Sunday, August 14, 2011

That time of year!

   It's August, and this means back to school for all the kids. Homeschoolers are having their Not-Back to school get together and the stores are a night mare to get into because of parents getting school supplies. This year my girls will be using the Ace program from a local school. We received 6 boxes of supplies from K12 on Friday,ironically I was at a book sale trying to sell about 7 boxes of books! This is an online program and we will work with the Lincoln school system so technically they are in public school but we have more control over when they work and the girls do not have to get up at the crack of dawn to get on a bus!

  At the Homeschool book sale we had on Friday there were a few new families that came thru. You can always tell new homeschooling families, they have that deer in the headlight look of panic on their face as opposed to the same more settled look on  longtime homeschooling parents!. They know that this is a good choice for their child but society/their family/co-workers/neighbors/person on the street will try and tell them different, that there is nothing wrong with the school system/the child is just lazy/a trained teacher can teach your child along with 30 others in the class room better than your one on one could do/your out of your freaking mind! I have been told all that and more. We will always have our doubts about this path we have chosen, worried that we are screwing up our kids lives because they are not learning everything their age group is at the same time or the same way. Then we hear stories of hs kids excelling in a major way, of colleges actively looking for hs kids to come to their schools,then we look back at all the famous creative people who were home schooled and we know that though our learning choice is not for all it is right for our family!(climbing off my soap box now)

There is so much out  there now for new homeschoolers! 10 -20 years ago parents were pretty much on there own. There were no programs in place and in some cases you ran the risk of being arrested for not putting your child thru the public school system. Even now, once in awhile we here on the news where a parent is fighting for the right to teach their children at home. Now I feel the hs is becoming more mainstream. Very seldom do I run across someone who has never heard about it, most know of at least one or more families that homeschool these days. Business's are actively contacting or are willing when contacted to put together weekday programs for our kids. We get the same group and teacher discounts as schools. Things are so much better and I thank the homeschooling pioneers that came before us for all their hard work to make it so.
The first place I send new comers is to the library. Most libraries have a good selection of books on homeschooling now, if not they are willing to help you locate what you need. Then I send them online, there is such a plethra of home education information online  that it can be very overwhelming! One of the best sites I go to is Secular Homeschool,http://www.secularhomeschool.com/
This is a great site to connect with other homeschoolers and to get the information you need to get started. This is one of those instances of do as I say not as I did, As a new homeschooler you know you need curriculum your children will like to learn from and yes these will usually change quite often. Don't go out and buy just anything to get you started, stop and think about what you want your home library to have in it. If you do this now you might not be selling boxes of books that were not used much at a book sale in a few years! Or you might still be doing that if you are addicted to books like me. Then after you go to the library and online look for homeschool groups in your area. You can find them in yahoo groups, googling homeschoolers in your area,going to the library during a weekday,if you see school age kids there during that time chances are they are homeschoolers and you can strike up a conversation with the parents. Most groups get together for play days,field trips,parties and classes the parents teach.Most are religious based but more and more parents are looking for secular groups and when they don't find any they create their own like we did. Also there are tons of homeschool blogs that give parents great information!(like me)
So #1 is not to panic, this will work but probably not in any fashion you ever imianged.
2. Try and find a family who has been doing this a few years to get you thru the tough times, you know when little Tom wants to do his math behind the couch instead of at the wonderful desk you have for him or Katie wants to watch documentaries on dinosaurs all day instead of writing sentences.
3. Know that EVERY year (if not every day)you will swear to yourself and your kids that this is not working and they are going back to school!
4. Listen, you might not think your kids are learning much but when you see them kick their dad's butt when playing Planet Earth because they did watch all those documentaries you know you're on the right track.
and last ,
Be kind to yourself and your kids, there is a learning curve to this that will never straighten out and change is the name of the game.
I hope everyone has a wonderful fun year!

Blessed Be,

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