Our decision to home school stemmed from two main factors: Morals at school and the actual education being received.
We live in an area in which families have a nice living. With that it brings drugs to the schools. There are no gangs, or school uniforms or fights but there are drugs because the children here have access to large amounts of money. In my daughter's middle school there were children making out in the hall way's. One girl in particular was kicked out for skipping school in the middle of the day, getting high, having sex and then coming back. They found a powdery white substance in her backpack, which she claims was crushed children's vitamins. Her father is a single parent working hard to keep them in an almost million dollar home and has a parade of young 20-something girlfriends. It was a sad story all around. Anyway, I didn't want my children exposed to this, especially at such a young age!
Our second reason was the quality of the education being received. Things weren't taught to be learned or memorized, such as the multiplication tables. The kids were taught to pass tests and I'm sorry but that is just not good enough for me! You have kids entering High School that can't multiply and that have no idea what a double negative is. Simply not acceptable!
So we decided to homeschool. The basis for a sound individual starts at home, so why shouldn't educating be done at home too?
Most days my table looks like this.
My oldest, CC homeschools through Global Student Network. We pay a low fee for 365 days of schooling. They supply the online curriculum and keep all the school records. I grade the assignments and send them back to her completed and graded or marked as a redo. She is able to see exactly where she is at any moment and there is online help available. They offer AP classes and electives. And a HUGE bonus is that she is able to work ahead. She just finished ninth grade (where she should be) and has now started tenth grade. Her goal is to be completely finished by next year and get a huge head start on Vet school.
Homeschooling offers us so much flexibility. We are able to do so much more together as a family. One of our favorite things to do is have park days. We pack up and the girls study in the fresh air. It doesn't even seem like homework this way! We always leave feeling refreshed!
Lena, my fourth grader, is enrolled in K12. This is a completely free online public school. She is still a Texas public school student, she just does her work at home. We do drive to testing sites for her TAKS tests. K12 provides all the books, all the project materials such as paint, a canvas, rock, etc. You name it! They also provided her with a brand new computer and printer/scanner as well as head phones, a microphone and other items needed for her classes. We have a daily schedule given to us that needs to be completed by the end of the day. There are some things I do have to grade and then verify that she has done her work. She takes benchmark tests on line and does study island as well. We also get progress reports (report cards) every nine weeks. K12 has worked great for us. It gives structure and discipline and what I love more than anything, it will not allow the student to make below an 80 with out it having to be redone.
Homeschooling is not for everyone. It is hard work and does take effort, but in the end, I know what my children are learning and I know what they are NOT being exposed to. Lena took a placement test on reading. The scores ranged from 300-750. She placed 1500!! Homeschooling works! Lena was doing some pre-Algebra work..and excelling at it!
We also try to do fun things like crafts. I'm not a crafty person and have absolutely NO imagination but we do what we can. I love that I have found some great easy crafts on blogger that have really fun and inspirational for us. Think coffee filter wreaths!
CC also took care of several snails and their babies last year. She had so many it was overwhelming. It was so fun to watch them eat cucumbers and play around.
I love that we can go to the bookstore and read books or listen to music or sit in the cafe and drink coffee and do homework. School work doesn't always have to be done at home.
CC even gets driving lessons...and she is getting really good at it!
We go downtown and have lunch at historic hotels in the city. We first look up information and learn the history of different areas then go and visit them. It is such a fun way to make it personal and retain the facts. Thankfully San Antonio has lots of historic areas for us to visit!
But I think the best part for me is the flexibility. We can go out of town if we want without having to worry about the girls missing school. We just take the laptop along and let them do their work while we are driving. We can stay out late drinking coffee or seeing movies.
The first thing people always asks me is about socialization. My girls still stay in contact with girls they went to school with. They talk on the phone, text and my oldest goes to the bookstore and has coffee with her friend in our neighborhood. We are fortunate that we live close to their friends, so them visiting is never an issue. I have another friend who I just found out is homeschooling too. She is also married to a Russian and she said when someone asks her about her girls socializing she tells them, "I'm married to a Russian. There are parties every weekend and there is no shortage of socializing for my girls!" It's true. Occasionally we will meet during the afternoon and let the younger kids play at McDonald's or go to the bookstore. I also joined a homeschool group on MeetUp.com. These girls are not with out friends!
Again, homeschooling is not for everyone. I think it may be more work than having a student enrolled in a public or private school. As the parent and learning coach you know that the education your children receive is wholly based upon how much you put into their learning. It can be tiresome and we don't always have perfect days. Some days we are racing the clock to get work turned it. But I love it and I wouldn't have it any other way!