Today is the last day of school, and thus concludes our first year homeschooling the kids.
A few of you guys have asked about the homeschooling. Here’s the deal: for us, for now, it rocks. We’re all in. It feels right. But homeschooling your kids is akin to getting another job, and most people already have one or two jobs.
So I’m happy to talk about why I love homeschooling, why we started, and how we do it, but I just want to disclaimer right up front that we have a fairly unique and (I kinda hate this word but it’s the appropriate one here) privileged situation that makes it possible and enjoyable for us to homeschool.
We live in a place with a lot of great educational resources for homeschoolers, it works for our kids, and I am able to spend unpaid hours focusing on my kids education. But there are a lot of realities out there. And I can easily imagine situations where homeschooling could cause so much stress to a family that it could be a big negative.
I guess where I’m going with this is, education for your kids is a very personal thing, and we’re all trying to make the best choices we can with the resources available to us. My discussion of our choices is never intended as an indictment of other choices.
So with that said, here are six reason we chose to homeschool this year.
1: Homeschooling Is Compatible With Our Lifestyle
Homeschooling just works with our lifestyle. Our family is very home-based in general. My husband works from home, I work (or whatever you call blogging) from home, and we have all these home-based productive activities that fall under the general umbrella of “urban homesteading.” Homeschooling just kinda slides right in there.
2: We Have Excellent Local Support
The resources for homeschooling in our area are incredible. We live in a little pocket of suburban Seattle with many homeschooling families and strong school district support for homeschoolers. In fact, there is a public homeschooling school – with a campus and everything – that we partner with.
Parents are still the primary educators, but the school community and amazing teachers make things like specialty classes (Latin), resource-intensive programs (robotics) and social opportunities a ton simpler for the parent. I can’t imagine taking on the challenge of homeschooling without this kind of community support.
3: We Are Curriculum Design Nerds
We really enjoy being involved in the curriculum development side of our kids school. On the strategic side, there are some very old subjects I believe are essential for a functioning modern mind – things like logic, rhetoric, debate and philosophy – that aren’t emphasized in public school curriculum. History is another subject we put high emphasis on, because without a historical context it’s hard to tell what current events really mean.
Tactically, we find the planning aspect of homeschooling just kinda…fun. My husband has his masters degree in Adult Education and designs educational curriculum for a living, and nothing makes me happier than a complicated, intricate project requiring nerdy research and multiple spreadsheets. Ask us to plan 4 years of classical high school education and we’ll call that date-night.
4: It Allows Plenty Of Time To Be A Kid
Homeschooling is supremely efficient. Especially in the early grades, teachers have to spend a huge amount of time on classroom management – getting everyone to sit still, move from one activity to the other, line up, go to the gym – that kind of stuff.
Early grade homeschooling is more like one-on-one tutoring. Unless Oliver is a giant ass, it takes us about 45 minutes a day to do a core curriculum – what we call “table work.” We cover math, phonics, handwriting, and reading. He’s 6, heading into 1st grade. That’s all he needs. Over the course of the day we also do history, some art, some science – but that happens more organically. That leaves him a lot of time to still be a kid and just play or deep-dive on his interests.
For my older daughter, more time is devoted to “official” studies, but she still has far more time available to pursue topics and interests that she’s passionate about than she would in a traditional school environment.
5: The Public School Environment Was Toxic
Our experience with the traditional public school environment wasn’t great. My daughter (now 13 and entering 8th grade (!) for those of you who have been here since the beginning) had several concerning, negative experiences at her elementary school in 5th and 6th grade. Sorry to Vaguebook, her story isn’t mine to tell. I’ll just say: if she was an adult, at a job, every single one of the three separate incidents she experienced would have resulted in the immediate termination of the other involved party and possibly a hostile workplace lawsuit.
When we brought the last and scariest of these situations – a direct and specific threat – to the administration, the Vice Principal asked my daughter if she had just started attending the school. At that point, my daughter had been a student there for six years. The fact that the VP had no idea who she was didn’t inspire confidence.
When I told the Vice Principal we’d be keeping my daughter home for a few days due to the specific nature of the threat, I was told those absences would not be excused. The Vice Principal isn’t a bad person, but her world is juggling legally mandated administrative bullshit constantly. I have very little tolerance for administrative bullshit on a good day, and when I think it’s jeopardizing the safety of my kid…well, I know a few terms that describe how deep inside the administrator’s intestinal tract such concerns should be filed, but they might scorch the eyeballs of our more delicate readers.
