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#1 of 9 Old 12-15-2002, 04:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there! DH and I are already discussing educational options for our baby girl and agree that the current public school system is not for us. The topic of homeschooling has just come up as our neice has been pulled out of kindergarten by a frustrated SIL b/c neice already knows way more than they are teaching, SIL feels the expectations are way too low, and so it's a waste of time. I decided to check this forum to learn what I can about home- and unschooling. I admit to never knowing anybody who was homeschooled and I'm very ignorant about it. I've read some great stuff here today, particularly the long unschooling thread, but some of my thoughts are this:

First, am I up to this? I'm lazy by nature!! But then I also thought I'd be too lazy to be a SAHM with a baby (too boring and unstimulating, I thought, ha ha) and now of course I love it and take such intersest in everything she does. So homeschooling doesn't seem like such a stretch anymore. I even have a PhD and yet find myself wondering if I'm worthy - you know, like do *I* know enough to prepare my child for the world? Am I worthy of taking on this responsibility? Do any of you feel this and how do you struggle with this?

Also, what about your own hobbies/interests? I departed from my passion for riding (horses) to be a mom. I have no regrets, but also feel that my dedication to being a SAHM is in part due to the expectation that when the "kids are in school" I can get back into my riding (I was training and competing and miss it alot sometimes). We all say "this too shall pass", but the idea of homeschooling makes me worry that it will never pass, IYKWIM. If I devote myself to homeschooling, can I kiss that dream goodbye?

I also come from a very academically-driven family and while I loved learning and it was never pressured on me, I know that I have my own issues regarding the importance of intelligence and academic success as they relate to self-worth. DH and I excelled at school, read from a very early age, and so on and we both worry that we have unrealistic expectations already and what do we do if DD is a late reader, etc? I'm wondering if I can get past this, and also ease my fears that I'm setting DD up to never get into University. Can anybody help to ease these fears of mine?

I guess I'll start with these questions, though I have tons more. TIA!!

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#2 of 9 Old 12-15-2002, 10:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Piglet68

I even have a PhD and yet find myself wondering if I'm worthy - you know, like do *I* know enough to prepare my child for the world? Am I worthy of taking on this responsibility? Do any of you feel this and how do you struggle with this?
My thinking is that this is already your responsibility because you are her parent. Sending her to school doesn't mean that it's no longer your responsibility, it just means that you'd need to try and monitor/control/suppliment what goes on in school. This is way harder to do, imo, than homeschooling. Also, there are lots of ways to prepare for the future, depending on what your child's interests are and what she wants to do. (She's already in the world, so there's no preparing for that!) As she gets older, SHE will be preparing HERSELF for HER future--there's no script to follow, what preparation she'll need will depend on where she wants to go.



Quote:
Originally posted by Piglet68

Also, what about your own hobbies/interests?
I've found that this is much more of an issue when they're babies, as your dd is now. They need so much of your time and energy at this point, but that won't always be the case. As she gets older, she'll have her own interests--maybe she'll be busy working on some project or going to a class or meeting or other activity and you'll find "your" time then. Or, maybe you find some co-op type of situation or shared baby-sitting or trade play-dates in order to find time for yourself. Then again, maybe she'll share your love of riding and it'll be an activity you can do together.[/B][/QUOTE]


Quote:
Originally posted by Piglet68

I also come from a very academically-driven family and while I loved learning and it was never pressured on me, I know that I have my own issues regarding the importance of intelligence and academic success as they relate to self-worth. DH and I excelled at school, read from a very early age, and so on and we both worry that we have unrealistic expectations already and what do we do if DD is a late reader, etc? I'm wondering if I can get past this, and also ease my fears that I'm setting DD up to never get into University. Can anybody help to ease these fears of mine?

There are lots of homeschooling books and articles on the web that should ease your fears about university. Homeschooling does not prevent one from going to college. Keep in mind though, that your dd might not be interested in that route, even if you were to prepare her for it.

I think that this issue of expectations and self-worth would be something you'd need to deal with regardless of whether you were hsing or not. What if your child was in ps and was a "late" reader? Can intelligence only be measured in terms of academic success? How do you define "academic success?"

I think it's great that you recognize your need to get past this while your dd is so young. You've got lots of time to do you homework, so to speak.

