Over the last 12 months Danelle and I have increasingly considered homeschooling as a way to go with our kids. To be honest, its been more Danelle than me as I don’t want to get too involved practically, but recently we made the decision to give it a shot for the second semester of 2010.
Its quite unlike Danelle to jump boldly into such new and unfamiliar territory, but I’d say she is as excited as I have seen her in a long time and we’re both looking forward to what develops. Some of you may be interested in the reasons we have made this choice.
Well… 1. we just wanted to protect and insulate our babies from the big bad world and we felt this would work… 2. Danelle also wanted to sleep in more and not have to get them to school so early.
Ok and back to reality. (Reason two is probably accurate 🙂
It actually developed from two main reasons:
a) believing our kids would learn better and develop educationally at a greater rate in the home environment
b) allowing greater flex in our lifestyle as a family
We would clarify that reason ‘a’ is probably not going to apply to everyone’s kid, but as we looked at our kid’s learning styles and experiences of school – and as we compared that with the schooling we did on our round Oz trip – we felt that we should at least give this a good shot. Our kids learnt well as we travelled and we were also able to ‘teach as we go’ meaning that all of life contributed to their learning.
We are both aware of the time wasted in school going between classes or just in admin type of requirements and we also saw that it was hard for teachers to give sufficient attention to kids on a 1:1 basis. We have a very clever and inquisitive little fella and a girl who doesn’t gel much with the regular classroom style learning, so we thought we could hopefully stretch the little bloke and find a different approach for Ellie as they receive some learning that is more in keeping with their own learning styles.
We also like to be able to live a fairly flexible life and to be able to take off camping for a few days is much more possible when there isn’t a regular school commitment to attend to. Given our weekends often involve church based commitments it allows us to use the week for days off and time together. We also really enjoy hanging with our kids, and while we realise many people are just happy to get their kids out of their hair for 5 hours of each day we would actually like to spend more time with ours.
What it all boils down to is that Danelle will do the bulk of it because she is empassioned by it and inspired while I will ‘go to work’ as usual, contributing where I can. If you’ve seen Danelle teach then you’d know she is brilliant with kids and a great teacher so we have no concerns on that level.
The obvious question people ask is ‘what about the socialisation processes?’ And we are not unaware of that. We have a heap of friends who we see regularly and a church community, as well as a street and then there will be new homeschool networks etc etc. Neither of our kids are natural recluses so I can’t see them growing up into socially backward weirdos who are unable to interact with others.
The pilot period begins from when we get back from holidays and we will see what develops. If it doesn’t work out then we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Currently the primary school the kids are in is huge (850 kids) and probably not ideal and while we could send them to a private school neither of gets overly excited at paying money for education when we can do it at home.
So its another new adventure and this time its mainly Danelle who is going to enjoy the ride. I’m hoping that somewhere in there I will re-kindle some of my passion for teaching and might actually get a buzz out of it too…