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Some hard questions about homeschooling...


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As middle school approaches for my older ds, I grow more concerned that I can only offer a generalist education, I can teach him HOW to learn, but I can't be a specialist. I had teachers in junior and high school that really knew their subjects, loved them, could accrue resources and ideas and projects over the years and execute them well. I had duds for teachers, too, of course. But I'm a new teacher every year -- a new fifth grade teacher in math, in science, etc.

 

I work hard to be creative, find good resources, but a good deal of the time I'm bluffing my way through. For example...I try to read ahead on their books, or at glance carefully at their supplemental history, science reading, etc., but there is no possible way I can dedicate enough hours or energy to stay completely "with" them in their work. After they read a book (sometimes before), I skim quickly, so I can see if they wrote quality narrations based on their reading, but I'm a long way from being able to talk intelligently for long.

 

Maybe some of you all are willing to make greater sacrifices in your life, but I lack the energy, and frankly the focus (I'm mid-40s now and tired) to give endless hours to homeschooling. I have full days teaching and prep, some time on the weekends for weekly planning, (researching and planning seem neverending, a few extra-curr things to fit in. Not much left for sanity. Is this the way it's going to be always? If I school through high school, I am looking at another decade of working this hard and feeling this inadequate? Is it really okay for them to "teach themselves" with independent learning and never have the benefit of a vigorous discussion with a teacher who really knows the subject?

 

I think some of you have made peace with this by embracing homeschooling as very key to your identity as women, and that's tempting, but I can't quite pull that off. I find the lifestyle enjoyable, even fascinating at times, but I was somebody with interests and vision before I began homeschooling, and have been unable to transition into a fulltime homeschooling "career." I hope that doesn't sound catty because I don't mean that at all...I love reading and learning from those of you who commit wholeheartedly in a way I can't. I love your blogs, your advice, your research.

 

And also, 14.5 hours a day with any one person just seems to be asking for supernatural relationship skills. The Holy Spirit has allowed us grace to survive, but children from 6 a.m. (when Dad wakens them and interacts before work) until their bedtime at 9 p.m. -- with constant interaction in between, is just becoming overwhelming. What other relationship could survive such intense time sharing -- a spouse for 14 hours, a co-worker for 14 hours, a friend!!

 

I'm quite serious, I think these are legit questions to ask myself and I'm sure many of you have done so and have answers. Please tell me how you grapple with these concerns. Thanks!

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Maybe it's becaue I'm in my mid-forties too, but I have the same concerns. These are excellent questions. My kids are only in the "grammar" stage of their schooling and I, too, am already feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything which needs to be done. When the children get older, I too will feel like I'd be short-changing them by being unable to keep up with their reading. Already, it's rare that I read a book "of my very own." Then again, I "only" have about 8 more years of this with my son and 10 or 11 with my daughter. That's not a lot. The books will wait for me. What I find tough--really tough--is the daily/weekly/monthly grind.

 

I'm afraid I don't have any answers, I just wanted you to know that you aren't alone. I hope to read some good replies as well.

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you need a break!

 

When I put my kids in school last year I had a lot of those same feelings. After 7 years of homeschooling, always having a toddler by my side, and almost always running a daycare from my home as well I felt really, really burnt out.

 

After a year I'm myself again. My oldest ds is the first one coming back home. I am taking a more unschooling approach now. We still do our history/literature work. He reads Spielvogel on his time, I do it on mine. We're adding in videos and tackling the literature (Oedipus Rex, Plato, etc.) together. We're still doing Latin together, too. For everything else he's on his own. Basically I'm telling him to let his interests lead his work with an eye towards being able to fill out a college application in a few years.

 

I've got to run, but basically it's his turn to plan, drive himself and decide what he wants to achieve. I'll help out with resources and ideas, but the rest is up to him. And you know what? Right now it's both scary and really exciting. I think it's going to be great. I'll try to write more later.

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Does it have to be one or the other??? Why not enjoy the best of both worlds and outsource some things while homeschooling?

 

Personally, I don't plan to teach the high school sciences. Why? Because I would be *terrible* at teaching those, and we'd just be muddling through. My options include a local private high school (friends have sent their kids there for just one class) or two community colleges. Heck, I could even consider hiring a tutor for science.

 

The subjects I will *keep* close to home are language arts (literature, writing, etc.), Bible, and history, because I *can* teach those well. Particularly for history, what I do not know we can enjoy discovering through wide supplemental reading.

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And I quit homeschooling my 14 year old this year for all the reasons you state. I'm sad, but think it's the best. But, I have a younger one at home, who I have a chance to use those years of experience to put to good use with him. I'm thankful for that.

 

Yes, outsourcing is a good idea as well. We tried that last year, outsourced every class but one. But DS#1 really wanted to be a part of a 5 day a week school with more specialists, as you put it. I have no regrets. But, I am just focusing one DS#2 and looking forward to it.

