Saturday, December 10, 2011

Socialization- I hate this question!

We have chosen to home school our children. There are many reasons we made the decision. My oldest son who is 6, Anders, has a hyper activity problem. He is fantastically smart, reading at almost a 6th grade level in kindergarten, but can be distracted and needs constant redirection, something a teacher with 30 other students might not be able to give him. Second, we are Christians. I want my son to know Jesus Christ. This does not mean he will not learn about other religions and have a closed world view. We openly talk about Islam, Buddhism and Judaism frequently. I want my children to know true hope and faith, but in a country that tries to take faith out of every part of society I've realized it's up to me to instill it into my children. And yet how can I teach my children good morals, values and our Faith if they are essentially being raised by their peers and a teacher for 9 hours out of the day?
Ironically, when I tell someone we home school our children they only ever ask 1 question, "What about socialization?" Seriously! This is what our culture is worried about? Shouldn't it be, "What about academics? How about choice in curriculum?" Maybe that is one of the reasons so many children are failing in our schools- too much pressure in socialization and no one caring about their academics! Just a thought. It's statistically proven that children who are home schooled are at minimum 25% smarter, do better on tests and graduate earlier than those who attend public school. They get to work at their own pace and learn in subjects that interest them. Why not give kids a reason to like learning?
 I'm not saying home schooling is perfect either. They get out of it what you put into it as a parent. It takes work.When I started thinking about home schooling I went through many books and it all seemed Greek to me. This is what we have done thus far: last summer I pick up a copy of A Well Trained Mind a guide to classical learning. We worked through the suggestions in the book and every Sunday night I would take 30 mins and write out what we would be working on for the week. It was great having the freedom to ask Anders, "So, what do you want to learn about today?" We made frequent trips to the library and chose subjects and books. If we couldn't find one he really wanted, we would order it on and wait. Everything was working out well, but I doubted myself and how much work I was giving him. He would get through every subject in 2-3 hours. What do we do with the rest of the day? On a friends suggestion we signed up for, an online public school. They sent out all of his books, science experiments, a computer and even a printer! And best of all- it was free! Everyday he logs on and works through each subject and then does book work. He has a teacher besides me who interacts with him 3 times a week in an open forum with other kids. It still only takes him 2-3 hours to complete all of his work, the same amount of work he would be getting in a public school. The free time lets him learn more things he is interested in like piano, Latin and of course ultimate lego building. Although I love k12 and recommend it for someone nervous about home schooling, I like to call it home schooling with training wheels, I am not sure if we will use k12 next year or if we will switch to a Christian curriculum. I've heard great things about A Beka curriculum, all of the Christian private schools use it here. Why not give my children a private school education for a fifth of the price? If you have questions about home schooling I would love to help, drop me a line!

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