OK, so it’s not really a horror show.  When I first contemplated homeschooling my eldest (gr 6 now) I was lost in all the information out there, and actually, I think it was a little stressful thinking about how in the world was I going to teach gr 6 “curriculum”?  So today I asked HIM what HE thought.  He was actually pretty excited to try homeschooling for a year to see if he likes it.  I even explained to him that it will not be half a day of Minecraft, and half a day of TV shows, it will be actual schoolwork that he would do at school, just he’ll be doing it at home. To my surprise, I am actually pretty excited to teach him my way, and teach him things that will interest him. I’ve even learned that you can check out home school books from the local library, and buy things through local consignment shops. There are numerous support groups for families to interact and discuss the ups and downs of teaching at home, as well as a chance for kids to interact with each other.  Some groups go on field trips and get the group rate at, say, Science World for example.  

So, here I am sifting through a plethora of information on home schooling and resources for parents… and then my mind started to shift towards the topics that he would normally cover in school.  Science, for example, is his favorite subject.  Now I’ve got a list of five different things science-related from biology basics, to ecology, to environmental science, to the science of baking, and alternative energy… and I’m sure I’ll add another few as I continue on this blog.  He is a very creative child–he can draw scenes with amazing detail of characters he just makes up on a whim. I’m thinking he can maybe paint me some of these characters, or even something he’s built in Minecraft, on canvas, with my good paints, and we can continue adding to the children’s art gallery walls in the house. There’s also a pottery shop that is close and can teach him the basics of pottery–which can double as a science project.  I can teach him photography, and he can experiment around the yard with macros, and then use those photos for science projects.  There is just so much to do.  Music? Not a problem.  We can practice guitar for an hour a day, or every couple of days. Gym class?? No problemo.  We can go for a jog, or nature hike, or he can do Kinect Fit on the rainy days, and even yoga.  I can take him to local tennis courts for free lessons from me (I learned in college), on free court time. … I can even sneak in a bit of religion.  I don’t know who’s more invigorated, him or me. 

Now, many will say “but homeschooling, there is no social life, the kids produce poorly on exams, and perform poorly in college”.  Ah, but they don’t!  Home school kids are actually better test performers on ACT and SAT exams, in fact, in the 82-92 percentile (depending upon which report you read), where the average student is in the 50th percentile range.  Ivy League schools are actively seeking home schooled children because they perform better in school, and are able to complete a 4-yr degree in a shorter amount of time.  Socially, the home-schooled child has less behavioural problems vs publicly educated students, according to a 1992 study by Larry Shyers of the University of Florida.  This study involved observing 8-10 year olds in play time to see how they interacted with other children.  

What some may not realize is that the home schooling concept started in the US with a retired US Department of Education minister, as well as his teacher-wife.  The other person who also is credited with the home school movement was a teacher, himself (Holt).  All of these educators had issues with how the schools were teaching children — to recite, not to actually learn, and did not promote thinking individually.  Meaning, kids were taught to do what they were told, all day, five days a week, and not question their teachers.  Now, this was way back in the I believe 1970s (but don’t quote me on it).  

Now, as for reasoning behind home schooling — it’s different for everyone.  For me, my son hates school… and he’s only 11.  School is supposed to be fun, still, at age 11.  Now, he is a highly competitive perfectionist, so life is hard for him and he is his own arch enemy.  This has created years of emotional outbursts, over-loaded teachers who do what they can, and a school district who is only worried about protecting their own not helping my child.  This was discovered first-hand, and is a whole other story.  Schools are supposed to do all they can to NOT let kids slip through the cracks.  I even had the school counselor tell me that hed’ be better in trades school…because she doesn’t think he can amount to anything (if you read between the lines).  I know for a fact that this is BS on a grandiose scale.  If he likes to build things, maybe he will be in the trades, but he will not be pigeon-holed into something he doesn’t like to do because someone else thinks that is all he can do.  Another big FAIL for the district. 

Now, he has had some amazing teachers who have been very creative in trying to get him to react less, think more, but they also have had anywhere between five and ten students in their class with varying degrees of social issues. That isn’t fair for any teacher, I don’t care how good they are.  To me, this is the district failing the student, not the teacher failing the student, for if you do not push the district, they will not help your child (even after requests from the school counselor). 

So, alas, a new journey will begin in the fall. I don’t know what it will entail just yet, but I’m actually pretty excited. … and surprised at how excited I am about this.   I believe that will start a new category of blogging for me… the home school journey.  I like how that sounds.Image