6: Spring Break Is Whenever You Want It To Be
Homeschooling dovetails nicely with our long-term aspirations to travel more as a family. When we aren’t total homebodies, we want to be checking out the global neighborhood with our kids.
Homeschooling makes traveling with children so much easier. You can take advantage of off-season discounts and odd-routings to nab great deals on airfare, apartment rentals and more. You can hit popular destinations off-peak and spend less time battling crowds who all have the same 10 day spring break window.
And travel is a beautiful way to learn – it’s one thing to read about Ancient Rome, it’s another to read about Ancient Rome while in Rome, exploring The Colosseum and The Pantheon. How much traveling will we manage? It’s hard to say.
Why We Are Homeschooling Next Year
Those are the main reasons we started our homeschooling adventure. The primary reason we’ll continue: the kids are doing great.
I’ve been so happy with how my children have settled into themselves in this new educational format. My daughter, in particular, is happy and comfortable in her own skin in a way that is just a total 180 from a year ago. As a parent, there is so much relief in that.
When you see your kid unhappy and there’s not a lot you can do to fix it, it just breaks you. I’m so grateful that the change of school environment has really, genuinely helped.
My son is also doing great – because he’s younger and because of his natural personality there was less of an adaptation period going into homeschooling, but he’s also grown a lot. His academic abilities – reading, writing, math, etc. – have blossomed, but since homeschooling is really efficient (See #4!), he still has hours everyday to just run around, build things, get bored, be a kid, find something to do, and play.
Perhaps most importantly, my kids are better together. All siblings get on each other’s nerves sometimes, but we’ve seen a big improvement in sibling behavior from both of them this past year. I think our current setup tends to encourage more of a “Team Family!” mentality, which has been wonderful.
• • •
Do you homeschool or have you considered it? What factors play into your decisions about how to educate your child or children?8
“legally mandated administrative bullshit ” allllll of this. I don’t even have a school aged kid yet but my niece and nephew are already there and from what I’ve heard, it is all of this. Who gives a flying flip about excused absences other than the district because they are getting money from the state for their attendance ratings? I would love, love, love to home school the younger years but right now that isn’t feasible.
I homeschooled all four of my kids at various points in the childhood. Three of them went to traditional high schools because that was their choice.
I also had a lot of problems with “legally madated administrative bullshit”, including truancy court for my son with major health problems. Since when is a doctor’s note not sufficient. A parent really needs to stand their ground, or the local authorities will stomp all over you. Like standardized testing, I wouldn’t allow my kids to participate, and they tried to bully me to no end.
Glad you are enjoying homeschooling.
Yes the schools in Washington state at least are legally required to report children to…court mediation I think….after a certain number of unexcused absences. Their hands are tied. The ACLU has a good document on parent and student rights: https://aclu-wa.org/docs/parents-guide-truancy-washington
Alisha Fox says
My son is only 9 months old, but I hope that I am in a position to homeschool in the future. I chose to stay home with him now because I want to be his primary influencer, teacher, playmate 🙂 Sounds like it is going well for you and that is awesome! Thanks for an interesting read.
Yes to the efficiency! I was homeschooled through 8th grade, and when I started high school, couldn’t imagine what they would need all that class time for. Well, I soon found out.. ? Not to sound like a total jerk, but I was lucky to be able to take mostly Honors and AP classes, with students and teachers who really wanted to be there and learn. The few “regular” classes I took felt like such a waste of time! I had a very low tolerance for people who just wanted to clown around and waste everyone’s educational time. Yeah, I was a huge nerd.
While our homeschooling set up was far from ideal (my mom was deeply, conservatively religious, while also battling mental illness. She kept us isolated from other kids, and our “science” curriculum was Bible stories), it really gave me the chance to do so much reading and self-directed learning. I loved (parts of) it! Sounds like your set-up is great for learning, family time, and adequate socialization, and that’s awesome.
I’m glad homeschooling is working out for your family. I am a middle school teacher, and I love my job about 85% of the time. The 15% that I do not love can be well classified into legally mandated administrative BS. I assure you that we educators are giving our best everyday given the restrictions placed upon us, but recognize that every family needs to do what works for them. All the best!
