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I did it! I joined that crowd of parents who have decided to homeschool. This has not been a quick nor a hastily made decision. As I sit here writing this post at my dining room table, I am surrounded by books. Books on curriculum, books to encourage homeschooling parents, books about unit studies, just books, books and more books! I’ve carefully read each one, taken LOTS of notes, had many discussions with my husband… the list goes on and on. So why did we choose as a family to take this route?
This has been something I always wanted to do, but have wrestled with for a couple of years now, thinking that as it became more of a reality, I wasn’t capable of doing “school” well. I knew as our oldest son approached the age of 4 that we would have to decide between whether or not we wanted to do traditional preschool or keep him home, perhaps even putting him in a daycare that has a preschool type curriculum throughout the day. A large part of our deciding factor on choosing NOT to send him to a traditional preschool is that right now it’s not in the budget. We have no qualms with sending him to a traditional preschool, but I couldn’t find one within our limited budget. So I thought, hey, why not homeschool both boys for preschool before sending them off to Kindergarten (K)? Then that train of thought led to, well perhaps we will just homeschool through Pre-K and K because of two factors: 1 is the date of the boys’ birthdays and 2 is that K is still not a required grade in Indiana. At least not for now, that likely will change. (Another smaller factor is that Indiana is a very lenient state for homeschooling, making the decision a little easier pertaining to what we need to do to be able to homeschool at all.)
Regarding the boys’ birthdays, the oldest turns 4 at the tail end of August and the youngest turns 3 1 week later at the very beginning of September. Depending on which school district you live in, the cutoff date is either August 1 or September 1. In our city, it is September 1. This means that technically the boys would be 2 years apart in school (when they are only 53 wks apart in age) if we followed that formula. Now, I know that we could choose to put the oldest in K when he had just turned 6, but I really feel that he will be ready intellectually for K much earlier than the age of 6. This makes homeschooling the perfect choice for us in this season of life because then the intellectual and emotional state of my son will be nurtured one on one with me as his teacher!
How do you prepare for such an undertaking? I have found bits and pieces from multiple books that have helped us with this decision. A big one that I would recommend reading if you are interested in this path is Homeschooling: Take a Deep Breath, You Can Do This! by Terrie Lynn Bittner. She has an updated version of this book just recently released in 2012, called the 2nd Edition. I had put a hold on this at the library as soon as I saw the title when I was doing my initial research. This is a great book to help you think through some of the logistics of actually homeschooling such as thinking about curriculum and the type you want to use (there are many different “styles” of homeschooling, something I hadn’t ever known about!), what supplies you’ll possibly need to start off depending on the rules of your state (or country!), and so many other things I just simply hadn’t thought to even think about!
So now as I am gathering materials and supplies for the beginning of our preschool year for my soon to be 4 and 3 year olds, I am excited to be counted in that group of homeschooling moms and dads, as well as excited to be sharing my journey with you, my reader. If you have been down this road, I’d love to get some feedback, tips, hints, anything to help me along this journey of homeschooling. I am blessed to have such an amazing homeschooling community within our church and even in our church small group. You can be sure I will be asking lots of questions along the way. I’m also excited because I have no qualms about sharing my nerdiness with you.
I’d be a full time student at the university if I could afford it, just because I love learning and I hope that I can pass that on to my new pupils! My grandmother was a teacher for 30+ years in a small community, in fact she started out teaching in a small “country” school, something similar to what you see when you watch reruns of Little House on the Prairie. Growing up in Iowa, there were plenty of those little communities that all shared a small country school. I loved hearing my grandma’s stories of teaching in that little school, I also love listening to my dad’s stories of attending a country school in Kindergarten (my great aunt Verda was his teacher!). There’s something about that smaller ratio that really enables a student to thrive, so I hope I can pass that on to my children!
This is a picture of my grandma, Elizabeth, who I learned a lot from.
This is not a picture of the schoolhouse that my grandmother taught in, but it is similar to many of the country schools that dotted the Iowa prairie long ago. Many of them have been torn down, but some do still exist.
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It is wonderful to have such a rich heritage of learning in my past. I hope that I can only give my children such a rich and lasting education!
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (King James Version)
(6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.