Saturday, December 14, 2013
How Homeschooling Made My Life Less Stressful, Our Home Happier, and Saved us Money!
I am writing this to other moms considering Homeschooling but are afraid. I am not saying that homeschooling is always easy, it depends on your child and yourself too. We have bad days just like everyone else. Days that are more challenging, days that are frustrating. But then again I was having those days EVERY DAY when my children would get home from public school. Here is what I have found this first year of homeschooling my 9 and 10 year old.
The writing was on the wall. Finally it had gotten to the point that the public school system was no longer an option for us. There were many things that we had issues with before. To name a few poor standards, overcrowded class sizes, reduced school week due to lack of funding, social engineering, our children's constant exposure to kids from sad drug addicted families, bully problems, a 9 hour school day. But the final straw that broke this camels back was the institution of common core. I have been researching it in depth since it started to make an appearance. Last year my son came home with common core math. The school was slowly instituting it last year and this year is the full roll out. I even went in to talk to my sons teacher about the math because it was so illogical! I could tell she didn't like it either but all she could say was it was the new state standard. I wont go into the whole common core debacle. But needless to say the more that has come out about what people are experiencing with it the happier I am that I am homeschooling this year.!
Choosing to homeschool was not an easy decision for me. I didn't really want to homeschool. Don't get me wrong I believe in homeschooling! I think it is great! I knew God was calling me to do this but I was afraid I would fail my kids, I was selfish and wanted some alone time after 16 years, I worried that it would be horribly stressful and that my children would hate it, I worried I was too stupid to teach my children, I worried that it would make our lives harder. Pretty much I was just worried.
Understand that my kids do great in public school, they are excellent students and love to learn. ( I have been quasi homeschooling them since preschool with lots of reading and hands on activities at home. I also always supplemented their regular schooling where I felt it was lacking which was often!). But every day they came home exhausted after a 9 hour day, and every day they had some new horror story that the kids at school had told them, or being hurt when they saw bully-ing happen to other kids. And then common core came out.
So I bought a few curriculum's and also did some of our learning online.
And I was amazed. Our life as a homeschooling family has not only been less stressful but our family has become more loving, happier, and closer. All my fears and worries have come to nothing and in fact I find myself enjoying my children more and my life more.
Why is our life less stressful? Well compared to our typical school day last year there are huge differences.
Last year the kids had to be up at six and rush rush rush to be out the door by 7:30 to be at school. They didn't get home until almost 4:00 and were always exhausted and cranky. Then we had at least an hour of homework (for 2nd and 3rd graders!) and then if we were lucky we might get to the library which they love. Then it was dinner and if we had an after school activity. By 8 o'clock they were almost falling asleep and it was bedtime. My son who is 10 had an especially hard time and was often horribly frustrated and unhappy after a long school day. His attitude was always so poor, not because he found the schoolwork too hard, but because of negative comments and teasing he received.
For me the constant running around and picking up, dropping off, and having to go to constant different meetings, appointment's, fund raisers, and school activities was exhausting. I know it would be even worse this year with 4 children in 4 different schools, 1 in kindergarten which is in one location, 1 in elementary school, 1 in intermediary school, and one in high school. I would be picking up kids from four different schools every day! Not to mention that each child would have a different fund raiser every month that we would have to shell out at least $20.00 on. My kids felt very pressured to do these fund raisers and came home asking that we donate/buy or they would not get the cheap prizes . That's $80.00 per month! Even after buying our curriculums and our monthly membership to the online school it is still cheaper to homeschool. And that doesn't include the gas for school pickup everyday, school supplies and donations, and extra school clothes.
Now our homeschooling day is very easy and stress free. As apposed to the ridiculously long government school day in which only about 2 hours out of the 9 are spent in actually learning my children spend about 3 hours of our day learning and being taught. Then they are done and we focus on things like art, outdoor activities, exploratory play, and reading.
Our home school Day
6-7 am- (my children are all early risers) Wake up, eat breakfast, clean bedrooms and do morning chores
7:30- 8 am- start homeschool day
1. Handwriting (cursive Rod and Staff Curriculum)
2. Writing Journals - they write a paragraph about either a subject I choose or one they choose and illustrate it.
3. Spelling Practice
4. Math Time (Rod and Staff curriculum)
9 am - Children then take turns doing their online learning which consists of Social Studies, Science, and Language arts. While one child is doing their online learning the other child is reading a Chapter Book. My son who is ten is currently on the third Lord of the Rings. My 9 year old daughter is reading The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. Once one child is finished online they switch.
10:30 to 11:00 am
Finish homeschool have lunch, outside time, free play, free reading, help with cooking (which they love) do art projects. Extra activities like art, dance, pottery, music classes at our local art center. Go on field trips to historical sites.
Our homeschool day varies depending on mainly Math. When math is more challenging it takes us longer. But the beauty is each child can work at their own pace, which means if they don't finish in the usual time they don't have to stop but can continue to work until they are done. I have noticed a HUGE difference in my children's attitudes, frustration levels, and crankiness. They are happier and much less emotional than they were in public school. And they are still getting amazing grades! Instead of a constant rush we now have time to enjoy our life in a relaxed way. My children are great readers and love to read. In fact I have to force them to play outside sometimes when they have a really exciting book.
As to me being a homeschool mom failure I find being my children's teacher much easier than expected. Homeschool curriculums have great teacher books that walk you through each step so your not overwhelmed. The online learning is also super easy for me as I just monitor them and check their grades at the end of each day.
Dare I say it? I actually like homeschooling! I like being my children's teacher and find our relationships becoming closer and more relaxed! I cant believe it in some ways.