Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Homeschooling....

This year sees my almost 5 year old, Connie, entering the world of Homeschooling. Here, on the farm, although we have a schoolroom most of the 'school work' is done elsewhere... So today, while DH heads 1000 km's down the road with a load of Dorper Ewes on board, the girls and I are hanging out at home, enjoying a little down-time.....
school 1
We've been blob painting, water-playing, puzzle making, drawing and oh so much more....
I was so nervous about starting this adventure into Schooling with Connie. Would I, or more to the point, could I provide her with all the things her growing mind needed??? I've read many a book in search of this very answer and you know what???? I'm a great Mum and I love my kids and at the end of the day this is what's important...
Homeschooling is definitely the right decision for us, right here, right now, at this time in our lives..... I love seeing Connie's development, her reactions to certain tasks and the wonderful things she creates daily. We are lucky to call the 'world' our classroom, being able to follow interests and passions as the need or urge arises....
We are enrolled with The School of Distance Education and our curriculum and supplies are sent out from Dubbo. Every thing we need is boxed up and arrives at the farm every 4 weeks; library books, craft supplies, activity packs, toys, construction sets, EVERYTHING, even info packs for the Mumma!!!!
You see, back when I first started talking with people about homeschooling and how it was a possible option for my girls, a family member (quite close to me at the time) was quick to shoot me down. She insisted that I was robbing my girls of a life, a life that was only achieved by attending a 'proper' school, a life that was supposed to be better.....
So here's my question to you, be honest now, would you home-school? How do you feel about those who do??

39 comments:

  1. I have mixed feelings about home-schooling. Firstly, I am a teacher but that certainly doesn't mean I'm better than you in teaching your children.
    I always say YOU know your children best. You obviously looked deeply into this and into yourself. It must reflect what you value or else you would've decided against it.
    I'm sorry to hear that some people that are close to you have such strong feelings against it. I guess it doesn't matter if not everyone agrees with your decision, it matters that they support you. And support is what you are going to need to be successful in home-schooling your children.
    I say hooray for making such a decision. I'm looking forward to future posts on some great lesson plans mum!!

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  2. Good on you! I am filled with awe at those Mums who homeschool! I would have to think long & hard about it but if I lived in a remote area, I would try my hardest & hopefully make it a success. The Pioneer Woman has a homeschooling section on her blog that I am always intersted in, even though I don't homeschool. Is homeschooling different from School of the Air?
    PS - I have misspelt 'school' 3 times writing this comment, perhaps it's a good thing I send my kids to school!

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  3. Can't say it's for me, I have a hard enough time keeping my four kids busy out of school, and I like the time apart, but you sound well motivated and prepared, I don't know anyone who has been home schooled, but in your situation being on a farm I think I would consider it. Good on you, go for it I say!

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  4. YAY!!! I'm a bit of a lurker here but from all I have seen you all are perfect for homeschooling!! I'm so happy for you. It is a wonderful experience.

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  5. Hi Jodie - we homeschool, and we love it! I'm really glad we made the decision. Like you we did have some criticism from close family members - and for the same reasons too - the school 'life'.
    I really love seeing my boys growing up and learning. I think you guys will have a great time, and I'd love to see more homeschooling posts :)

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  6. Good on you! I home-schooled my eldest child after he had been at the local primary school for 3 years. He couldn't say his alphabet, he could sing it the Sesame Street way but not speak it slowly and he certainly couldn't read. He struggled the most to read the basic core words that have no picture, such as; on, off, when, what, the, and, etc, but he could spell elephant. He was assessed at school, he had his IQ measured in so many ways, he saw a professor of reading at Sydney Uni, he was gifted and talented in 2 areas, block design and spatial awareness but he couldn't read, write or spell. The school counseller told me "you are the proud parent of an enigma and we don't know how to help him". I home schooled him with the schools blessing, we modelled every letter of the alphabet in clay, he learnt the letters by feel with his eyes closed and could recite the alphabet forward and backwards eventually. He modelled each of those core words, for 'on' he made a light switch that was turned on and made the letters 'o' and 'n' and then he could visualise the word so he could read, write and spell it. My son was home by me for 3 months, and it was the best 3 months we ever had together, we did so many other thing, reading recipes, weighing and measuring, shopping and doing maths together, just everyday things but he learned so much. He has achieved much in his school life and finished his HSC last year ,now he is almost 19 years old and enters the Navy Gap Year in 2 months time. Traditional schooling isn't the answer for everyone and in your remote situation I think I would be doing just as you are, the education department is a huge help to parents undertaking home-schooling, you'll be fantastic at it. Remember they are your children and you know them best! Goodluck and I'd love to see what you and Connie get up to.