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I figure, if He wants me to keep my kids home, He'll let me know. If not, I'll know that, too. Right now, it's tough for me. I can really relate to your comment about "used to be somebody w/ interests and hobbies...". I've been grappling w/ that. I don't have any time for what interests me anymore (scrapbooking, stamping, writing, reading, playing piano, etc.) and it really bugs me. It bugs me especially when dh sits at the computer typing his second book (something he LOVES to do) while I finish the laundry, prepare for another day of school, etc. It REALLY bugs me. BUT, I take a little comfort in that I know I'm doing what God wants me to do right now. My dd enters 7th grade next year and I have the same concerns you do about not being able to offer the same enrichment experiences a school could. Outsourcing isn't really an option b/c we are so far away. BUT, if she develops specialized interests, I'd look into it. Our local Comm. Clge. isn't too far away. It's tiring, yes. It's frustrating, yes. But, it's also rewarding. This being my first year going it alone (we used a cyber for 2 years) I'm giving myself time to learn, adapt and change. Here's hoping it gets a bit easier, more enjoyable and less stressfull for us both!

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My kids are 16 and almost 13, I've homeschooled them for 8 years now, and have to say that I never have looked at homeschooling as the key to my identity. I don't find your questions snarky at all, so I'm not being defensive, but just letting you know that about me as your read on. Being a homeschooling family is a big part of our family identity, and I enjoy researching for history and finding wonderful books for my kids, but I am also a violinist, a wife, a gardener, and sometimes a total space cadet, too!! And I'm in my late 40s. How have I survived these middle school and high school years? Its a good question!

 

One of things that helped was to outsource some classes starting in middle school. I've used both co-ops and the public charter schools for homeschoolers that are available here in California. My kids enjoyed having a fresh approach to some subjects, sometimes even put up with repeating material because it was with a group of peers and with a different teacher.

 

I also have never seen myself as needing to be the expert teacher in any subject. I see my role as mentor, coach, and nag. I do math ahead of them, but also have had tutors for them off and on. We do Latin together, we read and discuss both literature and history together, but they also do lots of reading on their own, materials which I may only look up on Sparknotes. I don't feel I have to know a lot about what they've read in order to ask questions -- it is as if they are teaching me sometimes about a book they've read, or a person they've researched.

 

My kids have also found outside activities where they can pursue their interests, and work on specializing in some field or another. This is another way that they can grow, seperate from me, and learn from an expert in a field I know nothing about. It also offers me a chance to see them shine, offers us all a break from one another.

 

I think some families rely on prepackaged curriculums at this point for the very reasons that are causing you doubt. You also have to realize that many teachers teach courses about which they know very little -- that's why there are teacher's editions to so many text books! There are lots of DVD courses out there, also, which provide an outside expert, just not someone for discussion.

 

There are on-line courses that lots of folk on the high school board would recommend to you. My middle schooler is using Boomerang from BraveWriter.com for part of his literature course.

 

A nice benefit of having older kids is that they don't need you quite so much, so you don't quite get the same "togetherness fatigue" that you get with younger kids. I can read without being interrupted, take a nap, leave the house to go to the library or Starbucks or the grocery store. Also, younger kids can be left at home with the older ones -- a very liberating milestone!

 

You don't need to bluff your way through -- though I did tell someone here that I feel I muddle through at best. You can tell your kids "I don't know", ask them "well, you read the book, what did it say?". Having a teacher as the expert is only one model of education, and it isn't necessarily the best for learning every subject.

 

Wow, this got long! You can do it too, but it would likely be helpful if you first review why it is you are homeschooling, and what you are hoping for your dc when they are 18.

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I do understand being tired and wanting time for yourself.Days when I work 12 hour shifts and then have to deal with my family before I leave to go do it all again for another 12 hours are the hardest times in the world.All I want then is to be left alone.But I guess I just don't see homeschooling as a sacrifice.It's what I choose to do.It's what my children choose to do.If they choose to go to school that's ok but I don't expect that they'll find many teachers in the ps who really love what they teach.I think they'll see that more when they attend college and so I plan to outsource there when they are 16.

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It sounds like a few outside classes would solve both problems for you. Are there any homeschool groups nearby? Plenty of these have classes available once a week, even for this age.

 

And yes, independent learning in some subjects really is okay! I'm pretty 'into' homeschooling (it's my identity, lol) and I have mine doing several subjects mainly independently (we meet 1-2/week for discussion and review). Packaged curriculums with teacher's guides are a godsend. I don't know this stuff! But I can read over it and get the gist. Thankfully, my 8th grader is quicker than I am.

 

Also, check into online courses. Many people on these boards have been pleased with them. I haven't used any yet, so I can't recommend any personally, but if you start a thread about that I'm sure you'll get lots of responses. There are *many* options for online classes.

