Monday, June 22, 2009

Homeschool Recap, Finally

I spent last weekend in Richmond, VA at the Homeschool Convention and many of you have asked me to post my conclusion of what I thought.  So, as promised, here is my recap of the weekend.

Josh was homeschooled from middle school-12th grade and I went to a Christian school from Pre-K - 7th grade and Public School from 8th-12th.  We are putting our experiences together as we pray about and try to decide what is best for our kids and their educational needs as well as our lifestyle (traveling on the road so much).

Since I had NO CLUE about homeschooling Josh and I thought it would be wise for me to attend the convention just to see what is out there and see if this is something God has called me (us) to do.  

I will admit that I was very overwhelmed with all the "stuff" that was out there and the feeling of inadequacy was overbearing, but as the weekend went on I began getting more and more relieved about all the options.

The seminars that I chose were Great and I learned a lot in each one of them.  All-in-all I came away with a better knowledge of what homeschooling is and what it isn't as well as knowing that not all families are the same and not one way works for everyone.  That being said, whatever we choose to do is based solely on what we think is best for our family, not because we think there is only one way to do it.

Here are some great takeaways that I got from the weekend:
  1. It takes an average of $500-$550/year to homeschool (less for younger children)
  2. "You don't have to make a 12-year commitment.  Try 1 year at a time."
  3. Ask yourself, "Am I willing to take responsibility for my child's education, sacrifice my time, make education a priority, reorganize my schedule and put my child's needs above my own?"
  4. You have to keep a balance between organization and flexibility.  "Have a plan, but expect interruptions."
  5. Keep realistic expectations!
  6. Don't be afraid to make a mistake.  You will mess up sometimes but that is part of learning.
  7. "You'll never be able to teach them everything they need to know.  Just give them a love for learning."
  8. Allow everyday life to become learning experiences.
  9. "Children who wait until second or third grade to start formal academics usually catch up with their peers and often pass them.  There will be less stress, better behavior and motivation, and fewer eye problems.
  10. Be sure you are not letting academics become your primary focus.
"God put the wiggle into children.  Don't you dare try to take it out." - Henrietta Mears
"The whole library is our textbook, and the whole world is our curriculum." - Jessica Huley

  • I learned that I have more time than I thought.  There is no reason to pressure myself to teach Areyna to master reading by the time she turns 5.  If we choose to homeschool we can take it at her own pace.
  • I realized that my kids have an advantage over most other kids their age...we travel for a living.  Last weekend motivated me to find learning experiences while we are on the road seeing new things.
  • In the state of NC we are not required to register our children as homeschooled until the age of 7.
So, we will continue to seek out God's direction for our family as we make this decision but I do feel like I walked away with a better comprehension of the homeschool side of education.
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