I had such great teachers in my years in the public school system, during the 70s and 80s. I don’t really want to offer an opinion on homeschooling, but I will say that I am so grateful that I encountered such great biology, chemistry, math, history and English teachers. They were such a positive influence. Maybe things have changed and are different. I hope that homeschooling can offer the same quality of education that I was incredibly fortunate to get through my public school education. One of my biology teachers in particular was so influential – He said many times that the key to doing well in college was to be very organized. I am not naturally organized, but this stuck with me, and I made sure to get myself organized. I graduated at the top of my class from Purdue University and I would not have gotten there without this man’s influence. Years later he moved to a retirement community near my parents, and I had the opportunity to let him know that his advice helped me so much.
We were fortunate to encounter good to superbly excellent teachers in my daughters school. The teachers were really not the issue, and one in particular went out of her way to address one of the situations my daughter was in. No one gets their master’s degree then signs up as a public school teacher unless they love kids and want to do the right thing by them. But teachers are asked to do far too much. It’s not a teacher’s job to raise a child that knows how to treat other human beings respectfully. The parents need to get that done at home so the teachers can convey knowledge. My limited parent experience is that the same things that can make it very hard for some students to thrive in a public school environment can burn out some really great teachers.
Mary Ann Baclawski says
We thought about homeschooling from the beginning, but decided to wait until our son got a bad teacher. He never did. We finally pulled him out to start to homeschool toward the end of 3rd grade because my husband got laid off and we thought this was going to be his one chance to help homeschool. My son’s teacher applauded our decisions n saying that she knew she couldn’t give my son much help because he was so advanced and well behaved. She needed to give her attention to slower, less well-behaved children.
Hi Erica! ❤❤❤❤ I pm’d you details but I just wanted to make sure you are aware that there is a teacher at your daughter’s former school who has sued parents for libel. She lost the lawsuit, twice, but since her husband and son are lawyers it’s easy for her to sue.
Your article is not libellous IMO, its well written and honest. I pulled my son out of 6th grade at that school too for a variety of reasons including some of what you described.
Oh that’s just f-ing great. :/ Thanks Jennifer, really appreciate the heads up. I’ll check for your message.
Anne F says
We homeschooled with our son/daughter from 6th/8th through high school. We got involved with our district’s homeschool support school and it was an incredible experience. Our kids are still friends with with many of the teachers they worked with there. Since I have a strong bent towards extreme unschooling, a public homeschooling school was a great balance for us.
I loved the time and flexibility we had to pursue our kid’s interests. We were able to travel a lot more and at non-peak times. Like your family, Erica, my husband (a programmer) and I (an online math tutor) had the time and resources to make a homeschool lifestyle work.
Both my kids have finished college and gone on to their next adventures. In a tiny irony, my daughter is a public school teacher.
Good luck in next year’s homeschooling adventure. I hope it just keeps getting better and better.
Sounds like you have made a good decision for your family! We decided to homeschool our child for many of the same reasons and have not regretted it. She was able to “be a kid”, explore areas of study that matched her curiosity. We were able to spend at least 3 months of each year in Mexico, which gave her an opportunity to experience a different culture and ti learn Spanish at an early age in a total immersion situation. We homeschooled from second grade through high school.
Enjoy your journey! And please continue to update us!
Rachel Ridgeway says
After you posted the blog post about the hermit crabs, I began to tell you about a book we used for homeschooling called Pagoo (by Holling Holling). It is a story about a hermit crab that really teaches all the aspects a person could want to know about crabs in a “living book” style. Then, my internet went wacky and wouldn’t let me comment and now you are talking about homeschooling so I thought I would try to comment about it again!
All the Holling Holling books are great and I highly recommend them, but I do enjoy the details he gives about the different subjects. We have been homeschooling for 8 years and I love it–and I dread it–and…
We also partner with a public school for homeschoolers here in Oregon. It’s a great resource for us. The way ours is set up to have an on site morning program (we don’t utilize it but friends do) means that parents can have part time jobs, which helps too. I like that I get money for curriculum and classes, and the teacher (“guide”) oversight is helpful because I don’t want to miss anything. We’re free form semi-unschoolers since my kids have never been to school and don’t really have any expectations.