 

Do what works for you, and guilt be gone! :)

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For much of the last two years, I was struggling against total burn-out. I often felt terrible guilt even talking about it or asking for help, because I had only two kids at home, and I felt completely inadequate compared to the folks here who manage much larger families with such grace. Mind you, everyone who knows my family in real life comments frequently on how demanding my kids are (both highly, possibly profoundly gifted and extremely intense and very different personalities), but I still felt like the problem had to be me.

 

This year, my daughter went off to college, and I juggled our schedule to allow my highly social son more time out of the house. I also outsourced math by enrolling him in an online class. (He is very capable at math, and it is not my area of strength. So, he got very irritable when I would try to "teach" him.) We also signed him up for homeschool classes at our local science museum. And he has a full schedule of extras that get us out of the house--and him being taught by somebody else--pretty much every day.

 

I'm not sure whether it is that I now have only one to focus on, that I'm no longer having to force myself to forge ahead teaching the two subjects I feel least adequate to manage, that he's happier with a fuller schedule, or whether it's just the novelty of the changes, but this year is a whole different world.

 

Now, I'll confess that, between juggling his schedule and driving him everywhere he needs to go and making multiple 1600-mile road trips to get my daughter to and from college for every break, I'm probably even more physically exhausted than I was the last couple of years. But spiritually/emotionally, I feel like a different person.

 

And my son and I have even learned to enjoy each other's company again.

 

--Jenny

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It's like outsourcing, but you get to keep them home. You get to control the schedule, the homework, the grading, etc. just like you're teaching it yourself. But you get a science teacher who loves science, a math teacher who's excited about math, a Spanish teacher who speaks Spanish, etc. And you get a teacher who is prepared and excited about her class every single day. She has outside resources lined up, experiments, illustrations, songs, interviews, more stuff than you could pull together.

 

I know it's not for everyone, but a lot of people have found it to be a blessing.

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I'm 42 and my kids ages are in my signataure. Having y moldest do a virtual class this year has been a life-saver. He'll add an exrra virtual classn next year and his twin brothers will add their firsrt class. The year after that, myh oldest will be taking classes at the community college and his brothers will follow him a year later.

 

After 8 years of homeschooling, having just one subject lifted from my list is a BIG deal. It makes he other subjects so much more pleasant (and, yes, I do fake things every now and then)

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Good for you for asking difficult but worthwhile questions. I appreciate your honesty. I primarily want to echo what others have said: You don't have to serve as the be-all, end-all in your children's education. As they get older, your role does morph to an extent. Rather than a teacher in the purest sense of the word, you serve as mentor and guide. I am a firm believer that while self-education is of great value, so too is interaction with the subject on a deeper level. That may mean creating opportunities for discussion beyond the boundaries of these four walls. I also feel I owe it to my children to admit my limitations. I don't want to teach high school math or science and am perfectly willing and able to utilize other resources as needed.

 

As you can see from my signature line, I am in the thick of things as far as motherhood is concerned ~ and I have miles to go before I sleep.;) I enjoy schooling my boys, and of course at this point it's central to my life. But I don't want it to be the sole source of my identity. That's not in my best interests or the best interests of my children. I do have difficulty maintaining good relationships when they are 'round the clock. (And in my case, that intense time sharing is inherent to my marriage, too, as my husband works "at home" here on our farm.) I need to read things and do things unrelated to the specific schooling at hand. That's part of being a well-rounded person. What will allow me to do that, as my guys get older, is to very likely utilize other schooling resources. At this point, I "do it all" myself, but my oldest will be in 8th grade next year and I'll soon be considering other elements to round out his education.

 

Best to you!

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I agree with the other posters that outsourcing has been a tremendous help to our homeschool experience-- it allows me to do household stuff (cooking, cleaning, shopping), and time to myself, and the kids enjoy getting together with other children and learning from adults with greater knowledge than I have, in a number of areas.

 

We currently outsource our art and music instruction totally, and have dabbled in online classes (French), and now a university course (Env. Science). We have always enriched with sports, museum classes, math workshops, etc. So we don't have 24/7 time together to get on each other's nerves.

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Of course, these thoughts are from someone who chose to put their 8th grader back in school this year:

 

A lot of the advice is good about outsourcing. Outsourcing wasn't going to fix our situation. I had to do a lot of soul searching about why I was having resistance to my son's request to go back to school. Was it because I really thought it best for him to stay home? Did it mean he wasn't happy? That he didn't like me? That he just wanted out of the house? That he wanted to be around more peers? Wanted more opportunities? But I could give him what I thought was best at home ~

 

This will not apply to everyone, but you raised some good questions about a homeschooling mom's identity. I think for me, I painfully discovered that I somehow thought him being around me (and Dad when he's home) should be enough! Why did he need anyone else? (peers or other adults). We had 5 good years of homeschooling, involved in co-ops and tutorials, scouts, church, friends. But, when I realized, that in part, this resistance to letting him go to school, FOR ME was about ME and not about him and his desires. He's smart, well grounded, and very capable. But this was about me thinking that this kid shouldn't need anyone else but us and who we chose for him to be around. Control. I was sick about this self discovery and my motives ~ that I thought so much of myself and that other teachers and adults could not contribute something meaningful to my son's life and education than me. God forbid!

