Re: [hs reviews] Confidence to homeschool?
(Please read entire, LONG post before jumping to conclusions)
I'm scared, too, and I know that last year (my first year homeschooling) in
a lot of ways I totally flopped. I did a major DISservice to my 11 y/o
daughter. She didn't like school (private, religious school) anymore, was
bored, and just starting to get into minor mischief -- then her Stanford
test scores came back. This 5th grade child was working at high school and
beyond. And she was unhappy -- she wasn't having "fun" anymore, it was just
something she was forced to attend.
I took a deep breath, and decided that even if I goofed everything up
*really* badly, she wouldn't really be behind. She was so far ahead that
even if she stayed on the same level (and didn't learn anything at all
during the next year) she'd still be OK. I bought an entire set of texts,
laid out a day-by-day plan (pages, topics and tests). That lasted a few
weeks. Major illness in my family my mother and my son had major health problems brought things to a halt in September,October, and November.
Then December had another family crisis. All the organized plans for
homeschooling were totally gone. In January I tried to salvage what I
could --I re-wrote the daily plans, altered routines to allow more time, etc.
Then my daughter broke her leg and had complications of that. March brought
an auto accident with my husband and all the kids; car destroyed but thank
God (due to seat belts) all occupants were basically OK. It was a terribly
confused, non-productive "school year" for her. She didn't learn what her
friends learned in school, and she didn't cover the topics she should have.
I had no time (or emotional energy) to spend on her schooling. My daughter
and I had many fights over her lack of schooling -- she was very VERY angry
with me for pulling her out of school and destroying her schooling. She
hated me. Even though she understood the reasons that the homeschooling didn't go as planned somehow she still held me accountable for her lack of
schooling. The last few months I have been filled with a terrible "I really
made a mistake" feeling. I promised myself that I would never do anything
as stupid again. 2 weeks ago I called the local Catholic school and made arrangements for us to go tour the school and sign her up for fall.. I told my daughter and after the initial shock, she declared loudly that she did NOT want to do that. She wanted me to homeschool her for another year. (My mouth fell
open in shock) She said that she didn't get regular schoolwork done but she
had opportunities that she wouldn't have been able to do if she had been in
regular school. Then she seriously listed some of the things she *was* able
to do because she was homeschooled.Believe it or not, she listed being able to sit in the ICU with me and listen to me discuss treatment options for my mom, and hold my ground with a gung-ho physician who wanted to do things I wouldn't approve. She also said that being able to come visit her brother in the hospital (after brain tumor removed and he couldn't walk yet), and help him practice walking again.Another "opportunity" she talked about was dealing with adoption preparation(yes, we had previously started the homestudy and all pre-placement work for a handicapped, foreign child during this time). She said that seeing me coordinate the therapies for my son, the adoption meetings, mom's medical needs, her orthopedic consultant visits/treatments, lawyers/insurance people about the car accident.......and I am employed outside the home 20 hrs/wk,so I also had to schedule around that. She said she learned a lot about scheduling and negotiating.Did I blow her schooling last year? Yes I did; big time. She really is behind her friends in schoolwork. Did I ruin her life? No. Did I make myself crazy trying? In some ways. Do I regret the initial decision to homeschool her? No -- she was so very unhappy and being held back that I still think my decision was correct. What will I do for this fall? I honestly don't know (but I did send away for more catalogues from Calvert, ABeka, etc)Shelby, if you feel scared, so what? You know the right thing to do. I realize that in the last year my life has been an unbelievable, horrible ordeal, but know what? My daughter still preferred that to regular school.Did she learn her schoolwork? No. Did she learn valuable lessons? She
said she did and she was glad she was home. Even if she is behind where her
friends are (in topics learned at school), as I stand back and compare the
daughter of 1 yr ago to the daughter today, she really does seem more
confident, a LOT happier, able to state her feelings better (even if angry
feelings), and knows more life skills. (How many 12 y/o's do you know that
know how to balance a checkbook? Do repairs on a wheelchair? Know how to
keep records for Blue Cross?)I understand that my year has been stranger than strange, but the bottom line is, even if I didn't do the "school" the way I had planned, apparently she did get quite an "education". And she wants more.
Go for it. My personal belief is that I need textbooks to keep me on track.
Some believe in the "unschooling" philosophy. I started with one and ended
up doing the other. And my daughter is alive, well, and asking for more.
Trust me, there's no way your year could get stranger than mine was, and my
daughter still learned despite it all. And she wants to do it again. She
*begged* me to do it again.If you think this is what you child needs, then it doesn't matter if you're scared. You will decide:a) textbooks vs unschooling (or a blend of both)b) If you want to use "textbooks", you will learn about types (formal vs religious vs video tapes) and how to get catalogues.
c) You will learn about groups that can answer questions, offer help, kand
tell you about state laws you must follow (some states have requirements and
some don't, but ALL states are do-able for homeschooling)You will learn what *your* needs are (organized daily lesson plans vs unplanned learning). and how to meet them. You will learn what your child's needs are, and how to meet them, too. Who could honestly care more about your child than you? Who is honestly more interested in your child and their learning, except you?
You will be great.
This site says k-6 but I think that most of the lessons I looked at would be
better for older (maybe 4th grade and up) kids, although there is some fun
crafts-y stuff too!