Saturday, October 23, 2010

Look!  I wrote again!

David (age 6) and I are homeschooling this year, and yesterday we were able to attend the second "Fun Friday" event that our local homeschool support group holds.  All three kids and I went bowling and we took a neighbor friend who was off school for the day.  Fun was had by all, despite the fact that it took TWO HOURS for seven children eight and under to bowl ONE GAME on our lane (thank Heaven for bumpers!).  I was able to meet a couple of other homeschooling moms who just started this year.  We were able to compare notes and balk at some of the same things and share some of the same struggles.  One woman has two sons, 8 and 6, with whom David is quite eager to become friends.

One question I asked both the women I had talked to was whether their children liked homeschooling as much as mine.  I have been truly surprised by how much David enjoys homeschooling and how upset he becomes if I threaten to re-enroll him at his previous school!  They both told me that they were having the same experience -- their children truly like being homeschooled, and even MORE amazing -- they're actually DOING more.  They're writing more, they're doing more math, reading, spelling than their counterparts in the local elementary school and we're taking LOTS more field trips which means more hands on learning.  It turns out all the fears I had about homeschooling were WAY overblown.  In usual fashion, I had made mountains out of molehills when it came to guessing what the challenges of homeschooling would be.  To be fair, I was essentially told this by my son's previous school.

It turns out this was a shared reaction.  These other two mothers had also gotten what I term the "nasty-gram" about homeschooling from our school district.  This letter basically says that we're irresponsible parents and a burden on the school system when we take our children out.  That when we decide to re-enroll them (which obviously they assume we will), the district will have to do testing because the child will most certainly be behind a couple of grades.  I kid you not.  They also say some things about how homeschooling is so much harder than we think it will be, and we will have no free time and no resources.

To be honest, until I received that letter at the end of the school year last year, I didn't think any of those things.  I WAS homeschooled.  I had a FULL TUITION scholarship to attend a PRIVATE university -- obviously I wasn't behind...  I still have a great relationship with my mother and she didn't say that I'd experience any of what they wrote.  I read four different books about educational methods and homeschooling over the summer, and didn't really think that any of the things in that "nasty-gram" were addressed, or, to be honest, they seemed to be dismissed!  So I began to think that maybe they WERE going to be huge problems.  I was a little scared when we started easing into schoolwork in July.

Fortunately, and MUCH to my surprise, I found that David and I moved forward quite quickly at first, clearly we were covering at least the ground the school district would expect.  We also ENJOY our school time.  I get to spend one on one time with David, since Jack is in preschool.  David gets to have his religion class during school time, which I know he prefers to the after school attempts I made last year.  AND we're done around lunchtime.  Sometimes David has schoolwork to do on his own in the afternoon, but for the most part, he gets to free-play with his brother.

Yesterday was a great day -- my friend in the hospital is doing much better (miraculously so, it turns out -- more on that later).  AND I met other mothers who have SONS!!! my son's age who also truly enjoy homeschooling.  Life is good!

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