Should I Homeschool My Kids? Thinking through the school decision

http://frugalfun4boys.com/2014/02/28/should-i-homeschool-my-kids/

 

Are you wondering if homeschooling would be a good option for your kids?  This is the time of year when everyone seems to be thinking about school choices for next year!

This spring, we are finishing up our 6th year of homeschooling.  Next year, I will have a 6th grader, which is hard to believe. There are so many benefits to homeschooling, and although we have some difficult days for sure, we’re committed to continuing – well, for the next year at least!  I do want to say that as much as we like educating our kids at home, we do not believe that the Bible commands homeschooling. Instead, it’s a decision that each family must make.

Should you homeschool your kids?  I don’t know!  But here are some things that might be helpful to think through as you ponder the school issue.

Should I homeschool my kids?

Things to consider:

  • Is my husband on board with homeschooling?  From a Biblical standpoint, it’s important to let our husbands be the leader in our homes.  We need to respect their leadership.  Beyond that, though, it’s just plain miserable to try to make homeschooling work if Dad is not behind it!  I am so thankful to have a husband who helps grade papers, works with the boys on schoolwork in the evenings if need be, and helps with laundry and cleaning because he knows I can’t do it all.  I definitely couldn’t do it without him!
  • Am I truly committed to teaching my children at home?  Or is is possible that I’m just feeling pressured because others are doing it?  Homeschooling is a big commitment, and it’s definitely not something to enter into lightly. Homeschooling involves time, energy, space in your home, and money.  If homeschooling is what God is leading you towards, there are ways to work around all kinds of time, money, and space constraints!  But if your heart is not truly in it, it will be hard to overcome the challenges.  Sometimes it’s difficult to sort out whether or not to you want to homeschool. Every now and then, something happens that confirms our decision to homeschool and makes the hard days worth it.  If you’re feeling unsure, you can always proceed with your best decision, and then see how you feel about it as you go forward. One year, my oldest son was given a partial scholarship at the private school where I was teaching music at the time.  We were so excited and enrolled him right away!  But when it came down to buying the uniforms, I just couldn’t do it!  I realized that even though homeschooling was challenging, I was not ready to give up on it.  There were too many things I enjoyed about experiencing the “little years” at home.
  • Am I hoping to shelter my children from poor influences?   I really believe that homeschooling should not be an attempt to escape from the world.  But at the same time, my husband and I believe that young children are often not ready to “be a light” in their community.  It’s asking a lot for a 5 or 7 year old to stand up for what is right and to not be influenced by the attitudes and behavior around him.  I overheard some sickening things at our neighborhood playground the other day that would have been impossible for my boys to “un-hear” if they had heard them.  As parents, we want to be careful with the lives God has entrusted us with!  I think that homeschooling is not so much a means of sheltering but more an opportunity to build God’s word into the lives of our children so that they will be ready to operate in the world in which they live.

Common concerns that don’t need to be deal breakers for homeschooling:

  • Do I have enough patience to homeschool?  The answer to this is no.  No, you don’t.  And I don’t either!  But by God’s grace, I am growing in patience (and the ability to handle multiple needs at once) and my children are growing in their ability to wait and share.   Perfection in mothering is certainly not a prerequisite to homeschooling.  Also keep in mind – no classroom teachers are perfect either!  And they have 15-20 or more students to deal with.  The key to homeschooling is being willing to work through the challenges.
  • What if I don’t have an education background?  It is not necessary to have an education degree to homeschool your children, unless of course you live in a state that requires this.  I have an education degree, but I certainly don’t remember everything that I was taught in school!  I’m often learning along with my kids, and that’s okay!
  • I’m afraid that we’ll have too many interruptions.  Over the past 6 years, we’ve had interruptions that range from mild (doctor’s appointments, errands, etc.) to severe (selling our house and moving, a baby with severe infant reflux and feeding difficulties), and yet my 5th grader tested on grade level and above on a standardized achievement test.  We compensate for the interruptions by doing some school work throughout the summer, and some of the loss is naturally compensated for by the fact that it doesn’t take as long to cover the material when you’re working one-on-one.
  • I’m worried about socialization.  My oldest son is a VERY social kind of guy.  However, I don’t think that homeschooling harms him at all!  He plays with neighborhood kids, goes to children’s choir and Awana at church, and has participated in various sports.  I think that homeschoolers are oftenbetter at social skills because they learn to get along with and appreciate a wide range of age groups and not just their same-age peers.

How do I know if I should homeschool?

