- Why Homeschooling?
Yes, we are LDS (Mormon). No, religious reasons are NOT why we chose to homeschool. In fact, submerging my children in cultural and religious diversity to me is a PRO of the public school system. I have found through my own life that learning about others lifestyles and beliefs only strengthens my testimony and allows me to be more knowledgable, and therefore accepting, of the differences around me.
I like to think of our family as accidental homeschoolers. My mother was in the public school system as an educator for over 30 years. She finished out her career leading conferences for teachers to learn about the autism spectrum in young children and integrating educational and social tools into their lesson plans. When she retired, my oldest child (Rapunzel) was then just 3. She came to my house and dumped a bunch of materials she would no longer be needing in the classroom on my doorstep and WAH-LA!! It was like my own mini pre-k classroom!
We sat down and started "playing with purpose" and the next thing I knew my 3 year old was reading simple words and could count to 100. In the next year her reading, vocabulary, and math skills bloomed and I was so proud of her! It was then fall and time to enroll her in Pre-K (at this point I hadn't really considered homeschooling full time). I looked through the school district's proposed curriculum for what they would learn that year and knew Rapunzel was leaps and bounds above where she needed to be. I worried she would be bored and then become a behavior problem like so many students do who are unchallenged. That was when I approached my husband (Walt) about homeschooling.
"Being smart is all well and good but I don't want my kids growing up to be social freaks!"
Yes, he actually said that.
But I suppose he had a point. How would our kids make friends and flourish socially? So, I created my own local homeschool group through meetup.com (if you haven't checked it out you should!). Now 3 years later we are almost 100 families offering co-ops, craft days, field trips, ect. My kids all have great friendships and my oldest daughter even has a BFF that she loves to have sleepovers with and go do all the things little 7 year olds do together.
Now we have been homeschooling for 3 years and I wouldn't change it for the world. Homeschooling allows me to customize my children's learning experience and tailor their lessons to their learning style. I love that when we are learning about something I can schedule a field trip to actually go and SEE what we are learning and immerse them in the subject rather than reading flat text in a book. We craft, we explore, and most of all, we play as little kids should. :)
- Our Curriculum
We are what the homeschooling world calls "eclectic" homeschoolers. We pull from here and there finding what fits best for us in that year, semester, month, or moment. We enjoy a lot of hands on, child led learning. For our 2014-15 school year we are using a mix of these curriculums:
- Winter Promise Hideaways in History (Rapunzel and Merida)
- Winter Promise LA3 (Rapunzel) and Syllables to Sentences (Merida)
- Winter Promise The World Around Me (home) and REAL Science ( co-op)
- Teaching Textbooks 3 (Rapunzel) Horizons K (Merida)
- Story of the World - Volume 1 Ancient Times (Rapunzel and Merida joins in)
- Explode the Code (Rapunzel)
- Magic Tree House Readers and Core Curriculums (Rapunzel)
- Draw Write Now (Rapunzel)
- Amanda Bennett Unit Studies (Rapunzel and Merida)
- Math U See (Rapunzel)
- Confessions of a Homeschooler Letter of the Week (Merida)
Then we also create some of our own fun through unit study and child led exploration!
Our School Room: