Saturday, October 24, 2009

Looking back on fourteen years of homeschooling I wish I had...

1. Taken a “School Picture” every year. Don’t get me wrong. I took and take lots and lots of pictures; I just wish I would have taken one around the same time every year. I suppose this is the only thing I missed from not having a “traditional” school experience.

2. Bought a file box for each child and made a folder for each year of their life. That way I could have easily organized important keep sakes and pictures. Instead I either threw things out or have no idea how old the children were when they created those things. Pictures could be slipped into the appropriate folder to be scrap booked later.

3. Read The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald Davis sooner. Just because a child struggles with learning doesn’t mean they have a learning problem. It just means they see things differently. That’s a good thing! This is a must read for anyone who thinks their child is dyslexic.

4. Been more relaxed in the early years instead of feeling like a failure if I didn’t do everything exactly like the public schools. If I had the opportunity to start over, I would concentrate on the 3 R’s in and not feel guilty. I would also read the books Mommy Teach Me and Mommy Teach Me to Read by Barbara Curtis. She is a certified Montessori instructor who has twelve children. Her ideas and suggestions are awesome, but geared mostly toward children younger than my own. (Check her out at www.mommylife.net.)

5. “Thought outside the box” more. My college degree is in Elementary Education and it took too many years to realize I didn’t have to do every thing the way I was taught to. I wish I had built more replicas and done more hands-on activities. (And not fretted over not finished page whatever in the math book.)

6. Not worried so much about what people thought. If you think homeschooling is a radical idea now, think what it was 15 years ago. Lots of people questioned our decision. Most of those have come around and realize what a great thing it is. Those that didn’t come around, well, they aren’t responsible for my obedience to God, and they can never take away the joy this time with my children has brought me.

7. Not allowed my oldest two to go to public high school. I won’t go into the thought processes that sent them to PHS, just know it was their desire, not mine. My son went all four years and graduated. My daughter went a year and a half and decided on her own she didn’t want to be there. I don’t think the experiences they had there were good for them. However, something good did come out of it: it removed any doubt that I would be able to handle their high school education. In four years My son had maybe four teachers I felt were dedicated and really taught him something. There was a lot of time spent doing busy work, watching pointless movies, learning what was on the state competency tests, and sitting in the gym because the teacher didn’t have work for them to do. They never, ever finished a text book. They were doing well if they made it ½ way through. (How can they go on to Biology 2, Chemistry 2, or Algebra 2 if they haven’t completed the first one??) I know there are some great teachers in the public school system, but in my children’s high school experiences they were few and far between. (Disclaimer: I know there are circumstances where public school is a necessary option. I’m not condemning those who send their children there; I’m just discussing my personal observations and experiences.)

8. Discovered Apologia Science and The Mystery of History sooner. These two resources are teacher/kid friendly and just downright interesting! These would be appropriate beginning in the upper elementary grades.

9. Been more patient and kind. It can be so frustrating when kids don’t “get it” or if they’re fidgety. I ashamedly lost my cool more than once, especially with a certain young man during math.

4 comments:

Lori @ Just Pure Lovely said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to write this up! I'm always asking moms who have done it what they'd do differently. I don't usually receive such a wealth of advice like you've written.

I will take it all to heart, as I did when you told me to enjoy these last couple of years with no drivers in the house (I was whining in FB about being a chauffeur to the kids, and you said to enjoy this time, it's good to know where the kids are and that they are safe).

God bless!

Sun-Kissed Scholars said...

I'll echo Lori. Thank you so much for posting this!! Great ideas, thoughts, encouragement! I'm sending this out to my homeschool group.

Kristi said...

That was a great post!!! Every homeschooler should read it. :)

~Kristi

Elysa said...

Great list, DL! I've passed it on. :)