 

Anyway, it's ugly. But there you have it. And the most beautiful thing of all, is that he was had two wonderful male teachers that are just wonderful examples of good men, and have really enlarged his life in ways we could never have done it at home. Yes, the education isn't EVERYTHING I would want it to be, but it's close enough. And he's happy and growing in ways as an individual that we would never have imagined.

 

But, every family is different, every child is different. You really have to make your own choices and evaulate your own heart.

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I appreciate so much all your encouragement and ideas. I'm totally on board with the outsourcing, but I guess that's why I'm in the place I am, because this is not financially viable with our budget. We have a solid middle class income, but it does not seem to stretch enough to pay for these things. We do pay for high quality piano instruction, swim club, and an occasional field trip or cheap co-op class. And curriculum, of course.

 

The natural response is that I should find work to do during the hours that I outsource, which would give us the income to do these things, but I believe that is easier said than done. To find outsource opportunities for both sons at times that coincide, and a job that coincides with it, seems a little daunting. I haven't been able to find part-time work that matches my education and skills, so I'd likely being doing something that doesn't interest me at all and just pays the bills. I would get more adult interaction, perhaps, and a break from the boys.

 

A friend of mine has encouraged me to find people I enjoy and whose educational philosophy is similar, with whom I could form an informal co-op of a few families, trading the instruction of courses. I've made attempts to do that, but live in the midtown of city where most homeschoolers are unschoolers (not dissing them, just not a match), and very few classical schoolers. I've used our regional message board to try to find others, but no luck.

 

I think I need to wait on the Lord. :-) But thanks for listening.

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I graduated my oldest this year (mid year) and still have one in 9th grade. For me the whole issue of not wanting to be a bluffer and not able to be an expert meant we used outside sources. Definitely. I cannot run a high school science lab - I know my limits!

 

But keeping them home thru high school DID mean that DH and I had the final say in WHAT curriculum, WHAT courses, WHAT path, WHAT priorities we chose for the kids' educational experience. Keep in mind, it you put them into school you give up that autonomy - maybe you could be okay with that - you obviously would get to "pick" the school and sometimes the school can be the "perfect match."

 

For my kids, they were so enamoured of the lifestyle and schedule flexibility of homeschooling that THEY were highly motivated to "stay home" for school, too - so we never entertained the options for very long.

 

Now, (at the end for DD and close to it for DS) I am glad we choose to keep them home. Our relationships are very strong, and yet the kids are very independent and confident. In the end, all the "concerns/worries/negatives" paled in comparison to the positives.

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  • 1 month later...

I don't have kids that age yet, so this may be completely irrelevent. Your post made me think of my uni years. I did humanities, so tutorials were a huge part of our learning. Is it possible for you to step back from the teacher role sometimes, and be a fellow tute member instead? It's a bit hard to have a tutorial of two people, but if you and your hubby (and any other kids) can do a bit of reading. You don't need to know much to be able to ask intelligent questions, and if you couldn't do that, you wouldn't have made it this far! Hey, even if you ask dumb questions, your kids' confidence in explaining why it was dumb will satisfy you that they know what they're talking about. :) If you're really stretched for questions, "what's so cool about this that I should be interested?" ought to get them going, and hopefully convince you too :) Let them teach you the stuff they're the "experts" in. You don't have to be the expert at everything. I'm forming the opinion that homeschooling mums are more like information co-ordinators than teachers.

 

The other thing I remembered was how one ought to be able to read the introduction and conclusion to any decent piece of writing and know what the gist of it is. Perhaps you can steer the kids' reading towards such choices as they get older. You can probably read an intro while stirring a pot on the stove. They can probably read the conclusion out loud while you hang washing on the line.

 

Hope I helped a bit...

Rosie

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I went through a burn out stage last year and realised I needed to change my style and attitude to homeschooling. It was too much my identity, so that changed. I was hanging out here so much that I was constantly feeling inadequate because many mothers here do do such an incredibly outstanding job, and I just don't work as hard as they do.

I find its about a balance in life, my life and the kids'. I finish by 1pm, and my time is my own after that. My kids do their own thing. I am not particularly available for them in the afternoons, except for transport to some classes. I do not spend all day every day with my kids, and I don't feel guilty about that at all. Of course, they are not little anymore either.

My signature says neoClassical Lite because no way could I do everything in TWTM and stay sane, so I don't try. I just do what I can do and leave the rest for another time.

