Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why I am choosing to homeschool Aaron this year

I have been asked this question by many people lately and I’m sure I’ll be asked by many more (not to mention those that wonder and don’t ask!)  So I decided I’d just answer this via the blog for those who were wondering.  Here goes: 

I see some potential in Aaron that I don’t feel the public school can adequately address and I’d like to try to meet his needs on my own this year.

I recognize that this sentence might not adequately answer everyone’s questions, so here’s a few more of my thoughts based on some questions you might have.  Oh, and by the way, Aaron is 8yo going into the 3rd grade. 

Have you really thought about this? Of course! I have thought long and hard about this and fasted and prayed many times and I really feel this is the right decision for Aaron and me this year. Please don’t try to talk me out of this. That’s not very helpful. I may not totally know what I’m doing, but I honestly think I’m doing what’s best for us.

Where did you get this idea? I happen to read a lot of blogs of people who homeschool. They write a lot of articles about homeschooling. The more I read, the more I felt “I could do that.” If you want to read some of the articles that influenced me I’d be happy to share them with you.

Don’t you like public school?  I love our local elementary school!  Love the staff and all the teachers I’ve come in contact with.  All the teachers we’ve had so far have been great and have loved and taken care of our children wonderfully.  But even the best teacher of 20-25 students can’t give each child individual attention and meet all of their specific needs. 

Aren’t you worried about Aaron’s socialization?  Of course I am.  Aaron has some inherent social awkwardness to begin with.  We’ve seen it ever since his first year of preschool when his teacher was concerned that he’d rather play by himself than with the other kids.  Being in elementary school hasn’t fixed or really even addressed the problem.  He is in cub scouts and interacts with kids at church and in the neighborhood, and we’ll probably try to involve him in another sport this year.  If we homeschool longer than a year we will look into co-ops and other programs to increase the amount of time he interacts with peers.

What curriculum are you going to use?  After the third time I checked out the book “The Well Trained Mind” from the library I decided to buy it.  I am using a lot of the curriculum they recommend.  I’ve bought First Language Lessons For the Well Trained Mind: Level 3 to teach grammar, Spelling Workout Level B, Singapore Math 3B, Adventures with Atoms and Molecules: Chemistry Experiments, and The Story of the World. We will also continue to do piano lessons, typing lessons and he’s starting some computer programming online. (plus of course some religious education that he obviously couldn’t get in school.)

One of the reasons I want to do this is to have the ability to advance him academically at his own pace.  When I first began looking into homeschooling I had him take some math practice tests to see which curriculum to buy.  One of the tests put him ready for 7th grade math!  He LOVES math.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he blows through the math books I bought and I buy him several more before the year is done.  If he wants to learn algebra, I want to teach him!

What will your day be like? Probably pretty crazy! I’ll still have to pack Brian’s lunch and get him on the bus. Then I’ll still have housework to do and 2 little boys at home that need my attention. And I’ll need to teach school for Aaron! But I honestly think that it’ll work out pretty well. Both Aaron and I thrive on organization and I bet he and I figure it out pretty soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets his school work totally done by lunch time most days!

What about next year?  I don’t know yet.  I am currently only thinking about this year.  I assume that he’ll go back to Stephens Elementary.  But it’s possible we’ll love it and want to keep doing it.  It’s also possible we will hate it and I’ll send him back in a few months!  At that point I’ll probably cry and feel like I failed, but Paul will buy me Ritters and that will help me feel better. 

What about Brian?  Brian THRIVES in the normal public school environment right now.  He has LOTS of friends and would not want to be away from them.  This is also his first year in the Gifted program and he’s excited to be a part of that.  I assume I’ll still be the homeroom mom and teach Junior Achievement to his class too.  Maybe I’ll homeschool Brian for 3rd grade too?  Who knows!

Are there other reasons you haven’t listed?  I feel like I’m missing important moments in his life.  One of the things I don’t love about public school is how much the boys are gone every day.  They get on the bus at 7:45am and get home at 4pm.  They are hot, tired, hungry and their eyes are glazed over with a need to relax when they get home.  Unfortunately, they then need to do homework which can often take an hour or so.  Then it’s dinner time, chores, and bed.  And I don’t feel like I really get to spend much quality time with them.  Aaron is 8 now and I think it’s a wonderful age.  He’s so inquisitive and fun to be around and I just want to treasure the time I can with him. 

I could probably continue to write about my thoughts and feelings about this for another hour, but I bet many people stopped reading ages ago!  I’m sure many of you think I’m crazy, and hopefully some of you think it’s a great idea.  It’s an experiment we’re going to try right now.  I hope to continue to post about this as we continue.  Please wish us luck as we embark on this endeavor.