Monday, May 18, 2009

Confidence in Homeschooling

The title of this post certainly doesn't reflect the way I've always felt about the 8 years of homeschooling I've done with my children. My oldest child did attend public school for K & 1st; however, I did teach him to read at 4 before he even went to school and I didn't follow any expensive reading curriculum to do it either. I went to the library, found a simple little book called "Phonics for the Young Reader" & the rest is history : ) Having taught him to read did give me a little confidence in my ability to homeschool.

Through the years I've used many different types of curriculum & textbooks and learning approaches....never completing one & not following them to a T ...just in case your wondering ; ) I have to say my favorite way of teaching is by taking the unit study& child interest learning approach. As my kids have gotten older (13+) I still take that approach but have pushed more academics...although I still think I've been a little more relaxed then most homeschoolers I know. Of course kids need guidance and need mom & dad to decide what might be interesting to learn about;however, it is still important to really notice or take interest in what it is your kids like, enjoy doing, or are good at , because you never know...that particular interest maybe a God given gift or ability that the Lord wants to build upon.

I have always been a little more of a relaxed homeschooler....rather bake cookies with the kids & go on a field trip with them then sit all day doing worksheets. Although I often wondered if I was doing a disservice to my kids by not having them crack open the textbooks day after day. I wondered if they were learning enough or at the right times. The only thing that I have had confidence in during this homeschooling journey, has been emphasizing to my kids a love for learning....a love for reading. I have come to realize that my kids have learned so much more by visiting the library often & checking out many books to read.

In our state we have to turn in a homeschool portfolio review (this is a portfolio of work they've done through out the year) each year to our local school district, that has been approved by a certified teacher or have them take a standardized test also administered by a certified teacher. I've always done the portfolio reviews ,until this year , I had them tested. I am so glad and relieved that I had them tested. They did better then I could have imagined. Their grade equivalent scores were all above their grade level. As an example my oldest child who is finishing up the 9th grade had an over all grade equivalent score of a 12th grader. This has given not only them more confidence but has given me the confidence that homeschooling that doesn't follow the "typical schooling method" really does work!


wifeandmom said...

This is so encouraging! Thank you for posting this. I am so anxious about this and wonder how I'll ever navigate my way through all the different curriculums out there and how to teach science and ...MATH. How have you tackled the more difficult subjects like Math and Sciences? Has that come pretty easy for you and your kids or been a struggle? It was always my weak spot so I am intimidated by it.

His Tender Mercies said...

Math and Science are not my thing : ) I have children that are both weak and strong in these areas. My oldest daughter who over all did above grade level on her test, struggled with the math part of the test. I knew she would. Her over all score for the math was right at her grade level but the computation part was 2 grade levels below....I knew it would be because I know her and her dislike for math. I'm not going to sweat it. I'm going to try a different curriculum for math next year..... It's called Teaching Textbooks and I really hear wonderful things about it; however, it is expensive.
Science I've always just tried interesting ways for them to learn. Park programs, videos, books from the libraries, science specific unit studies. etc. We did part of unit study on kids loved it! I bought a bird field guide for our area put out some bird feeders....even made some out of milk jugs. The kids have learned to identify birds....better then me too. There are so many fun ways and easy ways to teach science. When we did the Prairie Primer unit study I bought an owl pellet kit. We disected it and found all the bones in it and tried to identify the bones of the animal that the owl was cool. A really great science curriculum is Apologia. It's a creation based curriculum and it's wonderful. My son did their Physical Science on Cd Rom this year. He really enjoyed it. Last year we did Great Science Adventures. You make lap books. It is alot photo copying but your end results are fun little books that they put together and have to look at. I didn't follow it to a T...kind of did my own thing. Your son is so young....I think just spending time outdoors and going on field trips is the way to go. Really don't worry about it. You will do fine with him. If I can do it...anyone can do it: )

wifeandmom said...

Thank you so much for your response to me about this. I was just talking to my husband about some of my thoughts on all of this and told him about your homeschooling methods and actually brought him in here to read what you had written on it. He thinks it is great that I have some good mentors like you. I learn a lot and am so encouraged this way.