I've thought very seriously over the years about hs'ing. I have lots of hs'ing friends who all spend their school years differently--I know radical unschoolers, families with heavily scheduled curriculums, Oak Meadow users, Calvert, etc etc. The spectrum as you can tell, and when we almost pulled our boys out 2 yrs ago, we were planning (and I bought) mostly the well trained mind curriculum. We used it over the summer with our boys and while it worked well for one of them, the oldest was less thrilled with it (actually it was my first introduction to how we would possibly butt heads a LOT of the time). Anyway, I have all 3 boys right now in a small Luthern school that has almost no homework, lots of recess time (even for 3rd graders), a ligitimate snack time, and really tiny class sizes (6 kids total in 3rd, 12 kids total in 1st, etc). Whats the problem I'm facing? Well, for starters my second child is very advanced, and unless we grade-skip him they're not meeting him where he is--he complains every.single.morning about how boring school is. I volunteer for a full day there each week and I can see exactly how bored he is. My 3rd grader is not quite as advanced but I can tell he's getting lazy b/c he really does not have to work that hard. Couple all of that with the huge expense for sending them there plus their asking me pretty much every.single.week to homeschool next year, and I'm rethinking trying it again.
My issues with the WTM approach that we attempted a few years back was that I felt like it basically recreated school at home. I am not a trained teacher nor do I have a strong desire to replicate being a teacher with heavily scheduled (30 min time slots) days if we're going to be at home. Basically I guess that approach didn't suit my personality though I totally think its an awesome way for kids to learn. I recently read in a book that "homeschooling seems to be a natural extention of the parents personalities and parenting styles" and will reflect that when done to the delight of the parents. Meaning, if I'm more open to following my kids interests and allowing them more freedom with their days, then trying to homeschool with a school-in-a-box approach may not be the best fit. I loved reading that reflection, because it helped me to understand why I didn't feel like I could see myself spending 10 yrs with a WTM curriculum. Though again--on paper I think its a fabulous curriculum and I could see myself definitely using some of it--the boys loved SOTW.
I am not on the other spectrum of radical unschooler though I've often thought unschooling is the most similar to our parenting styles--we limit TV, internet and other electronic use pretty heavily here, and I know my kids, and they actually do well with some degree of structure. But I adore the notion of spending more time framing school around my kids interests vs doing school in a box. My kids have well defined interests so that seems easy to do.
I am a HUGE fan of lots of physical activity for kids. Heck, even for adults. I am very active as is my husband so the apples aren't falling far from their trees. Our boys are happiest when they get lots of activity. They are also pretty "good" athletically--my 7 yr old and 9 yr old can run as much as 6 miles straight without stopping (they were in a race recently which they won which is how I know this), they are big into sports, but otherwise will play outside for hours straight running, biking, making up games, etc etc. Knowing this, though I have searched, I can't seem to find another hs'ing family who incorporates as much physical activity into their days as I would like to and I know my boys would like. I was thinking this morning of packing a bookbag and walking into our woods nearby--which my boys will end up running the trail half the time--then finding a good spot, sitting down and doing some work, then hiking/running back home. That will mean though we'd need easy-to-take work with us, such as math books, snacks, etc. Seems like it would take up a lot of the day. Ideally I'd like to have my boys outside for a minimum of 4-5 hours every day--maybe an hour in the morning, hour after lunch, then they'd have practice or just outside time in the evening. But how in the world would we cover enough academic material while trying to do that!!!, lol. Thoughts?
I'd like them to learn another language--specifically Lithuanian--which my mom speaks and I speak a little. I'm having trouble envisioning them learning it to mastery though without someone like a tutor who is fluent (my mom refuses to do any teaching). Can they really learn another language without a native speaker in our house?
Math is another one--they like it, and their school uses Saxon right now. I was thinking to keep that going b/c they are already used to it and it gives me one less thing to decide to buy--however they hate the approach of doing problems while being timed. Do any of you know why they get timed like that? Is it only for taking tests more quickly or is it for learning mental math to mastery? Is hs'ing Saxon math the same as the bought-for-a-school Saxon math?
I have so many more q's but I'll start with these lol. And I will have a new baby in the fall. So I'll be newly teaching a child in K, 2nd and 4th. Am I crazy?!?! Thank you for reading this far and for responding if you are able!!
Edited by aim4balance - 5/2/13 at 7:38am