In my profile I mention that I home school. Well, that was several years ago. My youngest is now a Junior at our local high school. I look back on those home school years with fond memories.
There are a lot of people out there that do not look too highly of home schoolers. They think that we are all weird and live in some type of compound or something. While there are some of us who are maybe considered "weird", I will have to say that there are just as many "weird" people in the public school system. And, besides, what constitutes someone as being weird? When you think about it, all of us are weird in some sort of way.
Anyway, yes, we home schooled for ten years, and no, we are not weird. In fact, most people who do not know we home schooled, when they find out, are shocked. I really don't know what they expect, but they usually say something like, "Wow, your kids aren't weird, they are normal!" If you ask me, I think they are weird for saying or even thinking that.
Many choose to home school their kids for a number of reasons. Some because of religious, others because of disabilities. The reason we choose home schooling is because of the school system. At the time we were living in an area that felt they had to bus. This was in the 90's not the 60's! When my kids became of age to attend school, they were to be bused across town, passing three schools to get to an inner-city school that, in my opinion, no child should have to attend. It was runned down, and stunk. Yes it smelled awful in that building; not to mention an unsafe environment. There was only on exit in each of the classrooms---FIRE HAZARD! I remember after visiting the school coming home in tears. How was I going to send my precious little five year old on a school bus across town. Nope, not going to happen.
At the time this same community wanted to try something in the school system...year around school. It was actually just a couple of miles from our home, so I looked into it. Eventually, our two oldest attended that school and we all loved it. In fact, it was very popular and there were a lot of families loving this concept. Sadly, it was not to last. You see, the superintendent decided it was not working. Obviously, he did not go to the school to check it out. This school had the highest parent involvement in the county, and the kids were doing so well. But, the school system decided to make it a regular school, and stopped the year round, which meant, that we had to go to our districted schools. This is when it all started....home schooling.
I really didn't know where to begin. I didn't think I knew anyone that home schooled. This was before the internet, so I really couldn't hop online and research. My parents and I did our own investigating. I wrote to the school board to see what I needed to do to pull my kids out. I found out it was not a hard thing to do. All I needed to do was name my school and register it through the state as a private school. Seemed easy. Now, what to teach. Well, in the county I grew up in ( Brevard County, FL), the school system had a warehouse that they took their old books too. Anyone could just go in there and get them. Free! No questions asked! So, that is what we did. Our oldest was entering the third grade, and our daughter was entering the 2nd grade. I decided to just teach them both third grade level. So, we gathered math, science, social studies, spelling, English, etc, books. We got 2nd grade, third grade, fourth grade level. We had all kinds of stuff...good stuff. Boy, was I lucky! Come September, I had converted our dining room into the William M. Carter Elementary School, and we were ready.
I will have to say, I was very nervous about this whole thing. Could I really teach my kids? Was I qualified? I remember talking to my mom and she said to me, "Terry, did you pass the third grade!?" I looked at her a little funny and said, "Well, yes!" She then replied, "Well, then, I do believe you can teach it!!!" I thought about that and you know, she was right! I never looked back. Everything was forward hoe!
Each day we would get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, clean up our mess, make our beds and be ready for school to start by 8 a.m. Miles and Ashley were the only ones I had at the time. Scott and Benjamin were little, but they sometimes would join us. We had music time where we learned our Articles of Faith to music and other Primary songs. They also started piano lessons. They had a chapter book they were reading, so they always had time to go and read that on their own, in addition to writing in their journals everyday. We also had scripture study each day. They had spelling words each week, worked on their penmanship, studied geography, history, English grammar, reading, math, and science. Many times we were working on some sort of science project. We raised tadpoles, and butterflies, had an ant farm, gathered flowers and plants and labeled them and watched our hermit crabs change shells. One time we were studying pirates, and went to the Maritime museum and saw a Blackbeard display. We also studied kings and castles, and at the end of that unit study, headed to the beach (just 8 miles away) and built a sandcastle.
On Fridays we had all our tests, which made it a short day, so we would use Fridays as our field trip day. Some of the things we did were to see the Battleship North Carolina, Krispie Kreme Donuts, we went to an Indian Pow Wow, the aquarium, etc. We did a lot of things. Each day, I would type up what we did and at the end of the week, I would send that and some of the paperwork we did to my parents.. My mom actually saved them and put them into a book and gave them to me a few years ago. I love looking back on them.
Our first year of home school was such a joy, that I continued to home school for the next ten years, and enjoyed every minute of it. We had a few ups and downs. The downs were mostly from others who thought I was doing an injustice to my kids by homeschooling, or by some home schoolers that thought we were bad people because of our religion. Boy do I have some stories on that one, but I won't go into that.
So, for any of you who are contemplating home schooling, it is a great thing. If it is the right thing for your family, you can do it; and if you need someone to talk to I have not met a home schooler that would not be thrilled to talk to you, including me. So, if you have any questions...just ask, I have a whole lot of information for ya!!!