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  7. I personally don't think I could do it. Not enough patience. That said one of my best friends home schools her children and she does an amazing job. If I could send my kids to her I would.
    I think it's a decision that can only be made by the family in question.

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  8. I think these decisions are personal decisions and if they are done with the best of intentions then they are always right.
    It's different for me - I live in the city, across the road from a very good public school and my kids needed to go for the social aspect. But when you live so far from a school and they are so little, well lets just say, I can understand why you made that decision.
    Enjoy it - it actually sounds like fun :)
    l
    x

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  9. as an (ex) teacher I always thought it was crazy talk but now my oldest is nearly 5 I totally get why people do it. For so many different reasons. I think there is so much dead time at school and so much pointless time. Home schooling avoids this. There are also bad teachers and one can make a 'hate' relationship with a 'subject' for life which is a tragedy as we all know. Some home schooler wrote that people always say to her 'you must have so much patience' and she said she always replies something like 'i have no more patience than the next person but I have a lot more opportunity to practice it and I don't shy away from that opportunity' that quote has inspired me in my parenting life. When it gets tough and hairy i try and remember this and not shy away. these are the moments for learning and I try to grasp them. Go well in your journey. i don't plan to homeschool at this stage but really understand those who choose to.
    x

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  10. I say good on you for making that step.
    Myself I have 4 girls, If I had the chance to home school my children back then I would have, My personal opinion about home schooling your children. "They are not badly influenced by the other children". If I could have home schooled my children "YES" definately. They have more chance of learning from you as they have a one on one with the teacher "YOU" as schools, they have so many children in the class room to teach, not much time is spent on a single student.
    I say horray to you and the best of luck in your teaching skills. And her education. Congratulations on your decision. I honestly think you have made the best decision for you child.

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  11. No I wouldn't but I haven't been in a position when I have had to consider it. I have always lived in towns with a choice of schools. The only time it would of been an option was when to stop my children being bullied I drove them an hour each way to school. I was honest with myself and didn't have the patience, knowledge and dedication to teach them myself. I could see myself making each day about lunch, morning and afternoon tea!!! Having said all this I read a few blogs of homeschooling families and love hearing how they do it. There are no right or wrong ways to bring up our children and I am inspired by those who do homeschool. Good luck with the journey!

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  12. Such a personal decision.... it wasn't really an option when my children were schooling - if it had been was I would have homeschooled for the first few years at least. I have only ever heard happy stories about home school... you don't get the bullying, the student/child is in a loving environment - I don't think you can go wrong with this choice...
    Hugz

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  13. Wow what an adventure ahead! I have never considered home schooling, as I am dyslexic. My daughter knew I wasn't reading her bedtime stories properly at 6, so she decided to read her own or read to me! If you feel it is the right decision, go with it.

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  14. Dropping out of lurkdom to say....
    I have the deepest admiration for those who school their own children. I wish all the very best of luck to you and your girls. I'm sure they will blossom into beayutiful, intelligent well educated young ladies.

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  15. hooray! and have a wonderful journey of learning alongside your little one.

    I bet you will find it tremendously fulfilling and extremely challenging too!

    School "systems" give me the shits and I truly believe that 20 minutes of full attention and desire to learn is worth far more than an entire day of being forced to conform to somebody else's rules.

