Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Often, when people find out we've decided to homeschool our children, they immediately ask 2 questions. The first is usually a question about meeting educational requirements and the second is usually about socialization. Since my children are older and have spent most of their educational lives in public school, people tend to assume they know how to interact with adults and children. When most people hear "homeschool" they tend to stereotype the family as "strange" and "unsocialized". They assume that the children have no exposure to activities outside of the family and they question the parents ability to find social outlets for their child. I am not saying that there aren't families out there who DON'T seek out social activities, but what I AM saying is most families who homeschool have well adjusted and happy children.

Take a moment and think back to your own school days. Did you enjoy school? Did you make friends easily? What did or didn't you like about school?

Here are my answers:

I generally liked school. I usually enjoyed my teachers and I had a few close friends. I was not the most popular kid in school, but I also wasn't the "loner" who sat alone at lunch time. However, there were always "THOSE" kids who would occasionally pick on me and call me names. In elementary school, it was because I struggled in math and needed extra help. Kids would tell me I was stupid because I was a year behind in math. By junior high, the "stupid" label was gone but there were a couple of girls who decided they needed to call me a choice name. I didn't know them and could not understand why on earth they would want to call me names! I was a nice, quiet girl who kept to herself and stayed with her group of friends. I chose to ignore those girls(mostly 1 girl) and eventually she stopped calling me names. By the time I reached high school, no one was picking on me. I actually enjoyed high school and have fond memories of friends and fun times.

That said, here is how I feel about kids and socialization. I do not feel that school is the ONLY place a child can learn how to socialize. In fact, I think there are much better choices out there. Yes, school allows children to meet other children but it is not the end all be all of socialization. If you think about it, when a child is in elementary school, he or she is more likely to be bullied out on the playground or at lunch time. In junior high and high school it happens in the halls, on the bus, in a lunch room and now with modern technology it happens in texts and other methods of electronical communication. For example, I have one child still attending public school. He is in resource for reading. He is a smart boy but struggles with reading. Recently, while sitting at lunch with some peers, a couple of the boys decided to tell my son he was "dumb" because he couldn't read well. My son, being the individual he is, promptly replied that he WAS smart because he was "good at math". Yay Mr. I! Way to stand up for yourself and put those kids in their places. To make the pot sweeter, a week after those boys teased my son, he scored a perfect 100% on his math unit test. He was one of FIVE kids in a class of 25to do that. :) So yup... math is his subject!

Now that I have gone off topic a bit, let me go back to my original thought: Kids do not need to attend school to learn healthy social skills. For example, my children are involved in a homeschool group. Most of the children in this homeschool group, have been homeschooled most if not all of their academic careers. Last month, my children attended a "kick off" event. When we arrived, both of my children were very quiet. Neither of them knew what to expect. The other kids all ran around together and seemed excited to be together. My children were new to the group and did not know anyone. They stood to the side for a bit until a couple kids came over and grabbed each one! Later that night we returned to pick them up. Both had made new friends. My conclusion is that homeschool kids DO know how to socialize and in some ways, better then my once traditionally schooled kids socialize. :) Yup... I think my kids will be JUST fine! In fact, I think they will be fantastic!

Thursday, September 30, 2010


J and K are reading "The Tempest" in their Shakespeare class. I read "Julius Cesear" in 9th grade and I did not like it! I found it hard to hunderstand and BORING! J was having a hard time understanding the old english so I decided I would read her required reading with her. To my surprise, I am learning withher and guess what? I Actually LIKE it! :) It's kind of fun reading it with her. Wonders never cease!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Something Interesting to Note

The first week or so of school, I scheduled the kids and had them work on the same subject at the same time. I also stuck around to make sure both kids were staying on task. I wanted to be 100% sure they were completing their assignments and doing the things they were supposed to be doing.

As the weeks began to pass, I started to ease up a bit and began making lists for each kid. Each kid had the same number of subjects to complete, but the order in which they completed those tasks was completely up to them. They seemed to enjoy the freedom and I enjoyed watching them explore their education. Since the lists worked so well, I have now implemented lists as a part of our daily school routine. Now how long school takes is up to them. They can stay on task and finish early or they can take various breaks and take ALL day to finish their work. It is up to them. I am available for any help, but I do not hover like I did the first couple of weeks. The only time I stay in the room for an extended period of time, is when I am teaching them a lesson or helping them to review what they have learned. I like this method and I am confident they like it as well.

One day last week, I ended up needing to work later then I usually do. Normally, I am home by 10 am and that is when we begin our school day. That day, I did not get off work until 12:30 pm which meant that I would not be home until closer to 1 pm. Because I did not want to wait until 1 pm to start our school day, I made a list for each child. To be honest, I did not expect for them to have their lists started by the time I got home from work. Much to my surprise(AND delight!) they had BOTH completed their lists and were finished with school by the time I came home! I must say, I was quite impressed and praised both kids for their follow-through! One of my goals is to teach them how to work independantly and how to be an active participant in their own education. I think we are off to a GREAT start and I hope they continue on this path. :) I think if they can figure out how to navigate their education, they will grow up being able to make their own decisions.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Moving Right Along

I won't say things are perfect, because they aren't. :) Ideally, I would like every day to go on with out a single problem. I would like each kid to get up, get dressed, pick up their school work and plow their way through each and every requirement of the day. BUT I do not live in that perfect universe and so we have our moments! For the most part, I feel things are still going very well. The kids seem to annoy each other at times but that is nothing new. :)

The kids started their home school group classes and seem to enjoy them! J says her favorite class is science! K is thinking about taking the ballroom dance class the homeschool group offers. His new friends have convinced him it would be fun! We'll see if the class fits into our day. If it does, I think we will sign him up!