You could say I have lowered my standards, but I feel content with my choices. We are happy, homeschooling only takes up a third of our day, and life is rich. Have a look at the Thoreau quote below as well. That is my motto at the moment.

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I was feeling a real panic this past fall. My oldest is starting high school next year, and I really wanted to give her the best foundation possible. I have an early childhood education degree, so I could teach two days a week while the kids were taking homeschool classes.

 

The more I prayed about it, the more I saw how this was going to cost more in quality of life that I could make doing it. Then I discovered a friend who is willing to teach my older kids math and science 6 hours a week in exchange for my teaching her littles preschool in my home.

 

It is a win/win situation because I get to be home to care for the animals, and cook from scratch while doing what I love, and am trained to do. She gets a break from little people needing her attention 24 hours a day, and her kids get to develop outside relationships. My kids get one on one help from an enthusiastic expert who really loves them.

 

I only mention this to you, because I received an answer to a problem that seemed overwhelming a few months ago.

 

I encourage you to stay open to new ideas, and keep asking God, "I know you want the very best for these kids, so show me what that looks like."

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I'm coming up on this for HS. My dd12 wants to go... I'm not so sure. We have a couple more years, but still I worry about it already. We all want to do the best for our kids, sometimes what's right can be hard to see.

 

And, I think Amy's spelling looks fine to me... it looks like mine!:tongue_smilie:

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I'm in my late 40s now (48) and can totally empathize with you. Homeschooling is not my entire identity, and my kids do some of their work independently for some of the reasons you mentioned. I can't afford to outsource, either, at least not at this point. I have considered having my eldest do one class in the local public high school next year, but am not sure if I want to break up our days 5 days a week to take her there with my younger two.

 

But we don't want our kids in the ps here. The kids are rude, they teach things we think have no place being taught in the ps, we'd like a better education than the no child left behind policy allows for.

 

I have modified WTM to suit our needs. My little ones don't even start history as a real course before Gr. 3. I'm way past the point of going to bed and sleeping 8 hours without waking up. I'm thankful if I get one 4-5 uninterrupted stretch and then one or more other stretches. Things are changing, my body isn't quite what it used to be and my intense (always been intense) eldest is going through puberty.

 

Now, I'm not saying I don't like any rigour in our education, I just choose when and how to apply that rigour. The goal is that they have it, not necessarily when and how. I'm more of a do what comes next person

 

Last fall I had a great conversation IRL with two homeschooling (modified WTM) mothers who were over 40. The three of us pretty much agreed that we handle things differently than we would have in our 20s or even our 30s. I'm not a huge fan of psychological theories, but I do have to agree that it seems that your life perspective changes over 40. On one hand, our bodies and energy levels may not be what they once were. On the other hand, we have a different perspective and understanding (at least, we hope so!!!!!). Instead of stressing out, I'd suggest you find a healthy balance that works for you and tap into your strengths.

 

But there's no law that says you have to homeschool all the way through, and you're not bad or lacking as a person if you don't and have given your best and it works for your family. I segregate my children when they do their school work. My kids can't be in the same room all day everyday and peacefully coexist, at least not yet:tongue_smilie:.

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Outsourcing is the plan over here.

 

Calvert now offers online classes in addition to the regular courses starting in 6th grade. I am looking forward to trying out this option, and will continue with Calvert through 8th. (They only offer courses through 8th.)

 

After that, we will probably do a combination of online high school classes either through a charter school option (it's a public school, so no extra cost to enroll), or Stanford's online high school (if we can find a way to pay for that!). The kids will also most likely enroll in the local JC for some classes. (I want them to have science classes with access to a fully equipped lab... and I want them to get used to college type classes before sending them off to a university someday.) Ideally, as concurrent students, they could graduate from HS with at least a pretty good idea of what they are interested in continuing to study, and at least some college credits.

 

By the high school years, I see myself more as an educational manager/director (or academic advisor) and less as a teacher.

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My 5th grader will be going to middle school next year for just such reasons. Not to mention that this has been a horrible year for our family and I just haven't been able to allocate the resources to teaching her that I should. So all around I think that she will get a much better education at school next year.

 

The youngest will still stay home and hopefully I will be able to dedicate more time and resources to her. The oldest two are for the most part self-directed and need very little day to day help. They also have no desire to go to school so we are making it work with them. I would send them as well if they wanted to go.

 

And I am a pretty die-hard home schooler. I have been doing this for 13 years now with all of my children. But I have reached a point where I know that I am not providing the 5th grader with as good an education as she could be geting else where so off she goes. It is a tought spot to be in.

