In a Bind: Need to Homeschool But Don't Really Want To :-( - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 28 Old 07-06-2013, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in a slight bind and am seeking some insights. I'm strongly considering homeschooling. But I don't think it's for the right reasons because to be completely candid, I don't want to homeschool.

I've actually been counting days until I can re-enter the workforce and develop myself professionally. I'm also not the talented domestic goddess that so many of my peers (at least) appear to be.. I have three small children. I simultaneously love them and crave space from them.

The problem is that the Common Core is getting implemented in public and even private schools. After some thorough investigation, I know that CC isn't right for my children and my family. Homeschooling is the only escape, at least in my area, because the only private schools that I'd consider are all jumping on board with CC.

Even without CC, the teach-to-the-test nonsense is driving me crazy and put unhealthy pressure on my kindergartener last year.

My issues with our public school have been entirely systemic. We couldn't have had more wonderful and talented teachers, and the parents are passionate and involved in the school.

I just think it would be better to go into homeschooling if I were enthusiastically wanting to do it, not because I feel forced into it by a school System that has failed us. :-( On the other hand, my love for my children makes me do crazy sh*t for them, sacrifices that I know are right but don't always want to make.

I don't know where they'd be better off--in a school with educational tactics (and even some policies) to which I'm vehementally opposed, or home with a burned out mama who'd honestly rather be somewhere else and is clumsily working her way through the homeschooling routine. wild.gif (No flames, please. I want to be honest without facing judgment. innocent.gif)

Let's please keep this thread from veering off on any Common Core-related rabbit trails. You can even replace CC with some other factor in your school system that frustrated you. I mostly just need help processing my feelings as a potential "accidental homeschooler."

Did any of you enter into homeschooling kicking and screaming? lol.gif Or at least reluctantly? Did you grow to love it? Burn out? Neither? Any thoughts or advice?

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#2 of 28 Old 07-06-2013, 10:17 PM
 
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Following.. I too struggle with selfishly craving the "free babysitting" but knowing that ideally, homeschool would be better for them. I just don't know how to do it when my kids are so little! I feel okay now, dd is going into 1st and did fine in kindy. She is reading really well and feels confident. And summer vacation now.. Sigh.. Its fun and all but I really loved being able to run errands with just the baby 2 mornings a week. These days, I have to bring them all! It sucks!

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#3 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 12:25 AM
 
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Mama- you can have your career and homeschool too.  Homeschool can be done anytiime, anyplace etc.  Homeschool isn NOT a 9-3 m-f type of thing,  Homeschool can happen nights, weekends, holidays etc.  I was able to be a single mom and keep my career going while homeschooling ds.  I found a wonderful inhome daycare who loved DS, he took a bit of 'homework' with him for 'nap time' and we did some work in the evenings and weekends.  The younger years are very simple... reading and math and field trips IMO.  Then once they are older mine was trained to do his work and just come to me with questions.

 

If you have a hubby or partner even better, more hands to help with school and kids.  It does take some adjusting to but trust me, it can be done!


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#4 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 07:27 AM
 
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I agree with zebra15. It can be done! I know quite a few people who don't want to hs, but make the best of it. You could always trial it and send them to ps if it doesn't work out.

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#5 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 07:46 AM
 
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Following... I have lots of thoughts I can't type out all from my tablet but may come back later on the computer... just briefly, I am kind of on the opposite end of thinking I was going to love homeschooling and now finding it really draining and for several reasons schools are not an option for us so I really need to learn how to make it work for us.

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#6 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 08:24 AM
 
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Hey Turquesa,

 

I HSed my older 2 until they chose to go to school in grade 7 and 10.  My youngest (age 10) is HSed.

 

I have worked part time most of my adult life.  Some of my hours are after typical school or work hours, so my hubby is home, or, in more recent years, my older kids are home and can watch the youngest.  I have always needed a sitter once or twice a week or so.  For the last 3 years the sitter has been another HSing family.  It has worked out beyond great. My youngest has some very regularly scheduled time with other kids her age who very quickly became friends, i get to work, and i give a bit of money to another HSing mom. It is all good.

 

I have struggled from time to time with HSing events being scheduled when I had to be at work.  I have found several ways around this. One is to organise events (which is often less hard than it seems) on my schedule.  Another is to sign them up for typical after school events, when someone is usually home.  

 

I will give my 2 cents and say that I would not work full time away from home and HS unless the situation were dire.  I think part time work is very do-able, and often beneficial if it give the mother a break, she brings in some money, feels more fulfilled, etc. 

