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Woo hoo, boy, have you come to the right place!! We're just FULL of advice!!
Two books that I read and found really helpful were So You're Thinking About Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel and one called Home Sweet HomeSchool by Sue Maakestad. Both of those books really made me think "I CAN do this!"
As for pros and cons, I'm sure that we can all pitch in on those!
I'm in charge of their education and what they learn
They're safer in my home
School is about school, not about what you are wearing or dating or things like that
I get to spend time with them - in PS, they'll be out of my home for 12,500 hours between K and 12th grade!! That's a lot of time for someone else to get to spend with them!!
Getting to be the one teaching them
Watching them as they get a new concept and knowing that I had something to do with that
Cons....well, a lot of those up there can be seen as a con. I find myself stressing out over making sure she's learning all that she needs to learn. (she's in 1st grade) But that's why there are so many curriculums out there. I also don't get that "Aaah, they're out of the house for 6 hours a day" time to myself...but in the long run, I'm okay with that!
Anyway, I'm sure that many of the ladies will come up with more things. Feel free to ask as many questions as you need to!
And to the board!
-- Lisa --
Wife to my best friend Troy, mom to Reilly and Declan
I am Shery...mother of 3 children...10, 8 and 7.
I would like to give my view of homeschooling from somone who has also experienced 4 years of the public school system with my children...a very good school system I might add.
Our lives have changed SIGNIFICANTLY since starting homeschooling after the first 6 weeks of school last year...my kids were in the 4th, 2nd and 1st. We were living our lives for the weekends and summer breaks. We absolutely didn't have time for anything else. The kids were in school all day...only to come home and spend another 3 to 5 hours on homework. Then they would have to read assigned books for Accelerated Reading Tests. They were miserable. My kids do not mind doing school, and I don't mind working with them. However, it was all we had time for. People ask me how I can stand spending that much time doing one on one work with them. Truthfully, I am not spending anymore time doing work with them than I was before. The difference is that now, we do it in the morning and early afternoon and then we are finished for the day. No more working all day only to come home and work all evening.
I honestly, at one point, found myself wishing that they were all finished with school. LITEREALLY WISHING MY CHILDREN AWAY .
My husband, Jeff, came to me one day and said that we had to do something for our family. He suggested homeschooling and I didn't hesitate. I talked to the kids about it and also looked into the homeschool organization here to make sure that they would have a peer group. WOW...do they ever. It is amazing. We have gone on so many fieldtrips and meetings with the other families. Everytime we meet for something, there are over 100 of us. The organization, CHA, has a yearbook, proms, graduations, field days, field trips, organized sports, a co-op, speech club, etc. etc. It is like a little school group, except that they don't learn together, except for the ones who do a couple of months of co-op a year. My kids have actually been more social since homeschooling because WE HAVE TIME. Before, we couldn't do anything during the school year because our lives were sucked up with the school's agenda. My kids are so happy...Jeff and I are so happy. Yes, I put a LOT of work into planning curriculum and making plans and stuff in the summer, but then the hardest part is done. The teaching is fun for me....we make it fun.
I honestly, at this point, can't even give you the negatives of it.....I really can't .
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I don't think the majority of homeschoolers are higher income. Most of us after all are sahm, so only one income is coming in. The amount spent on homeschooling varies quite a lot. Some people might spend a couple of thousand, others I know manage on vertualy nothing. Like about $100 per year with a libary card, computer printouts and a little second hand materials. http://www.homeschoolingonashoestring.com/ would be the official site for hs on very little. Even the most lavish homeschooling output I could think off, (like what I might buy in my dreams ) wouldn't be anywhere near what some privet schools cost. (Although maybe someone knows diffrently? )
"Cats are keen, cats are great, cats are clean they lick your plate."
$8170 per student on just lunch, and school suplise (including the un-needed new cloths) during public school. We have spent less then $30 on school supplise. We also ask for his "supplise" for christmas because he feels there presents. I plan to set aside "lunch money" for a college account. I think it depends on how you home school. Honestly I feel it a millon times cheaper then public school. Often the libbary has many resorces.
To the people that question me about homeschool I usually ask them if they would choose an Ivy league eduacation or a public school eduacation if it was the same price. Then they tend to understand.
For me, there are 4 main reasons why I homeschool:
1) Learning at their own pace. My son is well above his age-based grade level in his academic abilities and I feel his learning would be severely stunted in a regular school.
2) Individualization! In regular schools, your child mainly does what is outlined for them and every child in their class. In homeschooling, your child can help choose the subjects to be studied, so if they have a particular interest in something, you can go ahead and plan a unit on it and not simply hope that it will get covered in school at some point. You and your child get to choose the curriculum as long as it meets the basic requirements.
3)Involvement! I love being the one to teach my son and being there when he grasps new concepts. I know several parents who send their children to school and choose to be really involved with their educations, too (although I also know far too many who simply send them to school and aren't involved at all), but I still get to be more of a part of my son's education this way as I am right there for at least 80% of his learning experiences.
4) Time! By my rough estimation assuming a typical school day is 6 1/2 hours and that children go to school 5 days a week and about 30 weeks out of the year, they are away from you about 40 entire days (24 hour periods) a year when they go to school, and that is just the time spent at school alone. To me, that is a LOT of time to be away from your children, especially in their earlier years. I know many people who work outside of the home are away from their children far more than that, even, but for me, children grow up too quickly for so much of that time to be spent away from me. Not that my son is with me 24/7, but I do get to spend much more time with him than I would if he were to go to school outside of the home.
As for the cons, all I can really say is that there are many days where it is incredibly frustrating and where I may be at wits end. But I know that all parents feel that way, regardless of how they choose to educate their children.
About money: Our family has very little. I am a stay-at-home mom and our household just barely meets the liveable wage determined by my state (a small price to pay for being a full-time mom, though). I am an avid yard saler and bargain hunter and many of our school supplies are obtained through that. The internet is also an amazing resource for homeschooling. I print up many materials that I find online for use in our schooling. Sure, a lot of money CAN be spent on homeschooling, and many homeschooling families choose to spend more by purchasing complete, structured curriculums from various companies, but with some time and effort, you can easily make a fantastic curriculum of your own and fully stock an primo classroom. I have!
Best of luck to you on your ventures! I hope that we've been helpful and that you are able to find all of the information you are seeking!