Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Blogit Entries Day 3: Homeschool Dilemma

I was all but ready to solely dedicate a blog to the life of my three year old son, however my mind is being flooded with homeschooling curriculum choices. It was not a decision that was take lightly. I mean, let's think about this, your child's education lies in your hands. It is so much easier just to throw him into a public school, and then blame the under paid and under appreciated teacher for his behavior and lack of putting forth an effort. However, in making this decision it was hard for me to bring up the homeschooling idea and concerns to my husband. We were both brought up in the public school system, and I wasn't sure what his take would be on it. It was our move from Louisville back home to Florida that my ideas for this came to light.
The school system in our county has been going down hill for years, and I just didn't know what to do about it. When I finally had the courage to bring it up to my husband his "biggest concern" was the socializing aspect. This was not a big issue for me. I was the girl who got in trouble for talking in class; I was the girl that got sent to the silent table during lunch. So, for me socializing in public school was an oxymoron if I had a say in the matter. My husband's concern in this matter did not last long when we saw our son's personality blossom. The boy could have a magical conversation with a tree, if you let him. My thought process was, "How can a mom who is highly educated send her sons to a school that is not performing the way the state would like?"
The birth of the journey into Homeschooling began with my husband's full support. We agreed that for our family and our Christian beliefs that this is what we wanted for our boys. We discussed what would happen if the boys wanted to attend school as they got older and if we would be open to that decision. For now, we think it will not play a huge role in the boys' thoughts. For one, the boys have close-aged friends that will be home taught as well. There is a nice core group in the area that are planning the same education route as we are. If the matter was brought up, we would approach it with letting the boys take one class at the high school. The state of Florida allows homeschooling students to take AP/DE courses or extracurricular classes at the school, as long as this law remains, we think that will satisfy their craving. If not, praying about the decision would be the answer.
Back to the curriculum... There is so much out there, and it can be overwhelming for beginners. The Florida Homeschooling convention will be approaching in May, and this will be my second year in attendance. My husband will be joining me this year to help with weeding out the choices. It seems that I have gotten the Writing, Math, and Critical Thinking programs selected. I have Reading, Social Studies, and Science that I have left to ponder. The reading is my biggest obstacle. I was taught to read by sight (no phonics), when the system saw that this was not the best approach they switched back to phonics. So, I am a strong advocate for PHONICS! Come May, I am hoping that with the help of the husband, my convention endeavor will be less overwhelming.
My opinion and tips for those pursuing homeschooling are: make sure your spouse gives you the support you need, weigh out the pros and cons for your individual family (not what worked best for others), be open to all the curriculum, find a support group in your area or online, and follow your child's strengths. For example, Mr. Independent (my three year old) enjoys the hands on approach along with the visual attraction of things. He would fail terribly sitting doing nothing but writing. He loves creating. He is artistic. The math program we are selecting for him has many scales, blocks, cards, etc. 
The time will come when Mr. Clinger (my three month old) will be ready for school, and only God knows how different he will be in learning. Just when I think I have it all straightened out, I'm sure he will tangle it all up for me. I am sure there will be more on this dilemma in the future because the homeschooling dilemma is a great one, but an experience I know God will bless our family with.

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