We have a lot of reasons for homeschooling (and religion is not one – we’re atheists) but the main one is that our kids have to be adaptable to changing jobs and work places. My husband’s job did not exist when he was in school. New technologies mean you need adaptive learners with a strong inner drive, something I think homeschooling really facilitates.
Congrats on your first year under your belt!
When you first mentioned homeschooling I commented that I was excited to see how you juggled it with your gardens and preserving and such because it is something I deal with constantly during harvest season. While I do hope you’ll still fill us in on those things can I just say that I am THRILLED you are back. I only discovered it a week ago and it was like hearing from that cool person you kind of knew in college and are giddy about hearing from again. So thanks for coming back. As for the homeschool stuff I am so with you on every point (other than the designing curriculum stuff) and flexibility is a big reason we do it. Daddy travels all summer so we do family vacations in the late fall. Smoky Mountains are beautiful in mid November and so not crowded. Washington DC in October? Perfect weather and just a few local school groups to deal with! I also love the “Team Family!” aspect, the ability to spend a perfect spring day outside, enjoy yet another cold snowy day in front of the fire with our books and other random stuff that would be missing if they were gone from 7 am-4pm (bus schedule on our street). So grateful for the options that are out there for families to do what is best for their circumstances!
David Hughes says
My in-laws live near DC and I keep trying to lobby for visiting them that time of year, but they (and my kids) love taking part of our visit and going to the beach every summer. Would love to see DC when it’s less crowded.
Debbie Gordon says
I have to say I was never a fan of homeschooling until years ago, I was forced into it by a similar situation. I have always been a supporter of teachers and the jobs that they do, but the quality of teachers and administrators in our public schools has declined way past what I had growing up. My teachers all through grammar school (there’s a term not used anymore) and junior high growing up had command of their classrooms, with 35 kids in them, and did it without mom’s volunteering 3 days a week, and the half day off per week to get their lesson plans done. Discipline and rewards were prompt, and half the time parents were just notified it was needed/given, and phone calls that night, came straight from the teachers, not some administrator, asking you to come to the school now.
Now, what we have are union mentality teachers, with guaranteed jobs, who do not teach, but spend their time handing out assignments and then giving 3 hours of homework assignments a night that we have to sign off on, so WE can do THEIR jobs, and let’s face it, some parents do not have these skills. I am lucky I did. I do truly sympathize with all the regulations given to teachers, but as a nurse, I had to deal with them too. A lot of them. I never would have thought to say, I do not have the time during my shift, so I will have another patient family member work with you today and your family member will have to do your dressing changes or their IV antibiotics now. Sorry, I know I’m ranting.
My son was a victim of this. Since I was actually teaching him, he could read, do math etc. Yes, and very well. But I also saw he could not recall nor speak to what he was reading. By the 6th grade, I finally, after 5 years begging the teachers to listen, convinced them to have him tested. They did some simple tests. They said I was over reacting. His grades are fine. I begged. They passed him anyway. I found one “old school” teacher who overheard me ranting in the office one day, who said, let her have him in her class. It took her 2 weeks with him and she saw it. She agreed and said she had seen this many times, and he was a classic reading comprehension disaster that the new standard testing they do in schools, omits finding these problems. This is for their benefit so they do not have to address it. Parents will rarely follow up after the discouragement they are given. Parents do not know better so they trust the system. It is flawed. It’s all about getting them to the next grade as cheap as possible.
She recommended more testing. School said no, too expensive and he did not qualify….hmmm She got treated differently by her colleagues (I say that loosely) but she did not care and encouraged me to be his advocate. Like I said, she was old school and was a Master’s prepared educator, not what qualifies as a teacher today. I finally had him tested outside of the school system, at my expense, which was no problem for me. 4 days of testing and thousands of dollars later, I had a well documented problem they could not deny. The scheduling of tests and grading these tests took longer than I would have ever dreamed of. Its now May and he will be starting 7th grade in junior high so this school is telling me it’s the junior highs issue. Great age for a boy. He hates me now for getting him more singled out. The results come back. He was 4 full grades behind in reading comprehension, just as the teacher and I had said. Wow, talk about getting defensive! The school was mandated to follow the IEP but made him so miserable and singled out, I had to do something. I was labeled a problem parent. He was labeled a discipline problem. So…I hit them with the only thing they cared about. Money and their funding per student….. so I just pulled him from school. Within 18 months, and the help of that one teacher who helped me with lesson plans, on her own time I may add, I got him caught up by 3 grades. School could not explain why an untrained teacher could do this when they could not….I said, I can. Your system and staff are incompetent. Enough said. We moved on.