A good starting place, would be to read anything by John Holt. There are lots of homeschooling books out there today, which wasn't true just a few years ago. And of course, the ladies on this board should give you lots to think about too.

Good luck.

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#3 of 9 Old 12-15-2002, 04:57 PM
 
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Hi!

Congratulations on your baby!. I could very much relate to your post. I am very academic myself, and come from a highly academic family (though I *only* achieved a Master's degree - LOL ).

I have an 8 y.o. son, and a 6 y.o. daughter. My 8 y.o. son attended the "best public school" in our county (i.e. highest standardized test scores, 128 kids total in the school, lots of parent involvement, etc.) - it was maddeningly boring for him, and so bureaucratic. The kindergarten teacher he had was also *horrible* and hurt him very deeply.

We then sent him to a very good, small private school. He loved his new kindergarten teacher, and did very well there. My 6 y.o. daugther still goes there. However, we pulled him out of school because he was not able to pursue his learning in a way that makes sense for him. Other reasons: They hired an inexperienced teacher for his grade, and I was doing most of the teaching at home - he wasn't getting it from the teacher's explanations. They've also become very deeply workbook oriented so that the focus seems to be "get through the workbook as quickly as you can" rather than "learn the material well, and enjoy learning it." The tone has changed at the school dramatically. It's become much less hands on and more strict. Blah Blah Blah!

Anyway, I've found that homeschooling has *so many* advantages over school, it's amazing.

It takes *much less of my time* to homeschool than it did to supervise homework, meet with teachers, study for tests, etc. I'm planning on homeschooling my dd too - probably beginning next summer. Other reason: One year, your child has a great teacher, the next year an average teacher, the year after that a horrible teacher, the year after that a great teacher, etc. So much of a child's enjoyment of learning depends on the teacher they have, and how the teacher's style meshes with the student's learning style - I can't emphasize this enough.

The learning we do at home is much more fun, and the learning is *deeper* and *more thorough* than even the great private school. Example: The (dreaded) book report has children follow a strict format for responding to a book: Setting, main characters, problems encountered, solutions to problems, and "how did you feel about this book." My children can come up with simple, once sentence answers, but they feel frustrated with the format because they can't fit all their observations and ideas about the story they've read into such a limited format.

With homeschooling, we take a "narrative" approach. We read a book, and the kids tell me what happened, what their insights are, how this relates to other things they've read or done. I right it all down, because what they have to say is important. I then read it back to them, because it's fun and interesting to hear what they've said. When they get older, they can respond to stories/books, etc. in writing themselves.

School's format for most subjects actually *limited/s* their responses - over and over and over again.

O.K. If you need to read about it - two books that I've enjoyed are "Homeschooling for Excellence" by David and Micki Colfax, and "Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense" by (I think) David Guterson (the guy who wrote "Snow Falling on Cedars). Great books!

Laura
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#4 of 9 Old 12-15-2002, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you so much for the detailed replies so far! I am eagerly awaiting more info, so keep it coming!!

this is exciting for me b/c it is not something I ever considered, but the more i'm learning about it the more i'm thinking this just might be something we can do, that we will want to do. i am so reminded of the period during my pregnancy when i began to discover attachment parenting and how exciting it was for me, how excited it made me about parenting. i'm feeling the same energy building for this subject (homeschooling) and I'm eager to learn as much as i can!

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#5 of 9 Old 12-15-2002, 05:52 PM
 
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I think that many of the things you bring up are issues whether or not you send your kids to school! You and your DH are responsble for you kids' education. Whatever decisions you make (public school, private school, homeschool) it is still your responsiblity. If your kids go to school you have to make sure they are learning the things they need to, help them when they need it, oversee homework etc.

The question of your time and hobbies is similar. The few moms I know who have kids in school and don't have full time jobs are very, very busy. They volunteer in their kids' classrooms, are the room moms, they run the PTO, the girl scouts, the AYSO, etc. They take care of their friends' sick kids when the moms have to be at work and the child is too sick to go to school. They don't have it any "easier" than the moms who homeschool. When their kids are home they spend time helping them with their homework (some spend more time working on core accedemics with their kids than many of the homeschooling moms I know.) I really don't know anyone with young children who has lots of time on their hands. I don't think that homeschooling/schooling decision is one to make based on what you think will be easier -- it is work to raise kids no matter which you choose! The question is what do you want to be busy with?

