How Do You Homeschool? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: What method or curriculum do you use for Homeschooling? (choose all that apply)
None - we unschool 37 100.00%
We make up our own program 47 100.00%
We let the child/ren decide what they want to work on 25 100.00%
We use a "ready-made" curriculum 13 100.00%
We use a specific educational philosophy (i.e. Waldorf) 8 100.00%
Other 8 100.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 35 Old 04-06-2002, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just curious about the different methods people employ in homeschooling or unschooling. If you use a curriculum, which one? Have you tried others that weren't right for you? Any recommendations for sources of info for someone new to putting HS ideals into practice?

Thanks in advance for your replies!
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#2 of 35 Old 04-06-2002, 10:37 PM
 
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We are homeschoolers since 1999 and, years after years we tend more and more on the unschooler's way. But we like to plan some of our learnings ( I say "ours" because I learn pretty as much as my chidren do ). So I would say that we are creating our own curriculum, part from my children wishes, part from my own's.

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#3 of 35 Old 04-06-2002, 11:44 PM
 
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We are using Five in a Row, Singapore Math, and Explode the Code for phonics. Basically I plan things for the kids and they are free to do them or not. Some people would consider this unschooling because my kids don't have to do anything. I don't see it as unschooling because I have a basic plan and learning goals, I'm just really flexiable as to how we get there!

We tried How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but my DD hated it so we ditched it.

I think that for a new homeschooler starting out, you are stuck with the trial and error method of homeschooling. Different things work for different kids. The important thing is to figure out what works for your child for right now -- not what a study says most kids need, or what someone defines as the perfect way to homeschool. Above all else, be flexiable.
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#4 of 35 Old 04-07-2002, 01:37 PM
 
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Ok, I voted unschooling, but I'm sure true unschoolers would say I am too much hands on....then again the true homeschoolers would say I am too hands off....so I can't lable us at all!
Just as well...I hate lables!

We have been at this home education thing since 1987 and I have "graduated" 3 students/children so far. My sons are both in college doing execellent! My daughter is a SAH mamma and I am so proud of her!
I still have 4 learning at home...dd14 (going on 20), dd11, dd8 and my "baby" dd5. They are all brillant and eager learners (LOL)

Ok enough bragging for now!

The truth of the matter is that we have tried unschooling and traditional curriculums. Over the years we have gravitated toward a very unstructered learning enviorment that we call home. We love to read and have had some kids learn very young and some.....very late. The encouraging news is that my first daughter did not really read until she was 11, and now is an avid reader! Man that was scary but I must say it was worth waiting it out.

If I have learned anything it is to trust your heart in homeschooling as in all parenting....don't compare yourself to other families. You are unique and you have to do what works best for your family!

Remember....on your worst days at home you are doing better for your kids than the schools on their best days! (my hubby is an insturmental music teacher in the public schools so we know what we are talking about!)

Peace,
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#5 of 35 Old 04-07-2002, 02:30 PM
 
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I read a wonderful book called The Well Trained Mind, which I use as a guide to making my own classical curriculum. We used Five in a Row for kindergarten, and tried 100 easy Lessons but DS hated it so we now use Phonics Pathways and Bob Books, Singapore Math, Handwriting Without Tears, Usborne books for history and sceince and lots of library books tapes and videos. For a long time I struggled with wether or not to unschool because I truly believe in the philosophies, but then I discovered that a classical education would provide the tools my child needs to follow his own interests and it seemed the solution to me.
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#6 of 35 Old 04-07-2002, 04:59 PM
 
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I voted for unschooling but then I saw "we let the children decide what they want to work on" and that fits just as well.

My dd is only 5 (well, almost) so we haven't been doing it "officially" yet, but since she has been learning all of her life, I don't really make a distinction anyway.

Even though we unschool, my dd loves worksheets. Go figure. But if that is what interests her, then that is what she'll do.

