When I visited Homeschooled Twins I found this discussion on the diversity among homeschoolers. It seems to have been started at this blog and picked up by this one and this one. I enjoy surveys and I need a blog topic, so I’ll join in! :)
Why do you homeschool? I have an ever growing list of reasons to homeschool but if I have to pick one, it’s to spend more time with my kids. If I sent them away 6 hours a day 5 days a week, I’d hardly ever see them. I wrote all about my decision to homeschool at the time I made the decision HERE. You can also click on my category Why Homeschool to read more entries on this topic.
What technique or curriculum do you use? We have always unschooled. Of course, I have a lot of resources at the ready when we want to use them, and my children are young. I’m not averse to curriculum if my child wants to use it.
Do your kids work above or below grade level (or both!)? Both. My 7 year old has always loved books and read early. But look at her handwriting and you might think she’s still in kindergarten. However, I really don’t think “grade level” means anything. It’s a concept created to categorize kids in school and track their progress. In the real world, we don’t do that. We don’t say he’s on a 25 year old level and she’s on a 62 year old level. As someone said somewhere I don’t remember, “Grades are for eggs.”
What is your educational level? Do you feel this has an effect on your teaching (both limits and abilities)? I have a bachelors degree in psychology and then 2 post baccalaureate years in the teaching credentialing program at San Diego State University. I don’t think my education makes me better prepared for homeschooling. In fact, the classroom management and lesson preparation skills I learned might be part of my struggle. There’s more to deschool, more to unlearn.
What does your daily schedule look like? Right now we’re waking around 9 or 10. If we have an outing, such as with our homeschool group, we rush to that. If not, we eat when we’re hungry, nap when we’re tired (well, that’s mostly Ian), read, write, sing, build, solve problems, plan, draw, and so on as inspired. We’re trying to stop letting bedtime creep too far beyond midnight.
Are your kids always polite and ready to learn? (*snicker*) I’m not sure what politeness has to do with homeschooling, but my kids usually are, especially when treated politely. And, naturally they are ready to learn. It’s our natural state until coerced learning activities take the fun out of it.
Do the kids (or you!) get frustrated? Of course. That’s a part of life. I see diversity in sources of frustration among various people though. My kids don’t have the frustration of being told to do a worksheet like some homeschoolers might, but they get frustrated over projects not going their way, Mom saying, “Let’s do that later,” etc.
How has this affected your parenting? Homeschooling as given me more time to become the kind of parent I want to be. There are more opportunities for connection.
How much free time do they have? What do they do during their free time? What hobbies do they have? The only time they are not free is when I insist on doing errands with them in tow (which is not often) or we go on an organized outing like an educational presentation. So most of the time they choose their activities. They read books and magazines, write stories, draw pictures, cut paper up into interesting shapes, build block structures, write love notes, watch movies, visit websites, play a lot in imaginary worlds, etc etc etc.
What difficulties and challenges do you have with homeschooling? Actually, the best thing about homeschooling is also a challenge sometimes. Sending the kids to school does give a mom a break! I wish there were public schools that allowed you to devise your own schedule, say twice a week or something like that, more like college. Not just to give me a break, but because I can’t be everything for my kids. The more people in our lives, the more opportunities we have.
What makes homeschooling enjoyable? Our lives are our own, free to do what we want when we want.
How do you get involved in the community? When do you have opportunities to interact with public or privately schooled children? Would you like more of these opportunties? How can they be created? I created a homeschool group for my area 5 years ago, when I decided to homeschool and couldn’t find a secular group here. We meet at least once a week for projects, field trips, and park days. I would like to get together with friends even more often. I think I do miss that aspect of school: seeing friends almost every day. As for getting involved in the community, my group has talked about projects such as visiting nursing homes and I hope we do get involved that way as our kids get older.
What is your least favorite homeschool stereotype? :-) It annoys me when people think homeschooled kids are missing out. On the contrary, my kids can do anything schooled kids do, and more!