I am right on the brink of having to make a final decision on whether or not to homeschool this year. I waited as long as I could, as I will have to get a letter of intent submitted to the school district this week if we decide to HS. :)
BACKGROUND: This is wordy, so feel free to skip down to my QUESTIONS! ;)
I have three kids, ages 6 (nearly 7), 4.5 and 10 months. My 6 year old son completed kindergarten at a nearby public school last year and would be heading into first grade there this year. It was a good experience, as far as public schooling goes. He often stated that he was bored and not challenged but he still enjoyed school. His favorite activities there were PE and recess. :) The reasons I want to homeschool him this year really have nothing to do with that particular school, but school vs. home. The main reasons I want to homeschool are:
-Child-led education - he likes to completely immerse himself in given subjects for hours/days at a time, and I want to encourage that method of learning
-Family bonding - I have seen amazing changes just over the summer and don't want to lose that
-Incorporating our Christianity into his education rather than having it separate/marginalized
-More balanced socialization - he truly enjoys the company of people of all ages and I want to encourage this
-Learning together - I love that this gives me the opportunity to fill the considerable gaps in my own education, particularly in history and mathematics
So...here are the nagging QUESTIONS that keep me from being 100% committed. They are both related to our current family dynamics, and wondering if this is a good learning environment at this time.
-I have a 10 month old who is not a great sleeper. He will wake anywhere from 3-10 times per night. The 10 times per night is extreme but it has happened recently. He has issues with food intolerances and also is cutting four teeth right now. Many mornings, I wake feeling like I have been hit by a bus and coffee brings me to some state of normalcy, though I am noticeably more scatterbrained and less patient. :( I do expect his sleep to improve as he gets older and especially when I can night wean him...BUT for the time being I am really concerned that I won't be able to give my all. Hearing from other homeschoolers who have survived baby-induced sleep deprivation would be most reassuring.
-My oldest two (ages 4.5 and 6) fight a lot. My oldest is very particular about things and cannot tolerate deviation from the way he thinks things are/should be. My daughter, on the other hand, lives completely outside the box, she's very creative and free and also has a temper like a volcano. So the two of them are just at odds a lot of the time. My daughter really benefited from the one on one time she got with me while my son was at school last year. I know this is not a good reason to send him away 32 hours a week but it is a contributing factor that nags at my mind. They seem to do so much better when they can have one on one time with us but that is SO hard to work out in our family. It just doesn't happen on a regular basis. I have tried everything under the sun to help them work out their differences this summer and things are overall better but it is just tough. Every time they get into it (several times a day), I wonder to myself whether or not this is a good learning environment. ???
-My husband is 100% supportive of whatever decision I make. Out of concern for my own happiness/well being he has asked me whether I think it could be a good decision to keep our son in public school another year, til the baby is older. He has made the point that it is much easier to put him in school and then pull him out if it's not working, than to start homeshool and try to get him enrolled mid-year if it's not working. This is a great question and I am utterly STUCK. :) My oldest went to Montessori preschool for a year, where he truly thrived. During that time I had some really great one on one with my daughter, like special uninterrupted story times in the lap and special outings. Now she is set to attend that same Montessori school this year, just 9 hours a week. I think she will love it too. If my oldest was in public school, this would give me some quiet time just to focus on the baby, which almost never happens. I really want to give each one of them the best foundation I possibly can.
I know it has to be my decision based on our unique situation. I am just thinking it could really help to hear from any of you who have had to deal with these issues. I know that all of our options are good enough, it's my dissatisfaction with 'good enough' that is driving all of this in the first place.
If you read through this, I'm impressed and very grateful. :)
Edited by Gracecody - 8/5/12 at 10:50am