She's learning to read now, mostly by memorizing the way words look, but also now she is starting to use a phonics, sound-it-out approach. But we aren't using anything formal for this.
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#7 of 35 Old 04-07-2002, 05:07 PM
 
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i voted 'let them do what they like'. i kind of consider us unschoolers because I don't force anything, but my dd LOVES to 'do homeschool', so we use Five in a Row, Little Scientist science books, Miquon math, Family Math, Cuisinaire Rods, and whatever else I get my hands on that I think dd will enjoy. It took me a few YEARS, really, but I now have a pretty good understanding of what she will enjoy -- if she doesn't like it we try something else!
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#8 of 35 Old 04-07-2002, 11:18 PM
 
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Our method is mostly Montessori (we do some Charlotte Mason things), our curricula is basically Classical with Firetime notebooks, Teacher's technique is gentle Catholic guiding. There is not a lot of direct instruction. The D.Sayer/Montessori mix is known as Natural Structure, I call what we do 'funschooling'.
BTW I think many people confuse the terms method and curriculum for the same thing.
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#9 of 35 Old 04-13-2002, 07:31 AM
 
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I didnt vote, because I have a slow computer and didnt want to bother to let it load

I went to public elementary school, was definitely homeschooled with a major unschool lean (learned zero math, learned a lot of biology and some chem, and wrote about 400 pages of three separate novels) for about 1-2 years. Then, I took up classes with a local comm. college. Been doing that 4 years or so now, and will transfer to an alternative ed 4 year in a year or two.

Howzat for unique, eh??
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#10 of 35 Old 04-13-2002, 12:04 PM
 
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I do a mix of unschooling and hands-on homeschooling. I have learned from experience (mostly negative--as in pushing a child who was not ready) that every child is different.

For my oldest, while I started working with him at around six, he simply was not ready until eight and the lights really didn't start coming on until nine or so. He is almost twelve and is doing well on the whole and loves to read.

My second is a completely different story. When he was younger he would stand in the background giving the answers to his brother's math problems while we were quizzing the older one.
He doesn't enjoy reading, but again I'm watching the lights come on over the last few months. I'm hoping that this will be followed by a love of reading. He is a great kid, but a difficult mind to unlock, is prone to give up quickly if he can't master something in one sitting. We've introduced art (clay to exact) to him in hopes of demonstrating that the process is as important as the destination. He is a peculiar sort of perfectionist (not the sort that keeps a clean room, or cares about his appearance). He is teaching me a great deal about parenting on almost a daily basis. He is also mildly ADHD, extremely emotional, wears his heart on his sleeve. I suspect he will be the next writer in the family--and hopefully more successful than his mother has been so far.

My third is far more self-contained (very, very independent--very, very strong-willed, but that's another story). He taught himself his numbers and letters at the age of five and was on his way to teaching himself to read when I took over. We are using "Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" by Siegfried Engelmann--sloooowly. I am using very simple math pages off the internet, Walmart workbooks and computer games. I am trying really hard not to rush the process with Joe, which would be easy to do.

My fourth is mercifully, just three and a half. We are still working out potty-training . . . He is an easy child (thank goodness) and doesn't require much more than a stern tone for correction and has been in love with books since infancy.

I use the "Alpha Omega" curriculum (simple, short workbooks, easy on the checkbook) and textbooks passed on to me by my more experienced homeschooling mother. Books line the walls in our house. Our computer is used heavily.

We live in the country which is great for hands-on learning. I have a love for the four-footed as well (four dogs and five cats) that I am passing on to my children. We got a telescope for Christmas and have been waiting for the weather to get warmer so we can use it.

What is the old cliche? Life is our classroom and our curriculum is dictated by what we want to get from it---or something like that.
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#11 of 35 Old 04-13-2002, 12:08 PM
 
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Ohhh!!! ARRRG! It won't let me edit my previous post. This is not good. Please excuse the subsequent typos.

All I wanted to add is that I am the only one in my family to graduate from public school. All of the rest of my siblings were homeschooled.
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#12 of 35 Old 05-04-2002, 11:44 PM
 
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I just noticed the # this poll has been viewed vs voted on. Now I am really curious about how many mothering readers are homeschooling.
Any idea?
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#13 of 35 Old 05-05-2002, 05:20 PM
 
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Vanna's Mom-I've been reading these posts but I didn't respond to the poll cuz I don't have kids yet to homeschool (though if I did I would unschool ). My theory as to the discrepancy between the number of posts and how many ppl have viewed it is that many mamas here at mothering have very young kids (like under the age of three) so perhaps they feel like they don't qualify yet to respond to the poll but they are thinking about homeschooling or at least curious about it.
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#14 of 35 Old 05-05-2002, 06:53 PM
 
