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When did you decide to Homeschool/Unschool?

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

DS is just about a year-old and I returned to work as a substitute teacher when he was 8mo.  Long story short, I'm seriously considering homeschooling/unschooling my kids.

 

How old where your kids when you started thinking about homeschooling or unschooling?

post #2 of 49

About a year ago. DS was already reading at 3 1/2y. We also started seeing some mild ASD symptoms about that same time (and got him started in therapy). It hit both of us there's no way we could stick him in a traditional classroom and expect him to excel. It was a hard decision because I was homeschooled (badly) and although I was able to overcome some major limitations and go on and get two master's degrees, etc. the thought of screwing up scares me badly.

 

So I started reading and we started talking about what we could do to be sure we do this well and both be comfortable that this was truly the best thing for our kids. We settled on using a classical model (in terms of rigor, history rotation, etc.) with an emphasis on STEM and we both became comfortable. Meanwhile we worked with DS on reading and math in a very relaxed manner. It's worked out well though because we are now planning to move to a state with a pretty sad PS system (not that the one we are living in now is really good or anything). It was nice to make moving decisions without having to consider the schools.

post #3 of 49

Before my kids were born!

I left high school after reading "The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life & Education."

It changed my life, and ever since then I've been looking forward to homeschooling my own children.

DD is three and a half, and DS is seven months, so we're a ways away from having to actually do or not do anything about it.

 

dogmom ... I'm curious, what do you mean when you say that you were homeschooled "badly"?  I've been reading so many book about homeschooling, and they all sounds so happy-clappy and full of bubbling success ... I'm genuinely interested in hearing your story, if you'd care to share. I'd love to know some pitfalls to avoid.
 

post #4 of 49

Dd was a baby when I started thinking about homeschooling as an option. When she was 3 or 4 I really decided that we should give homeschooling a try.

post #5 of 49

We first learned about home schooling when our oldest was 5, the summer before she would have been enrolled in Kindergarten (she has a Jan birthday).  We went to a home school seminar with several other families in our church.  We all decided to home school together.  Every year, we made the decision to continue to home school until our oldest decided she wanted the high school experience.  Her sisters decided that they too wanted the school experience.  Some of them went back and forth between a classroom and home school.  We decided with our son to home school for his middle school.  He has decided to home school through high school.
 

post #6 of 49

I was 10 years old..... I was in PS and met a girl that was homeschooled (and entering school, she was there a week or so) and she was just like me. Smart and a social outcast at school. At that point I decided my children would be homeschooled. I didn't know WHAT it meant lol but I started preparing. Now, I have a gifted 4 yo (no way will school provide what he needs) and a SN 2 yo (no way can school COOK for her.... or anything else she needs). So, I'm glad I have had 20 years to consider this. Now, I just need to figure out how to succeed as a single homeschool mom.....

post #7 of 49

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post

We first learned about home schooling when our oldest was 5, the summer before she would have been enrolled in Kindergarten (she has a Jan birthday).  We went to a home school seminar with several other families in our church.  We all decided to home school together.  Every year, we made the decision to continue to home school until our oldest decided she wanted the high school experience.  Her sisters decided that they too wanted the school experience.  Some of them went back and forth between a classroom and home school.  We decided with our son to home school for his middle school.  He has decided to home school through high school.
 

 

I really like that you have allowed your children the freedom to have some say in their education. So often this only happens at the college level. As for me now. I really hated school. I wanted to home school so badly. But my parents wouldn't allow it. I love to learn tho.

post #8 of 49

Dd was probably 1 or 2 when I started thinking about it and we pretty solidly decided to work towards the ability to homeschool (in terms of $, work schedules, etc.) when she was 3. 

post #9 of 49

When I put ds (at age 4) in the best school in the area that I could find (having been a student at many of the area schools, myself), I realized even a good school really isn't the ideal environment for many kids, my own included. Basically, ds ran away from school and I didn't have the heart to do what it would have taken to make him go. He was always a sensible and cautious kid so I took his action as a pretty serious statement that school was a bad place for him, combined with the other verbal and nonverbal expressions of stress (it was effecting his sleeping and eating significantly). 


Edited by 4evermom - 4/29/12 at 6:49pm
post #10 of 49

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wp135 View Post

DS is just about a year-old and I returned to work as a substitute teacher when he was 8mo.  Long story short, I'm seriously considering homeschooling/unschooling my kids.

 

How old where your kids when you started thinking about homeschooling or unschooling?