 

As per the domestic goddess - thing, ack, I am not.  I think most HSers are not - although some are.  I tend to think you either are a domestic goddess or you aren't - school choices do not change that.  I do think houses can get messier with kids around all day, and I have struggled with it.  Practical solutions can include:

-acceptance of your non Martha Stewartness

-hire a cleaning lady.  Seriously.

-declutter

-teach you children well (still a work in progress despite the ages of my children - why is there a clothes peg, book no one is reading and a ball of yarn on this computer table???)

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#7 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 08:28 AM
 
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Here is a thread on USing and tidyness (and lack there of).  Enjoy.  

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1329446/the-balance-between-unschooling-and-chaos/20

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There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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#8 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 08:32 AM
 
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I had no desire to homeschool. But I sent ds to the best school I could find in my area and it sucked. So homeschool it has been. I find that ds being happy (as in, not an anxious wreck) is key to my happiness. I love that we don't have to get up at the crack of dawn and rarely have to be leave the house before noon. It's just in the past couple of years that I've started working part time. Homeschooling has had minor difficulties, mostly in finding a social group for ds. I end up driving an hour to a parkday with a nice homeschool group. But most of that is being an only child and not getting much social needs met at home or in the neighborhood. And all in all, I'm happy we are homeschooling (even though I was desperate for a break from him when he was 4!) It's easier when the kids are older and less needy in general

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#9 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 08:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 

As per the domestic goddess - thing, ack, I am not.  

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#10 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 09:06 AM
 
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My situation is a bit different but still similar... I HSed ds1 for K and 5 for reasons not pertinent here. Ds1 was and still is an easy going pleasant person and we thoroughly enjoyed our time home together.

Ds2 on the other hand is almost unbearable to be around. Don't get me wrong, I love him to death! But he has a psychiatric illness and just sucks the will to live right out of me. Last year school was just too much for him even on partial day homebound and we just found our that the district has extended the day another 30 minutes which means that he'll be missing even more instruction. it's really looking like HSing or full time homebound are our best options.

I had planned on returning to work after four years off to focus on ds2's needs. the idea of spending my days with adults was so appealing to me! now the only way to do it is to have ds1 help but he is starting college (in town) and I just don't feel right making him babysit on a regular basis.

So I'll likely be hs'ing against my will. Don't feel guilty for feeling conflicted, I'm trying hard not to.
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#11 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 09:16 AM
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I hear you!  My own journey to homeschooling would take a while to tell, but regardless I am happy that I made the decision to do so.  For my middle child, this has truly been a lifesaver.  However, when I started, I told myself to take it one year at a time.  If homeschooling turned out to be a poor decision for us, I would put my kids back in the public school.  We still live by that principle.  If it stops working (for one child or all), they can return to public school.  If they want to go to high school, they can.  

 

Also, it does get easier as they get older.  Really!  Actually, the first couple years of schooling are simple because you can do it all through play.  However, they are still young and needy.  :-)  As they age, their schoolwork may get harder, but they get easier.  They are more independent and helpful.  I love it more each year.  

 

Good luck to you.  I hope that as you watch your child learn, that homeschooling grows on you.  For you, it sounds like a less structured approach may be best.  If you feel trapped in a rigid curriculum, it is easy to feel like you failed homeschooling.  We call ourselves "eclectic" homeschoolers.  We use some programs/subject specific curriculum but we also go with the flow and learn when we see opportunities.  It has worked well for us. 

 

Amy

 

Oh, I am no where near the "domestic goddess" title!

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#12 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 09:41 AM
 
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Reading with interest. I really want a career, but would like to homeschool my DD. Having only one child makes it feel weird to stay home. If I had more kids, it would feel more like a career in and of itself, so I find myself in a similar place of resistance between what I want and what I want for my DD's schooling.
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#13 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 02:56 PM
 
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I think lots and lots of homeschoolers do so out of need more than want. My primary reason for not having my son go back to public school is that they could not adequately meet his needs.

Like the other mamas said...you can have a career still if you want. It might require some creativity and outside the box thinking on your part but it can be done.
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#14 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 10:24 PM
 
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I understand how you feel and would suggest that for the younger years, you can at least take it easy with the hs'ing. Try not to rely on some of those formal homeschool curricula (like Calvert, Oak Meadow, etc) as a beginning homeschooler, because I found that they can burn you out pretty fast. Just make up an informal curriculum on your own or try the unschooling approach. That way you can at least keep from getting stressed out from using a school-in-the-box curriculum!