My kids are grown adults now, but with volunteering in scouts, I hear from parents all the time about this stuff. We have an epidemic of kids with autism, kids with parents who have drug problems, resulting in behavior issues now. The schools are overwhelmed with these kids and most have parents who are not working, volunteering in class, if anything, to protect their kids interests from bullying, teachers who are rude and can not control their classrooms. Schools is supposed to be a place of learning. I do not see much happening at the school anymore except warehousing kids for a mandatory tax fee.
So, I applaud you. When I have grandkids, I will be promoting homeschooling. Perhaps with the lack of funding, the education system we have will finally have to step up and take care of the problem. Until then, I guess it is up to us. They are our kids after all.
April Brown says
Love this!! I know so many families that homeschool and each and every one would list similar reasons why, but with their own family specific twists. I wholeheartedly believe “quality education” is an individual pursuit. My kids have thrived since we moved from Seattle to a smaller district. I agree school administrators have their hands tied by laws, and rules, etc…Funny though, in a smaller atmosphere, there is more flexibility and creative thinking. If we were still in Seattle, I am sure we could be homeschooling as well. I also appreciated your point about for your family, right now, this is the right choice. We aren’t all the same: kids, families, schedules, strengths and weaknesses, etc.. Kudos to your family for taking a leap and trying something new when what you were doing wasn’t working. Good luck, and I’m glad you’re back to blogging!
Mary Ann Baclawski says
We homeschooled for most of my son’s education for the same reasons you give. He ended with some community college courses to help fill holes in his eclectic education and 4 years at a selective college. We always stressed learning to master rather than grades. We assumed the cc courses would teach him the importance of emphasizing what the teacher wanted to get good grades. One warning- it did not. He didn’t realize the importance of his cumulative average until sometime in his junior year when it was already hard to pull up, though he did manage. His current employer, a state representative, has commented to us about his ability to analyze abstruse information and synthesize it into concise reports, as well as his superior people skills.
I have homeschooled my three children from the start. We have a 14 year old, 12 year old, and 7 year old. We travel a lot, hike and mountain bike our asses off, and homestead in the Pacific Northwest wilderness. My kids know how to grow a garden, cook great food, hunt, fish and slaughter chickens like pros.
We are not as lucky as you are. Since we live in the boonies, there are not that many kids around. Homeschooling support closeby is almost non-existent.
Next school year, all of my kids will go to public school, a one and a half hour bus ride (one way).
I am freaking out.
The oldest brought up the idea. Hormones are kicking in, and he wants to be around girls and peers. Who could blame him? I totally support them going to public school for the first time in their entire lives, but I definitely feel very, very mixed about it.
We will lose our freedom to travel and do whatever we want, but on the other hand I can imagine myself blossoming building my business teaching people homesteading skills, and to develop more online courses without my kids breathing down my neck all the time.
So…. shoot. I don’t know what to say. I’m scared. And also excited.
“get bored”. May be the most important two words in the English language when talking about kids.
We keep Molly in private school because we have such a great small community focused on the kids. We have three more years to figure out what we are going to do for middle school. The one we are districted to has a reputation for tolerating/ignoring bullying. So glad you’ve found something that works for your family.
What a great story, thanks so much! I have been homeschooling since Feb 1 this year BC of many reasons that were identical with yours and other parents. Two of my 3 kids only, as the oldest graduates from high school this month. What a difference! I am a Pharmacist and I used to lead an awfully busy time at work, and dissatisfied life after because of my neighborhood public schools. I ended up with a burnout bc I tried to make up whatever my kids didn’t learn in school during the day- from mostly disinterested teachers, inside noisy classrooms- at home in the evening. In Toronto the public board is apparently one of the biggest in the North America, and it’s not working. Fortunately homeschooling is legal. And growing! Unfortunately we don’t have the same level of support as you guys have in Seattle, however we r doing the best with what we have, and get together with other homeschooling families weekly. As we are approaching the school year end, I found your story quite inspirational and bang on with our values about education. Have a great summer!