Some benefits that we love about homeschooling:

  • Time with my children.  I really enjoy being with my kids and learning with them.  I can’t imagine how much I would miss if they were gone all day, followed by a hurried evening of homework and getting ready for the next day!
  • The freedom to teach from a Christian worldview.  I love being able to study all subjects and especially history and science from a Christian point of view!  We absolutely love our science curriculum (Apologia – Young Explorers series).  Right now, we’re also reading a book on church history.  I love that we have the time to do this.
  • The opportunity to pursue interests and to develop a real love for learning.  Yes, we have our interruptions, but we also don’t have to stop when the clock says to stop!  If we’re enjoying a project, we can keep going.  We can go more in depth with a topic that we want to study.  All of this fosters a good attention span and a love for learning.  I feel like I am able to help my kids learn how to learn.
  • The flexibility to choose our own schedule.  I love the fact that we can take days off when the weather is beautiful.  We did school on days when the public schools were closed for snow and ice (what else would we have done?) and now we can take some days off in the spring.  Also, I don’t have to worry about whether half-sick kids should be going to school or not.  And they can sleep in if they need to.  Basically, we have some much-needed margin in our lives.
  • Having the time to volunteer or take field trips that we want to take.  I enjoy having the flexibility to go help plant flowers at our church, visit the aquarium, or spend the day at the nature center.  I think it’s good for the boys to be able to spend time serving and working with their hands rather than sitting in a classroom all day.

If you’ve made the decision to homeschool, you might find these resources helpful:

  • My kids have not ever been to school, so we have not had the experience of starting school and then making the decision to homeschool.  For some thoughts on leaving the public schools, check out this post from Creekside Learning.
 

African American Homeschooling on the rise, over 200,000 Black parents are homeschooling their children

http://communityjournal.net/african-american-homeschooling-rise-200000-black-parents-homeschooling-children/

Written by MCJStaff   // July 22, 2014   // 0 Comments

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By Taki S. Raton

Stephan Stafford in 2010 at the age of 13 had a triple major in pre-med, mathematics and computer science at Morehouse College. As reported in the March 12, 2012 Milwaukee Courier series, “Young, Gifted And Black,” scholar Stephan is the youngest student ever to be admitted to this renowned Atlanta all-boys campus.

And additionally at the age of 15, as again reported in the November 9, 2013 Courier series, Stafford was included among TheBestSchools.org listing of the “World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers.”   He was homeschooled up until 11 years of age.

At the age of 11, according to the Courier account, his mother was challenged with teaching Algebra II. His parents then decided to send him to Morehouse College to audit mathematics. In his first class, College Algebra, he scored 105 and in Pre-Calculus his grade was 99. Given his exemplary academic performance level even in view of his still blossoming teen years, Morehouse admitted him as a full time student.

Being an area resident and because of his age, Stephan was driven to campus daily where he attends his classes and is picked up by his mom for his return ride home in the evenings.

Citing Garrett Tenney in his June 16, 2012 posting, “African Americans increasingly turn to home schooling,” nationwide, astounding numbers of American families are selecting to homeschool their children each year and the fastest growing segment of homeschooling numbers are African Americans. Tenney’s estimate that some 220,000 Black children are homeschooled.

According to the site, Successful Homeschooling, African Americans, “want to escape a failing school system that harms Black children at even higher rates than it does other children.” The writing continues with the point that public schooling tends to teach, “Ideals that contradict traditional Black values.”

“Since the landmark decision, Brown v. Topeka in 1954, there has been a 66 percent decline in African American teachers,” posits Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu in his September 27, 2013 Atlanta Voice writing on African American homeschooling.

“Many African American students,” he adds, “are in classrooms where they are not loved, liked, or respected. Their culture is not honored and bonding is not even a consideration. They are given low expectations which helps to explain how students can be promoted from one grade to another without mastery of content.”

Successful Homeschooling further shares that many Black homeschoolers additionally decide to home educate so that they can teach African American history and culture, an area, notes the posting, “often neglected by traditional schools until Black History Month.”

“At home, children can learn about the heroic Black soldiers, pilots and inventors who have contributed to America,” the site reveals. “They grow up with a strong sense of purpose and identity which is so often damaged by the racial bias, labeling, and negative peer pressure that can occur in public schools.”

In fact and indeed, our own African American researchers underscore the value of instilling culture and racial pride in our youth. In her September 21, 2004 study, Jocelyn Freeman Bonvillain’s, “Racial Identity Attitudes, Self-Esteem, and Academic Achievement among African American Adolescents,” her sample of 175 seventh grade African American students demonstrates that racial identity and self-esteem are predictors of academic performance.