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#15 of 28 Old 07-07-2013, 11:15 PM
 
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I didn't plan to homeschool. Actually, when my son started grade one, I was pretty excited about having full days to work. It didn't last long. School was not a good fit, for various reasons, and by the end of October I was tired of banging my head on a brick wall trying to make school be something it wasn't- so we decided to try homeschooling. That was almost three years ago.

 

For us, homeschooling has been great. I love it and so does my son. What started out as a short term solution has become a way of life, and I don't see him ever going back (though of course he may decide to later on). It took me awhile to get my head around the change in plan, let go of my ideas of how I had envisioned the next few years, and get over being upset that I felt I had no real workable options within the public school system. Overall though, it was a relief to make the decision and just enjoy my time with my son. 

 

A few things that helped:

-I was able to keep working, thanks to a flexible work-from-home job (writer) and my very supportive partner and parents

-I've hired mother's helpers (from 12 year olds to university students) to hang out and play games, do crafts, help with projects etc with my son- I'm home, but this gives me some uninterrupted stretched of time to work

-We unschool, so my son is free to pursue his interests. I don't have to impose my goals on my son's learning or take the role of teacher-- I'm involved, hanging out with him, playing and reading ans supporting his learning and his interests, but not trying to do any kind of "school at home" routine. There is plenty of time. We are free to travel and explore, and because we are both able to do what we love, no one is burning out. Just to be clear- I'm not saying everyone should unschool, just that there are lots of different ways to go about learning at home and everyone has to find the approach that fits their family. 

-I try to take it a year at a time (or a week, or a day) and not think too far ahead-- we are doing what is working for us right now, and we don't know what that will look like down the road. 

 

If you want to read more, I have blogged about all this: http://www.robinstevenson.com/wordpress/category/blog/homeschooling-blog/

 

Whatever you decide to do, I think it is important that it takes the needs of everyone in the family into account- yours included. And FWIW, I am about as far from domestic goddess status as you can get. I may be the only homeschooler in town who can't knit, bake, or make pesto from my own homegrown basil ;) 

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#16 of 28 Old 07-11-2013, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You all have no idea how validating and comforting your replies have been. joy.gif I've gleaned a lot of ideas from this thread, and it's given me time to reflect and come to the brutally honest conclusion that FEAR is also holding me back from HSing. What if my kids drive me crazy? What if they don't "learn enough?" What if my kids get willful and resist learning? What if they go back to school and we discover that they're "behind?" And I'm as a home-birthing, vegan, alterna-vaxxer, I'm used to swimming against the tide. But do I really need to create one more counter-cultural pain in the ass to make my in-laws scoff, my parents sigh, and my cousins shake their heads? Ugh, so many thoughts. I'm sure you've all btdt.

Forgive me for getting irrational. It's hard to admit in this place of all MDC forums, but I'm very much a brainwashed product of the System. I'd love to spend a week at a lakeside Camp in the woods, where homeschooling moms de-program me from the Cult of Expert Worship and the System of Father State Knows Best lol.gif

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#17 of 28 Old 07-11-2013, 09:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post

I'd love to spend a week at a lakeside Camp in the woods, where homeschooling moms de-program me from the Cult of Expert Worship and the System of Father State Knows Best lol.gif

 

Ha! Can I join you? Seriously though- I think that seeing your kids learning and thriving at home will do more to overcome the fears than anything anyone can say to you now. You can always try it for a year and if you don't love it, the schools will still be there...


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#18 of 28 Old 07-11-2013, 10:04 PM
 
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Here's my story with homeschooling (as student):

 

I was bullied horribly throughout school, from kindergarten on. My parents spent pretty much my entire school career trying to get something done about it, to no avail. So, for 8th grade my mom decided to home school me. I have no idea the logic behind it, or if my mom actually wanted to do it or not. She wasn't working, although my parents are divorced and she was a single parent (not sure where the money came from, although my dad did pay child support and was very active in my life). Anyone who knows my mom knows this is a bad idea, she has a long history of giving me literature/whatever, expecting me to teach myself, and giving up when I don't learn.

 

I basically spent a year not in school. My mom is not a good teacher- she just gave me books and expected me to teach myself. I can not learn this way very easily, if she was willing to sit me down and walk me through things, I'd get them in 1/10 the time it'd take me to struggle through it on my own. There were also no homework or check-ins to make sure I was doing the work or that I was learning- so I just stopped bothering, she stopped bothering, it was a complete disaster.

 

I was back in public school the next year, and due to my mom deciding to move in the fall, I basically started highschool without an 8th grade education and missing the first quarter of the school year. Fortunately, I was able to manage- but it could have been very, very bad.

