homeschooling. i'm thinking about it. and it's kind of scary. part 2

>> Monday, October 26, 2009

***part 2-why am i scared?***

to answer this, i first have to let you know that i'm going to be completely honest. mostly about myself. and a little about my thoughts in general about homeschooling. i know right now that there is one thing that i'm going to say that could possibly offend someone. please know that is not my intention, it is an honest part of me considering the homeschooling prospect. i know that lots of people do teach their children at home. some of my online friends do. but as for anything beyond that, i don't know any details and am definitely not thinking of any person in particular, but moreso just the idea. ok now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let me start telling you my fears.

i don't want to sound like a jerk right here when i tell you my first fear. it's rather simple but first i have to just say that i love my girls-a lot. i don't have to describe that love for you all, because most of you have children and know exactly what that love is like. but...sometimes they drive me nuts. there i said it. it scares me to think that the school day would no longer be a break from parenting. i enjoy my time with the girls and i enjoy an occasional break from the girls.

and to add to that, kelley and bethany feel the same way. they love each other, but they are at an age where they bicker. a lot. remember my recent confession of "grounding" them from speaking to each other? right, so i think that the school day is a good break for them too. they are close in age (18 months apart) and so much of everything is "together". friends are a good example, one sister meets a friend and because of the age closeness the other sister becomes a friend. it usually makes for a nice group. sometimes it doesn't, there are a lot of complaints of each other "stealing" their friend. (as a side note, i'm am only child and i've always felt that it is so lonely. my hope for having the girls close in age would be for them to become instant best friends. um, not always).

ok so the point of the first fear is that there might be too much "togetherness".

moving along, i do think a great thing would be to have a schedule for my day. i will admit that since i'm now at home, my days really all run together. i don't have a schedule for myself. if i was going to be the "teacher" then i'd have to have a schedule. a great thing! ok that's not a fear, just a little babble about the benefit for me.

now i will start on what is really the scariest thing and also where my disclaimer comes in. i have no idea what anyone's educational background is and unless you want to share it's not anything i need to know. am i educated enough to educate my girls properly? when i think about this i wonder if there is ever a case of a parent who dropped out of school, didn't further their education in any way and is now teaching their children. that just seems fundamentally wrong to me. on the flip side that person may be very smart and just wasn't into school. there are a lot of people like that.

as for me, i did graduate high school-barely. i was one who just wasn't interested. friends, the beach, parties, that was what i was interested in. my grades were ok, usually just enough to get by, i rarely gave it my all. looking back i regret this. i remember the big message was always how important it was to get your high school diploma. that was the goal. i think the message was wrong, the diploma is important-but as a stepping stone to college. here's a confession-i brainwashed the girls that college was mandatory. just like K-12, you go to college, end of story. i knew eventually they would figure it out. i am still a bit mad at the people who proved that you don't have to further your education and in their case, heck you didn't need to finish middle school. ugh. ok so i do regret that i didn't put my all into my education and attend a university.

i did eventually get my act together and i do have a college degree. but it's not in education. i'm a nurse. so does that matter? i really struggle with this. teachers go to college to learn how to educate. they must know things that i don't know. and when it comes to kelley and bethany, i want them to succeed. i have very high hopes. i don't want to ruin that if i homeschool them and do it wrong. from what i've learned there are lesson plans and all sorts of materials available to the homeschooling parent. so that is reassuring.


what if i don't know the material that i would be teaching? math-now the basic stuff is no problem. when you start talking algebra my mind runs away fast. that is just the beginning. i never took classes like calculus, trigonometry, etc. i can't even begin to fathom how i could teach that at all. and just to throw this out there, mr. h isn't a mathematician either. chemistry is yet another example, i didn't pass that class (though that may have been part of the teacher's fault as well). language arts is so important and i am an avid reader, am a spelling bee, but i am definitely not a grammar queen. kelley and bethany must learn these things. there isn't a compromise in my mind.

maybe if it is important enough it will just come to me? i found out that was possible in college. i wanted to do well. i knew that my potential was so much more than my high school record shows. and i ended up graduating from college with highest honors. so i know that i'm not a dummy. but i good enough to teach my children? really?

i help the girls with their homework each day. i am really amazed at what they are learning. i'm sure that they are far beyond what i was learning in elementary school. that's a great thing! but another confession- there are some assignments that i can't help with because i don't know the material myself. i do understand that the homework is just a snippet of information and if i actually had that information i might be able to help them a little better. some things though just go right over my head.

another reason that i struggle with sometimes even simple tasks is because of the chemotherapy i had. it causes something called "chemo brain". and no joke, it really, really does change the brain. i won't go into that here, maybe another time. but it is yet another worry i have about trying to teach my children.

ok, so to summarize my fears...what if having the girls home all the time drives me crazy? beyond loving our children, let's face it, we all need a break from them. or is that just me? and would i be doing my girls a disservice by teaching them myself when i haven't been educated to educate?

i think if i were truly going to homeschool that i would need to stop at the high school level. as i've already mentioned there is just too much that i realistically could not teach them that would be way too important when shifting my thoughts towards college. then i have to go back to the reason i even started of thinking of this endeavor for kelley-the middle school environment. if i kept her home for three years and then sent her back to school for high school would that be too much of a shock to her system?

another concern, yet not a "fear" is socialization. kids need friends. they need to play. i do think that they would miss the daily interaction with their classmates. however they have neighborhood friends. there are always opportunities for extracurricular activities. but would it be enough?

so that's where i'm at. i need to do a lot of research and even more thinking about homeschooling. thank you for sharing in my consideration of this. and i do welcome any advice either for or against the idea!


pinkebody October 26, 2009 at 6:04 PM  

I am struggling with so many of the same things right now Heather. I can completely relate to needing that break & have the same "what if's" running thru my head.