I've also registered both kids for their technology classes. K is taking flash animation and a computer game design class. J is taking an intro to computer literacy class. J may also take flash animation since I accidently registered her for the class! I was planning on calling the school tomorrow and asking how to drop the class, but when I told her what I did, she said she wanted to take the class!

Both of the kids have had a blast getting to know the kids in our homeschool
group. I am so very impressed with all of the kids in the group. They are all so friendly and eager to make everyone feel welcome! The mentors teaching the classes are great too. I feel very lucky to have the opprutunity to be involved in this group. I feel the kids will learn so much more about themselves by being involved with this group.

I've decided to use Teaching Textbooks for J's math curriculum. I was going to use Math U See, but opted to go with Teaching Textbooks. I still think Math U See is a great program, I just decided to give Teaching Textbooks a shot. I think J will enjoy how interactive Teaching Textbooks is.

I think that is all I have for today!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Field Trip!

Today we had our first field trip to the Utah Museum of Natural History. :) The kids seem to enjoy our outing and it seemed like a great way to spend our morning. We covered math, history, creative writing and science today. Both kids had to read their independant reading as well.

Here are some pictures from our trip today:

Native Art

J in a tepee


K and J in front of a dinosaur display

J showing how her leg compares to a dinosaur leg!

What a fun morning we had!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Joy of Time

One thing I have discovered during this first full week of homeschool is the value of the time I am spending with my children. I currently have 2 of my 3 children homeschooling, while the other 1 is attending public school.

My oldest child has been attending school for nearly 9 years. Since this is our first year homeschooling, he has spent all of that time in a public school. I remember looking forward to the kids returning to school, because that meant that *I* would have more time for ME. The house would be quiet and it would stay clean during the time they were in school. I admit, the break WAS nice... but once the kids returned home, there was still work to be done. They had homework, they had after school activities to attend, friends to play with(or "hang out" with), baths to take and everything else that comes with life! Now that I have 2 at home, I realize how little time I spent with my children during the school year. It's been nice to have them around and it is nice to have the chance to converse with them and help them learn. I actually feel bad about not spending the same amount of time with my youngest son! He spends all day at school and then we have a few hours every night together. It doesn't seem like enough. I feel as if I am missing out on SO MUCH! I have thought about pulling him out of public school and homeschooling him as well, but I know that I need to keep him in public school just a tad longer. He attends resource for reading and at this point, they can provide the extra time and specialized help that I cannot. Next year I hope to be able to keep him home too!

Seeing as I am new to the world of homeschooling, I know I have SO much to learn. Because of that, there are times when I doubt my own ability to make this a success. I wonder if I am teaching them what they need to be taught and if I am really making a difference. The last thing I want is for my children to suffer all because I decided homeschool was the thing we needed to do. Today, I decided I would give the kids an oral science quiz. I was curious if they had retained anything over the last week. To my delight, they HAD retained what they had been taught! YES! They will both go to their science class next week ready to learn and understand the experiments they will be conducting in class. That made me one very happy mom. I CAN do this!

For the most part, I am enjoying having my children home. It's exciting to know that I am able to spend quality time with them. My children are growing up before my very eyes. In a few weeks, K will be 15! Before I know it, he will be grown and off on his own. J is 12 and growing into a beautiful young woman. It won't be long and she too, will be off enjoying her own young life. I hope this time we have together will allow me to play a much more active roll in their day to day lives. I hope that by homeschooling my children, I will not only educate them but become closer to them as well. I hope that our relationship as a parent and child will grow as we navigate the outside world together.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The "Week" in Review

Today was day 3 of school. So far, I do feel it is going well. I do need to figure out a way to become more organized. I'm not doing a terrible job but I could definately use a lesson or two in organizing. Things do go rather smoothly and the kids seem to actively participate, but I would like to come up with more activities that interest them and relate to the lessons I am teaching. I am sure, in time, I will figure out a way to do that!

Yesterday, they worked on math, english(creative writing), computer skills, history(read their history novels) and science. Today they worked on math, science, health and history(watched a PBS movie). Once again, they had reading time and read their history books. For their computer skills lesson, I had each child create their own online blog. I will use thei blog as a way for them to improve their typing and writing skills.

Yesterday we attended a parent meeting with the homeschool group we belong to. Once again, I am sooo happy with our decision to homeschool the older kids. I think the kids will gain a lot from the experiences they will have attending the 3 classes they are taking through our homeschool group.

The kids online charter school classes will begin in September. I am looking forward to the things they will learn while taking those classes as well! Since each child is taking a computer course, they will each recieve a netbook computer! What a great bonus for our family! This will make taking the online classes MUCH easier. :)