Friday, September 24, 2010

Homeschooling

To homeschool or not to homeschool, that is the question. I've been worrying about this topic a lot lately and my oldest isn't even two and a half! Being a teacher, though, I know how important it is to figure out an educational plan of attack early on. Here's where we stand now:

Public school- the elementary school in town isn't that bad but the middle school and high school are lacking. Things could change drastically in the next ten years but as it stands now, I would rather not send my kids to secondary school in our town.

Private school- Um...$$$$$$. A little out of our reach right now and I don't foresee it being within reach anytime soon.

Catholic school- Again, we're talking quite a bit of money here but not as much as the local private schools. Our church does not have an adjoining school so we'd have to send our kids to St. Greg's or St. Paul's (both 20 min away).

Montessori school- $$$$$$ (Seeing a trend here?)

Homeschool- Can be expensive but there are many ways to decrease the cost. From people I've talked to who've homeschooled, it is as expensive as you make it. Because I am a visual learner and must have everything written out, I decided to make a Pro-Con list about homeschooling. I'm sure I'll be adding to it over time and hopefully it'll help us to make a decision about how to go about educating our children.

HOMESCHOOLING PROS:

1) I'm already a teacher certified K-8 and have connections to resources (curriculum, teachers, other parents who have homeschooled, etc)
2) I'm organized and thrive on routine. Lesson planning and sticking to a schedule are second nature to me
3) My son has a genuine love of learning that could blossom with a 1:1 or 1:2 teacher/student ratio
4) Lessons could be enhanced with field trips that he might not otherwise attend
5) Family traveling would not have to be limited by a traditional school schedule
6) My son would be able to learn about his faith in depth because it would be built into the curriculum
7) He would set the pace (i.e.- if he needs to be challenged or if he's struggling, I could accomodate)
8) More family bonding and closeness from extra time spent together
9) He'd be allowed to participate in the public school's extra-curricular activities so he'd still have the opportunity to socialize

HOMESCHOOLING CONS:

1) The label that sometimes follows homeschooled kids- "weird" or "strange"
2) My son may feel awkward playing sports with kids when he doesn't attend their school (i.e.- may feel "lost" when they start talking about what happened in school that day)
3) He would not be exposed to a variety of teaching styles
4) Would not have the opportunity to ride a bus, have a locker, eat in the cafeteria, etc. Students enjoy these activities.
5) May have difficulty transitioning to a school later on
6) Returning to work (and making money) would be delayed for me

I still have a lot of research to do about homeschooling. It is so different now than it was when I was going through school. Have any of you homeschooled or know someone who has? Any tips/suggestions/nuggets of wisdom you may have would be greatly appreciated. :)

3 comments:

  1. We can get lockers. They're cheaper than tuition.

    The #6 con is the big one, I think. The cost of homeschooling is often underestimated as homeschooling parents rarely, if ever, include the income they're sacrificing to be able to stay home. The loss of a $30k-40k/year job is pricey to send 1 or 2 kids to homeschool.

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  2. I have been going through the pros & cons of homeschooling as well, and like you I am already a certified K-8 teacher, so I feel more equipped to homeschool than some of the other people I have known to do so (some with only a marginal high school education).

    I am not concerned about the socialization aspect, because in addition to the children being able to participate in activities at the public school, there are also activities at church, scouting, community sports, and through homeschooling associations.

    I am also fearful that David & Emily wouldn't be exposed to a wide enough variety of teaching styles, but again this could be addressed through the various social opportunities, as well as through group lessons through church or the homeschooling association. I used to used to volunteer my time with a homeschooling group and the children enjoyed the classes that met twice a week. Very similar to college courses in the routine, syllabus, and scheduling.

    As for the financial aspect, and loss of income, right now you are on one income, and if you plan accordingly your lifestyle can adapt to the same income with older children. Also, certified teachers who present group lessons to the homeschooling association are often compensated financially. Not a full salary, but you aren't doing a full year's schooling either.

    I have seen homeschooling at its best & at its worst. Several of my fifth graders in Montgomery Twp were homeschooled prior to 5th grade, and you would have never known because socially & academically they were equal (or superior) to their peers. However, my former SIL amd her 7 brothers were homeschooled, and they were at the other extreme. Their only interactions were with each other. The children whom were old enough to attend college could not get in without first taking all of the remedial courses since they had not had higher level high school classes/content. They also lacked social skills. All of which could have been addressed by a parent who was vigilant in searching out opportunities for their child and knew when the child's need for education surpassed their ability to provide it.

    I'm sorry this has gotten so long, but it is a topic I feel passionately about and have been questioning on my own for some time. I'd be happy to discuss it with you further, and maybe we can even bounce some ideas off of each other.

    I am looking to start homeschooling pre-K in the coming months, and would love to have another family to share ideas with.

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  3. I started homeschooling my kids as they were entering 4th and 7th grades and continued through high school. Honestly? It was the best thing we could have done. The kids thrived and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Yes, even as teenagers. They are now young adults and I can truly number them amongst my best friends. And they consider one another very dear friends as well as siblings.

    We didn't do it for religious reasons (although we are Christians). I did it simply because I missed being with my kids and I thought I could provide a better education, suited to their individual needs. They both thrived and are grateful for the experience.

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