    We find that there are so many opportunities that present themselves in our daily lives here on our farm for learning - as I'm sure you find too.
    Embrace it and have a terrific time!

    xx A
    P.S. look into "unschooling"

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  16. If you're happy, your children are happy, your partner is supportive and you put 110% into it, then I'm sure that it's the right decision for you as a family.
    There are so many fantastic resources at your dispossal these days, and I'm sure that there will be plenty of parent homeschooling forums out there for all you mums (and dads).
    Have you heard of Ree Drummond? She's got a very famous blog called: Confessions of a pioneer woman. She lives on a ranch with her husband and 4 children. Ree homeschools her children. There's a section on her blog that talks about all things Homeschool related.
    I'm sure your girls will love being taught by their mum. And, you'll love watching them learn and grow as every day passes.
    Good luck and enjoy learning together.
    Jill xxxxx

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  17. I think it would be hard given you run a farm and a business as well, but that time pressure would be my only concern, not the lack of school 'life'.

    Ellie has commented about her homeschooling friend whom I share with her, and via her efforts I am pro homeschool. She is amazing!

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  18. I home-schooled both my children form beginning till they went to college. If it wasn't for home school, we wouldn't have been able to travel as much as we did and wouldn't have seen the wonderful land you live in. I say go for it! I loved it and I believe that my children benefited from it and if I had to do it over again, I would!
    Here in California, there are many who thought it wrong, but I thought that was the way of life for those of you in the outback?

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  19. So glad that Connie is doing well and that you're having a good time being teacher! I looked long and hard at homeschooling for our kids. As you know we have big days that sees our kids getting on the bus before 7.30 and not home until about 4.30. LONG DAYS for little people. I was all set to homeschool last year... for preschool... and then this year with kindy for 1 and preschool for the other.... but we ended up adding another little person to the family last year so I decided we'd try the school thing. Just because they go to school doesn't mean they'll learn! So I think you have to make the best choice for your family. Make sure the kids get some outside socialisation... enjoy having your little people around for longer. I am missing my little man so much now that he's at school! And honestly... people will always have their own opinions about it. You need to stick with yours. :)

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  20. We have four children and we homeschool. It is not out of necessity or distance or any other forced reason. We decided to homeschool our children because we believe we know them best and can tailor their learning experiences to each of them. We love seeing their love for learning, and the freedom to learn things the way they learn best can't be beat. I still get disapproval in lots of different ways as a lot of people don't understand the choice to homeschool or the methods we do or don't use, but I know we are doing what is best for our children. They are thriving and we really enjoy it too. You will be great, and your kiddos will do really well, I'm sure.

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  21. If and when someone has to make such a decision... I think that you need to listen to your heart... will you take the time it needs to make sure that your child/children are learning all they need to learn? Because most of all you want your child to have a wonderful experience (at least that's how I would want my kids to feel) and not be behind others once they are thru with school altogether! Home schooling from talking to those who have done this is quite a "blessing" because you can see them thrive and grow in area's that they may only touch on in a public/private school. Each child has varied interests and this way you can see what their special interests may be. If they are interested in farming... then they can also take extra classes in say science/agriculture etc... that maybe a non-home school would not touch on at all.
    Good for you... our 4 children have grown and have started families of their own but looking back I wonder if they may have done better at least one of our daughters if we had home schooled her. She was some what over weight and kids can be soooo cruel sometimes... she just turned 30 and still she thinks about all the teasing/hassle/put downs that were given her in school.
    Good Luck!

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  22. I did pre-school homeschooling through dubbo many years ago.It was fabulous the resources that you receive are incredible.my son couldnt wait for his box of goodies to arrive each month.the teachers are so organised its a great system.dont know if Id like to do past 2nd or 3rd grade though.good on you Jodie stick by what you feel is right in the end mums have a pretty good gut feeling.good luck and have fun!

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  23. Home-schooling maybe the answer for not though it may not be the answer for ever. They are your children and you will do as you wish.

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  24. Hi Jodie,
    We too made the decision to homeschool this year. Big E is loving it, she wakes up and wants to start school. Little E can't wait to join, she has even enrolled in a pre-prep class to get a hang of it all. We too are suffering through the criticism of a lot of people. But in the end it is all about what works best for you and your child. After all, all we want are happy children.
    I am also enjoying every frustrating moment of it.

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  25. As long as children get the teaching they need I think homeschooling works! I do think some people need to send their kids to school, because of social aspects with other kids which my son really needed when he started school. I am sure you will be a great teacher to your girls as your already a wonderful mum! It will be just as fun for you as for them.

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  26. If you are in a rural situation and the school/s you have available are not up to standard/ not working for your child/ too far away for your very young child then I would consider it, however I also think at the age of Kindy/Pre Primary the social side is so important and some families who homeschool forget this (not saying you do) and think playing with siblings is plenty of socialising. I think it is important for children to learn from a young age to interact with others outside their own family and learn the rules of sharing, taking turns, conflict resolution, negotiation, taking charge of play, letting others take charge of the play, conversation, how to enter play situations and so on. Doing this with a sibling or parent is one thing, managing it with a new friend or peer is another entirely!

    I'm certainly not saying you've made the wrong decision though! Just my two cents (as an early childhood teacher who regularly sees those very poor social skills).

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  27. Good on you Jodie...if I had my time over I would probably think about homeschooling. I went to an alternative school and loved every minute of it. Luckily for me our local state school is as alternative as you can get but still be in the system. The teachers are wonderful and both my boys are doing well and liking school. I get feedback from the teachers and they support my decisions. Not all state schools are like this I know. Have a look at Linda's blog naturalsuburbia.blogspot.com she is a homeschooling mum and has lots of links to all the Waldorf blogs and information. Such a lovely way to teach the children. My friend is employed by a station just to drive the kids to school because it takes up half the day just getting to school and then back, then you have to turn around and go back and do the pickup...too long in the car in my opinion :-)

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  28. A Great post Jodie and I'm sure you will get lots of fores & against. My daughter just finished her schooling and I am relieved.
    We have had "dramas" from Kindergarten. The social aspect of school truely confused her. She would have prefered a "group" of friends but tended to have one friend each year that wouldn't allow that. Now she is in the workforce and TAFE and is finally enjoying life. The longer you can keep your children away from these dramas the better. In saying that.... It has certainly made her the strong, confident, mature girl she is now. Enjoy your homeschooling while you can xx

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  29. After watching my sister-in-law home schooling for many years I can only shake my head in wonder. I dont know where she gets the strength. I certainly couldnt do it. But her kids are all perfectly well rounded young adults with a hell of a lot more respect for others and their parents than others their age. So many kids these days dont have that, and it might not be anything to do with schooling, but maybe its from the extra time spent with their parents and the independant work ethic that they have to aquire doing distance education.
    I dont know how you will fit it in with all the other stuff your doing, but Good on ya for having a go Jodie.

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  30. I would definitely do it.
    I actually did do it, only for 18 months, when my daughter left primary school.

    She really didnt seem quite ready for high school, and we couldn't find a school that we were happy to send her to at the time.

    I had people - especially family - try to shoot me down too.
    But I ignored them and did it anyway.

    It was the best thing I ever did, for her in that regard,
    The one on one time I got to put in to her helped to fill some gaps that had developed, due to quite a bit of changing of teachers, etc.

    After 18 months, the staff changed at one of the local high schools and we were happy to send her there.

    Because she was what you might term an 'average student', she had sorten fallen through the cracks of the school system. She was a compliant student, and these tend to be the ones that teachers don'
    t spend a lot of time with.
    At the end of primary, she did not have a lot of belief in her ability to achieve. She did well, but not the best, so didn't win any prizes.

    During her homeschooling time, I especially concentrated on letting her know that anything was possible for her.


    She loved the high school we ended up sending her to and she ended up becoming School Captain.
    She then won a scholarship to study song writing at college.

    I think the time spent homeschooling contributed to her ability to communicate well with people of all age groups.


    I say, go for it. Who knows how long it will be for.

