Our choice: school at home!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I know not everyone who's reading this will agree that we've made the correct decision, but I do ask that you respect our decision - as I will respect the decisions you make for your children.

It has been a year now since we began to consider homeschooling. Long- time readers will remember the posts about homeschooling & the difficulty we were having in making a decision. Well in real life this was a daily difficulty. Because we were both "traditionally" schooled, the whole idea of homeschooling was a difficult concept to grasp - how could the children learn? What about socialisation? How can you possibly fit it all in? etc. etc. etc. (You may remember me asking some of these questions - thanks to all who answered.) So we prayed & prayed & prayed about this. The idea of homeschooling never left us. We began to see the positives of homeschooling & everywhere we went it just kept coming up - it was amazing really - family who I thought would never support this where actually positive towards it - another time, I was in the toddler room at a convention (because Jud was playing up) & got to talking with one of the guys who was looking after the children & he shared with me about being home schooled (yes, it just came up in conversation) & how much he enjoyed it & how he would love to have his future children home schooled (if his wife wanted to.) - almost everyone I spoke to knew someone who homeschooling. I began to see that the home school movement that is so big in America is growing in Australia. So I investigated the different types of home schooling - out of interest & because it just wouldn't go away. Quite early I came across a distance-ed school who uses the ACE curriculum. - Now I know that some people have problems with this curriculum, but it is something I am familiar with - you see the school I went to from grades 1-5 used this curriculum & I thrived in it. We moved to SEQ from Nth Qld when I was going into year 6 & I was put in a composite class with year 7's, so you can imagine how surprised I was that the year 7's were doing the same work I had done in year 5. Needless to say those were the most boring 2 years of my schooling!!! So you can see why this curriculum would stand out to me - I understand it & it makes sense to me.

So once I found a curriculum I liked the question was whether to join the school or be an independent homeschooler (the same ministry that runs the school has a support group for people who wish to use this independently). Although I love the idea of being completely independent, Dave felt more comfortable with us joining the school & it does make sense to me. I like the fact that I have to be accountable to someone & also that we have teachers available to answer any questions that I have trouble with. I think just having that support guiding us through each step is what stood out to Dave. At this point with the twins still so young I have to be available for their needs as well - & I didn't want to be up half the night preparing lessons (although I still have LOTS of ideas - can't wait to get started - oh wait I can anytime!!LOL) and I do want my children to have a completely rounded education - I know all curriculum have some gaps in & I still intend to attempt to fill these myself. So although we are schooling at home, we are not completely independent homeschoolers (hats off to all the mum's who are - I truly do respect you - you are amazing!), but I do believe we are still included in the homeschooling category!!

Zai & Ellie & Jud made this "town" on Wednesday - they were very proud of it (if you look closely it has roads etc) They asked me to take a photo!!
As for the socialisation issue, well everything I read advised that it is an issue only to those who are not homeschooling. All the homeschoolers I spoke to (adult (who were home schooled) & child) said that they had no problems in this aspect - & speaking to them you could certainly tell this was the case! In truth when you consider the many interactions that you have with others, it makes no sense. It's only if the child was completely isolated that they would have this problem. When I considered that we would have ballet, auskick, Sunday school, church, home school group & get togethers with other families, trips to the library / shops etc. etc., I was no longer concerned about this. (This is probably the most recent issue that I've worked through). These days with the telephone & internet isolation really isn't the issue it was 40 years ago.

This is from Christmas - they were making this gingerbread house - Ellie is pointing into her mouth to say she wants to eat it !
So now we are in set up mode. I am getting our learning area organised - from now on christened "Sunnyside Schoolroom"!! (We are blessed to have a whole room we can dedicate to this purpose!) The children are still on holidays & I'm going to start working with them the same day school goes back (next Tues). Until they do their tests to see what level they are at in each subject, I'm just going to come up with work myself for them. Thankfully these days with the internet & the books I already have it's not too difficult a job. After the test, we will be sent the relevant workbooks & official work will begin. In the interim we are just getting used to the idea.( I believe the official term is de-schooling!) As difficult as this decision has been, we have an amazing peace with it.

