Today's blog post is part venting in love, part confession. Hoping it shows everyone a glimpse into our lives so you can understand us a little bit more. ;)
Please don't feel sorry for my kids....
Yes, we homeschool. No, it isn't torture. Believe it or not I've asked them would they ever want to try public schooling and they always answer "no".
Yes, we enjoy being with each other a lot. We have our moments, though. We make sure to get out around our buddies frequently so we don't get on each other's nerves too much.
Yes, we argue and fight like any other family, although probably not as often as some do. My kids are pretty quiet to begin with. They also know the rules, so they usually don't push them too far.
Yes, our school schedule is kind of different. But it works for us and that's why we do it. I don't plan my days around public school breaks, snow days, or flood days. Not to say that we never take off for those but I don't intentionally plan to take off, just because public schools are out. If it really does snow and is a good one, then usually we'll have a half day. Hubby and I share a vehicle and I won't drive on ice/snow unless I have to anyway. So unless a friend wanders over to our home, we are generally stuck here on snow days. Why have the kids sitting in front of the tv for 6 hours or playing video games all day? My kids already have (unfortunately :( ) plenty of time to do that stuff every day.
So the kids go out to play and then come in to warm up and do a bit of school. School on those days tends to be easy stuff, educational board and file folder games, lots of read aloud time, or educational Netflix videos. It's not me standing over them for 6 hours cracking a whip! LOL I am beginning to think that's the perception people may have, and if so, its not at all correct. And yes, from time to time we'll take a whole day off when public school does, and have friends over. It depends on the circumstances and if we are currently behind or ahead.
Now, some have asked why we don't take off every time, a whole day every time. For that answer you'll need to come back and ready my next blog post, 'A Typical (Ha) Day in Our Homeschool Lives".
Yes, we have to answer to an authority. First and foremost, my authority to answer to is God. I need to do everything as if I'm doing it for God, and that includes homeschooling. Next I answer to my church-related school. I have to report my attendance and grades to them twice a year and submit my sources/books used. At certain grade levels the kids can get tested.
Yes, my kids are normal. The boys are really quiet, but Ashleigh jabbers 24/7. My oldest son Nick is shy most of the time, Adrian is almost never shy, and Ash acts shy because people think she's cute when she's acting shy (which actually gets her MORE attention--it's a plot). They laugh, they play. They go places and meet people. They have full schedules and a variety of peers and friends. They are strong in some subjects, weaker in others. They can have genius moments. Then again they sometimes do dippy things. They may even say very dippy things (usually it happens in front of someone who is opposed to homeschooling, making me smack my own head and ask, "Why now?"). They don't always know things that public school kids know, like going through a lunch line (which is not too important in life anyway). But they do just fine on work and tests, and where it counts, they are just as normal as other kids.
Yes, we plan to keep going as long as it is God's will. I am surviving the first high school year. Its wasn't as hard as I thought, although Algebra gave us some trouble until we found the right program for Nick. He is using the computer for most all of his work, via Switched on Schoolhouse. He basically self-teaches. This curriculum assigns and grades all the work submitted. I hardly have to help him anymore. Which makes me feel proud and also a little sad. He enjoys working solo at his own pace. He makes all A's and B's on his SOS work. My only problem with this is that we miss him! Up until this year, for the majority of our schooling, we used unit studies and worked on most all subjects together as a family. So I kind of miss having Nick around more. I was afraid to use units for his freshman year, but I plan to go back to them next year now that I have a grip on high schooling at home. We will use the third volume of Learning Adventures together. I am eager to get back to this time.
Yes, I have to strive to make sure that my kids don't pick up my quirks. I have some OCD type issues, maybe some anxiety disorder mixed in. There are things I just don't enjoy, although I can usually make it, such as being in large groups. I don't like to drive in large cities or on the Interstate. I am also an introvert, but again, I can come out of my shell if needed.
To make sure my children have plenty of opportunities to grow, God has clearly blessed them with mentors who can offer things I might not think to or desire to. Family and friends tend to invite them on trips where I might spaz driving. They travel with family and church youth as far as the ocean or just a few hours away to ice skate or see a hockey game. I never have to ask; the opportunities just pop up. I like to stay home and "charge my batteries" with quiet time more than they do, but again, I am adjusting to being on the road a lot more and having kids in and out more frequently. And locally I make sure my children have church activities, 4-H, and homeschool group time to keep them busy. I watch for signs to make sure my habits don't rub off on them. I've commented to my kids many times that driving my big old Suburban is not something I enjoy. My oldest son now seems nervous when he thinks about driving it. I can see where he is picking this up from me, so next week we are going out for a driving lesson.
You don't have to homeschool to rub off on your kids; we tend to turn out like our parents more every day and most of us were probably public-schooled. It just happens. And its not all bad. ;)
So don't feel sorry for my kids. I think they'll all be okay in the end. :)