I started this homeschooling quest understanding nothing about how homeschooling works, what the right decision is, if my kids will turn out socially awkward, if they would want to be home, how college works, and most importantly is it the right decision.
So I turned to a few local Facebook groups in my area and started asking questions. My first statement/question was
"Hi! I have a 5 year old and 2 year old both boys. My oldest will be starting Kindergarten this year and I am trying to make the decision on whether to homeschool or not! I am very torn and would love any suggestions or recommendations! I am scared that if I do not at least introduce him to the public school system for half day kindergarten, that If something happens and homeschooling doesn't work out he will be lost and confused starting into full time school. But then I also wonder if I put him straight into public school and he likes it but I don't, where do we go from there. Thanks in advance for any suggestions. Also if anybody has any kids who have been homeschooled for a few years, I would love to know if they like it or if they would rather go to public school. Thanks"
Here are some answers that I received that were extremely helpful in my decision making process.
- *My son didn't do anything but playgroups. I got sick when he was supposed to enter third. He had to do 3rd & 4th in public school and did fine but wanted to come home so as soon as I got back on my feet he came home again. Only bad thing was the teasing and the bad habits he learned... Otherwise he did fine.
- *ME: the bad habits he learned in public school?
- *He could get away with doing less then his best, acting up was funny, bad language were the worst.
- *Also I've been doing some subbing in the schools, there is just so much wasted time in a day. your child can have so much more opportunities to have fun and relax while learning.
- *I always encourage people to at least try homeschooling, if they're interested. It is just so much fun! Not that it's always easy, but most things that are important are hard work sometimes. But you will see your children all day, you can give them a nap when they need one, comfort their small sorrows, and offer them so many "on-the-fly" learning opportunities. I'm a second generation homeschooler and so far my brother and sisters have all turned out just fine (and we all pretend I'm normal) And, like some of the others have said, you don't have to commit for it forever, just take it one year at a time.
- * I have a 5-year-old. My position on this is that if we need/decide to send him to public school in the future, he will be more mature and will take the transition better rather than worse. About the other direction: he wants to go and you don't, I don't have much of a knowledge. I think while they are young, at least 10-12, it should be mostly up to the parent. But the more mature they get, the more you should listen to their side and take their preferences into account within some reasonable limits, of course. I also do not think that public K will offer too much academically compared to what you could do with him at home. And I agree with above about the wasted time in ps. Time, you could use for so many productive or fun things. It is one of my main issues with ps; not the only one though.
- *I know our kids are of different ages, but I can tell you what my thoughts are so far. My eldest is 3 and we decided to put him in preschool this year 3 half days a week. We decided to test the waters and see if traditional schooling will work for us or not. Its a trial year and will help me see where he is at and what kind of learner he is at this time.
- We are a military family and with moving every 3-4 years, homeschooling is very appealing. I wouldn't have to ever worry about him "missing" something or falling between the cracks or being pushed through.
- Maybe treat this year as an experimental year. Listen to the feedback you receive from his teachers. See how he responds to the work they do and try to build upon it at home to see if homeschooling would work for you guys.
- *My 10yo has no desire to go to school- nor does my 7yo. They know what it means to learn without distraction, wasted time, or endless tests. They see the school bus make its rounds at 4 and are thankful they weren't stuck in a building all day. Kids are very resilient. I don't homeschool them with the 'what if' in the back of my mind. If that day comes, I'm sure they can hold their own. And for what it's worth, the morning rush and the homework battle you will experience if he is in school is not at all indicative of how he will behave if he is homeschooled. My kids did a week of day camp last week, and I could not believe the change. They had fun, but the bickering and attitude at home was crazy! They slept less, felt rushed, and had only their worst hours (evening) together.
- *Could you find a homeschool group in your area? Then he could have the best of both worlds, and you could have support.
