnish subject and make (or buy) a unit study.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

    Default

    Given your mention of the TEA/STAAR exam, I'm guessing you're in Texas. You'll want to make sure you check into the laws in your state, what records you'll need to keep, etc. I'm pretty sure I've heard that Texas is pretty flexible on homeschooling, though...

    I can't tell you if homeschooling will be the best for you, but I can tell you what I thought through as I made my decision, maybe considering some of the same things will help you.

    First of all, I'm headed into my first year of homeschooling, so take what I say with as large a grain of salt as you're like. I'm a former middle school teacher, and my 11 year old's a rising 5th grader. But I'm seriously rusty - I've been out of the classroom over 14 years!

    Online distance learning did not work well for my son. He's quite comfortable/happy spending hours at a time staring at screens, but he doesn't really retain much that way. So he was miserable trying to learn online. I knew I'd have to pick curricula that tapped into his strengths - primarily offline, literature-based because he loves to read, a mix of reading/writing/hands-on activities to solidify his learning in multiple styles. The biggest pro for me right now is that I can tailor his education to his strengths (while hopefully building up his weaknesses a bit more).

    I knew I wanted fully secular, so I knew I'd have to look things over carefully before choosing curricula, to make sure science is centered and religion is taught in historic context, but not proselytized.

    My son is bright and loves to learn, and also has ADHD. With all that comes with it - distractibility, poor executive functioning skills, etc. So I wanted to find curricula that was geared towards independent learning, so I can hopefully start out teaching him more directly, and gradually let him self-direct more as the year goes on. (We'll see how that goes, right now that's just a hope!)

    I can't tell you what your comfort is with risk... for me, school's a hard no because of coronavirus. Socialization is pretty much off the table right now - we won't be picking up any extracurricular activities anytime soon. Unless they can be done online! If you're indeed in Texas, you're starting to see right now, virus-wise, what we saw here a few months ago. (I'm in New Jersey) We were hit hard, though thankfully not as hard as NY, and it's taken an emotional toll on us all. My son misses his friends, but he's old enough to understand that we are isolating to avoid catching/spreading disease, that our family's choice to stay home is an act of caring for other people. He knows it won't be forever (though he's hardly a patient kid). It's tough. He misses his friends, but we do what we can to encourage him to chat/video call with his buddies. We can be social (do karate, etc) again when the risk isn't so high.

    As to costs, you can get lots of books from the library, assuming your local one stays open as your state fights off the virus. Many classics are available for free online via Project Gutenberg. We're planning to buy some books and get the rest from our newly-reopened library - assuming ours stays open, too! As for curricula, you don't have to buy a lot all at once. There are plenty of people who homeschool virtually/totally free, but I bought unit studies to give me a framework for starting out with my son. I mostly picked up options from Build Your Library and Moving Beyond the Page (which is geared towards GT education). Plus an inexpensive whole-year math curriculum from Math Mammoth. (I caught a sale, not sure if there'll be another before the school year starts, but it wasn't that expensive even at full price.) Khan Academy is completely free, and while I don't think I'd suggest it as a curriculum, it's an excellent supplement in pretty much any subject. You can find lots of unit studies available on Teachers Pay Teachers - they vary widely in price, and you can sometimes find a lesson or brief unit study available for free. And of course, you can write your own units/lessons - it's a familiar task for a former teacher, but it obviously takes you a good deal of time/effort. I'm almost done pulling together a 6 week astronomy unit for my kiddo because he wanted to start the year with a dive into astronomy, and I couldn't find anything that fit my criteria at his age/ability level. I'm looking to tailor his year to his interests (as well as his learning styles) as much as possible, so he keeps hold of the idea that learning is fun.

    I'm aiming for no more than about 3 hours of hands-on instruction per day with my son. Likely less most days, but some days will be more intensive, I'm sure. It will all ebb and flow as necessary. You don't need to fill the whole 6-7 hour school day for both of your kids. There's so much lost time in a typical day at school - you won't have lockers and class changes and specials and whatnot, so you can get things done much more smoothly/quickly at home.

    Good luck making your decisions! People here have been very helpful as I've gotten started, so I'm sure you'll be able to get any questions you have answered here.

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Considering Homeschooling- Many Reasons