Monday, November 2, 2015

HomeSchooling: What I Love, What I Hate, What is Challenging

As I buckle down to write this post, it's Friday afternoon. My kids are at the dining room table working on art projects for our Greek Mythology studies. They are all making pictorial family trees.

-BMV is making a "family tree" that encompasses the Titans-who each is, and what they did.
-Freckles is making his chart of lesser gods and muses and such.
-LC is making a sketch to show Chaos, Gaia, Uranus, and Tartarus.
-And Meres is drawing, drawing away. She is big into drawing these days. And she also is big drawing into Penelope, Odysseus' wife, and Odysseus himself. (simply because there is a Penelope on Wreck It Ralph. It all connects in her mind.)

It makes me happy to see my kids there. Not fighting. Learning. Being artistic. Challenging themselves.

It gives me that good, squishy heart feeling.

I love home-schooling. Far more than I ever thought I would.

Home education was a very logical choice for Mr. Hippie and I. We were both home-schooled. We both turned out (reasonably) well. Reasonably well educated. We want our kids to get a good education, and this is the most affordable option for us.

I guess what I am trying to say is that though it was a logical choice, and something we felt compelled to do, it has become something I really enjoy doing-for so many reasons.

1. The education part. I love what my kids are learning, and what I get to learn/relearn alongside them. I mean, come on! Ancient Greek History and Mythology?! What could be more interesting? We are learning so much. The kids are way better at remembering facts and connections than me. If I can't remember something, I ask them. Chances are, they know the why's and wherefore's of the event or person. I am sure the BFF is going to be bored out of her gourd by the time this year is done, because I tell her all the exciting things we are learning. It is just so exciting, and fun, and cool! Really!

2. The way things work together. Our reading lists and art, are all based on Greek History and Mythology. There is a lot of repetition and overlap, which is really good. It is a line upon line, precept  upon precept approach. For example, we first heard about Solon (the Athenian law giver) in our Oxford reading. Then we heard a lecture about him in our Famous Greek's series. And today, our Ancient Greek History lecturer talked about him. So, what may not have stuck the first time through, is pretty solidified by now.

3. The fact that when we are done each day, we are done. There is no home work to fill the evenings. School happens in school hours. Life, chores, play, etc, is then able to happen in the other hours.

4. Flexibility. I know that there are some home-schoolers who are so flexible, they never get any schooling done. Which isn't good. But, I'd be lying to say that the flexibility of home-schooling doesn't enter into my figuring. We can go to Japan, and Indonesia, and Spain-during the school year. And count it as education. I'm not worried about missing days. It all evens out in the wash. Public schools take a whole lot of days off that we don't (i.e. snow days, conferences, etc). They also take a whole lot of field trips that we don't take-to things like baseball games. There is no way I feel bad about taking my kids to Spain when those kids are going to a baseball game.

5. Watching my kids grow in knowledge and skills from year to year. It's the best. Teaching them how to cut, and write the alphabet. Read and add. Write papers and do algebra. It's a yearly progression. It's like watching a unique flower bloom with each and every one of them. Learning their strengths and weaknesses, and watching them flourish in their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. It is amazing! It really is. It is amazing to know that I am making a difference in their education. I am educating them. And they are actually being educated. It's a phenomenal feeling and awareness. Home-schooling is a great responsibility, but one that has never seemed a huge burden to me.

6. The freedom to be creative. We can have a history centric curriculum because I've made that choice. There is nobody to say that we can't draw timelines, and throne rooms, and family trees. We dig, and explore, and learn, in as many ways as we want to.

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My biggest challenge as a home-schooling mom is schooling at home. When teachers go to school to teach their students, they leave home and it's chores, at home. Which presents it's own challenges, I'm positive. For me, it is hard to not feel bad about sitting at the table, schooling, for 3-4 hours a day. Teaching, correcting. Helping revise writing projects (that's a big one). Sitting, when I could be dusting, or scrubbing, or cooking, or folding, or _______. Sometimes it is hard to remember that schooling during those hours is my task, and it is the most important task, for that time frame.

And, as my kids get older, their school work takes longer to accomplish. Kindergarten takes about an hour each day. 8th grade takes a whole lot longer. Which means that I am stuck  at the table for longer. But, I am slowly becoming more reconciled to that idea. Sl-ow-ly.

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Now, for the tantalizing one thing that I hate about home-schooling. Like, really, really, really dislike.

Correcting papers. Ugh.

It takes so much time. So.much.time. I don't know how teachers with 20+ students do it.

Well, they have the teacher's editions, which I only have for the upper math courses. In the interest of saving money, I've not gotten the teacher's editions for the lower grades. I can add 3rd grade math problems! I'm not that stupid!

Except it takes way longer to check the papers that way. Time versus money...

Part of the problem is that I have inherited a lot of our school books (without teacher's editions) which were published so long ago that there are no longer any teacher's editions available.

But, I have made the decision to not scrimp on the teacher's editions anymore. I don't need them for every subject, but having (definitely) the math and (maybe) the grammar teacher's editions would be helpful.

Starting next year, of course.

Well, maybe I could break down and buy the 6th grade math teacher's edition....

So, that's my summary of my loves, challenges, and hate's of home-schooling. What would be in your list?