Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Homeschooling Questions Answered

Another blogger had homeschool questions on her blog, so I am posting here to answer them. I figure there are as many different ideas about homeschooling as there are snowflakes, and we may have a weird twist on it all. Who knows! At least it's something to blog about. ;)

So, here are my answers for I'm Just Sayin'.

1. What was your motivation for homeschooling? Was it based on religious reasons? Was is it based on curriculum - did you want more freedom in choosing what your children were being taught? Was it based on socializing - wanting to have more control in the people with whom your children came into contact with? Was it based on logistics - the nearest school being 20 miles away? What made you finally decide to go this route?

It's so so so so many reasons. I picked it for *so* many reasons, and I love it for completely different ones! I guess I'll have to just hit the high points. I'm the youngest of four, and none of us had an easy time at school. My brother ended up dropping out, all due to the administrators acting shamefully towards his health problems and accusing him of lying about them. I, personally, didn't enjoy school -- I'm shy and usually hang out with people older than me with shared interests. That didn't usually happen at school. As a parent, I see a lot of wasted time at school. I'd rather let my kids spend that time playing or daydreaming, or building something. Or teaching themselves something. Further, I want to have freedom. Freedom to travel in November. Freedom to drop everything and go to a museum. Freedom to do school in bed because we're a little bit sick. Freedom to have a hot lunch together in the kitchen.

For me, it's just (to use a loaded phrase), a alternate lifestyle. We're not doing school at home -- we're doing learning as life. It's not something that happens somewhere else. It happens all the time where we are, and lets go out and have a great time doing it. And lets do it together! Or not! Whatever works best!

2. Don't hate me for asking this. How to you handle socialization? What steps do you take to make sure your children are around other children and adults? Are you active in a home school group? Do you spend a lot of time at church activities? Maybe you utilize the local Y for activities and they meet friends there?

We go to park day twice a week, for 3-4 hours those days. My son has done some fun summer camps (science and theater) and might do those weekly after summer. He's acout to join cub scouts. He meets kids spontaneously at the park all the time. :D Oh! And he's in karate.

As for adults, they are with me at the grocery store, restaurants, etc.. They have come to work with us from time to time when appropriate. They see grandparents, and parents of their friends multiple times a week.

3. Do you use the public school system for any part of your child's routine? Some children here come to the school for band or chorus, or maybe for science class. Do you send your child to the public school to take advantage of any of their programs?

Well, my son's only 5, so no. :D I don't know if I will. I can see the value in having more kids for a good sized band... but I'm not sure it would mesh well with our lifestyle. ;)

4. Do your children begin and end school at the same time each day? Do they have a strict schedule, at least as far as waking up and reporting to the school area of your home? If not, when/how will you transition your children into following a more rigid schedule - awaking at the same time each day so that they can follow a routine outside of the home like for college and work?

Gosh no. Nononono. Aiie. :D Wouldn't work. Some people do. We.. don't. One of the joys of homeschooling (for us) is that we can do math for 4 hours if we want to. Or skip it on a day that your math brain just isn't in there. He has plenty of time to figure out how to get up in the morning.

To turn the question around... My husband is a Systems Administrator. He has to go into work at night or on weekends often. He has to carry a pager and drop everything when there's something that needs to be done. What are you doing to prepare your kids to stay up until 3 am to reconfigure an important server? Or to drop everything they're doing and drive 30 miles away to the data center? Of course you aren't doing anything. That would be silly. ;) If they end up with a nighttime job, they'll figure it out when they get there.

My son does have a few things he needs to go to on a regular basis with a schedule. He knows when park day is, that's for sure! He gets up for karate. This summer he's had two camps, which had a schedule. He knows the library isn't open at 2 am. ;)

5. How many spelling bees has your child won? Oh, I'm kidding. We all know most of the recent national spelling bee winners have been home schooled children. I just wanted to throw a little funny in there?