    Cheers
    Fi

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  31. Wouldn't it be awful if we all had the same kind of upbringing as everyone else? Where would the variety (and that comese from it)spring from? We NEED our children to come from a broad range of upbringings so that we, as a socoety, can be a wholesome lot. Mainstream school is not for everyone, for a vaiety of reasons. Homeschool on a farm is such a sensible way of keeping families together and allowing the children to continue to get all the many wonders and benifits from such a home. THree cheers to you and yours for seeing how this goes. Love your blog, Katja

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  32. Hi there Jodie,
    Do what is best for your girls and your family life. Others may have their own opinion which may not be relevant or appropriate to your situation or lifestyle. Living out in the country as you do, homeschooling sounds a practical solution. Would your girls have to sit on a bus for hours each day going to and from a'proper' school?? Therefore missing out on quality family time in the home.....
    I am contemplating home schooling my youngest and have not yet made a decision.
    Good luck with whatever you decide to do and try not to let the opposer's get you down!

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  33. If you live in a remote area then homeschooling may be your only option. You seem very switched on to the needs of your children so I think you and the girls will be just fine. I see Connie is doing dance classes so this will have her mingling with like-aged children, which will be good for her. Good on you for giving it a go, I'm sure you'll love the experience.

    Cheers - Joolz

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  34. Hi Jodie, I think home schooling is a personal decision, based on your own circumstances. Me I live in the 'burbs, and am very happy with the school my girls attend so there is no reason to. But your little one is only 5, I assume that there would be a long bus commute for her, or if no bus, you would have to drive her? Certainly making it an ordeal. I commend you for the research you have put into this. Your decision is obviously what is best for your family right now. You will know soon enough if it is not working. As long as she get the chance to socialise with other littlies and is learning what she is supposed to be then go for it.

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  35. Living in town, with a good school, no I wouldn't consider home-schooling (at this point anyway, Rory is only 2.5!). But living out of town, having to travel more than an hour to get to school each day, in not always ideal conditions, then traveling home each afternoon also, I think that would be too much, for everyone. You have to consider what is best for the whole family unit, with realistic expectations. Each to their own I say. And knowing you Jodie and your motivation, I'm sure this will work out for you all.
    Caz W

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  36. I am all for doing what is best for the individual child and am completely in support of home schooling as long as routine and educating occurs (which more often than not I know that it DOES). My sister attempted to home school however and would not instill routine with her kids and the eldest went from being an incredibly advanced toddler to a grade behind in every subject by the time she put him in public school. But I think it definitely works wonders and I love that there is so much support and community for it in the blogging world! You've got amazing resources right at your finger tips!

    My hub is a huge proponent of public school though (and I'm a huge proponent of pre-school) so if we ever choose to have kids, I'm pretty sure they will attend public (and pre) school. We'll see...I'm sure it will be dependent on life at that time, should it occur!

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  37. Good luck to you Jodie. If I was in a rural setting I would look into it. I did look into it for Amelia as we move again at the end of the year and I find that her having to leave friends is hard.
    We descided to send her to a local school and she is loving it and I have never been busier in my life. (Traffic getting kids ready etc) but she is enjoying it and thriving so that makes me happy.
    Looking forward to seeing how you all go. Good Luck.

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  38. Hey Jodie ... go for it! There is no one perfect way to school kids just as there is no one perfect way to raise them. Each child is different and if you can adjust your teaching methods per student, then you're the best teacher! I am sending my children to a public school but it's only because we happen to live in a district with the top schools. If we were to move out a bit, the options would not be so good. Then I would homeschool. I am still thinking about homeschool when my children get into high school. And if I got a package every week like you do, then heck, my work's half done! Good luck!

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  39. We live on a farm and I started distance ed this year with my 8 & 9 year old boys. I had considered it at the beginning of their schooling and thought no they need the school environment etc (my MIL (who lives on the property too is a school teacher). They have nagged me for 2 years to HS and I finally went with it. We are loving it and I wish I had started earlier. I never wanted holidays to end. They hated the trip to the bus and the bus trip. Now they can help out around the place and sleep in if they need it. They never even ask to come to town with me anymore. Good luck with your schooling.

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