Thursday, March 22, 2012

Creating The Life I Want: More Changes

Continuing my 2012 theme:  Creating the Life I Want!

After revamping my parenting style and creating a more peaceful home, the next step in creating the life I want is a big one...

We are going to homeschool!

I have had all 3 kids in school for 2 years now, and I will happily admit that I have loved every minute of it.  I love their school, I love their teachers, and I love having my days peaceful and quiet.  I can grocery shop, recover from work, clean, and enjoy myself for 6 hours a day! 

Despite all the perks of sending them to school, I have long wanted to bring them home.  I finally wore Kydon down enough that he agreed to let me try it.  I have been gathering curriculum, buying books, and creating lesson plans and schedules.  It is really exciting!  The kids are excited too, although I will admit that I have heavily played up the benefits!  We are letting them finish the year at school, and we will start homeschool in August! 

The number one question people ask me is "why?", and it is a very valid question. 

- It is NOT because I am dissatisfied with their school.  I LOVE the school, I love the teachers we have had.  There is not a problem that I am trying to avoid or fix by homeschooling.  I could send them to this school for the rest of elementary and be very happy.

- It is NOT because I think public school is awful.  I think it is great most of the time.  Yes, there are things about public school that are less-than-ideal, but I could list just as many things that will be less-than-ideal about homeschool.  I do not think people are bad or wrong for choosing to use the public schools.  I think they are great!

- It IS because I want to be more involved in their schoolwork.  I want to know details of what they are learning and how they learn it.  I want to help them understand something new.  I want to show them things and teach them things.  I want to learn some of those things myself!

- It IS also because I want a more flexible schedule.  I think going to school for 9 months solid with just a week here and there off then stopping everything for an entire 3 months is silly.  I want to have a more consistent schedule of work time and down time.  There are days I can tell they have just "had it" and need a day off.  I make them fight through and go to school, but I would love to be able to say "take the morning off, and we will get to it later or tomorrow" without them missing precious instruction time.

- It IS because I want them to be able to learn at their own pace- to not worry about being ahead and bored or behind and frustrated.  Every child learns at a different pace, and some things come easily and others don't- I want to be able to go fast when we can and slow down when we need to!

-It IS because I want to vacation when I want!  We were looking at prices for a trip to Florida recently.  We were looking at rentals.  The cost for the rental in the month we wanted to go was $1000.  The week of our spring break, the price shot up to $2500.  I want to go to Disney in September when there are no crowds!  I want to take off on vacation because we got a great deal on airfare without being restricted by school schedules. 

- It IS because I want to have fun with my kids.  The way summer is- school work in the morning, play and visit museums and go for hikes all afternoon.  By the time they get home at 2:30 and have snack and homework, they have barely 2 hours to play before it is time for dinner and getting ready for bed.  And of course that is reduced on days we have soccer and piano lessons.  I think kids need more time to play.  More time to relax and do nothing and be bored and dig out old toys and think of new ways to turn tinker toys into weapons.  I hear stories of kids who go to school all day and come home for 2 hours of homework.  I want to avoid that!

I was originally worried about the cost of homeschool.  One book I read said to budget about $300 per child per year.  I budgeted $1000, and I wanted it to include curriculum, 2 museum memberships, and school supplies.  Of course, as with everything, you can spend more and more, but I was able to purchase all of our curriculum for less than $500, the museums I am interested in offer discounts for homeschoolers, and I have more than $300 left for supplies, which I really don't think I will spend that much.  I reviewed how much I have spent over the past year for our "free" public school- between school supplies, donations to the school, participation in fundraisers, and uniforms, I had easily spent $900, and that didn't count small donations like extra glue sticks or special things/treats that the teachers asked for now and then.  I don't think I will save money homeschooling, but it isn't costing me much more than "free" public school.


Julie P said...

I am SO excited for you. Are you having them finish this school year? I pulled the boys out of 2nd and kinder and Feb 5th this year was our first day of homeschool! It's been kind of crazy, but so fun. And that's me saying that even though just 2 days ago I was praying they'd go back to school. That was not a great day, but we're back on track. Lots of your reasons sound just like mine - vacationing, wanting to be with my kids spending more quality time - instead of just seeing them after school to nag about homework and chores and then take them to whatever sports practice or game before feeding them, showering them and plopping them in bed. I think this is the best move we've made in a long time. I'm so excited for your family!!

Shanna said...

Yes, they will finish out this year. I am excited and nervous too! I'm sure I will have tons of questions as we get into it!

Nemmer said...

Yay! Welcome to the dark side! Just kidding, but I know you will absolutely LOVE homeschooling. The things you mentioned as reasons, especially flexibility in vacations, being able to help the kids learn at their own pace, etc. are my favorite things about homeschooling. Also, once you start looking, it shouldn't be hard to find support groups in your area for regular park days, playgroups, field trips, etc. Those have been invaluable to us. Congratulations on the decision, and I'm excited to see how it goes for you! :)

Lisa said...

Yay! We finally won you over! I'm so excited for you! Homeschooling is very hard, but very worth it for all the reasons you mentioned.

ali said...

wow-- That sounds really great, I can't wait to hear how it goes! I've considered it on and off, but then I chicken out. I look forward to hearing all about it on your blog-- right??

Dane said...

I'm very curious if you have researched technology-based options for lessons. I think learning at your own pace can be multiple times more efficient than through group-based traditional approaches. However, it seems to me it would require an eager-learner to work really well (or talented motivator I guess is also a valid sub)... The standard argument against home-school is the social aspect... any opinion on the validity of that or plans to combat ill-effects of Witbeck-only isolationism :) I'm really interested in hearing about your experience as we think about Wyatt's education. We plan for it already quite a bit, and we need to do research ourselves I think! But it'd be nice for you to just tell us... haha

Ed and Jennifer said...

Wow! You know I have lots to say about it, but you are so smart and well-informed already. I agree with all you said. Kids learn best at (drum roll) Play! 5 weeks on, 2 weeks off works well for us. I use curriculum and I don't. Balance. If there are tears, find a different method. The first year will be an adjustment time, especially since they are used to "school". Good luck! Welcome to homeschooling! BTW, what curriculum did you choose?

Kelly said...

What a great post Shanna. I totally agree with you on all counts. Public school is not horrible, by any means. But the flexibility and involvement I enjoy from homeschooling is awesome. We are going to Europe in May before the price sky-rockets. One of the many perks, for sure.

Thomas said...

Have enjoyed talking to Kydon at work about your upcoming adventures. There is also a very strong biblical call to homeschool. Some verses that have helped my wife and I focus our efforts are Deut 6:1-9 and 2 Peter 1:1-11.

You know you dont have to wait to pull them either. You can start homeschooling them tomorrow. My cousin and his wife just made that decision as well and are very glad they did.

Cecilee said...

Hi Shanna! Sounds really exciting and fun for you. Lots of work too. You are a brave woman! I hope it all goes as well as you hope. I think the key will probably be getting involved with others doing the same thing. It will make it more fun to get together with friends for "field trips" and educational adventures!