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My oldest is only 4 but our current plan is to follow the ideas of The Well Trained Mind, but only for an hour or so a day, then "unschool" the rest.
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#15 of 35 Old 05-12-2002, 07:45 PM
 
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Well, I voted Unschooling, as that best describes what we do, BUT, I admit I was a bit torn between that and the "none, we make up our own" option 'cause, see,
we. DO make up a collection of resourses around here(from good books to telescopes to outings), so, in a way, that constitutes a curriculum. we just don't impose a compulsory schedule or use of them, so that constitutes unschooling
I ususally tell homeschoolers or schoolers who ask what curriculum we use that we make our own from a variety of sources, and that's true. But then, LIFE is a curriculum
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#16 of 35 Old 05-19-2002, 04:53 PM
 
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I'm not really sure if I answered the poll correctly, because we use some ready made ciriculum stuff ( Five in a Row, Explode The Code, Bob books) but only when the girls or I feel motivated to do some. Otherwise we kind of make up our own, or just get on with life and answer questions as they come up. We regularly go to the library, but I sometimes think that my 6yo learns the most when her dad tucks her into bed and she gets to ask one more question. For her it is a time when all the distractions of the day are gone and whatever's been on her mind is able to come forward.
I think as the kids grow up we'll continue to look for resources to help guide our learning, but only sit down and do bookwork when the interest is there. Otherwise what is the point in homeschooling (unless you're doing it for religious reasons).
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#17 of 35 Old 05-27-2002, 10:12 PM
 
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I voted "Other" because we're going to do all of that : )

I am going to start Annabelle on the oak Meadow Preschool corse this September (lots of people said it was too easy for preschool aged kids, and Annabelle is seeming to be a bit advanced). I'm not planning on having a rigid schooling environment so there will be unschooling elements. I'll add stuff to the curriculum as I see fit, and take out anything I don't like. I will also be following Annabelle's cues as to what she wants to learn.

All of this assuming she's wanting to do this! This is my basic plan, and it'll change to meet my daughter's needs.
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#18 of 35 Old 05-30-2002, 04:19 AM
 
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I clicked on the ready-made curriculum.

We are about to use a packaged kit, but I'll also add in fun things just for fun or as supplements. We'll also do unit studies such as "My Little Primer" and "Prairie Primer" during breaks or when we need something different. But for the most part I'll stick with prepared stuff as long as they are having fun learning.

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#19 of 35 Old 06-05-2002, 01:51 PM
 
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We are most inclined toward radical unschooling. We have plenty of great books and other resources around and go to plenty of stimulating places, but we don't call any of it "learning." We just try to have fun. Our oldest is just 5 1/2 though, so we haven't felt any real pressure yet, whether externally or internally, to have her know specific things. I hope I will resist the pressure, because I really believe that children (and adults) will learn just fine on their own if they have a stimulating environment (and I believe most environments are stimulating) and plenty of encouragement. Of course we will remain flexible, and if it seems that one or both of our children need/want more structure, we'll deal with that as we come to it.

I think the mix that a lot of you have described here has been what I have seen referred to as "eclectic homeschooling." You do what is right for your family, and that can include elements of unschooling, self-created curriculums, and bits and pieces of other curriculums. Perhaps you use one curriculum, but use it in your own way. Perhaps you do one thing one year and another the next. I think "eclectic homeschooling" would generally include some form of variety and some element of of self-directed learning.
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#20 of 35 Old 06-12-2002, 05:30 PM
 
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Kylix, I can only speak (write?) for me, but I think you hit the nail on the head. I have 2 babes under 2yo and am thinking A LOT about what I'm going to do for their education. All you Home and Un-schooling mamas and papas keep posting all right?!
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#21 of 35 Old 06-12-2002, 05:59 PM
 
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We unschool....but my ds wants to go to first grade in the fall. I'll let him try it and if he doesn't like it we'll go back to the same stuff we do everyday. We don't do lessons, we have Saxon math, bob books, that collect dust...my kids find things that intrest them and then we just go with it....we don't do lessons, but if my ds pulls out a math work book we go through it together. He plays cd roms, watches videos, we read books, he explores outside, he makes things ( we go through lots of scotch tape around here) He listens to music, plays with legos, his cars, etc....we go on walks, field trips with no schedule whatsoever. Pretty cool...won't look forward to bustling him off to school if he chooses and sticking to a school schedule. Have a feeling my son won't like being told what he can do and when. He enjoys his freedom, but he has to make his own choices and learn on his own, which to me is the true essence of unschooling.