Bonvillain concludes that students, “who exhibited high levels of self-esteem and racial identity performed better academically than students who showed low levels of self-esteem and racial identity.”

            Entitled “Self-Esteem, Cultural Identity and Psychosocial Adjustment in African American Children,” Columbia University’s Arthur L. Whaley in a 1993 “Journal of Black Psychology” study informs similar findings that a strong cultural identity “seemed to be more influential in the positive psychosocial adjustment of African American children.”

            Kisha Hayes of Baton Rouge, Louisiana says of her children that, “Each of them has excelled so much, and I can see it.”   As reported in Tenney, Hayes adds, “I can see the difference in their learning.” The mother of three began homeschooling five years ago.

Alkinee Jackson, also of Baton Rouge who began homeschooling all five of her children after she and her husband witnessed that the attitude and behavior of their oldest son, Alante worsen while in the public school environment. And he was only in second grade.

“If we allowed him to continue to be there and be influenced, by the time he reached high school he’d already be gone; and we know where he’d end up,” Jackson said in the June 16 posting.

Sonya Barbee, a single mother who works for the U.S. government, made the decision of being a teacher for her 11 year-old son Copeland. BBC News’ Brian Wheeler in his March 12, 2012 writing, “Homeschooling: Why more black US families are trying it,” shares Barbee’s fear with Copeland’s experience in an area public school:

“There were lots of fights and people getting shot. It was just too much.         To me, it’s not a good environment for a kid and even though I work full time, so it’s really hard for me, I still feel like it’s the right decision.”

The BBC account adds – and this is a critical observation that is and has been happening to numbers of African American children, over the past four decades since the full implementation of school desegregation in the 70’s, – that Barbee’s decision to homeschool was not the violence or even the fact that her son was being bullied that finally led to the decision to remove Copeland from his public school.

She says despite that fact that his school was in a, “really bad area” of Washington D.C., the final reason for homeschooling is that in the public school classroom, Copland was, “losing his love of learning.”

And the fact that Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavor on September 12, 1992 may have been by default.

Helen Jackson of Houston made the decision to homeschool her son in 1985. Considered by Successful Schooling as a “Pioneer of the African American Home School Movement,” Jackson at the time was a astronautic electronics engineer at NASA.

“I was promoted to be the first Black woman in space when I discovered that my oldest son was developing serious emotional symptoms and needed me more than NASA did. So I returned to teach him at home. And he is doing very well,” she says.

Joyce Burgess, co-founder of the National Black Home Educators (HBHE) has homeschooled her own 5 children for over the last 23 years, all of which, as quoted in Edward Lee’s June 26, 2012, BlackandMarriedWithKids.com, “are very successful in their chosen fields.”

One benefit rarely mentioned, homeschooled children are in high demand by colleges. Says Burgess, “From your Harvard’s to the local Junior College,” homeschooled children are sought after by academia not only because of their preparedness to enter and excel at the college level but also for their refined mannerism and social skills that are taught and modeled in the home.

Queen Taese, one of the key organizers of the upcoming nationally acclaimed and highly anticipated Third Annual Liberated Minds Black Homeschool & Education Expo in Atlanta July 18 to the 24, 2014 at the Omega World Event Center says that, “There is a huge critical advantage when it comes to our African children being homeschooled particularly in the areas of socialization and academic success because we as an African people learn through socialization. We gain a strong identity of self through our social environment.”

She adds that through homeschooling, “parents ae able to choose ideal social settings that they deem fit to support the morals, values, and cultural identity of their family, thereby reinforcing and fortifying the cultivation of discipline, strong work ethics, academic skills and additional pertinent cornerstones of excellence fostered to guarantee the success of our children.”

The 3rd Annual Liberated Minds Black Homeschool and Education Expo, explains Taese, “will assist Black homeschoolers, parents, and educators in a multitude of ways with workshops, lectures, and training in developing ‘How-To’ skills in educating everything from mental math, and teaching strategies for African American children in science, reading and writing, choosing the best college, understanding the African Worldview, Holistic Living, natural childbirth, personal health, and so much more.”

She shares that Black national and international exhibitors will have available products and services, “for us by us” to include curriculum enhancement materials, extracurricular programs and a Black Book Fair.

“The Networking that goes on at the expo is magical. I am constantly receiving emails and calls on how the relationships formed at the expo have completely changed the lives of many Black parents for the good. There is nothing like great support. We are each other’s greatest resource!” says the expo organizer.

Several parents from Milwaukee will be attending and will be a guest on this writer’s Internet radio show, “MenThink” on Harambee Radio & TV, Thursday, July 24 from 8 to 9 p.m. (CST) to report on their experience at the Atlanta Liberated Minds Expo. Listeners can tune in at, www.harambeeradio.com.

