UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed.
Last night’s fortune cookie said, “Don’t pursue happiness—create it.”
How timely. My friends and I are stressing out about charter school lotteries, as discussed in yesterday’s post. We are making backup plans and talking about our options in the San Antonio Charter Moms Facebook discussion group. (Join us!) At some point, however, it’s time to stop searching for the right school and just create your own. I started homeschooling my son, F.T., last summer, and our backup plan is to continue homeschooling.
I’ve written about our transition to homeschooling. This guest post, A Lesson for New Homeschool Parents, ran in Red, White & Grew last summer when we were just starting out. With one month of experience, I wrote “Homeschooling my gifted/2e son for one month so far”. (Both of those posts were for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum blog hops.) In “School Choice Advocate Responds to ‘Go Public’ Campaign”, a guest post at The Rivard Report, I stood up for my decision to choose homeschooling over the local public district school.
Now that we have about six months of homeschooling experience, I’m going to take a moment to reflect and share some advice with prospective homeschooling parents. Also, Pamela Price of Red White & Grew has given me a signed copy of her book, How to Work and Homeschool, to give away. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment: What is your greatest hope or fear about homeschooling? (Enter by January 29, 2014; I will choose the winner randomly.)
Homeschooling moms and dads often hear statements like this:
Oh! I could never homeschool my son/daughter/kids. We would drive each other crazy.
So, what’s the difference between homeschooling parents and other parents?
Here’s a quiz: Let’s say your family goes out to eat for dinner, not at the usual finger-food-and-sandbox place, but someplace more trendy and upscale. It turns into the worst case scenario. (Use your imagination.) What do you do when you get home?
- Put the kids to bed, go to your happy place (e.g., read a book, drink a glass of wine, sit in a bubble bath), and try to forget it ever happened; or
- Sit your kids down and tell them that you are disappointed that they (fill in the blank) at the nice restaurant, they should know that was a bad choice, and you expect them to do better next time—then do option #1.
If you would choose to do option #1 only, then perhaps homeschooling is not a good choice for you. I imagine that you and your kids really would drive each other crazy. I hope that someone in your children’s lives is in a position to tell them when they do not meet expectations; I think that’s a necessary part of growing up and learning to be a responsible adult.
If you have the stones to do option #2, then you can figure out how to do homeschooling. You will need to find solutions for these challenges: choosing curriculum, building friendships, and maintaining work-life balance.
There is a spectrum of curriculum choices, from pricey (but convenient) pre-packaged courses, to à-la-carte options, to unschooling; from faith-based to secular. I took a homeschooling workshop (more on that below) that helped me learn about curriculum options. For math, we chose Singapore Math—same as Great Hearts, our first choice charter school. For reading, we use what I like to call the Good Will Hunting curriculum . . . although, I admit, we have racked up more than $1.50 in late charges at the public library. For science, history, and art, we like to do field trips, which is also part of building . . .
We have memberships at a bunch of museums (many on the Broadway Reach, as discussed in this earlier post), and a rotation of favorite parks and libraries. We meet up with our friends and go to art classes, science classes, gallery tours, story times, mini camps, etc. Some would call this “socialization.” I don’t like that term; we just like to spend time with our friends. If you decide to homeschool, and start telling people about it, you will find friends to hang out with. You may have friends and co-workers who are homeschooling already, unbeknownst to you.
Yes, you can work and homeschool. It takes creativity and flexibility. Family support helps. You will have to do triage: some things will simply not get done but the world will continue to rotate on its axis.
The authority on working while homeschooling is Pamela Price, author of How to Work and Homeschool. Last summer, I participated in one of her online workshops (as mentioned in this earlier post); she may offer the workshops again this spring. In addition to curriculum options, the workshop also covered scheduling and record keeping. The book has its own Facebook page and a Facebook discussion group where readers share advice and support. Pamela also offers consulting services through PopExpert.
Would you like to win a free, signed copy of How to Work and Homeschool? To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below: What is your greatest hope or fear about homeschooling? Enter no later than January 29, 2014, and then I will randomly choose a winner. Good luck!