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#22 of 35 Old 06-13-2002, 05:23 PM
 
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We use Charlotte Mason's methods, which look like unschooling in the early years, and then become a combination of liberal arts education in the mornings and unschooling in the afternoons.

For my younger children (6 and under), a Charlotte Mason education looks sort of like this:

"(a) That the knowledge most valuable to the child is that
which he gets with his own eyes and ears and fingers (under
direction) in the open air."

"(b) That the claims of the schoolroom should not be allowed to
encroach on the child's right to long hours daily for exercise and
investigation."


"(c) That the child should be taken daily, if possible, to scenes-
moor or meadow, park, common or shore- where he may find new things
to examine, and so add to his store of real knowledge. That the
child's observation should be directed to flower or boulder, bird or
tree; that, in fact, he should be employed in gathering the common
information which is the basis of scientific knowledge."


"(d) That play, vigorous healthful play, is, in its turn, fully as
important as lessons, as regards both bodily health and brain-power."


"(e) That the child, though under supervision, should be left much to
himself- both that he may go to work in his own way on the ideas he
receives, and also that he may be the more open to natural
influences."

(f) That the happiness of the child is the condition of his progress;
that his lessons should be joyous, and that occasions of friction in
the schoolroom are greatly to be deprecated."

From Volume 1; part Five of Charlotte Mason's Home Education Series.

For children somewhere around 6 or 7 and up, most of what we do is at amblesideonline.org. For my highschool students we continue the same sort of thing- real books, focus on excellent literature, narration, outdoor studies, music, poetry, art, etc, and we work together on what they will study.


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#23 of 35 Old 07-18-2002, 02:46 AM
 
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I am thinking about homeshooling, but my ds is only 10 mo. old, so I can not vote, but since I know nothing much about it I like to read what other are doing.
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#24 of 35 Old 08-14-2002, 12:48 PM
 
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I picked "other" because I'm an a la carte unschooler. If I find something that fits what we're interested in, I've gotta have it ~ doesn't matter where it fits on the spectrum.
DH was a "school at homer" and I am definately NOT, so the kids like a bit of everything


~diana google me: hahamommy. Unschooling Supermama to Hayden :Super Cool Girlfriend to Scotty . Former wife to Mitch & former mama to Hannahbear
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#25 of 35 Old 08-14-2002, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hahamommy,
Just had to say that I love your signature!
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#26 of 35 Old 08-28-2002, 04:40 PM
 
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I started homeschooling when I was 11. My younger sister homeschools as well.

The program that we go through provides the money for the courses and allows us to spend up to a certain amount on the courses every semester. They also pay for supplies, art materials, books, ect. I pick the courses that I want for the semester, of course there has to be math, science, ect. My mom gets the whole entire year of school for my little sister from the Calvert school in Maryland.

btw, what is 'unschool'?
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#27 of 35 Old 09-01-2002, 04:19 AM
 
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Hi.. there's a few things in reading these posts that concern me, I'm interested in hearing the responses. (No offense to 'anyone' please.)

This was mentioned several times by different posters >>> that their child didn't have schedules, routine curriculum, etc.. One poster mentioned
Quote:
Have a feeling my son won't like being told what he can do and when.
(That was in reference to public school.)

I have to ask... how are these kids being prepared to do as they're told, even when they don't want (or like). Sure as parents you have house and family rules but I'll assume those are also flexible. In addition, many children act differently at home compared to other places. As adults we're pushed into doing all sorts of things whether we like it or not.... I just wonder how these kids are going to be prepared to deal with that later.
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#28 of 35 Old 09-01-2002, 10:58 AM
 
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I'll bite....

I have 7 children. Three of them are grown now; married and/or in college. They were educated at home all their lives (except for the oldest who went to school for 1st and second grade.)