- *We have been homeschooling for 5 years when my daughter went into second grade we put her and her little sister in public school. I felt like I was messing everything up and that as much as I hated it, public school would fix what I had done wrong. What I learned that year was that I had been doing just fine! They got more behind in ps than with anything I had done, the level of influence and bullying (even in K and 2) was terrible and I will never miss the exhausting schedule that felt like it included never seeing my children and always bickering. Have my children wanted to go back to school at times (the grass is always greener). Yes. It is only at times when they want someone to play with. As long as you can place children in their lives for them to create relationships with- it will go away. We are still new on our journey and it constantly evolves, but that is the state of life. Homeschooling can be hard in its own ways, but the difficulties I face on this path are far more worth while than my stresses of their public education year.
- *My kids have always been homeschooled and love it. They have many friends who go to public or private school and from what they have heard, they are glad they never went. They are 19, 17, and 14.
- *You don't need to send hI'm to kindergarten, you could teach him this year and then put him in 1st grade or continue at home. My kids are young (3 and 20 mths) but I go to a hs playgroup. They meet weekly and have a separate group for the older kids. They also have different activities every month or so. So although I homeschool my preschooler I'm included with the group. I pick their brain all the time, and I belong to various groups on fb and everyone is very helpful. They have been where I haven't yet and are glad to help!
- ME: You all have been so helpful! I keep showing my husband and sister all of your responses because my sister is considering it with my niece and obviously my hubby has to be on board for it to work! I really have only heard 1 bad thing from anybody in regards to homeschooling. It is a friend of mine and she has a cousin who was homeschooled and works at the Rec where they did some sort of organization for homeschooled kids and she said that a lot of the kids were socially awkward and that her cousin is the same way. I honestly feel like it depends on the family and the parents on whether or not the kids will have problems socially. This is who they learn their actions from and no matter if they were HS or in PS they probably would have been awkward. Does that make sense? Opinions?
- *I was an awkward public schooled kid. My daughter is a social butterfly homeschooled kid. The schooling isn't what makes them awkward or not. It's just who they are.
- *Socially awkward hsers. I agree there does seem to be a lot of them, but what came first the socially awkward kid or did the kid become socially awkward because of hs. There are awkward children in public schools too, they are seen as the quiet, out of place, bullied kids or maybe the freak. They are there. So did parents see that their child was different and realize that hsing would be the best avenue for that child? We may never know. All that said, there are plenty of regular joe shmoe kids being homeschooled too. In fact my boys both get that a lot-"you don't seem like homeschoolers" type comments all the time. and the " Geez you seem so Normal". That always cracks me up.
So from all of this advice, suggestions, and input we have decided to homeschool. So here are the reasons that we came up with for homeschooling.
1. Family time: my husband works long and odd hours and the constraints of normal school hours will mean that my son will see him on weekends only and for a few minutes in the mornings.
2. Individualized attention: I can give my boys the one on one attention that they deserve.
3. No bullying: There is so much bullying and bad behavior in public schools it honestly scares me. They will still have plenty of interactions with other kids and I am sure there will be bullying situations, but it will be way less than in public schools.
4. Wasted Time: There is so much wasted time in schools. It makes it hard to put him into a place for 8 hours of the day when I can complete what he learns in that time in less than 3-4 hours a day and add family values and important everyday learning opportunities.
5. Education Designed for Them: Of course there are standards and tests that even homeschoolers have to take, but in public schools nothing is actually geared towards the individuals. It is expected that everybody learn the same way and take the tests they are required to take. Homeschooling allows for the freedom of learning in different ways. I did a test run for 3 days so far and found a free online curriculum for Kindergarten. A big thing this year will be reading and the program offered online flashcards and sentences online. He did it for the first 2 days and told me he was bored and didn't like doing it on the computer. I made him paper flashcards and he has been much more responsive and has already learned a stack of words and sentences.
My school district is not a bad district, and for most people that is the first reason for homeschooling. I am lucky that if I do decide to send him to public school in the future he will be in a good school. There are other smaller reasons, but these are the biggest.
After we made the decision I sat back and I kept thinking "wow, I don't have to wrap all of our fun into the summer. We can have fun and do things all year long!" Another thought that goes through my mind is "I am so happy to be able to avoid the morning rush and then the dinner and bedtime rush. Now we can actually enjoy each other's company and not be on such a tight schedule."
Good luck in your decision making process and I hope you do what makes you and your kids happy!