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It's like outsourcing, but you get to keep them home. You get to control the schedule, the homework, the grading, etc. just like you're teaching it yourself. But you get a science teacher who loves science, a math teacher who's excited about math, a Spanish teacher who speaks Spanish, etc. And you get a teacher who is prepared and excited about her class every single day. She has outside resources lined up, experiments, illustrations, songs, interviews, more stuff than you could pull together.

 

I know it's not for everyone, but a lot of people have found it to be a blessing.

 

I second this suggestion. We tried BJU homesat this year - 3 classes each child and what a difference. Even though my kids are elementary age, I was so thankful to be able to take a back seat in 5th grade science and parts of English (like writing a research report). It has freed up enough time that I have been able to start self-educating myself for some of the high school classes that I hope to teach my kids later.

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I don't intend to home school through high school for some of the reasons you've mentioned. I think the dynamics of a good classroom with a knowledgeable teacher can be a wonderful experience. I don't object to secular schooling, so ps will be a definate option for us. For the most part, I feel competent as a teacher through the elementary/primary grades. DS9 has mentioned that he NEVER wants to go to school, if the time comes and he's determined to home school for hs, I'll expect a high level of self-motivation. We'd probably access our very good community college, as well. I think that high school is a time when, as both parents and teachers, we should expect a certain amount of mature independence. What we do now in our homeschool is all leading up to the time when I hand over to my kids the responsiblity for learning and self-motivating. It's a continuing process.

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Agree wholeheartedly with the above about outsourcing. Personally, while I do think high school can be the toughest time to put a child back into school, I also know that this is when kids start wanting independence, and being teacher/mom can be tough on a relationship and not always conducive to great learning!

 

This is why I began 'farming out' my dd her freshman year. She started taking college classes, which she absolutely *loves*. She feels she gets so much out of being in a group setting where ideas are discussed and points of view are shared. (Not that we didn't do that here, but I'm only ONE pov, kwim?) I have seen her blossom so much in just a year. I also made sure her homeschooled subjects were ones she could do as independently as possible. Now she comes to me for very little.

 

And about learning along with them... this is just how we did Latin, and I can say I don't think they suffered much. In fact, it was fun for them to figure things out ahead of mom sometimes (ok, a lot of times!) I think it was one of the more enjoyable subjects we have done together. I have never felt the need to be an "expert" at any subject. I just present the curriculum I have thoughtfully chosen to the best of my ability. Most of the time it works out fine. If it did not, I would look for outside help.

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I put my 14yos in ps this year for many of the reasons you mentioned. He is doing great! I am so glad I was his teacher for his first 9 years of school. For me, though, the thing I really don't/didn't like was all the running around involved in outsourcing. I will never be the kind of mom that is content sitting in a car for hours on end while my dc participates in an activity. And schooling my younger ds in the car during that time is even worse for me.

 

You may decide ps is the best choice for your ds. Don't feel bad if you make that choice.

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I had many of the same concerns you have and we also couldn't afford outsourcing so I let mine go to public school. My oldest started in 10th grade and my 2nd started 8th grade the same year. My third started public school as a 9th grader this year. I have no regrets. There is no way that I could have provided them with the education and opportunities they have gotten in public school. However, I am very glad that I homeschooled for their younger years. It gave them a solid educational foundation and self-confidence that many of their always public-schooled peers don't have.

 

Susan in TX

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(and, yes, I do fake things every now and then)

 

 

Whatever you do, don't tell your husband! :lol:

 

 

Sorry, OP...but, Amy, your post made me giggle in so many ways. Just hoping you're in the head space to see the humor as well. I'm just glad I'm not the only one with a moldy kid! FWIW, I did also find the wisdom in your post as well. :)

 

 

Doran

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For the first time in our seven year homeschooling journey, I can feel that I've now got one foot at least partially in the camp of letting this chapter of our lives come to an end. I have been thinking on this topic since my now 8th grader was in 6th grade, wondering how her needs would be best met as she grew older, with her younger sister to follow. I've considered outsourcing but also recognize that we would have financial and time limitations toward that end. I've thought about whether I could provide "enough" for this child with the outsourcing we could manage, and I am having to acknowlege that I may not be able to do that.

 

I have struggled mightily with the belief that by putting my kids in public school I would somehow become a disappointment to those in the homeschool community (yes, even this online community). Honestly, I shouldn't put that last sentence in the past tense, because it still weighs on my mind. But, I think you have to be honest with yourself and your situation. There are so many opportunities available - opportunities which could create a very rich homeschooling high school experience. But, if your family dynamic, your income level, your available time, your overall commitment no longer fits well with the homeschool paradigm, then it's okay -- possibly even BETTER -- to make a change. Remember, making a choice to have your kids attend school doesn't have to be permanent, just as homeschooling doesn't have to be. Personally, unless a child was obviously failing miserably (and I don't necessarily mean grade-wise), we would try to stick it out for a full school year. But, if, in the end, that's not working, we'll reevaluate again. That's the best we can do.