 

It sounds like you'd definitely try to do better than my mother did- but I think that my mom was in the same situation of not wanting to home school, but feeling like she had no other option, so I want to let you know about something to be wary of if you do go this route. Homeschooling can be wildly beneficial, and I really want to be in a situation where it's an option for us if the need arises after my horrible experience with public schools, but there's also a very real risk that if the parent isn't up to teaching, it will be even worse than trying to handle public school.

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#19 of 28 Old 07-12-2013, 01:24 AM
 
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I think homeschooling can be great for some kids and you won't really know whether your kid is that kid til you try it.

 

I'd say it works overall well for all my kids but for different reasons, and I think there are kids it works less well for. I think there are kids it doesn't work so well for as individuals except that they benefit from being part of a homeschooling family. Its all about the pros and cons. I really think the best thing is to try it. 

 

Also. especially in the transitioning stages, especially if you are a sociable sort of person, having a support network around can be helpful. Not necessarily the homeschooling world,  but maybe just through volunteering or whatever, just people to see regularly. I appreciate having that and my kids do too, though I do know of families who see almost no one and seem very happy with that.

 

I think one important point is, will the school place still be there if you take them out? In the UK the answer would be no. I can't get my kids into a school that they can walk to (and there are no school buses). If you don't take a place you lose it. I don't think that's the situation in the US, is it? If you can get them back into school easily, I don't see you have that much to lose. What's the worst that can happen?


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#20 of 28 Old 07-12-2013, 01:45 PM
 
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I'm sure it depends on the area but in my part of the USA there would always be options to put a child back in school, even midyear.

It would depend on your career, of course, but homeschooling and professional life don't have to be mutually exclusive. One family we're close to is homeschooling their two while both parents work as emergency dept docs. It takes olympic levels of organization to be sure, but with some outside classes and sitters-college students with education majors have been good resources for that- they make it work.
Another single Mom in our group takes either jobs where her 11 yo son can accompany her or he does his work with Grandma or teen (also homeschooled) sister. She and I swap field trip type stuff around our work schedules too.
We tag team too; DH runs his business during the day while I work with the 11 yo and I work part time at night. We have a 5 yo too, and although we delay formal academics until the middle years, dh does projects at her level already with some basic kinder stuff when she wants to "have school like my sister
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#21 of 28 Old 07-13-2013, 08:07 AM
 
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I had not intended to be a homeschooling mom.

 

Just a couple years ago I was working full time, running a little farm as a "hobby," and running a household with two kids. Dh worked full time too, and his job meant about 50% travel. The kids went to a good-enough (really, quite good) little local PS. But it was the parents who'd burned out, and we took an opportunity that led to an overseas post. After trying a year in a truly awful for-profit international school with annual per student tuition higher than I'd paid at a small liberal arts college, and kids who seemed to demonstrate poorer skills at year's end than at the start, I'd had it. I'd had to quit my job for the move anyway, so we pulled them. We started in grades 3 and 6.

 

We're now getting ready to begin our second year "at home," grades 4 and 7. I do use an all-in-one solution, and while I am not thrilled with the political side of my choice, I am pleased with the curriculum we cover, and really happy with my kids' progress. They are learning foreign languages, reading lots of literature, and we're all investigating new concepts together, whether in science, math or history. We build the schedule in a way that works for us, which means whole afternoons or weekend mornings doing art, for example. Their use of technology is confident and independent. Maybe best of all, they get more outdoor time and physical exercise than they ever did in any school.

 

We travel pretty extensively in this new lifestyle, so the kids get the benefit of not "missing school" when we are on the move. We usually pack some work along, but there is also an understanding that we don't do regular work volumes of, say, math or science reading, while traveling. The trips have their own educational value.

 

I don't have a long-term homeschooling plan or goal for my two. I hope to get back to the States for them to finish HS and go on to university, but I am learning not to plan too far in advance, ever. So, every year is its own plan. I'd like to get back to focusing on my own work, but I do find that I am daily spending an intense and long day with them, so I usually don't have the energy left for my own pursuits by day's end. I think our second year will be less overwhelming, since everyone now knows the drill, and I hope that will mean more time and energy to get back to my own stuff.

 

I don't regret the choice. It hasn't been perfect, but it is better than our other options right now.

