Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why I homeschool!

Ever since I've decided to home-school my son, many people had asked me about it and are curious as to why I had decided to do this. It seems as if this is something that is becoming more common. It is a fact that the United States is slipping in comparison to other countries and our children are indeed "falling behind." Whether you blame the teachers, the lack of funding, or the parents for the poor education your children are receiving, it is time for us to properly educate our children. Most students who usually fall behind are blacks and Hispanics. This is probably because they tend to come from lower income families. As a woman of color, I am proud to home-school my child and hopefully will inspire others to do it. Many of us can't afford to send our kids to public school, so if able, why not home-school? There is so much information on the web that can help you if you are not sure about homeschooling. After all, they are the future. Our country is failing behind academically and we wonder why other countries such as Japan and China are excelling, while we are not. I'm very proud of my son's academic progress. He is going to be five at the end of October and can read simple words. He can do simple addition and is already beginning to write. I'm not in anyway bragging but just simply stating that if we invest time in our kids, it will show.

Here are some benefits to homeschooling:

Flexibility: You can set your own time along with the school year or do it all year around. You can set the amount of hours you want to school for. You can decide what classes they are getting and give them classes that interest them. For example, my child loves to draw, so I plan adding lots of art to my curriculum. Many schools also offer programs for home-schoolers just in case you are worried about social interaction. My son has no problem with that since we have lots of friends with children.

Quality: You know what your child is learning and what he is not. You can give him extra classes that schools can't provide. I know one of my friend's children is taking Greek and Latin. Something that the child can't take in public school.

Spending time with your child: One of the things I like about it is getting to spend time with my children. Getting to know them and raise them is truly a blessing.

A few years ago, when my son was about one, like most parents, I pictured my son’s first day of school. Like most Americans, I thought that I would have a full time job by now, and like most parents today in America, put my child in public school in hopes that someone will teach him what he needs to know. While living in Texas, I met some friends who home-schooled their children. I have to admit the idea of home-schooling seemed kind of strange to me at first. I noticed, however, that the children I knew that were being home-schooled were well behaved, well rounded children. What convinced me to home-school is the belief held by both my husband and I that there is no better person to teach and raise your child then his or her own mother. I think public schools today have too many issues and it will take another post for me to explain those issues. As an Orthodox Christian, I want my child to be influenced by the right teachings, beliefs, and attitude. I don’t want someone else raising my child. I could choose to put him in private school, but after researching different home-schooling methods and options, I found myself excited about doing it on my own. I read a book recently called Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss, whose ideas was influenced by Charlotte Mason. I also did some research on other methods to home-school. After much prayer and advise from friends, I’ve decided to follow through and home-school Isaiah.

This is my 1st year home-schooling and I am following a mix of the Classical Method and Charlotte Mason’s as well. Isaiah has mastered basic things such as colors, numbers, sounds of letters, sorting, matching, naming objects and animals, coloring and beginnings of writing and tracing. Now we are focusing on reading, writing and simple addition and subtraction. We also try to color one icon a week and learn a little about a saint. For science we learn about animals, plants and how the body works. I also love Charlotte Mason’s approach on “living books” and having good literature for the kids. I try to read to my child daily and ask him questions about the story we are reading. I try to base some of the things I do with him on the books we are reading. Isaiah also likes to do pages out of pre-school workbooks, so I let him do those as well. We also use a big white board I purchased at Wal-Mart to write words and draw pictures on. I sometimes use the white board to present new topics in art form such as matching items, writing numbers and learning new words. So far, Isaiah really enjoys it and he has learned so much.

Though I am new to home-schooling and I am learning through trial and error, I can say for certain that through home-schooling I have gotten to learn much more about my son. I am starting to recognize his interests and taste for things. This is important to me because I want my child to love learning and I want him to excel in his talents. I will update his status here what I am doing with Isaiah from time to time. Hopefully I will be as successful at home-schooling as some of my more experienced friends. I plan on posting updates and my current curriculum soon. Since my son is starting Kindergarten, I don't worry too much about a set schedule just yet.

Final thought:
Our children are created in the image of Christ and are jobs as parents are not just to help them get a good jobs when they grow up, but to help them recognize and reach their full potential. They should be encouraged to use their talents for Christ and motivated to achieve greatness.

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