As I made the big jump into Homeschool a couple years ago, I was frightened. The horrifying fact that I don’t have a College Degree weighs on my schooling confidence. BUT really how bad can I mess up my 1st grader (at the time)?!
Year 1 of homeschooling: I used a online pre-made curriculum + weekly brick & mortar class attendance and I felt it was going to be awesome. It had its awesome points & definitely its negative points. Through the year Klai & I really grew to know each other & understand each other. I LOVED that about homeschooling. I leaned on my sister & my neighbor for guidance and support, both GREAT people & GREAT inspiration. I planned to take field trips & beach trips WHENEVER we wanted to…..that happened a FEW times throughout the year. There were times that I got frustrated with teaching, I learned lots about myself in that aspect. But overall I felt the year went well & Klai learned TONS….so did I!
Year 2 of Homeschooling: Klai entered 2nd grade & Rykel entered Kindergarten. We again enrolled into the pre-made online curriculum (HTA) school. It was going to be an adventure WITH 5 kids this year, new baby, taking kids to the school for a class weekly, teaching around naps & chaos. We went into the year with optimism! I found QUICKLY that I CANNOT do everything. seriously though! It was HARD, HARD work. 1 hour drive trips to town to take the class got more and more dreadful as the weeks/months passed. The curriculum is thorough and awesome, but was too much for me to cover with a new baby & a wiggle toddler. Sitting at the computer hour after hour, day after day GAVE ME HEADACHES.
I caved & QUIT! I took Christmas break early from the on-line curriculum and decided to do my own thing through the holidays to see how it went. I LIKE IT A LOT! So I officially quit from HTA and did my personal homeschool. We actually used the rest of their workbooks and then I found online things to workbooks purchased. We tried a few types of teaching methods & I found that I liked Workboxes flow the BEST. We ended the year I think on a good note. I hope the kids enjoyed the year.
YEAR 3 homeschool vs. public school:
As this year approached Jase & I have had many discussions regarding Shae. See here in Hawaii he can legally enter Jr. Kindergarten since he turns 5 before the end of the year. IN most stated he wouldn’t start till next year…but he can here. And last year we did a Happy School preschool with him & he LOVED it. He would even spend a lot of the mornings in a desk next to the girls asking for me to fill his workbox so he could do school. So Jase & I discussed whether we would do another year of preschool for him or start him in Kindergarten. I was actually VERY excited to do a kindergarten curriculum for him. But Jase mentioned that maybe Shae should go to public school. I took this as a HIT against my ability to properly teach. AAAAHHH! Am I really not a good teacher, am I adding too much stress to our home because I am both MOM and Educator? I felt wounded. Jase reassured me it was nothing about my abilities, it was whether or not public school or homeschool is right for THIS child. THIS took me back to my initial thoughts when we began homeschool. I knew that we would take each year & reassess and see what was right for EACH child. I think I started homeschooling and deep inside thought I’m gonna do this for AWHILE…atleast for a few years.
But HE WAS RIGHT! We needed to think about each child personally. We should be thinking about their struggles RIGHT now & ponder what is going to be best for them. So for SHAE we have decided that he will learn & grow (in a way that he needs right now) BEST by going to jr. Kindergarten at the PUBLIC SCHOOL.
Now many might ask, WHAT are you going to do for the girls? Will you put them in public school also? Well since we decided public school for Shae, my head has been wishy-washy for the girls. I could put them in school & have such a light load at home, but that’s really selfish of me to do it for only that reason. I chatted with Klai about her wants, being 8 I thought she could have some opinions in her schooling. She said she wanted to homeschool. So after pondering her needs, Homeschool will be best right now for her. (I personally felt a little pat on my back that she wanted to stay home!) If it changes later on, then it changes. I have FAITH that if I continue to ponder and pray about each child I will be guided to make the best decisions for them.
RYKEL….What to do with this cute little girl. I know that school starts in less than a week. BUT she has my mind boggled. She is a bright learner, very different than Klai in how she learns. She gets concepts much faster than I do at times. And she is a goof, funny just like her Daddy. I have watched her the last couple weeks in Church during primary classes, Sunday School for Children, and she likes to make people laugh. She learns quite quickly and then I think either is bored or has bottled energy that she needs to get out. I’m afraid that in public school she will be labeled as Goof & then act more in that manner thus not learning ANYTHING. Or the teacher will be annoyed by her bubbly energy and discipline her in a way that she will HATE going to school. My sweet Rykel is a tender heart and means well WHAT is RIGHT FOR THIS GIRL? I will decide this week.
Now I know there is a world of Wisdom out there. IF anyone has some BRIGHT ideas on how they balance their homeschool/public school schedule, PLEASE let me know. I could use all the help I can get!
