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  1. #1
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    thinking about homeschooling

    does anyone out there homeschool/unschool? my son is only 21 mo.s but me and my partner have been thinking and reading a lot about the homeschool option (we've read John Gatto, Hern, Guterson etc and love the webiste educationrevolution.org). we'd only really want to do it if we could build a community of likeminded parents. even though we live in NY's east village (supposedly the land of the progressives!), I haven't met anyone (yet) that doesn't think the idea of HS is crazy! i'd love to hear other peoples experiences and particularly how they went about creating a community...

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  3. #2
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    I home school my 10 y.o. son. He had such a crappy public school experience, that I pulled him out of school! He has done so much better away from a traditional classroom.
    We DO have to go out of our way to find thigns he can do with kids his age. Joining a home school group is helpful in that sense. Whenever people think of home schooling, the 1st thing they seem to think of is "socialization". I have to point out to people that the "socialization" my son was getting in school wasn't good for his psyche!! Being IN a school doesn't guarentee that your kids will be able to form great peer bonds.
    Our experience has been positive. My son is MUCH happier not having to deal w/ mean peers or teachers and his level of work is way better than it was where he was constantly distracted or upset. It takes a fair amount of planning, but not as much as if you had to teach an entire class.
    We tend to have a pretty relaxed, unstructured day and use every opportunity to use outside activities to supplement what we're teaching him. You can take as many field trips as you want to!
    One of the things that is valuable in being involved in an organized group of other home schoolers, is that the long-timers are such a big help when it comes to navigating the regulations set forth by the Dept. of education. There are a LOT of school districts that really don't understand what they can and can't demand of you, and most home schoolers like to provide as little info as they can possibly get away with. IE: "Can you tell me where in teh regulations it specifies that I need to provide xy and z?" The reason is that home schoolers as a group want as little interferance from the public school system as possible, and providing too much info (or what's not actually required) may give them the brilliant idea to change the regs to something that's not necessarily in the best interest of home schoolers/unschoolers across the board. You can access teh Home school regulations on the Dept. of Education's website, and print off a copy. I keep a copy handy and highlight everything that pertains to my child's grade level.
    I hope this helps you some.....it's great that you're thinking about this way before you need it!

  4. #3
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    NSW, Australia
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    Sewlittletime, I was wondering if you tried other schools or schooling options before making the decision to homeschool?

    Jorendell, I am a teacher and I am wondering if you have a background in teaching. Perhaps taking some courses in education might be worthwhile. It is great you have time to play with to help prepare yourself if your decision turns out to be to homeschool.

    I would have a number of concerns which I would think about.

    Firstly, as a reasonably new teacher (4 years), and a Kindergarten teacher, I am beginning to understand the massive task it is teach a child to read and write well. I do sometimes feel teachers are underappreciated for the level of knowledge and skill they bring to this task.

    Related to this, I wonder if you plan to homeschool your son until his final years of schooling? Do you feel you will be able to teach your son the neccessary material in all subjects to the level required for tests (the HSC in Australia, SATs in US?) which he may need to take to continue his education at University, if that is what he wants to do?

    If I were in your position I would look at the material you need to teach and I would definitely take a course about teaching reading and writing to children. There is a women called Marie Clay who writes excellent books about teaching reading. Maybe you could track one down and take a look. I'm sure you would be equal to the task if you set your mind to it, but it would be a huge effort - at high school (no, not all, but some) children are taught by teachers who specialise in particular areas.

    Like Sewlittletime suggested, I would look at including your some in outside activities but not just for social reasons. I for example, am a terrible singer, with a limited knowledge of music so I am grateful that my class is taught weekly by a specialist music teacher. You could enroll your child in sporting teams, art classes etc.

    I don't want you to think I am against Homeschooling. At one point, disallusioned by working in the public education system (and unable to afford private and not keen on it for other reasons) I considered homeschooling any children my husband and I might have. But so far I have ruled it out, in large part for some of the reasons I outlined above.

    Sorry for the long ramble - I hope I have at least given you some points to consider!

  5. #4
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    i go back and forth on the idea. on one hand, i agree that it IS the social aspect of public schools that is a very big problem. but i was working for a small county planning department and there were some people that lived way way out in the boonies (it would take at least 45 minutes to get to school) and a lot of their kids were home schooled because of that distance. i really think that the kids DO need some social interaction, perhaps sports, dance, or art classes for some interaction. because some of these kids were really socially inept. so i figure if i decide to home school for whatever reason, i will definitely have my kids enrolled in several extracurricular activities because i am completely socially retarded and they surely won't obtain good social skills from me.

  6. #5
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    a few things:

    1) I was homeschooled. I also went to public school and a private (religious) school. (my mom has a degree in Elementary Education, btw.)

    here's the breakdown:
    K5: private school
    1st + 2nd grade: homeschool
    3rd + 4th grade: private school
    5th-7th grade: homeschool
    8th + 9th grade: public school
    10th-12th grade: private school

    I would not recommend a helter-skelter schooling situation like that, it was confusing as hell and it was hard to make friends, have to leave them, and in some cases come back later and find they were entirely different people. also the curricula (is that right?) were done at different paces. on the plus side, I never had to dissect anything, ha.

    but that is not the fault of homeschooling per se. anyway, my mom used a few different curricula, all religious, and my favorite was the one that we did at our own pace. I actually really enjoyed the actual schooling part of homeschooling. the only problem was the socializing thing.

    when I was in the 6th or 7th grade my mom joined this group of religious homeschoolers and all the kids had their own group, it was pretty cool. we had bake sales and adopted a highway and had xmas parties and all that stuff. we didn't homeschool together, the adults mainly got together to discuss various homeschooling issues and to socialize, and we got together to do some of the "normal" kids stuff that kids in public/private schools were doing. so I'd recommend something like that. I don't know how the group got started though, my mom joined when they were already well established.