Issues about my own hobbies and interests is one that am I still working out so I don't have any answers. Horses, however, seem like something that your kids will be able to be involved in with you as they get older.
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#6 of 9 Old 12-15-2002, 07:04 PM
 
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I think you especially would really enjoy homeschooling

You definitely are capable of teaching your child. There are tons of helpful things out there and you can easily learn beside your child. Teaching a group of children who have to learn the same thing at the same level despite thier diferences and behavioural problems are hard. Teaching one or two of your own that you know intamately is fairly easy.

Secondly, why not include your child in your hobby. It would be a great oppritunity for you to share something special with them. Or you could always switch childcare with other homeschooling families or have an older homeschooler watch your child for a few hours while you do whatever. Also I think people greatly over estimate how much free time they will have once thier children are in school.

until your child is old enough to start school read everything you can get your hands on. Discuss it and see what you can live with. Don't worry about your expectations. They will change as time goes by (and you never know, your dd may teach heself to read before you would even consider beginning.) If your expectations are still too high, it might help[ to know I have found my dd very forgiving

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#7 of 9 Old 12-16-2002, 04:33 AM
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I think it's essential for all mothers to puruse their own interests, but as the mom of an autodidact I think it's especially important to model that. Ariel Gore once said: "Children need interesting mothers" and I think it's so true."

Sometimes Rain sees me learning something new and gets interested in it herself - knitting was that way for us. Sometimes she comes along for the ride a bit, and sometimes she has no interest at all. Still, she's seeing that following ones interests and passions is important and good, and that we all have the right to do what we love.

So, go riding! Maybe not right now, but in a ayear or so, you can probably find someone who would love to accompany you to go riding and watch your daughter while you rode. It has the potential for a great trade - if you'd drive my daughter to lessons, she'd happily play with your toddler for 45 minutes a week while you ride, and then you play with your daughter while she rides. A year or two later, maybe she'll be happy staying with someone while you go off (or maybe sooner, all kids are different). Or maybe she'd be happy staying with your husband - I don't have one so I always forget that option! Doing what you love is a priority, though.

If you're a passionate person who is interested in the world and loves being with her child - not necessarily 24/7, but more than you would if she went to school - you can do this!

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#8 of 9 Old 12-16-2002, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you again, mamas!

You have convinced me that this IS something I could do. I realise that even if DD were attending school, I would want to be very involved with that, and so I don't think homeschooling would take up much more time than that would. Also, you are right about my riding hobby: I would have to fit time in for that even if she were in school, and chances are (I'm hoping) it might be something she wants to do with me. The advantages of homeschooling would also mean having the flexibility to ride during the day, when things are usually quieter!

I'm going to head to my local library soon and look at some of the books, read up on the subject, etc. DH also seems interested in the idea, so we're both excited about it!

I must say that I do like the idea of unschooling, but I'm thinking that following some sort of curriculum, or using "units" might work better for us, as I myself do much better with some sort of structure, but we will see. Luckily we have a couple of years before we need to make any decisions, but I thank all of you for answering my questions and giving me some direction as to how to start researching this more.


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#9 of 9 Old 01-17-2003, 03:06 PM
 
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I second all of the above, including your own remarks. I was "trained" as a nurse, swore I would always be devoted to HOSPICE AND PALLIATIVE NURSING, but have since detoured, thanks to my 2 ds. Now instead of pursuing an ARNP I am pursuing an MSE, to make me a better HS mom!!! Funny how life changes your plans!!

I sent my ds to kindergarten, wondering if it was the right thing, should I really be homeschooling him...that got ansered in only a months time, now dh, ds and I are all committed to this tothe end. I wondered if I was patient enough, creativ enough, etc...it has worked out so well it has just boosted my confidence. Noone knows a child better than his parent, who better to teach him? Even parents less educated than we do much better than the school systems, parents typically know their child's strengths and weaknesses better, are more atuned to their needs and interests and can imcorporate all that into a well tuned "curriculem" suiting just one or two kids, not the whole school district.

Have Faith!! Best wishes, and YES YOU CAN!!
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