This comment has been removed. http://nwedible.com/faq/#swearing
Lauren Smith says
We do homeschool! I am a former public school teacher, so I feel I have seen this issue from all sides now. I love that you have a strong partnership with your local public school-that’s the way it should be. There shouldn’t be this big divide between the two worlds. I need to customize my son’s learning ( he”s about a grade behind in reading and two grades ahead in math), so homeschool is the best choice for me. I love selecting curricula. It’s really shopping for learning nerds. To solve his reading problems I found the Logic of English phonics system, and I can’t say enough about it. It’s perfect. We spend about an hour a day doing “book learnin”. That leaves plenty of time for piano lessons, gymnastics, the park-whatever!
Ole Ange says
I didn’t realize you’d reopened Strauss Academy. I’m so happy for you – to have found something that’s working for you all. Welcome back! We are about to graduate E, so he has homeschooled (as both student and autodidact) from 4th – 12th. Well he’ll go through 13th, since we’re treating this as an apprentice year.
The girls and Ale will never go to schrewl. 😉
I’m educating two generations, as I never learned Latin, logic, rhetoric, or history growing up. The first three were never taught, and the last had been stripped down to barebones factoids and then replaced with social studies. Let me tell you, I have seen countless film reels of Aborigines eating mealworms.
The only negative result of homeschooling has been the resentment I developed after realizing I had spent my entire childhood watching social videos and frenetically focused on pleasing Ms. This and Mrs. That in successive years — amounting to thousands upon thousands of hours lost.
Ieneke van Houten says
As a bona fide semi hippie I have seen plenty of the dark side of homeschooling. Bewildered kids more or less left to their own devices and ending up barely literate because the parents believed the children’s natural curiosity would guide them to study what they needed. This may work for a driven self starter and that is the sort of genius for whom The teenage liberation handbook was written. In our own family, my somewhat Aspie son was unhappy and bullied and we offered him the option to homeschool in grade 8. He choose to try a year of High School but went for the home option in grade 9. It was not a success. He choose to go back to school in the fall of grade 10. The school worked hard with him to catch him up on the subjects in which he had fallen behind, mainly English. However, he had his growth spurt in the home school year. From being a frail little guy he had developed into a tall imposing figure who looked like he should not be messed with. That helped, big time. I believe home education can be great IF both children and parents have the right temperament for it. I mainly don’t. But I admire people who can pull it off and I love your list of subjects
We homeschooled our daughter from first grade to tenth grade using a parent partnered resource center. It allowed us freedom to design her curriculum and set our own learning pace. It was a perfect match for us. She went to the local community college using the Running Start program for the last two years. We had so much fun homeschooling and we all learned together. Yes we had our moments too. Some days I just threw in the towel and we took a day off. But you can do that when you home school. I also did a three months on, one month off schedule so the gap was not so big in the summer – the math skills didn’t disappear so easily. We were total curriculum geeks too. We ended ahead enough we basically had a fun year in eigth grade – the only subject I was tough on was math, our weakness. But even that was fun because of the resources we had. I remember one of our favorites was doing logic puzzles every friday with tea and snacks. She ended up getting her AA and high school diploma. She is now writing her first book while working part time and still taking dance. We are all still learning though, that’s our home schooling legacy. We learned how to love to learn.
David Hughes says
We’ve talked privately about homeschooling, so you know basically how I do it. My methods are pretty different from yours but the reasons are very much the same. We’re actually going to be trying a public-assisted homeschooling option this coming year, though it’s a virtual school, not a physical campus like yours. Not sure how it’s going to work but my wife in particular really wants to try it.
Interesting about your husband’s background! My wife wasn’t trained in that but she has tons of experience now doing various forms of on-the-job training for her company, including designing most of the instructional materials herself.
Do you do any structured stuff over the summer? I do some but skip days frequently when there’s more pressing needs around the homestead, or when it’s a nice day and we just want to hike or swim.
Lee Roversi says
i love everything about your site! keep up the fine work!
aloha from kauai!
Sue VanHattum says
If you aren’t already math nerds, I can point you to some great math stuff.
Sue VanHattum says
I put together a book, Playing with Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and Passionate Teachers: http://naturalmath.com/playingwithmath/ (My publisher, whose site this link is to, has lots of other fun math books.)
