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May 05, 2006

Homeschooling Neophyte

Our first year of school-building-school was a success. It wraps up in two weeks. I cried when I realized that the boys' last day at our local Mennonite school will be May 18th.

Last week we talked with the boys' teachers and the school admissions officer, and alerted them that they would not be returning in the fall. I know I have at least one friend who is cheering, a victory for homeschooling. *grin*

As most schooling decisions, this one was complex with many factors. One of the factors was NOT a failure of the school they attended or any horrible stories about teacher incompetence or bullies or anything of that sort.

Sure, there were some things I rolled my eyes at about school this year. And some frustration on my part on a couple of the curriculum choices. But overall, our family's experience with the boys in private school was excellent. Each of the teachers was sensitive to our kids' strengths and weaknesses. The "gaps" in their education that I could acutely see last fall, have been filled. J9 can write in cursive, legibly. I think perhaps we should have handled grade placement a little differently for one of the boys at the beginning of the year. But, overall, an excellent year. The boys learned a lot, and this was the best choice for their transition year from Ukraine to the US.

But we will be homeschooling in the coming year.

All of a sudden I feel a bit overwhelmed and quite new at homeschooling--despite 16+ years involved with homeschooling, as a student, a teacher, a parent. And a bit scared at our competency at this. Concerned about finding a good routine. And brand new at all of this, in spite of it all.

I'll probably be blogging on this more soon. Or maybe not. I tend to be open and transparent online, but sometimes do keep things unpublished out of respect for my family and their privacy. Though, I think I'll be asking some h/s questions soon--I've found the blogging community to be an excellent (and efficient) resource that I'm thankful to have.

Note: Just for clarification. . . While I feel like a newbie at homeschooling right now, we've actually homeschooled the kids for years. This past school year was our first year of school-building-school. . .


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:o) yay
it's funny, the longer i journey with this homeschooling thang, the more persuaded i am to trust each child to become *educated* without too much of my interference.. the word unschooling comes to mind (but i'm not a purist unschooler).. sort of child-directed-learning, letting them go and explore the world and discover their "buzz" and go for it.

well, kind of.. cos our kiddos seem destined to "go to school" from 13 y.o.
yeah, weird huh. but it's a "whatever works for each kid" thang, and it's been the school their daddy teaches at, which we love.
ramble ramble..
i'm off to make an espresso...
(should've waited to post until AFTER the coffee)

Posted by: kate5kiwis at May 6, 2006 06:24 PM

Wow, when I count it up on my fingers, I've been home schooling for 12 years now! And guess what; sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed at times!

I don't know if I can help in any way--you know what they say about homeschoolers--we all have our own reasons, our own ideas about education, and our own techniques. But one thing we all have in common is the desire that we all be successful and suppported.

You've got my support and my prayers when you need 'em!

Posted by: Kim from Hiraeth at May 6, 2006 06:36 PM

I'm sure you'll shed a few tears in the next year as you homeschool too! Life is always full of change and the emotions to go with them. I look forward to what you may share in the next year. I know what you mean about sharing personal family things. I actually blog very little about our day to day myself. And you are right the internet and blogs are a very efficient resource.

Posted by: Spunky at May 6, 2006 07:16 PM

Oh, YAY for you! I'm so excited for you and your family...
The main thing I think of when I reflect on our homeschooling experience thus far, (which has been our kids whole lives and my oldest son is 10yo.) is that it's a lifestyle of being together, and learning together. My own ideas and expectations have changed so many times, so just be patient with yourself too.
I don't think you can hardly go wrong though, just pray, play and enjoy those kids! You'll do great, I'm sure of it!;) My hubby and I joke that we're homeschooling ourselves, and the kids are just along for the ride! *lol*
blessings as you journey~

Posted by: beth at May 6, 2006 09:24 PM

I am sure it will go well for you!!!

Posted by: Kim in ON at May 6, 2006 09:40 PM

Welcome Back! This has been a tricky homeschooling year for us in that we're one of a very few families at the seminary who homeschools (most go to the same Christian school down the street). I've lost my focus and my nerve numerous times this year and have considered putting them in as many times.

But here we are at the end of the year and it is hard not to compare my children with the "normally schooled" children who live all around us. And comparatively speaking, I'm more than pleased with where we stand. And I may just have needed to see that to motivate me to continue on next year.

Would you believe I received a *really big* Sonlight box today but have been too busy to open it all day long? So not like me!

Anyway, welcome back. I, too, still feel new at all this. In fact, I'm going to my first homeschool conference this summer and I signed up for the "new to homeschooling" workshops! :) We'll see how much of the conference is encouraging and how much is eye-rolling... *wink*

Posted by: Megan at May 7, 2006 12:03 AM

FYI - our church has a school which serves as an umbrella organization for home schoolers, should you need such. This week they will be administering the Iowa Test of Basic Skills to students from kdgt on up. Or will you do that yourself next year?

At the high school level - I realize your boys are not yet that age - classes are offered in biology, chemistry, math, English.... These are taught by parents who've majored or have expertise in those fields.

I don't know anything about fees for the above-mentioned services but you could call for information if you're interested.

Posted by: FLGrandma at May 7, 2006 08:00 PM

I've been homeschooled my whole life. It is a tremendous blessing!

The Aspiring Theologian

Posted by: Aspiring Theologian at May 8, 2006 10:20 AM

How exciting! Homeschooling 4 boys is a riot :)

Posted by: weathertopmama at May 8, 2006 10:21 AM

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