I'm no help at all, but I loved reading this. It shows what a great mommy you are because you care so much about their education. 🙂 (not that anyone needed reassurance that you are an AWESOME mommy)
But it really is so stressful isn't it? I'm struggling with what to do for Boston too. When he was 3 we put him into preschool and quickly discovered that was not. for. him. He already knew what they were teaching, and didn't like sitting with the class and some of the kids were big meany heads. I think we just started him out too young. The next year we did a combo homeschooling/ group preschool thingy (technical, I know), but it. was. awesome. He learned bunches, loved it, and outgrew his shyness. I was torn what to do for kindergarten, but after praying we tried to get into charter schools and he got into our first choice. So, I guess we'll see how it goes! I'm so nervous it makes me sick, but he is super excited. 🙂 But I guess we'll just take it month by month. Anyhow, I'm sure you are way to bored to still be reading this now. Love ya Rach!
I'm super excited for you! I actually prefer Charter Schools. I like that you have more of a say in how things are run…atleast most of them. And I feel they are more willing to work with you, if you have circumstances that arise. I'm excited for your boy, I'm sure he'll do just great. THANKS for the input. You are awesome.
I love the "how bad can I mess up a 1st grader." That is exactly how I felt when I started homeschooling (except it was a kindergardener). Now here I am 8 years later…
Not much wisdom here since I've done 2 years with one child, and this is going to be the first year schooling 2 chidlren. Although, it will be more challengin not because of the # of schooled kids, but because of the toddler.
*For us* I will say, I have no desire to UNteach stuff my kids would learn in public school. Or try to takl with them about stuff they learn WAY earlier than they ever should be exposed to it. Also, I find that we go through subjects quicker at home (since we are not wasting time sitting at a desk waiting for other kids to finish up before moving on), and I worry my kids would get bored, get into trouble because they are bored, or have their passion for learning quickly fizzled out because they can't move forward.
Now, as for homeschooling, I find that plannign it out ahead of time as my rough plan for the year makes things flow much easier. I love the idea of a charter for the money they give towards curriculum and extra activities, however, I will never go with one because it's too rigid for me. I'd be anxious all the time about turning in sheets, testing, and making sure my kids are up to the level s they expect in certain areas (when we may personally chose to teach those things a different year).
I could see how going to a brick and mortar class would be difficult the way you explained it. Especially with 5 kiddos.
You're right though…finding what works best for each child is what comes first. Sounds like you are heading in the right direction.
what a great post, rach. i loved reading it. you tackle so much all the time and you're inspiring! good luck with the decision…we're trying to decide what to do with jorgen. i just talked to jase about it. education is so important, it's so hard sometimes to know what will be the best for each child. miss you and yours so much! xo
So I did it, too. 2 years, 3 kiddos, the HTA charter school way and I don't think I like how it turned out educationally. My one son couldn't apply himself, my other son could slide by for 3 weeks without working and do it all in one week. My one son ended up taking summer school to make up the credit and the principal didn't even look at the course work and entered an A on his transcript. Yeah, Kahuku thought that was suspicious….anyway.
We left public school for the reasons most parents are concerned about–what my kids are learning in school that we might NOT want them to learn. But after the 2 years we gave the kids the choice and they all chose to go back to public school (actually the third child is a long, continual story…). And after a year of them being back I have no regrets. Home is still a haven, that is the part I control. They are being educated with their peers, whom they have chosen on their own and who are GOOD PEERS. They are making good choices, though they could apply themselves a bit more. I occasionally butt heads with a teacher about how something is being handled but we all learn from those experiences, me and my children. Sure they hear some colorful stuff at school but we teach at home to counter that. I don't regret anything–homeschooling or putting them back in public school. I always have homeschooling in the back of my mind because of that third child. She likes public school but educationally could go either way. I may need to have her home again someday. Soooooo, just remember that y'all are the parents. You could put her in school, see how it goes. If she or you don't like it, pull her out again. And if she loves it, it is OKAY. You are still a super awesome mom. All of us are teachers. It just might be time for someone else to teach her for a while. I learned that I couldn't handle teaching my kids-at that time-in that way. I was doing WAY too much at the time and I got burnt out and overwhelmed.
Now, on a note from the teacher side: I substitute taught 3rd grade for 7 months last year. It was an amazing experience. I learned a tremendous amount of stuff about being a full-time teacher in the public schools. The teachers work really, really, really hard. The school and state put so much pressure/deadlines/requirements/yada/yada and the teachers do everything they can to meet all of that. If you feel like you don't want to send your kid to public schools because the teachers don't do enough to teach them, please reconsider your opinion. No teacher at Laie Elementary sits around and lets the kids take over the room like a group of monkeys, well, maybe only a few…. 🙂 They work so hard to make sure the kids are getting all they need educationally. I was a part of all the faculty meeting, memos, grade level meetings, the whole she-bang last year. District, Admin and Teachers are all working super hard to raise the standard for our kids. Just keep up the good work habits you have already developed with your kids at home and push your kiddos to always do their best. AND you be the best support system for your child. I that is what I learned the most: I can't do everything for my child/ren all of the time, but I can be an excellent support system for my child and his/her teacher.
You rock and I know whatever you decide for your kids they will be okay because they have you for a mommy!
This IS hard. We were just talking a few months ago about choosing what s right for you, your child, your family at that tine… You are amazing! It might take a lot of prayer and thought, but I know you'll make the right choice!