 

Peace,

Doran

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  • 1 year later...

Teresa,

I would say it depends on what are your alternatives and how your feelings will affect the family dynamics. Can you change your feelings if you find time for yourself? This is only my second year homeschooling with a 5th grader as my older child, but I have two teenagers in public school in a "good" school district. I can tell you that my motivated sophomore last year in all pre-AP courses had to self teach in more than one subject, including her best subject math. That being said, I agree that some teachers bring spark and depth to a subject. We have one day schools here for homeschoolers, though taking one or two classes is not an option at the public charter schools. Well adjusted, independent thinkers can come from homeschooling, public school, or private school. You just have to decide what works for you and yours - I'm sure you'll be fine. Best wishes.

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And also, 14.5 hours a day with any one person just seems to be asking for supernatural relationship skills. The Holy Spirit has allowed us grace to survive, but children from 6 a.m. (when Dad wakens them and interacts before work) until their bedtime at 9 p.m. -- with constant interaction in between, is just becoming overwhelming. What other relationship could survive such intense time sharing -- a spouse for 14 hours, a co-worker for 14 hours, a friend!!

 

 

 

I have no spouse. I am divorced and my children's father died.

 

I am with my children 24/7. Lets see, there are 365 days in a year. I would venture to guess I am with them 357 days/year.

 

I would not change it for anything.

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I know that it's hard, you're tired and emotionally drained BUT you only get this opportunity ONCE...your children will never be this age again.

 

Before you all start flaming me: 12 years ago, I was a career woman on the "high road" to a "big-time" bank manager's position. My children were in daycare and PS more than they were home. When they were home, it was dinner, homework, shower and bed -- we had absolutely NO family time. And because I was "career-minded", I missed most of my 2 older children's formative years. It took a MAJOR event with daycare to open my eyes that I'm the best care provider and teacher for my children.

 

Since we've started homeschooling (6+ years ago), I have a much better relationship with my children. We *LOVE* being together and miss each other when we're apart. Yes, the Jr. High and Sr. High courses are a little tougher -- but it is SO worth it. I've learned TONS more homeschooling than I ever learned in PS...

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Am I correct that the op was made in early 2008? Just curious why it was resurrected today. My first thought was that someone was allowing the kind people here to 'hang themselves with their own ropes' by sharing their honest feelings. I certainly hope not. ;)

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Am I correct that the op was made in early 2008? Just curious why it was resurrected today. My first thought was that someone was allowing the kind people here to 'hang themselves with their own ropes' by sharing their honest feelings. I certainly hope not. ;)

 

No, it was a new poster (LaborofLove) doing a search and probably not realizing it was such an old thread.

 

Barb

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I'm sure people have already said this, but just plan on having them take online classes or classes planned, monitored and graded by a publisher or distance school. You don't have to plan/ teach or grade everything yourself. You just be sure to provide the opportunities for learning. Some of the high school online classes my friend's kid's have taken have been awesome!

 

Edit: oops, I didn't realize it was an old post either, till just now.

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My kids are only 11 and in sixth grade, and I don't feel like I spend nearly the time with them that you do. They spend a couple of hours a day on sports and see friends for hours on the weekends. They do a portion of their school work alone. I leave them to go to the grocery or to care for my ailing father or even to meet a friend for coffee (very rarely, but I CAN if I really want). I actually feel like I have a fair amount of "alone" time and that they have a fair amount of time away from me. If I am really interested in something, I can find the time to pursue it. I wouldn't want to take on a part time job - I really am BUSY but I don't feel like I am a chained to my children at this point at all. You and your son, at his age, should have plenty of time apart if he has a sport or hobby, a youth orchestra or friends.

 

But I am not really a believer in handing kids books and saying, "teach yourself." I am definitely involved in their education daily for a good amount of time, and I do find myself wondering how much longer I can teach writing (I find that a struggle to teach) and science. It's a massive commitment, and if you aren't enjoying it or don't feel like you are up for it any longer, there is nothing wrong with making another decision about your son's schooling. For me if I decide I am not doing well at that I will find a class for them, a co-op, a paid tutor or even (short term) an online type class. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal with a 6th grader, though I am sure that will get worse. But if I thought they really weren't getting an education, then I would consider school.

 

I had one child graduate from our local high school which is "the best" in they system and has made lists nationally as one of the best in the whole country. He did have a reasonably good public school education, but I could certainly make a list of things that were lacking if I felt like being as critical of that school as I sometimes am of myself. I don't think his writing skills (even in honors English) were anything to get excited about. He slid through science without that much effort and remembers none of it now in college, nor does he have any interest. He didn't work his hardest, and no one really insisted he redo assignments.

