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Saturday, July 13, 2013

How We Started



OK, so I had no idea what I was doing when I thought “homeschooling is the best way to go!”  I felt led in that direction in so many ways, but I had no idea where to start.  So, I did what any other American does when they don’t know something…went to bing.com and typed in “homeschool in (insert state here).”  I came up with our state coalition website, which helped me in lots of ways.  I could read the actual law, along with an explanation of the law.  There was a list of homeschool groups in the state, along with tons of other information.  I read through the entire site.  I had some information overload.  So I had to read it again over the next few weeks, and I still refer back to it. 

I also went to HSLDA.org, and did some research there.  I will say that was not as helpful as my state coalition website.  I emailed both HSLDA and my local representative listed at my state coalition website since we have a bit of a unique situation (ie a “blended” family).  HSLDA was not helpful without me paying for a membership.  Since I was not positive we would be homeschooling at that point, I was not ready to pay for a membership just to ask a question, especially since the answer to that question could possibly hinder us from homeschooling (if I would not be able to teach both children).  My local representative was more than helpful.  Before she responded to me, she emailed lawyers and other veteran homeschoolers to get a thorough answer.  Her answer was just what we had hoped and it was backed up by her informative colleagues!  

Once I had the law ‘stuff’ figured out, I was ready to dive in.  But math, writing, reading, history, science, art, music, PE…where does one even start?!  I am going into this with big kids, kids that have been in school for years, how do I compete with that?  How do I decide what they need to learn and how to teach it to them?!  What if I miss something?  What if I can’t make them understand something?  I started really questioning myself; I am going to be 100% responsible for their educations!  But I didn’t give up.  I just kept reading.  I read blogs and websites, checked books out of the library.  

Finally, I found donnayoung.org.  All of her forms and lists are overwhelming at first.  But I found the “how to plan” part of her page and read it all.  Then I found the “goals planner” sheets, printed a few off and started filling it in (in pencil)!  I sat with my husband since his input is important (especially in the area of history where I have no skills whatsoever) and we listed what we think they should learn, and I jotted some notes of how they would learn it.

I felt a calm come over me.  I had somewhere to start, I had something done.  I still had a lot of work to do, but I had started…and I still wasn’t positive we would be homeschooling…but I had a start.

Next, I will go into some of our resources!  I’m becoming a pro at free and inexpensive resources ;)

Friday, July 12, 2013

From School to HomeSchool



Our adventure may seem boring to some, but it has been far from boring to us.  In this first blog post, I will explain some of our reasons for going From School to Home School.


When The Boy was in 2nd grade, we met with his teacher five times in that one year (I can't even count the number of emails).  Throughout all of my requesting, prompting, and begging she never agreed to attempt to challenge him.  Instead, we had constant notes and phone calls home about his behavior.  We asked her to just have a bit higher expectations for him, when he finished his work first-send him back and ask him to add a sentence instead of handing him a computer to play games on.  3rd and 4th grades were much the same.  In 4th grade he was asked not to raise his hand so much.  In 5th grade, he was regularly done all his work quickly and given a computer to play on.  His teachers adored him and encouraged him, but didn’t do much to challenge him.


When The Girl was in 3rd grade, she came home crying regularly.  The day her teacher called her annoying in front of the class was the worst.  At the end of that year, we met with the principal to try to sway her into giving The Girl a great teacher for 4th grade-her last year of elementary school.  The 3rd grade teacher was removed from the classroom and became a reading specialist (yet, we are 99% sure The Girl has dyslexia, yet this was never mentioned by the “qualified reading specialist” to be a possibility-but that’s another post).  Throughout 4th grade, The Girl continued to come home crying regularly.  At one point in the middle of the year, the teacher didn’t even seem to know who she was.  The principal refused to acknowledge this.  


These events had me thinking harder and more about homeschooling.  I was against it for a long time.  This past year, with The Boy in 5th grade and The Girl in 4th, their lack of education in areas I wish they had more education in, and their learning of certain things I did not agree with led me to research and research.  I talked with my husband and he was supportive of whatever I wanted to do.  There were many more reasons, which we can get into another day ;)


I talked with the kids, The Girl was all about it.  She wanted to ‘quit’ school and start right away.  We don’t encourage quitting, and I had a job in the school district, so we decided that was not an option.  The Boy wasn’t sure at first.  But as the school year continued, he got more and more excited to be home the next year.  Over about three months, they were completely ready and started bragging to everyone that they would get to be homeschooled and help choose what they learn.  


They can’t wait to get started, their excitement has fueled mine, and mine theirs.

I will continue to use this blog to post about us beginning our adventure, and to help keep track of all the fun and exciting things we do in homeschool!  Thanks for following our adventure!

~Debbie