Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just to clarify I'm not running for the hills...

Yosef and Anna with their friends at Ryan's birthday party.

Sisters and brothers rolling around on the nasty old carpet pad before Kevin ripped it out (and Kaitlyn showing some crack.) It's really a shame they don't like playing together...:)



I wanted to share the reasons why I'm rethinking the whole school thing (you know, because I'm sure you're all just DYING to know the thoughts rattling around in my neurotic, indecisive, I've-got-four-kids-and-mono brain).





See, I USED to want to homeschool part-time. But then my twin boys came home, and then we had a baby, and I began to wonder why I'd ever really wanted that. But, lately, as I've watched Anna reading her books and as I've been thinking about our family...the desire has come back. I think.





Where we lived in California, there weren't any public or charter schools that offered free, part-time enrollment for homeschoolers. Here in Denver, there are. It's through the public school district, one full-day per week, and you can check out various curriculum for free.





ANYway, I'm not scared of public school, there's a good chance my kids will end up doing that (you know, when all this blows over and I'm no longer delirious), I think they can get a great education there (in more than just academics), etc. etc. We are very blessed to live in a country that provides FREE EDUCATION to all--regardless of socio-economic level, performance, or whatever. We are very blessed. God is there, working. I believe my kids can experience Him just as easily in a public school as they can at home. Truly.





So my reasons for wanting to homeschool part-time are: to avoid extensive homework and burnout, to continue the tight sibling relationships my kids have with eachother, to have a more relaxed family atmosphere, to promote close friendships and community with them and other kids (more on that in a minute), to expose them to great literature, to experience first-hand their milestones. I LOVE the idea of having a "schoolroom" and great books all around and of cuddling on the couch reading our books together.





I have two friends here, both with adopted children (from Liberia and Ethiopia), that we've had playdates with, dinner with...they are such wonderful families! (Some of their children are in the picture with Yosef and Anna) They're both homeschooling part-time and are also in the same homeschool group that has field trips, etc. The group has adopted children in it from all over the world...pretty cool, huh? So I don't think my children would be hurting for peer relationships if I homeschooled...if anything, they might actually have MORE time to build good, close friendships.





Ultimately I want what's best for my kids and family. Not primarily from an academic perspective, but from a LIFE perspective. Public and homeschool both have a lot to offer in that regard, I think. I read an EXCELLENT, amazing book I'll have to share about on the topic of public school. And what a great place it can be for your child. It resonated with me and the couple who wrote it needs to write more books, because they're awesome.





Obviously I don't have a lot in common ideologically with a some (most?) of the homeschooling community. Maybe I don't with the public schooling community either...I'm not anxious to get my kids out of the house during the day. I have no desire to "go back to work"--ha, that's funny even to write. (And hopefully by the time Kaitlyn is even in school we'll have more little ones!)No desire to schedule my kids in a billion activities. I like that all of us are home each night having dinner together.





Maybe it's the mono talking, but the thought of homeschooling is really appealing right now. And maybe it'll pass and I'll wake up tomorrow laughing out loud, wondering what was I thinking!





(Oh and does anyone have any experience with the "Five in a Row" (FIAR) curriculum??? If so, how is it?)

24 comments:

joy said...

yes! that 's what we're using at sloca--and i love it so far! i just love the way that all of the "subjects" (geography, history, science, art, etc) are pulled out of a story. for instance, in the book about Ping, aside from the obvious things, learning about China, we learned about the importance of family, discernment, buoyancy, reflection, etc. In our next book, Lentil, we learned about jealousy, patriotism, the sense of taste, acoustics, what it means to become an expert at something. I could go on--this week is Madeline. anyway, i am very pleased with FIAR.

i think there are very good reasons to homeschool and very good reasons to put our kids in public school. at least for us, the decision for this year did not come easily and i'm sure next year, we'll face the same thing.

Laundry & Children said...

Your reasons are the same as our reasons. After our daughter started getting homework in Kindergarten and was up to 1 to 2 hours of homework by 1st grade, I just said enough was enough. Our whole lives revolved around school and homework. It was literally destroying my relationship with my daughter because I was always the homework enforcer. Now that we home school I have a great relationship with my kids, because I am not trying to force and arbitrary schedule of learning on them and we learn during the day instead of trying to cram it in at night after a long day at school.