 

Anyway, I don't think school is necessarily a solution, but if it's what you think is best for your son, then by all means try it. Worse things happen. My son is pretty much fine:)

 

But as for my OWN happiness, I do think that I am happy with this lifestyle, yes. I do feel like I have time apart and alone. Yes, I would hate to be with anyone 14 hours every single day. I think you might need to think about what you really really would enjoy doing differently to give yourself the ability to broaden your focus and rediscover the gifts you have that aren't about parenting.

 

 

As middle school approaches for my older ds, I grow more concerned that I can only offer a generalist education, I can teach him HOW to learn, but I can't be a specialist. I had teachers in junior and high school that really knew their subjects, loved them, could accrue resources and ideas and projects over the years and execute them well. I had duds for teachers, too, of course. But I'm a new teacher every year -- a new fifth grade teacher in math, in science, etc.

 

I work hard to be creative, find good resources, but a good deal of the time I'm bluffing my way through. For example...I try to read ahead on their books, or at glance carefully at their supplemental history, science reading, etc., but there is no possible way I can dedicate enough hours or energy to stay completely "with" them in their work. After they read a book (sometimes before), I skim quickly, so I can see if they wrote quality narrations based on their reading, but I'm a long way from being able to talk intelligently for long.

 

Maybe some of you all are willing to make greater sacrifices in your life, but I lack the energy, and frankly the focus (I'm mid-40s now and tired) to give endless hours to homeschooling. I have full days teaching and prep, some time on the weekends for weekly planning, (researching and planning seem neverending, a few extra-curr things to fit in. Not much left for sanity. Is this the way it's going to be always? If I school through high school, I am looking at another decade of working this hard and feeling this inadequate? Is it really okay for them to "teach themselves" with independent learning and never have the benefit of a vigorous discussion with a teacher who really knows the subject?

 

I think some of you have made peace with this by embracing homeschooling as very key to your identity as women, and that's tempting, but I can't quite pull that off. I find the lifestyle enjoyable, even fascinating at times, but I was somebody with interests and vision before I began homeschooling, and have been unable to transition into a fulltime homeschooling "career." I hope that doesn't sound catty because I don't mean that at all...I love reading and learning from those of you who commit wholeheartedly in a way I can't. I love your blogs, your advice, your research.

 

And also, 14.5 hours a day with any one person just seems to be asking for supernatural relationship skills. The Holy Spirit has allowed us grace to survive, but children from 6 a.m. (when Dad wakens them and interacts before work) until their bedtime at 9 p.m. -- with constant interaction in between, is just becoming overwhelming. What other relationship could survive such intense time sharing -- a spouse for 14 hours, a co-worker for 14 hours, a friend!!

 

I'm quite serious, I think these are legit questions to ask myself and I'm sure many of you have done so and have answers. Please tell me how you grapple with these concerns. Thanks!

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Have you heard of Joanne Calderwood? She has 8 children, and out of necessity, had the oldest (10 at the time) learn on his own (set his own goals, checked his own work, learned it all on his own). When he took the SAT, he earned a perfect score. Her second oldest (a girl) was also a self-learner who also did amazingly well on the SAT and earned all kinds of scholarships. I've heard Joanne speak, and she's adamant about the reason they did so well- because she stepped back and let them take the lead in their own education. You can read all about her experience on her website at www.urthemom.com. She also has a yahoo group called RaisingSL4Life (raising self learners for life). You can join and read all her posts about how her kids manage to learn their subjects on their own through high school.

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I know that it's hard, you're tired and emotionally drained BUT you only get this opportunity ONCE...your children will never be this age again.

 

Before you all start flaming me: 12 years ago, I was a career woman on the "high road" to a "big-time" bank manager's position. My children were in daycare and PS more than they were home. When they were home, it was dinner, homework, shower and bed -- we had absolutely NO family time. And because I was "career-minded", I missed most of my 2 older children's formative years. It took a MAJOR event with daycare to open my eyes that I'm the best care provider and teacher for my children.

 

Since we've started homeschooling (6+ years ago), I have a much better relationship with my children. We *LOVE* being together and miss each other when we're apart. Yes, the Jr. High and Sr. High courses are a little tougher -- but it is SO worth it. I've learned TONS more homeschooling than I ever learned in PS...

 

This is just what I needed to read today as I struggle to stay on this homeschooling road. Thank you.

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  • 1 year later...

We are finishing our 13th year of homeschooling which has truly become a lifestyle for us. We don't place it into a separate compartment, so our children have the attitude of learning all the time.

 

I would highly recommend looking into a simple-to-use curriculum ... we LOVE Sonlight. I have used MANY different things over the years and I find myself wishing I had found it sooner. However, I know I wouldn't appreciate it as much if I had found it sooner. It is so easy to follow, basicially no preparation, my high school dd does it on her own. There are notes on the reading that are easy for me to look over in order to have meaningful conversations about what she's reading and processing. She also does science and math on her own and comes to me with questions which I help her sort out. I know she's getting everything she needs!

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