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#22 of 28 Old 07-13-2013, 11:57 AM
 
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I never though I'd be homeschooling.  But like so many other people here, school just didn't work for my kids.  So we are taking it one year at a time.  Don't ever feel like any decision you make has to be forever, or that one year at home (or at school) is going to ruin your child's life.  I put both my kids in the lottery for the magnet schools in our city every year, just so all our options are open.  For the past four years, we have continued to homeschool and it looks like we'll be homeschooling again next year.  Do what works for now. 

 

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#23 of 28 Old 07-13-2013, 02:58 PM
 
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Well, I always knew I'd be homeschooling from the time my first was a baby and I learned it did NOT mean I had to be the Teacher and set up little blackboards in my living room, lol. 

 

With that said, I spent years in University and was on the cusp of a fantastic career when I decided I wanted to be a full time SAHM and homeschool. I've managed to keep a career going. It's not the one I initially thought I would have, but I've managed to use my education to work part-time from home with flexible hours and I love what I do. If I had to travel or meet up with some grownups in grownup clothes once in a while, I hired a local homeschooling teen to babysit my kids. So it definitely can be done. 

 

I also want to point out that things get SO much easier as your kids get older. I guess in the back of my mind I logically knew that would happen, but when you are raising young children and just going to bathroom alone and having a shower are major accomplishments, the idea of homeschooling can be terrifying. But they get older, they get involved in classes and activities where you can drop them off and have some time to run errands. There are day camps during school holidays. And my eldest is old enough to be left alone at home if I'm off running local errands. It's amazing to me how fast it all went from crazy-no-time-for-myself to a life that is well-balanced between my needs and the family's needs.

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#24 of 28 Old 07-13-2013, 05:50 PM
 
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OP, I have no advice for you.  I am in a similar, but different, situation and appreciate this thread.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post

I've gleaned a lot of ideas from this thread, and it's given me time to reflect and come to the brutally honest conclusion that FEAR is also holding me back from HSing. What if my kids drive me crazy? What if they don't "learn enough?" What if my kids get willful and resist learning? What if they go back to school and we discover that they're "behind?" And I'm as a home-birthing, vegan, alterna-vaxxer, I'm used to swimming against the tide. But do I really need to create one more counter-cultural pain in the ass to make my in-laws scoff, my parents sigh, and my cousins shake their heads? Ugh, so many thoughts.

 

Your comments above sum up many of my feelings.   I am excited and fearful.  

 

There are times I wish I w/h put them in the public school from the beginning as is the norm; instead I am taking them even further from the norm.

 

 

 

 

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#25 of 28 Old 07-14-2013, 12:20 PM
 
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Turquesa- I think once you get to know some other homeschool families you will see your "alternativeness" is right in style :)  I joined a homeschool moms night out and it is one of the best things I have done in homeschooling- can you look for one of those?

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Iowaorganic- mama to DD (1/5/06), DS1 (4/9/07), DS2 (1/22/09), DS3 (12/10/10), DD2 (7/6/12) and a new kid due in early 2014

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#26 of 28 Old 07-17-2013, 01:02 PM
 
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We are homeschooling, but not because of common core. Initially it was because of No Child Left Behind and the principal of our local school taking any and all play based learning out of school (even in kinder, my child's grade at the time). His teacher old us "creativity is for at home.". So we homeschooled. And we follow common core because 1. It's simple and the child learns many standards through each one standard listed....the idea is less teaching and more doing. If you don't like what your school is doing, it's because of how they interpret common core. Or what they *think* it is. 2. All the testing is changing to computer based where students will actually have to think and write answers, rather than just do multiple choice exams. So if our kid has to go back to public school (which he had to do for 1st grade because I had a medical issue), he will more or less be in line academically with his peers (even if I do a totally different child-led, montessori, unschooling or whatever approach to how he learns the standards). That is probably why even the private schools in your area are jumping on board, as you say. I recommend sitting in on a class at your school and really checking it out before you decide to do something you are less than enthusiastic about.
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#27 of 28 Old 07-18-2013, 10:54 PM
 
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I tried homeschooling my DS this year, kindergarten. It did not go well. No too many homeschool group options that I felt were a good fit for us. I also felt very burnt out after only one year. I too am considering sending my son to our local public school. I'm already getting nervous just thinking about the anxiety I felt everyday in school which I will no doubt project onto my son. Maybe I was trying to do too much. Just wanted to say I feel for you, you are not alone! And thank you to all posters for the insight!

DS1-08/12/2007 DS2-06/24/2009
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#28 of 28 Old 07-19-2013, 03:19 PM
 
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One thing to remember: nothing is set in stone. Choosing to homeschool now does NOT mean you have to homeschool forever.... you don't even have to finish out the year!
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