    2) I am also thinking about homeschooling my kid, who's only 2 years old right now. I've talked to my mom and discussed that I would probly only do it until she's in 2nd grade because after that kids start forming cliques and I don't want her to be at a disadvantage. (like the freaking Purple Unicorn club I kept getting thrown out of in 3rd grade, heh.)

    however, I know I couldn't afford to quit my job, and I'm not sure if I have the patience to deal with teaching, so I'm not sure what we'll do yet. I'm just mulling it over right now.

    I do know if we end up homeschooling, I will be setting up a few extracurriculars. that's a given. especially since I am so very bad with people, she certainly doesn't need to learn how to socialize by my example. and I would probly enlist help from my mom in the educating part because of her elementary ed experience. even though you have to follow a state-approved curriculum in Virginia, she most likely knows stuff that would be an additional boost. you know?

    sorry, I kind of rambled on and addressed fifty different things. hee.

  7. #6
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    This is my first time posting and this happened to be the first thread that I viewed :)

    I would definitely look at local homeschool groups in your area. There are a lot of resources available on the web. You might also want to look up the Home School Legal Defense Association. IIRC, they have a very comprehensive list of links to homeschool organizations in the various states, plus links to each state's educ. dept. that outlines what you need in order to establish a legal homeschooling situation.

    Personally, I'd prefer to homeschool my son, but my hubby doesn't think it's a good idea. You both have to be on board if you want to do this. It does take a lot out of you and you need to have the support of your partner. But that whole field trips when you want, vacations when you want idea is really attractive.

    I have a SIL who was homeschooled by her mom (she had 4 other siblings). All of them were above-average readers for their grade levels. She loved being homeschooled. She had one brother who thought it was for the birds though (every child is different).

    I know several people who are homeschooling their kids right now. One is a mom of two kids adopted from Russia. She's homeschooling her son because he's not quite ready for a school environment but the older daughter is in a traditional school. She's putting both of them in school next year and will decide after that whether or not they will benefit more from homeschooling or regular schooling. Adoptive kids benefit quite a bit from homeschooling because it gives them more bonding time which is necessary to help them feel more secure.

    And yes, there are other options besides homeschooling. You could look into charter schools. There are even groups that are part homeschool, part "with everyone else" for lack of a better word for it. I know kids who went to a classroom setting twice a week and the rest of the week they studied at home.

    It's never too early to learn to read, either. We started reading regularly to both our kids from birth. While they technically don't "read" that early, it benefits them because it's one-on-one time with them, it becomes a part of our (parents) daliy habit and books become a regular source of entertainment and learning.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phisch
    There are even groups that are part homeschool, part "with everyone else" for lack of a better word for it. I know kids who went to a classroom setting twice a week and the rest of the week they studied at home.
    ooh, that reminded me that the other plus about the group was that there was a lady who was certified to teach Spanish in it, so a bunch of us kids would take Spanish classes together. it's great because you can pool resources like that.

    (I'm done, I promise! :) )

  9. #8
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    i just remembered another horror story - a lady who had worked part time where i used to work was a full-time teacher. she had a student who had been homeschooled her entire life, but wanted to have the high school experience for her senior year. she was an extremely intelligent and straight laced girl when the year began. within weeks, every teen rebellion that occurs DID and quickly. the girl barely graduated because she was having too much fun and getting in too much trouble.

  10. #9
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    I hate to say it, but I know of 2 groups here in rochester that I've been involved with, are very wary of the HomeSchool Legal Defense Assoc. They have this tendancy to push for various legislation affecting home schoolers, which isn't necessarily worded appropriately (ie: poorly worded), and could hurt the freedom that home schoolers now enjoy. I would say, read their website thoroughly, research various issues they've been involved with, and if you don't agree with their philosophy, don't pay their membership fee. Here in the Rochester Area, HSLD seems to have affiliated itself w/ one home school group in particular, and they claim to represent all home schoolers opinions across the board. Meanwhile, they totally ignore the concerns raised by other home school groups. So they have the financial backing to be very selective in what they "defend" or present to lawmakers, etc.

  11. #10
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    Jun 2005
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    Definitely read up on HSDLA. For that matter, any site that asks for your money. You should agree with them first before you fork over anything.

    Locally, (Southern Calif.) they helped a few families that I know of (not personally) with respect to legal issues that have come up. One mom in the papers was dealing with a school board because of a truancy issue. She pulled her son out because she felt the school wasn't addressing the issue of bullying and they sued her so HSDLA stepped in to help.

    I recommended their site because they have a very comprehensive list of links to state education departments and thier info on how to start a homeschool legally.


 
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