Eden is five years old, and we have made the decision to homeschool. This is something we have been talking about and “practicing” for a few years now. But with what would be the start of formal kindergarden this fall, it was time to make a definite decision.
While we lived in North Carolina, I worked for a private tutoring organization called Deerstream, that taught homeschool students. It was a classroom setting with 8-10 students that met 2 to 3 times a week. Our teaching focus was social studies, science, group activities, art, music, and languages. These are some of the areas that are harder for homeschool families to do alone at home (most families don’t have a microscope or enough kids to play kick ball). I taught 5th and 6th grade for 1 year and then moved to kindergarden and taught them for 3 years.
I had never really been exposed to the homeschool community before working at Deerstream. I had always thought it was something parents chose for their kids if they had learning difficulties, problems in school, or by hippies. And in any case I wasn’t sure how much schooling was really taking place. But at Deerstream I was given an inside look at the many different reasons families choose to homeschool.
I had only a few kids in my classes who had tried public school but were taken out because of learning challenges. I also had a few that were homeschooled for religious reasons. However, most were there because their parents wanted a different learning environment for their kids.
The kids I taught and witnessed in our school, were some of the sweetest kids I have ever worked with. They were polite, respectful of each other and adults, were often grade levels academically above their public counterparts, were curious about anything I was willing to teach them, were exposed to all kinds of things that most school kids would never get to experience, had very strong bonds with their parents and siblings, and were very happy.
I think all of these things are possible for all children, regardless of where and how they are schooled, but by homeschooling I am going to be able to be part of building our children’s character and love of learning. I will get to help them delve deeper into their interest whether it be poetry or physics and slow to their pace if extra time is needed for reading or algebra.
Shh, don’t tell Eden, but the homeschool year officially starts July 1st (next week) for counting hours to the required 1000 hours of instruction. My plan this first month is to homeschool a few hours each day without her even knowing it. By homeschooling year round we will have more flexibility to travel or school less hours during the day. Because many of Eden’s friends are starting Kindergarden this year, I want to make her first day of school special and will try to match it up to the day that all her friends start too.