I have a blog, with pages for good books and games: http://mathmamawrites.blogspot.com/ (In about a week, I’ll put up a post with about a hundred links to cool stuff.)
Denise Gaskins has an active blog with lots of good stuff: https://denisegaskins.com/
Those are all links to good collections of resources. Two steps, in a way. Here’s one of my favorite online things, a Euclidean geometry game: https://sciencevsmagic.net/geo/
And I am happy to answer questions from homeschoolers, especially if it makes for a good blog post. My email for that is: mathanthologyeditor on gmail (Fix it up appropriately, written this way to protect me from bots, not sure if it makes a difference or not.)
Sue VanHattum says
And you might find math circles interesting, if there’s one near you. Seattle has some fabulous people doing that sort of thing. Or at least they used to do it. The blog is here: http://mathforlove.com/
Contact them if you’d like to find out about homeschooly stuff in the area.
Melissa C says
I never had homeschooling on my radar for our children, I even scoffed at the idea. My sister is homeschooling her 3 kids around the same age as mine and I privately thought my choice was better and she was depriving her kids. Homeschooling recently became something we discussed as an option for our current 9th grade daughter. She has struggled in school for years and we just keep pushing her through because thats what you do right? Get through the (hours of) homework, deal with the anxiety of being at school. Well currently, her anxiety became so great she hasn’t even been to school in two months. She is on “home bound” for anxiety and completing her 9th grade year at home. The school district sends a tutor and her work once a week. Its not ideal but its getting us through the last few weeks of 9th grade. I was all prepared to homeschool her next year but she found an alternative school in Seattle called The Center School, so she’s registered to go there next year. Its a much smaller school than her HS in Shoreline, and most of the kids are similar to her (personality wise). If she doesn’t do well, we will pull her and homeschool her. I am SO OVER the intensity surround school since maybe 4th grade?? Pushing her to do her homework, study, etc. I just want us to enjoy each other (more) and for her education to be something she enjoys. I am so glad my eyes have been opened to homeschooling. I am hoping to homeschool my younger two daughters, one who is finishing kindergarten this year and the other is 3 years old. We are hoping to go to our local school districts Parent Partnership Program, I am so hoping we get in because I feel like we would benefit from the support!!!
Nikki Howser says
That is awesome! Glad to hear that your family is thriving, and good job mama on putting your kids needs a priority.
I’m delighted to see content popping up from you again! I’ve missed your posts!
I home schooled both of my sons – one from fourth grade through high school,and the other for the last three years of high school. The stress and struggle that evaporated from our lives when we left institutionalized schooling was a huge relief. Human beings are born wanting to learn. I found that letting my kids go where their curiosity took them reignited their desire to learn and showed them that learning happens everywhere, all the time. Most of my friends and family think I’m a little nutty on this subject, but I am happy with the decision I made, and so are my boys! I wish you continued joy in learning with your children.
Just wanted to add this thought. I am very lucky to have had the privilege of home schooling my boys. I’m educated myself, which permitted me to guide their learning. I have worked at home almost all of my professional life, so I could be here with them during school hours. There are millions of families who don’t have these advantages, and whose only option is public school. Until the day that everyone does have such advantages, we need a public school system that attends to real educational needs unburdened by administrative buillshit. By walking away from public schooling, I took my voice out of the chorus of parents agitating for change. I don’t think it was a good message to give my children (that walking away is better than staying and fighting for everyone), and I have spent many hours in conversations with them on this point. That’s really my only regret, but it’s an important one.
I can totally see why you decided to homeschool, and I really appreciate the upfront acknowledgement that it works for your family right now for a bunch of reasons, but everyone has different situations going on. We just moved to Germany (well, if 9 months ago is ‘just’) from Vancouver, Canada and we were interested to find that it’s illegal to homeschool here. I’m not a homeschooling person, so this wasn’t a thing, but it’s interesting. One of the reasons we agreed to another international job placement was for our son to experience Europe as such an impressionable age – he’s about to turn 8. There would be no way we could afford giant trips over here all the time, so to be living here and within driving or short flying distance of so many incredible places… well, we couldn’t turn it down, even if it has been an almighty adjustment. Anyway, should you be over towards southern Germany, drop me a line and we’ll give you a tour and do some translating. 😉
We’ve been going for a year and a half or so now. It’s great, love it. Certainly never imagined I’d be a home-schooler mother but now we’re in it, I can’t imagine… not.