 

I decided to homeschool when DD was around two after touring 3 different private schools, I fell in love with Waldorf Education, but the 10K/year for preschool doesn't make any sense, so I am choosing to do waldorf inspired homeschooling for the time being :)

post #11 of 49

I hadn't planned to homeschool and didn't know much about it-- but after starting school with great enthusiasm and anticipation, my son didn't much like his half-day kindergarten. By the end of the year, it was clear that socially and academically it just wasn't a good fit. We tried first grade anyway, but despite the school being small and the teachers kind and well-intentioned, it just didn't seem like a good place for him to be spending so much time. We looked at some other schools, and decided that maybe school itself wasn't a good fit for him-- so we pulled out after a few weeks of first grade. It's been fabulous-- no doubt at all that it was the right decision. It felt like a huge leap of faith but I am so glad we did it.

post #12 of 49

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post

dogmom ... I'm curious, what do you mean when you say that you were homeschooled "badly"?  I've been reading so many book about homeschooling, and they all sounds so happy-clappy and full of bubbling success ... I'm genuinely interested in hearing your story, if you'd care to share. I'd love to know some pitfalls to avoid.
 

 

I wouldn't worry too much. The fact that you are trying is a huge step in the right direction orngtongue.gif Seriously though, there was a severe amount of neglect that went on in our home due to a parent with mental illness, another who wasn't coping well, a child with a physical disability, and a child with ASD. After maybe 5th grade my sister and I were on our own educationally. We had books but no real assistance. I also wouldn't call much of our curriculum quality (the science books from what I recall had very little "science" and were more about religious indoctrination). My sister and I fared better than our siblings though who could barely read by the time they got to high school. I still struggle greatly to this day with math and science. I'm lucky to naturally be a good writer and I loved to read. But throughout my higher education my options were quite limited by the lack of basic math and science foundation I had received. I spent my first year of college in non-college level remedial courses which not only put me behind (simply ran out of time time take high level math) but to be honest, I never "got it" either because the basics just weren't there. I feel like I'm relearning with my 5 year old (this time a solid foundation of basic concepts) but I'm thrilled to do so. DH is way better at math though so I'm less worried than I used to be. I guess I've just seen the non-fuzzy wuzzy side and it frightens me (of course there is a non-happy side to every educational option, this just happens to be a sore point for me personally). My childhood is a sad time and I think it's taken me awhile to separate out that while homeschooling was a terrible thing in our case it certainly doesn't need to be that way (of course!).

post #13 of 49

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Treece View Post

 

 

I really like that you have allowed your children the freedom to have some say in their education. So often this only happens at the college level. As for me now. I really hated school. I wanted to home school so badly. But my parents wouldn't allow it. I love to learn tho.

 

They are given more and more say in their upbringing as they mature and demonstrate that they can handle the responsibilities that go along with the autonomy.  I call it lazy parenting on my part.  In the long run, it's easier to teach them and give them the practice to be independent, to own their opinions, and to debate their point of view.  On the other hand, it does make for very interesting teen years.  It's no fun to be caught in a "do what I say instead of what I do" moment.

post #14 of 49

Before they were born  smile.gif

 

Honestly, I was seriously traumatised by my school experience, and my husband's was worse - albeit in a different way.  

 

I learned to love HSing for many more reasons than "it is not school."

 

I have also learned that sometimes school works for some kids at some points in their lives.  

 

 

 

 

post #15 of 49

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post

 

 

They are given more and more say in their upbringing as they mature and demonstrate that they can handle the responsibilities that go along with the autonomy.  I call it lazy parenting on my part.  In the long run, it's easier to teach them and give them the practice to be independent, to own their opinions, and to debate their point of view.  On the other hand, it does make for very interesting teen years.  It's no fun to be caught in a "do what I say instead of what I do" moment.

 

OT.......

 

I think I used that same line with my mom "lazy parenting." She runs a dictatorship (said so herself) and I "run" more of a growing democracy. It is hard when i have to point out that the kids need to do something different than how I do. So, I am looking forward to the teen years :D I think my kids should fair pretty well, esp compared to me. I was given no freedom (long story, i was raised by my single dad and out in the country with nothing to do...) All in all, I am trying to do everything different. Urban, homeschool, letting the kids decide. I hope it all works out the way I dream it will ;)

post #16 of 49

I knew before ever having children that I was in no way sending them to public school.  And, I really don't like the idea of private school.  I love the idea of being able to tailor each of our children's curriculum/learning to fit his style, his learning abilities, his interests, etc.  Public school did none of that for just about anyone I know.  Education, to me, is more than memorizing notes for a test, it's about experience that you can call upon again when needed. 

