First: technical issues. Apparently some of your comments haven't been showing up on my blog. I've told Typepad, but I'm sure they're rolling their eyes at me. Also, I have comments forwarded to my email, but recently some of them haven't been. So, I've been very bad at replying to comments, but this has slowed me down even more - sorry!
**Update - I have changed my All Things Blog Related Email. You can now reach me at kirstencanblog*at*gmail*dot*com.
Randi over at I have to say is hosting a 'Back to Homeschool Week' this week. I don't write much about homeschooling here, but I've been meaning to, and this is a good excuse to make myself do it. Here goes nothing.
Yes, we homeschool Princess. We will probably homeschool Monkey, too.
No, we're not freaks (that's important).
We had no intention of homeschooling. Ever. Growing up, I only knew a few homeschooled kids and they were... the stereotypical homeschooled kids.
Princess is quite precocious. That plus watching her in classroom/activity situations I realized that school might not be the ideal situation for her. Her worst insult is that she's 'bored'. I started looking into options. I looked at different charter schools and the gifted program. Nothing that really worked for her or our family. The public schools in our area are year-round, so I figured I'd just send her there and work with her a lot when she was 'off-track' to keep her challenged. I started reading homeschooling books to learn about resources and different ideas. I must've read all of the homeschooling books in our library. I didn't agree with all of them, but it was interesting to see how different people homeschooled. As I was reading I'd say to Aaron (many times): 'Okay, I don't want to homeschool, but listen to this cool thing about it..' Eventually we decided to try.
For us, it really was an academic decision, not anti-government, not religious, but there are a lot of things I really love about it now (and I have to admit there are a lot of things I really dislike about public schools). A main concern of mine is that children learn through play. More and more kids don't have much time to play. School hours get longer, teachers give more homework, and if you add even one after-school sport or dance, the kids don't have much time left. It's sad.
It has worked so well for our family. Princess, even being the little social bee that she is, loves it. She's never asked to go to school, mostly because she realizes she has more time to read (as important as breathing to her) and play. I've had a lot of fun learning along with her. I like the idea of learning around the kitchen table. Doing dishes while we talk about Medieval social systems or the 8 times table. I like the flexibility of it. We've done math in the car, or while waiting for Thomas' speech appointments. Actually, there is no way we could have gotten him to all his various appointments/school over the past 2 years if I'd have had to worry about dropping off/picking up Princess, too.
I love finding ways of learning that work for Princess. I love that one day when she decided to write a story, we could put other subjects off until later so she could spend hours to finish it. I love that if it's a gorgeous day, she can do her work outside. I love that she'll have more time to imagine, play, garden, craft, and be a kid. I love spending lots of time with her and getting to know her, because she is a really cool girl.
I don't think that everyone should homeschool, and I certainly won't tell you that you should. For us, though, it's worked out nicely. For our one kid that we homeschool. Each kid has different needs, and for us, Princess thrives at home.
I also feel like it's one of those things that has/will have blessings that I didn't expect. The flexibility being an example. Thomas goes to preschool now, and I plan on putting him in public school for as long as he has a good situation. A lot of autistic kids love school because of the routine. There's a decent chance, though, that at some point I will take him out of school. I want him to love learning, and when he gets to that hard/awkward social stage (junior high!) or people start picking on him, or the school is not meeting his needs I will have no problem pulling him out. I feel like now that I've figured out this homeschool thing with Princess, I'm prepared for Thomas, if he ever needs it.
Okay, this post has gotten too long, so I'll continue tomorrow with a little more about this - including how easy it is, and answers to the most frequently asked questions. Speaking of, any questions?