For additional information on the Atlanta expo, please call (678) 368-8593 or connect with their website:www.liberatedmindsexpo.com. Email inquiries can be made at liberatedmindseducation@yahoo.com.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Taki S. Raton is a school staff consultant in the African Centered instructional model and an adjunct professor at Springfield College in Milwaukee. A Writer and lecturer detailing African World Historiography with emphasis on the education and social development of Black youth and African American male issues, Raton is additionally Founder/CEO of African Global Images, Inc. For homeschooling inquires and presentation schedules, he can be reached at: blydendelany@yahoo.com.

FREE Kindle Books-Timeless Classics

It’s that time of year to began planning for your literature course and what books you’d like your children to read. Well below is a list of Free Kindle Books-Timeless Classics.

Blessings, Angela


Free Kindle Books: Classic Authors

Free Kindle Books: Classic Series

Free Kindle Books: Themed Collections

At FreeHomeschoolDeals.com:

FREE Speech Therapy Materials ~ Pintrest

If you have been concerned about your child’s speech and articulation then these resources may be of help for you. :)

Blessings ~Angela P.

 

 

How to Occupy Your 2 year old While You Homeschool

There are quite a few new homeschooling moms out that that has either joined UCHU or UCHU-AA. I hope this blog post is enlightening to you and provide some great ideas as you began this upcoming year of home educating.

Blessings, Angela


Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!

I’m getting everything ready for our 2nd year of homeschooling.  Last year I had a 1 year old running around, and I compiled a couple posts to help me with that: 15 Independent Activities for One Year Olds and 15 {More} Independent Activities for One Year Olds.

Since the little guy is another year older, his interests and abilities have changed slightly (although many of the one-year-old activities will still work for keeping him occupied as well).

We’ve actually been “doing school” all summer since I missed a lot with my health issues, and I wanted to try to finish up the kindergarten books before we started 1st grade.  Because of that, I already have a pretty good idea of what works for keeping the 2 year old occupied.  My 3 year old just does kindergarten along with her older brother and has picked up quite a lot from it.

I hope these ideas will help those of you with toddlers – especially 2 year olds – as you prepare for this year of homeschooling.

How to Occupy a 2 Year Old During Homeschool

1.  Let them learn alongside their older siblings.  Some children are more active than others, and this idea may only last about 5 minutes for some kids.  My little guy absolutely loves to do “cool”, and runs to grab his chair every time we sit down to do school work.  Although my focus is on teaching my oldest what he needs to learn, I try to involve to 2 younger ones by occasionally asking them age-appropriate questions regarding the subject I’m currently teaching.  If my oldest is doing a worksheet, the younger ones get one too (for a 2 year old it’s usually just a coloring sheet to scribble on).  If I’m teaching math, I’ll give the little guy a couple manipulatives to hold and keep his hands occupied.  I just try to keep things moving, and he usually ends up sitting there the better part of an hour.

How to occupy a 2 year old during homeschool hours

2.  Independent play.  When he is ready to get down and run around, I like to have toys around that he can play with by himself.  Here are the things that seem to work the best for his age:

  • Building Blocks or Mega Blocks
  • Books
  • Cars
  • Play dishes and food
  • Doll house with lots of accessories or barn with animals

You have to see what they’re interested in at the time, and go with whichever activity seems like it will occupy them the longest.

3. Sit-at-the-table activities.  If he’s not wanting to sit and do school or if his play time becomes “destroy the entire house” time, I put him in his seat at the table and give him a specific activity to occupy himself.  Here are the things that work well for his age:

  • Containers – Little ones love taking things in and out of containers, so I just give him whatever I have lying around (boxes, wipes containers, etc.) and give him something (pom poms, counting bears, etc.) to put into and dump out of the container.
  • Busy Bags – there are so many bloggers out there who have put together educational activities for their children.  The ideas are endless.  You can find a ton of them pinned on my Toddler Activities Pinterest board.
  • Coloring – I usually just give him 2 or 3 crayons at a time.  Otherwise, it becomes another game of dumping things out of the container.
    ;)
  • Stickers – I give him a page of stickers and a piece of paper and let him go to town.
  • Playdough.  This is for the days I’m really in the mood to clean up a big mess afterward.
  • Snacks – I usually try not to resort to food because I know he’ll want to eat again as soon as his big brother and sister get a snack, but sometimes you do what you have to do.
  • Puzzles – I love those puzzles with the big pieces and knobs, and he is starting to really enjoy them.
  • Melissa and Doug toys.  They make some of the coolest things that are both educational and exciting for the kids.  A good way to get them cheaply is to sign up for Zulily (this is my referral link, fyi), and wait for them to put Melissa & Doug stuff on one of their daily deal sales.  Keep an eye out for their toys at yard sales and thrift stores as well.
Keeping 2 year olds occupied