post #17 of 49

This is off-topic a little but I have to ask.....when you said "homeschooled (badly)" what did you mean? What do you wish your parents had done differently?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogmom327 View Post
It was a hard decision because I was homeschooled (badly) and although I was able to overcome some major limitations and go on and get two master's degrees, etc. the thought of screwing up scares me badly.
 
post #18 of 49

Shortly after time dd1 was born, dh and I were noticing that ds1 (10 years older than his sister, who is actually my son from a previous marriage, but we never use the "half-sibling" terminology) wasn't really learning very much at school. He was getting straight As, and raves from his teacher, but his math was behind and his English wasn't really progressing. I wasn't thrilled that his learning seemed stalled, but I was even less thrilled that this was the case, and we weren't seeing any of it reflected on his report cards. I used to proofread his monthly story assignments and would point out numerous errors in grammar and punctuation. Then, he'd get them back, with an A and a rave comment at the top, and not even a note about any of the errors. This was creative writing, so I get that the teacher didn't want to lower his grade over "technical errors", but I was somewhat horrified that she didn't even point them out.


While this was going on, I got pregnant again, and found MDC. This was where I discovered homeschooling, in a non-Christian sense. I'd been worried for a while about putting dd1 into school, as she has a very sensitive and volatile temperament, and I felt she'd be eaten alive by her peer group. I had a hellish school experience that had long lasting effects on my self-confidence, attitude toward learning, etc. When I added up my experiences, ds1's experiences (he loved school, and did well there, academically and socially...but we had the aforementioned concerns about his learning), and dd1's temperament, homeschooling became very attractive. DH was/is onboard, as well. So...here we are.


We're staring "fourth grade" in September with dd1, and "second grade" with ds2. DD1 is somewhat behind in reading and writing, but gaining fast. She's more behind in math, but we're trying new strategies all the time. She's way ahead in science, and has well developed observational skills, as well as being very artistic. DS2 is really gifted at math and reading, but has social and behavioural issues that make school...iffy.

 

It's not perfect, but I like it way better than the school route. We'll stick with it for the long-term, unless there are significant changes of some sort, or one of the kids expresses a strong interest in school (probably not dd1 - she hates school, just from talking to her friends).

post #19 of 49

Before I became pregnant I realized the public schools here were terrible -- there are lock-downs and police on every campus. Private elementary wasn't an option for us because of the cost, and never would be. So, to me, homeschooling was the only option for our future children. It was a total default. I started reading everything I could find about homeschooling. I quickly realized that I had a very fine public school experience but didn't learn how to learn until I reached graduate school. Also, When we had boys I started reading Raising Cain and the Men They Will Become and found additional reasons to hs my boys. I wanted my kids to learn about life and know how to learn...or rather never have the joy of learning taken away from them. I did not want them to be expected to sit still for long periods of time. I realized there was a lot of freedom in homeschooling.

 

Since then, we've tapped into a huge hs community here and I've learned that there are as many different ways to homeschool (or public school) as there are homeschoolers -- even different ways within the same families. It's all about life and learning. I feel very lucky to have found it.

 

The way we homeschool I believe is called eclectic. I'm drawn to unschooling, but keep curriculum outlines handy when getting books at the library and use free stuff from the web and library books for activity ideas and worksheets. There are lots of "classes" through museums and co-ops here for hs. We largely follow the boys' interests. In the background I make sure I'm introducing them to all the multi-disciplinary things related to those interests. We explore as a family.

 

It's not necessarily ideal, happy-land! Our strategies change often. Although we have lots of group outings, we're basically stuck with each other and have to figure out how to deal with that. I struggle greatly with finding time for myself. But I see our boys learning with much joy, they have lots of friends, they know at 5 and 8 how to relate with adults and babies alike. I've also been pleasantly surprised at how much I'm learning and generally how fun it is!

post #20 of 49

We started homeschool in Kindergarten.  Actually we did a half of a year at the Freedom school - which is a Sudbury school.  My hubby was uncomfortable and it just didn't work out.  At that time, my son did not know how to read or write.  Didn't know how to make his letters- nothing.  I started half way through the year, and in six months he knew how to  both read and write.

 

I teach him rather classically (as classically as you can at home).  I use a math, phonics, grammar, and history/geography/literature curriculum.  I am LDS, and have a strong faith in God - and make sure that we read the scriptures. I feel that it's also important for him to know topics from the non-biblical side as well.  I try to incorporate (especially in history) what's going on in the bible and what's going on in the rest world at the same time (kwim?).

 

In addition, I do not interfere with his play time.  I allow him to do what he wants (which is what really improved his reading quickly).  I think play is also important to learning and developing.  He has toys, video games - outside, whatever.  I let his mind guide him.
 

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