Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And Even More Homeschool Myths......

Every homeschooler is a Christian. Nope! Folks homeschool for many different reasons and their faith is just one of them. There are many homeschool support groups specifically for non-Christians. And I know of some families that have not joined our group because we are a Christian group.

All homeschools are alike. So wrong!!!! There are traditional homeschoolers, relaxed homeschoolers and even a group called unschoolers. We would fall into the traditional group with a little bit of relaxed mixed in. We use a curriculum for each subject that we cover. But we do fit the lessons to our family. For instance, in Language right now Amy and Will are studying good sentence and paragraph construction. This is something everyone needs to know and is a skill they will use over and over. But, why do all the examples in the book when they also need to complete an assignment in Geography writing a short story. Combine the 2 and get them done at one time. As their teacher, I have that option. Unschooling is a whole new ballgame. From what I understand, they don't use any textbooks and learning is done when a situation arises that they need that knowledge. It just happens. To me, this is scary and I don't think we would get alot of learning done. I haven't figured out how you would present this on a college application or score reasonably well on the ACT.

All curriculum is the same. This is laughably (is that a word) wrong. There are so many curriculum choices available it is mind-boggling. Going to a homeschool convention is pretty confusing if you don't have any idea what you want or need. Everything looks great but not everything works for each child. I like to find out what others use and works for them. My friend Amy recommended Teaching Textbooks for higher math. Her son Josh used it and they really liked it. We bought it last year and Katie really liked it. All 3 are using it this year! For the "math challenged" Mom that I am, this is a blessing. Different Options: You can buy a whole years curriculum from one publisher complete with grade book and teachers manuals. You can do all of your schooling on-line, with textbooks. You can pick and choose language from one company, math from another, history from another and so on. The last is what we do. I personally don't like all the "fluff" that some boxed curriculums insist the kids need.

People begin homeschooling or pull their kids out of school for the same reason. This makes no sense to me. You can't lump a whole group of people into one category, its not that easy. We chose to homeschool in 1996. James had been in public school and then 2 years in a private school. He is my ADHD/dyslexic child. After Amy was born and I quit work, we couldn't afford the private tuition anymore. We chose homeschooling because if he had gone back into the public school system, they wanted to put him in a "self contained" classroom with other children with disabilites and not in a regular class like before. This wasn't an option for us because I wanted him challenged more and more expected of him, this wouldn't happen at school. So we started with James in 6th and Allen in 2nd (Amy was a newborn). And we kept going, and going and going. Then we married Greg and moved to Miss. I cont. to homeschool Allen and Amy and the "Jackson kids" cont. in public school. We chose homeschooling for Will with many of the same reasons as I originally did with James. Will wasn't applying himself, concentrating, completing assignments, etc. because of some learning issues and needed the extra one on one time. And hey, Katie came home because we wanted her too. The 3 younger kids are on the same schedule, we can travel with Greg, we can work at our own pace (with K that is accelerated, thats how she is grad. a year early), we can minister together, etc. So just within my own family are different reasons for homeschooling.

My dear sis-in-law left a comment on one of my posts that I forgot that homeschoolers were weird. But I think its true! Weird in the sense that we have chosen to be in the company of our children 24/7 and weird in that we do stuff together all the time. Weird in that we want to shelter and protect our children from some outside influences (gangs, drugs, school violence, peer pressure) as long as we can. And weird in that, I want to teach my children with a Christian, politically INcorrect curriculum. Our "weirdness" was the family norm 100-200 years ago. Many men and women were homeschooled and went on to accomplish enormous things. Many of the Founding Fathers of our country never sat in a formal classroom. So I don't mind being weird, its really a compliment!

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