LOL! Considering my family, this is not likely. ;)

6. Do you have a sense of humor? It's probably a little late for me to ask that but...

Well, I like to think I do...? :)

7. Where do you find your curriculum? Do you shop for it and order it? Do you create your own?

Sure! Both! ;D Some things he goes to classes for (like karate and a little science camp he went to). I bought a few Math cirricula, and we're trying those out. For some things, I just make it up as I go -- my degree is in molecular biology, so we just grab things in the kitchen and mix them together. My Intro to Proteins involves jello and a pineapple. ;) We also just go to the library and pick out anything interesting. He's learned more about history and geography from the Magic Treehouse books then I thought possible.

8. Do you have any worries at all about teaching your teenagers the higher level math and sciences? I, for one, could not teach chemistry to my children but I could probably teach them calculus. Is this a concern for you?

Not me personally, though I know a lot of people worry about it. Like I said, my degree is in molecular biology, so the science and math are covered. ;) But the thing is, there are so many cirricula out there for math and science, and online classes, co-op classes, community college classes and so forth, that I don't think anyone should be worried. If you need something, there is someone to fill that need. Even if it's sending them to grandma for math class, or trading with a friend or whatever.

(When I told my mom we were homeschooling her biggest fear was that I would try to teach creative writing. Apparently she doesn't like my stories! ;) My husband, however, wants to be a sci-fi writer when he grows up. And I know about half a dozen cirricula, online classes, etc..)

9. What bothers you the most about the reputation home schoolers have? What things do you hate to hear people say about you for your choice? I really hope you don't say that it's my previous post.

LOL! No, not your post. Though I do disagree with it. ;)

I'd say the thing that bothers me most is when people imply (or say outright!) that I don't care if my children learn anything or that I'm abusing them or something. And really the only reason I mind that is because it invites legislation that would annoy me.

I don't care what people think of me, and I don't care to judge other people. :D So have a big giant happy fun time in public school! Whatever works! (That's my motto)

10. Be honest, do you, at least in your mind sometimes, judge those of us who choose public school? Do you ever think we are making a bad choice for our children? Are you vocal about that disapproval?

No, I really don't care. :D I figure people do what they think is best. I try to think all people are capable human beings who love their kids. Everyone has different wants and needs and situations! I think more people might choose homeschooling if they knew more about it, but that's just my own opinion. I'll tell people about it if they ask me, but i don't cram it on people who don't want to hear it. (You asked!! :D)

11. Is "home school" one word or two? I've seen it both ways. With spellcheck, it shows it as ONE word when used as a verb, but two words when used otherwise. Please enlighten me.

Oooh! Oooh! Pick me! Pick me!!

I'm a writer, by trade. (Yes, I know I said my degree is in biology. Biology doesn't pay well, and doesn't invite telecommuting...) Some words start out as two-word phrases and slowly meld together as they become more common. One spectular example is "email". Not that long ago it was "electronic mail". Then "e mail". Then, it gets a little closer, with a hyphen "e-mail". Finally, people just shove it together, "email".

In my profession, we have "on-line help", which is slowly becoming "online help". (Or OLH).

So it was home school, and will eventually be a unanimous "homeschool". I usually use one word. But maybe we should call it "hschool". I would love to watch people try to pronounce that. ;)

Still other people call it "home education". Or the people who unschool might just call it "unschooling" in order to seperate themselves from other homeschoolers. (Oh, if you think that homeschoolers are an all-inclusive club of public-school hating, you've never seen the "you chose the wrong kind of homeschooling" fights! I think people will find any way to seperate themselves from others to feel high and mighty. Um, not to say that unschoolers are evil. Note: we lean towards that way. Sort of. I dunno. Maybe?)

Ok, I hope this makes sense. I wrote it quickly while the kids were eating lunch.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling, v. 133

The 133rd Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Red Sea School.

My favorite entries are:

Nature in Your Own Backyard -- because we have an iguana for a pet (she's a little old lady, at 15 years of age now) and we love to see pictures of iguanas. (Note: Iguanas are not great pets. I love our dear old girl, but I will probably never have another one, especially with kids around.)

The Dark Side -- because it *isn't* us vs. them, and we should stop turning every decisions into us vs. them. I'm a big fan of personal resposibility and not putting your nose into other people's business. Let's just figure people know what they're doing and that all humans aren't idiots.

Friday, July 11, 2008