4. Make a computer geek out of them.  There are a lot of iPad and Kindle Fire apps geared for babies and toddlers available.  I am amazed at how well my little guy can navigate the Kindle Fire like he knows exactly what he’s doing.  He can watch educational videos, do puzzles,  draw, and play simple games.  It keeps him occupied for quite a while.

Above all, just remember that no matter how much you plan, there will still be days when it seems like all you do is run to get a little one out of mischief.  Maybe it’s time to just put the school books away until daddy gets home, pull up some educational youtube videos for the older kids (make sure you do it safely, though!), or take a short break and try again later.  Getting frustrated isn’t going to make your day go any more smoothly.

Read more at http://www.imperfecthomemaker.com/2013/07/how-to-occupy-your-2-year-old-while-you-homeschool.html#KfKCECuliyCS6uME.99

#24 Did you know?

What are the THREE components to making a course an HONORS course in high school?

<Answer is down below in the comment section>

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Teaching……

Teaching creates all other professions

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Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason

What Is It Like to Raise Unschooled Kids?

What Is It Like to Raise Unschooled Kids?

Posted: 06/30/2014 3:19 pm EDT Updated: 06/30/2014 5:59 pm EDT

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This question originally appeared on Quora
2014-06-30-lbackstone.jpeg
Answer by Lisis Blackston, former pilot, now unschooling mom

It’s glorious, and at times frightening. It requires a relatively thick skin to stand up to critics (and, so called, authorities).

I unschool my son (now 13… would be 7th grade). He went to a few preschools and half of Kindergarten. I had no plans to take him out of school, but he had a major surgery (head/neck), so I pulled him out for the end of Kinder. I found it extremely enjoyable to NOT do the morning rush required to get a kid to school, so I figured I’d try homeschooling 1st grade. I could always put him back in after that.

At first, I did what most homeschoolers do… I replicated “school” at home. It was basically just a change of venue, and a 1 to 1 teacher-student ratio upgrade. I followed The Well-Trained Mind classical curriculum to the letter. I bought all the recommended texts and workbooks. I created a school-like schedule, and we stuck to it… complete with homework in the afternoons.

By around 3rd grade, I realized what we all intuitively know… kids only REALLY learn (and retain, and get excited about) what interests them. Most of what I was teaching him was, predictably, retained for the duration of the course, then promptly forgotten. I also realized the schooling methods hadn’t changed significantly in 150 years… they weren’t really designed for a world with internet, Google, youtube, etc. It suddenly seemed fairly random to force feed a set of facts to every child with no regard for who EACH child is, and what each child is interested in. Around that time I discovered unschooling.

As unschoolers, we live as though school (K-12) doesn’t even exist. When my son shows an interest in any particular thing, I find ways to help him explore his interests in a way that will be productive and fulfilling for him in the long run. For instance, like most boys his age, he loves video games. He’s always been the passive thinker sort (not a ton of energy, not super athletic, not super social, great with pattern recognition/ problem solving/ reading/ creativity). I honestly believe a career in gaming/ computer programming would suit his interests and abilities well. So, I spend my time directing him to resources and ideas that will help him prepare for that sort of career, even the possibility of attending a university to get a computer science type degree (if that interests him).

I don’t teach him math or grammar, yet he scores in the highest percentiles on the required standardized tests for his grade. I can’t really explain this, except to say… learning HAPPENS all the time. We come into this world programmed to learn. When something is interesting to us, we learn EVERYTHING about it. I guess in real life, all the “subjects” taught individually in school just run together into a common purpose. The only thing I do require of him is that he’s always reading something (grade level or above)… but he loves to read, so I don’t have to force him.

He LOVES being unschooled. It works perfectly for him. I have a toddler daughter now who is completely active and social. I honestly don’t know if homeschooling will be an ideal choice for her. If we go that route, I’ll have to go out of my way to find outlets for her needs (gymnastics, dance class, clubs, camps, etc.) The beauty of unschooling is that it honors EACH child as an individual. I make it my job to be the best resource and guide I can be to prepare each of my children in a way that suits them.

#23 Did you know?

There are Special Testing Accommodations or Services for Students with Disabilities.

TRUE OR FALSE

<Answer is down below in the comment section>