I’m probably a bit too relaxed with table-work, but we read every night, and at this point, he writes and can spell out a word (he’s just turned 8) without much effort. His father teaches him maths via monopoly money in weekends. I’ll teach him whatever organically crops up, ie. geometry at lunch time because of the cut sandwich shapes, or geology with rocks outside, gardening, celestial and car mechanics etc.. whatever comes up!
I do think it suits nerds. And folks with a certain DNA compatible to the old ways. I’ve become a BIG traditionalist in my middle age.
This is fantastic! We began homeschooling our now young adult kids when they were 1st and 3rd grade based on my son’s need for more individualized instruction and going at his own pace in each subject and my daughter’s negative social experiences at school (being bullied). We never looked back and now both have thanked us for homeschooling them (even though they complained at times during the process). We had awesome adventures as a family that we wouldn’t have had otherwise (including living in South Africa working with AIDS orphans for a year!). Our kids’ education and unique life experiences shaped them to be far more culturally (and historically/literature) literate, free thinkers, have a broader worldview, and to not need spoon feeding. Our daughter attended Baylor University on academic scholarship (and no, our homeschool wasn’t “accredited” and neither was our transcripts) and graduated Magna Cum Laude from their honors college. She was nervous beginning college, not having anyone to compare herself to all along, but was shocked at how much better prepared she was than the other students who seemed to need much more guidance and “hand holding”. Our young adult kids are resourceful, independent, and genuinely awesome people. Also my son says he would have gotten into a LOT more trouble in public school (he’s our wild card), LOL!
Meghan O says
I’ve really enjoyed reading all the comments on this post. I have three kids, the oldest just wrapping up kindergarten. So far school has been good (she’s in french immersion here in Vancouver, BC) but I know there are difficult years ahead–things I struggled with in school, things I know a lot of other kids struggled with. Anyway I wish I could ask all your commenters how their kids felt about transitioning to homeschool. I’m sure some were relieved based on stories of bullying, but was there also resentment? Do they still feel that they have a social life? The communities with homeschooling resources sound amazing. I’m sure that makes a difference. Anyway, just curious from a kid perspective.
For my now-8yr old, he was over school after a few weeks. I thought he’d love it because a) I did, (to begin with) and b) he’s SO SOCIAL.
What I hadn’t realised was the only thing he liked about it was playtime (recess) and an exciting lunchbox. He hated the classes, he hated being told what to do, when to sit, stand, clap, write, read etc. He got on with everyone except his second year teacher (when he was withdrawn from the system -she was way too authoritarian in my opinion too actually).
I still ask him intermittently if he wants to try a new school (“NO!”) and for now that’s fine. There is such a huge difference in how he ‘socialises’ compared to the school kids he was with. They’re so meek, so timid. He talks to adults, makes eye contact, is bold without being tooooo facetious, and knows the difference between a healthy adult and one he should be wary of.
As far as peers are concerned, he never clicked beyond a superficial sort of friendship with his school friends even after a year and a half, but harbours love for an old acquaintance from pre-school, who we still see now and then. He goes to three social things per week, (art, science and soccer this term) and loves the easy fun with them. He’s more interested in picking my brains whenever he wants (and husbands in w/ends, gawd knows I need a break). He knows I’ll be honest, will give him at least two answers (the official narrative and what I’ve found to be true), and will only tell him to shut up when I’m cooking. No resentment from any of us. I think if the parent is at least partly switched on, able and healthy, they will always do a better job at teaching their own child.
My kids were happy about it. Stress level in the house went way down.
I allowed my kids to choose whether or not they homeschooled, except for my son with major health problems, who homeschooled because he was not well enough to attend. So they were a little older, the earliest was 4th grade, so no resentment because it was their choice.
It was a better choice for us, because I just refused to deal with, or cooperate as they would call it, the public school. I did what I wanted with my kids, I wouldn’t fight with them, or engage with them. I sent them to school as dismissed everything the school had to say, and I’m sure the kids knew that I thought that the school was stupid. It’s always been a sore spot between myself and my mother who was a school teacher.