IMHO, our children have been prepared better for the "real world" then their peers who have been schooled traditionally all their lives. They have learned responsibility and consequences for their actions from an earily age. They have always been able to relate to people of all ages and are not peer dependent. They have "real life" skills as well as high acedemic knowledge! They have had time to persue their own interests and all have become acomplished musicians. My sons have both attended college and excelled. My daughter married young and is persuing her interests while raising a family. She is amazing!!! .....well enough of my bragging. (You gotta give a mom a chance to do that now and then!)

Anyway, my husband is a music educator and teaches in the public schools, so we are well aware of the quality of education and socialization that is available there. We have opted for a "better way" for our children, and have never been sorry.

UN-schooling does not mean UN-educated!!!!!!!!

It is a different way of educating. I feel a better way. It has worked well for our family, yet I have many friends that feel it is too un-structured for their family! I'm glad there are many ways of educating both in and out of traditional schools, so that families have a choice. What works for one does not always work for all!


~b
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#29 of 35 Old 09-01-2002, 03:06 PM
 
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perhaps what would help is to reach an agreed upon definition of certain terms.
such as "real world" i think this one has way to many perspective to just through it out there and think everyone thinks the same thing when reading it.

and "skills"

and such things as "doing what they have to"
one thing i think of is that most people do things they think they have to because theyve been so conditiond to act in such a way and not consider real prorities, and i speak from experiance of being a former sheeple

i dont think it the public schools intention to teach morals and personal judgement, up until recently they hadnt even tried. it was only an outcry of parents who had sent their children to shcool expecting them to learn not only all their acidemics but also alot of personal values and such that the school had to change some of their setup.
and i might add i dont think schools should be doing this at all in the first place. certainly there has to be order in such a situation. but i dont think that prepares you for "real world" experiances at all. as far as ive learned all i got from that part of ps was how to not speak up for myself and to follow the crowd even if someone is getting hurt from it cause we were taught that its that own persons fault for going against the grain. we were not taught that we as individuals count at all.

these are not things i want my son to learn. now im not going to say ps does this to everyone, i also had a bad homelife. and i fully believe i coudlve gotton TONS more out of school if things had been different. or that absolutely all ps is like that. but it hink the mojority are.

i have learned far far more about how to deal with the "real world" by being in it and i so wish i couldve started that learning much earlier witch is what i think homeschooled children from loving familys have in advantage from the average pser.

if this came off as a personal attack, i want to express it certainly was not, just MHO. (however strongly expressed)

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#30 of 35 Old 09-02-2002, 10:02 PM
 
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<<how are these kids being prepared to do as they're told, even when they don't want (or like...>>

We adults have all sorts of choices -- if we hate our jobs we can quit. If we would rather live in a warm climate we can move. I don't any desire to raise my kids to be passive people who just let life happen to them -- to do just what they are told. I want them to learn how to set their own goals and work hard to achieve them.

I do want my kids to learn self discipline -- to take of business even if it isn't the most exciting thing in the world and to work at the things that are important to them. I believe that school would get in the way of these goals by filling up their time with meaningless busy work and limiting the amount of time they have to work at their own goals.

My kids do far more around house than their schooled peers. They know that they have to feed and water the pets and care for the plants or these things will DIE. DEAD. All gone. Somehow, I think this is a far better lesson to do what needs to be done than learning to sit still and keep your mouth shut, which is the main focus of school for kids their ages. My kids also do things like empty the trash cans, dust, clean the mirrors, etc. I have more time to teach them how to do these things and follow up on them doing them because our schedule isn't over busy.

My older DD has decided to study a musical instrument. The only requirment we made is that if we are paying for the instrument and lessons, she has to practice. We talked to her teacher about how much practice was reasonable. She has made a commitment to this and so along with learning about music, she will be learning about follow through and consistancy. The thing is, it is her choice. She can quit any time she wants. I think it is far better for a child to learn to focas on work at something that is of value to them for their own reasons rather than to be forced to spend long hours at something that they don't have any desire or interest in.

My kids have more time to see adults setting goals and then working to meet them, and to set their own goals and then work to meet them because they are not wasting their time with someone else's agenda for their lives.

Besides, we live in a free county. They don't learn to learn to do what they are told -- they need to learn to think about what they want for their own lives and what are the best ways they can go about reaching those goals.
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