January 3, 2013
As I have mentioned previously, I am now in my 2nd year of homeschooling my kids. I started out 6 years ago homeschooling where I made my own curriculum up and did no regulatory testing to know if I was keeping up on what I needed to for my kids. My husband and I were uncomfortable with NOT knowing where we are in comparison to other kids their age/ grade level. So we ended up putting them into public school, until 2011.
My 2 oldest were struggling with public school. My oldest son's teacher told us that he was struggling because he (teacher) was holding the class to a higher standard than what other teachers in the school hold kids. He said that teachers get behind each year and teachers were just trying to catch up all the time, teaching for tests... He said in his class, he was teaching at the level that kids their age should be at. Hmmm.... Aren't all kids supposed to be at the same level? Not just trying to play "catch up" and learning for tests?
I dug further into things, wondering if any other parents had some concerns also. I found lots of them, and lots of kids that struggled with the cramming for tests. Lots of teachers who really had no business with teaching (though I have to say my boys had a few teachers that were great).
I didn't want to get back into traditional homeschooling because we would be in the same situation that we had been in before. So what could we do?
About that time, I had got a postcard in the mail from a 'public school online'. I did some digging and made some phone calls. This 'school' was like a homeschool. You, as the parent, were with the child daily, helping them with their work. All of their work is layed out for them on their personal login page... They have an actual teacher that talks to them every 2 weeks via phone call and at least 2 times a week via online classroom (think chat room meets PowerPoint). The teacher is available at all times during school hours. The books are FREE!
My boys also participate in all of the required state testing.
A common worry of people with any homeschooling is that the children are being shielded from things that they need to know... We are active in church, in sports, and with music lessons, so our kids are around other children a lot. No worries on not being exposed. But in the things that they are exposed to, we are able to be there to help explain and answer questions. This should be a parents job anyways, in my opinion.
IF you are used to the freedom of traditional homeschool, you might not like that you have a start and stop date (first day of school and last day), but you have freedom of hours, you can do school on Saturdays, or can take vacation whenever you want. They have a "spring break" but you can change that around to have it whenever you want, or skip it all together and get out of school a week or more earlier at the end. You don't have the freedom of choosing the curriculum, but I don't have much to complain about on the curriculum that they do use. (PLUS IT'S FREE!!! Did I already say that?)
For us, this has worked out great. I love having my boys at home. I love that when they are exposed to things of this world, that we are with them able to explain things. I love that we know everything that they are learning. I love that I now know that they are learning above and beyond what they would be learning in traditional public school.
I'm sure you will continue to hear bits and pieces of what we do, but if you have questions, I will do what I can to answer them!