A friend of mine uses 5 in a Row and loves it.

Brianna Heldt said...

joy, do you feel like it gets old reading the same book every day? i was on their website but there wasn't much on there in terms of info. is that the curriculum you'll use next year too, do you think? i'm trying to figure out which would be better for us, that or sonlight.

Brianna Heldt said...

laundry, oh my goodness that is so much homework!!! so glad things are going better!

Anonymous said...

Brianna, I am so glad that Anna is older than Kyle! This way, I get the benefit of following how and what you decide to do for school.

My ideal would be a part-time school/homeschool too. I see the benefits of both choices and have many wonderful friends who do each mode of education.

My pros/cons are almost exactly the same as yours. I want my children to get a good education. I just don't think giving a six year old an hour or two of homework is appropriate or beneficial.

Glad that you are hasing out your thoughts on your blog. It's really helping me! ;)

Monica

Jacquelyn said...

the FIAR is best in the whole wide world!!! All 3 of my kids enjoyed it on some level and it was something that the whole family participated in. All the books selected are good, quality books. If you go to the website you can see that they have additional religious curriculum and if you wanted to start Anna now, there is a Before Five In A Row that I halfheartedly did with Eliot. I was interested in doing Lapbooking (also on the website) but Zak isn't using it in first grade and I didn't find out about it until recently. A great choice - no you won't get board. How many times does a mother read "Goodnight Moon" or "Green Eggs and Ham"? At least with this curriculum you can bring out different aspects of each book and each picture that really makes reading to your kids come alive.

Mike and Rachel said...

I had no idea you had to buy your own curriculum. It makes perfect sense, but I guess i just thought you checked out curriculum from the school district...

I was reading Joy's comment, and we used a similar literature program where we used a book for a week as a core and then worked different themes through it. Kids can totally reread the same book for a week. It promotes fluency, vocabulary development, sequencing, and so much more. Of course, pleasure reading other books is great too, but that seemed like a fun way to learn for my students. It was super great for the struggling students to gain confidence with material they were familiar with.

Brianna Heldt said...

rachel, you CAN homeschool thru the district i believe but i think that's called "independent study", where you use the same textbooks etc. part of why i'm considering homeschooling is to give my kids a literature-based, classical type education, so i wouldn't want to do that.

Angel said...

So cool that your public school has that option! We do a University Model school- 2 days class- 3 days home. We love it!!! I adore how close my children are to one another. They love spending time together. I also love how much time I get with them and how flexible our life is now. I am with you- I would miss them so much if they were gone every day! It may change but for now I love part time homeschool. :0) Angel

Emily B. said...

Just trying it out for kindergarten couldn't hurt anything-- this isn't a one time decision; you always have options along the way :)

Anonymous said...

Hey! catching you on the blog...(not just lurking this time, hehehe)
I know in CA that Kindergarten is not a state requirement at age 5 (not sure about CO). If it's not a requirement, you have some time to work out the details and do a "trial" year. Especially, if Anna is already reading. Just a thought...

(I think it was in the Well Trained Mind that they were saying the only difference between a 1st-grader that attended formal K and one that didn't was that the former knew how to stand in line, raise their hand when asked a question, etc. Technical stuff, that she can learn in one day, if homeschool doesn't work out for you!)

Really though, mostly importantly, "what does God want for my family?" That is what we prayed and He answered, VERY CLEARLY. :)

Rebekah

joy said...

brianna, no the kids don't get bored reading the same book every day. especially if you space out the additional learning activities. for instance, let's say you talk about the artwork on one day and do some of the science stuff another day. it doesn't all happen on the same day. plus, someone else already mentioned it, but kids usually like reading the same book a lot--at least mine do! i've "heard" that some parents even get so tired of reading the same book that they hide it--i seriously can't imagine the kind of parent who would do that! :) anyway, i wish you were here and you could see the book. why don't you email your snail mail address and i'll photocopy some pages for you. do you know the story of ping or have it or madeline?

joy said...

i forgot to say, that once i started looking through FIAR, I started getting really excited about this homeschooling/classical/education thing. it all made sense to me.