There are so many out of school activities where the girls can socialize. 4H, sports, & I know our library has all kinds of events. PLUS, they already have friends from school that I'm sure they'll still be in contact with.

I bet you will be surprised by the number of home school families in your area. I know I was shocked when I found out how many are in my small town.

I've just started the hs process, but I will be more than willing to help you as much as I can. I have a great support system & that will make all the difference!

I'm going to email you some links right now :-)

Anonymous,  October 26, 2009 at 9:43 PM  

I know what you mean! I too, thought about HS, but my son and I can't even do homework together, much less me teach him, lol

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Shana October 27, 2009 at 12:16 AM  

I hope you find an answer soon. I completely understand the break thing & if anyone gives you flack over that, you don't need them anyways, ha! My sister is 16 & a year ago, hated going to school with every fiber of her being & was dealing my mom fits. Mom gave in & decided to homeschool. The first year was pure agony. My mom didn't have that break & my sister had no interaction with her peers...they both regretted it so much. I think it's very smart that you have thought about this before hand & can be honest with yourself. I applaud you for that!

Jeanette October 27, 2009 at 1:07 AM  

I'm sure that whatever you decide, you will make the right decision for your family. Good luck with whatever you choose.

Anonymous,  October 27, 2009 at 11:44 AM  

I tagged you!!

Lysana October 27, 2009 at 2:07 PM  

I think both of your main concerns are perfectly reasonable and not at all offensive. At least, I would hope!

My biggest concern with homeschooling is my OWN lack of discipline. Am I disciplined enough to keep my kids on the right track? That is a scary thought for me.

I have also wondered about being capable of teaching - from an educational standpoint - meaning, from my own education, like you said.

And I am with you on making college mandatory. My parents did, for me. I was literally shocked when I got to high school and learned that some people - gasp - weren't going to college! So I think that is a very reasonable approach to take, as it certainly didn't hurt me any!

Good luck in making the right decision! It sounds like you are doing a good job of thinking it through.

Stephie October 27, 2009 at 7:27 PM  

Good luck Heather with whatever you decide. I have a teaching degree, 6 years experience teaching, a current teaching license and teaching my own children is something I don't think I could do for all the reasons you mentioned and probably more. I admire you for even considering it. :)

Stephie October 29, 2009 at 8:24 PM  

Heather a lot of moms here in Utah us K12 online Academy. I don't know if it's in every state but maybe it's something you might be interested in. I have been at the big children's museum in SLC when the k12 families were there and it was free for them. So I know they have activities where they get together at cool places. From what I know about it it really helps families that aren't sure where to start. People are assigned to a "school or academy" which are other families in your area. Anyway here's the place to get more info.

Here's some recent chatter about it:

Moderate Means November 24, 2009 at 11:24 PM  

I saw your post and I have so much I want to comment on but there is no Quote feature here (I love that on boards!!) so I'm just copying parts of your post :)

You: "what if having the girls home all the time drives me crazy?"
Me: Homeschooling isn't a chain that ties you together 24x7. It means that you don't get 9 hours a day, 5 days a week away from them, but you still have time to yourself. At their ages, I don't think they want to spend their free time with you anyway - no offense...just generally a kid thing ;) Homeschool isn't about sitting at your kitchen table and staring at one another from 8:30 until 3:30 - it's a different approach to education that you and the girls would be able to work out together. When they sometimes drive you crazy? Probably. Do they sometimes drive you crazy in their current public school life? Probably. also get an opportunity to get re-acquainted with your kids and share fun.

You: "would i be doing my girls a disservice by teaching them myself when i haven't been educated to educate?"
Me: This is just my opinion, but I don't see the education degree as proof of greater knowledge. It's a sign that you have learned how to manage large classrooms, studied different teaching methods, practiced ways to offer inclusion in a classroom, etc. Teaching a classroom of 20 kids with 20 different learning styles and 20 different skill sets is completely different than teaching a few kids that you already know really well. I would have absolutely no idea what to do in a classroom and I leave that to the teachers since they are the experts in classroom teaching. FWIW, I have a bachelor's in Sociology. Yeah, that was a useful degree... *laugh*

You: "i think if i were truly going to homeschool that i would need to stop at the high school level."
Me: No harm in that :) Everyone has a comfort level. For some, it's 1st grade, for others it's through graduation...but I really encourage people to look at it in much shorter periods of time. RIGHT NOW, I am homeschooling. TOMORROW I will be homeschooling. NEXT YEAR, I may be homeschooling. In 10 years, who knows? I'll re-evaluate in 9 years and see what works for us at that point. Don't worry about deadlines and figure out what works for you today :)

You: "another concern, yet not a "fear" is socialization. kids need friends. they need to play."
Me: I know that a lot of homeschoolers rebut these comments with examples of classes, groups, teams and neighborhood groups that prove how "socialized" their kids are...I'm not one of them. My kids have very limited social circles. To be honest, it doesn't bother me. They are happy and have fun every day. They can make friends at church, during sports leagues, at playlands, whatever, but if they don't have BFFs in kindergarten, I am completely content. I like that my kids are exposed to diverse groups of people instead of institutionalized with 19 kids exactly like them. My kids can talk to 80-year olds in waiting rooms, 2 year olds in parks, 7 year olds at practice, 40 year olds at family gatherings. Because they have no expectation of being surrounded by 6-7 year olds, they are comfortable and confident in so many situations. They aren't socialized by a limited age group - they are socialized by the world :) So, is socialization a concern? Sure...especially as kids age. Next year, DS will be in 3rd grade and I'll care more...but for now, we're content. The question is, what do you think your girls need? What do your girls think they need? Can you provide it?

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