(This is the other end of the rainbow from the last post - it was beautiful - the colours were this vivid!)

I will keep you posted...


Bobbie-Jo said...

Sounds like you've done your research! I hope you continue to have peace about this - to tide you through tough times, cause let's face it, there are always tough times. ;)

But - I think I can say this confidently - you will not regret spending this time with your children! You can have so much fun and see them grow in so many little ways.

Bless you!

Mum-me said...

I hope and pray it all works out well for you. I have also considered the idea of homeschooling, but can't see how I can make it work for us especially when HB is away so often (and when home he works such long hours.)

That rainbow is beautiful. We had a gorgeous, full, bright rainbow like that here on Wednesday morning.

peta said...

Im so glad you were finally able to make your decision. I hope it goes well for you and the kids. I myself was 'homeschooled' for yr11 as I had just given birth to Christopher and wasn't comfortable leaving him to go to 'school'. I was 'attached' to a school and travelled to Dubbo once a term to discuss things with the teachers and to socialise with the other students who were also honeschooled. It was great and I enjoyed it very much.
Anyway I really do hope all goes well on your new journey.

Mummy McTavish said...

wow to the rainbow, both ends- that's special!

I'm so excited for you, it's something I've thought about with friends both homeschooling and looking at homeschooling but like I said before, I have little patience in that area. And with a child who doesn't feel at all constrained by social 'norms' (like capital E should have only 3 bars across not 15 so it looks 'cool like a sea anemone') I think I'd go bald tearing my hair out pretty quick.
Please keep us posted as you set up, I'll be very interested in the fun and the not so fun. Praying for you all!

Sandra said...

It is a very beautiful rainbow that you've captured. All the best as you embark on this journey. It certainly sounds like you have researched it well and it's the best thing for your family. We look forward to hearing all your ideas. Formal schooling isn't the only time we can learn and as parents we have responsibilites to our children - so I'll appreciate hearing all your wonderful experiences and maybe steal a few along the way :>

JenT said...

Beautiful rainbow. I think you'll enjoy homeschooling.

the happy sparrow said...

hi there Renata!was so great to read your post about your journey to homeschooling. It sounds really great - looking forward to seeing more of the journey unfold!
Love Martine

Leanne said...


Thanks for keeping up with my blog!!

Thanks for your comment too....

I'm still here and still doing well!

Talk soon


Jenn H said...

Just wanted to say hi, I've been following along with google reader to save time. I wanted to come and leave a comment today though because I appreciate this post so much! My DH and I have been praying for several months about homeschooling next year and are leaning in that direction. This was just one more way it seems to confirm our thoughts, God works in mysterious ways!!! Best wishes with your schooling endeavor!

Christy Walsh said...

Wow Renata!! A huge step but I know you'll be a great teacher to your children :) God bless and give you lots of inspiration, patience and wisdom on this journey!!

Karin @ 6ByHisDesign said...

WOW! the rainbow photo is LOVELY!

i say way to go, renata! and what a blessing to truly have a unique space set up to do your schooling.

my in-laws have asked us to consider homeschooling, under the circumstances of how divided our nation is politically and how bent the public school system tends to be in one direction...i just don't know that i have the patience.

so my hat's off to you!

and on a completely, different note, do you know how you achieved the 'you might also like' suggested posts at the bottom of your posts? that's how i found this one...and i've wanted to add the feature but just can't figure out how to do it...


Camille said...

Your journey sounds very similar to ours. We (hubby and I) were traditionally schooled and it was very difficult to make the switch in our brains. It is a heart-wrenching thing to go through, but now that we took the plunge and are on the other side, I can say it has been the best decision we have made regarding our children's education. We also are linked up with a school for accountability ~ my hubby was most comfortable with that set-up too. Hang in there and ENJOY the journey! :)


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