Kristen Borland said...

what's the book you read about public school?

isn't this a difficult decision?!

Brianna Heldt said...

"going public: your child can thrive in public school". it's AWESOME! i need to post about it.

and yes, yes it is! for me it is, because i want to do both. always so indecisive....

lindsey said...

man! if i weren't nursing and typing one handed i'd have a longer response, but... i love all your reasons for why you'd like to homeschool. and in my very little experience we've had with fiar, we love it. it covers so many areas of learning and is all tied together with great books. love it!

cathy said...

One of the reasons I love public school is that I let the teacher run the classroom (I just want to be mom--but that's me) and I get to volunteer my little tush off. I am in the classroom, in the lunch room, in the library--wherever I want to be and wherever I am needed to serve. It is the best of everything for me. As a stay-at-home mom I am 100% involved in my kids' day even though they're in school outside of our home. So sending your kids to public school doesn't have to mean you "don't see them all day." Also, as far as homework in concerned, I just tell the teacher if it's too much. That's what being a parent is all about. Knowing what is best for your kids and being able to communicate that with the schools. I've never had a problem with any teacher regarding this. My kids really don't have tham much homework. But if it ever is one of "those days" when they're tired or grouchy, I just write a note to the teacher. And if this ruffles the teacher's feathers, then that's not a very understanding teacher!

Volunteering at our local public school has been the best ministry I have ever been blessed to be a part of.

shell said...

I have enjoyed reading all these comments. We are just starting with the public school thing, but so far (it has been almost a month!!) it has worked great. I enjoy the conversation the kids and I have had and they are learning things I don't think I could have come up with! You have read Going Public, so I won't write all of their positive points. Who knows what each year will hold, but for now (and I am pretty sure next year), it has been great. And I agree with the commenter above, it is a great opportunity to be with your neighbors, meeting people and just letting yourself be in a place where God can use you.

darci said...

hello, just read something this morning and thought i'd pass it on to you..hope the link works.
http://greggharrisblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/priceless-treasure-why-i-choose-to.html

he also wrote a great post about 'delight directed study' which I aspire to. :) have a great day. darci

darci said...

Just to qualify..I don't agree with everything in the link. :) I usually don't agree with everything I read , but he just brought up some things to think about for me. I believe ps can be a great choice for some families..for us, homeschooling rocks! We love it, our kids love it..mygirls are so so close, we have such a close relationship with them, we have awesome family days hiking, boating, going to the zoo, etc, when the weather is gorgeous and the crowds are small-there are lot's of reasons our family homeschools..I think public school or homeschool can be great-it all comes down to intentionality in parenting..I think, for me, it would be harder to be as intentional w/my kids in ps just bc of the time factor. the unfortunate thing is, no matter what we pick as parents, something is being sacrificed.
WE did look at five in a row, and come sit by me (sort of the canadian version for fiar) I personally ended up liking sonlight better-lot's of variety and great books. that's just me. all the best. darci

Meg said...

I love that you have the option of combining both! I think more people would do that if they could have the balance.....we do public school right now- and so far it is working for us- not sure for how long though- we move a lot and although we are in a good school district now- it may not always be the case....good for you for not only keeping your options open but for researching both with an open mind......

Mike and Rachel said...

Kinder is not required in Cali, but that law is back dated from when kinder was developmental and not instructional. If a parent decided to opt out of kinder they would have to be working their tails off at home. Kids are expected to know so much at the end of a year that was once focused on fine and gross motor skills and play centers.

I personally think kids are being pushed too hard too fast in school, but that's just me.

Brianna Heldt said...

rachel i agree. learning seems to work so much better when it comes naturally at a pace consistent with a child's development.

Angela said...

hey. haven't had a chance to read through all your comments, but I have Before Five In A Row that you could use with your kids right now, if you want to borrow it and look at it.
I can't wait to see you!

 

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