From A Homeschooler - {The Prequel}

(2016: Please note that this is a series I wrote several years ago as a general overview of my experience as a homeschool student.  If you have any questions about homeschooling and my homeschool experience, please comment below, and I would love to address them in future posts.  Thanks for reading!)

I’ve been wanting to start this series on homeschooling, and honestly it’s leaving me overwhelmed.  There is so much to say on the subject.  I have a million posts written out in my head, and it’s intimidating me to just sit down and type them out.  But if I don’t start it’s never going to get written, so please forgive me if this first post is less than stellar.  I’m going to start out simply by writing about my own homeschooling experience.

I wasn’t always homeschooled.  I went to public school first through third grade.  My mom was actually considering homeschooling me in kindergarten, but she got intimidated and decided to send my siblings and me to public school.

Most of my public school memories revolve around me trying to do everything “right” in the classroom, and trying to not to be embarrassed either in front of or by the other kids.  But kids are mean, and embarrassing things did happen at times.  Those were low points in my educational existence, and I did what I could to be “cool” and not let it happen again.

My mom wanted to be involved in our education, even if she wasn’t teaching us, and she volunteered to help out at the school, so sometimes she would get to see us during the school day.  I was never embarrassed by my mom being there.  Everyone loved my mom, and I did too.

This is a picture of the three of us – I’m thinking when I was either in 2nd or 3rd grade?  At Disney World.

Being at the school allowed my mom to know more about what was going on with our education, and little things started to bother her. 

For example, we had storytime in the school library, and she didn’t agree with some of the things in these seemingly harmless children’s books (it amazing how agendas are sneaked into books for kids). 
Apparently I was also a little over-obsessed with the “rules”. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but my mom started noticing that during the school year I would get very serious and concerned with doing everything “right”.  There were times when she stopped by my classroom, and I would barely glance at her, maybe give her a quick smile, but then I wouldn’t look at her again for fear of getting in trouble.  During the summer I would usually get back to my happy, care-free self, but over the couple years I was in school she noticed that it took me longer and longer to get back to normal. 

This is a good example of why it’s important to consider the individual child’s needs when looking at education choices – not every kid has this “personality change” problem because they go to public school, but I did.

Mostly her concerns were just a bunch of little things, but in combination with the fact that homeschooling was at the back of her mind anyway – well, it started to all add up.

From what I remember, the final straw was when she was looking over the agenda for the rest of the school year and noticed that they were planning on taking my class on a field trip to a Buddhist temple (which I still find incredible – you know they would never consider taking kids on a field trip to a church, but it’s okay to go to a Buddhist temple?). 

As a Christian this was disturbing to her (it would be to me too!), and she and my dad decided she could teach us herself.  Being at the school with us for those years gave her confidence that she could teach us what we needed to know, and my dad was totally on board.

So the year I started fourth grade, I woke up, got dressed, pretended to take the “bus” upstairs, and started my first day of school at home.

To read the rest of my homeschool story, check out these posts:

Disclaimer:  I feel the need to include this, because I know many of you are teachers.  I am not a fan of the public school system, and I plan to homeschool my own kids - which is part of the reason I have written out my story, to remind myself of where I came.  However, I do think the majority of teachers in the public school system do the best they can, and I’m sure each of you reading who might teach in public school are amazing at your jobs!  So please keep that in mind as you read.

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LeAnna said...

I can't wait to read this. I often feel like it's so hard to talk about homeschooling, because everyone assumes you're slamming them if they don't. I went to private school in 2nd grade, and my experience was SO much like what you described. Spending all that time trying not to be a goober. I hated it. That feeling of needing to fit into a certain category or mold.

Anyway, glad you're blogging about this. Homeschooling is so dear to my heart, I absolutely can't imagine anything else for my kids. I loved every year of schooling at home (except for the year I took Saxon math, haha...)

Sarah said...

I cannot WAIT for the rest of this series. Thanks for writing it even though you may get stuck here and there!

Natalie said...

Yay! I'm super excited for this series! I was NOT homeschooled but we are planning to homeschool all of our children from preschool on. So it'll be great to hear from someone who had both experiences! I totally agree about the public school system. There are some GREAT teachers out there, but unfortunately too many other bad things outweigh the good teachers. I went to school for education, so I spent a lot of time in public school classrooms, and I saw it first hand. I would also say that a lot of the problem is the PARENTS...teachers these days have no control over so much because the administrators are too worried about making the parents happy, and too many parents are taking advantage. Sad. Not to mention the way parents 'discipline' their children and the 'manners' they teach them these days! Anyway, off my soap box now...I'm excited!

Veronica and Daniel said...

I always love reading what you post, but am especially excited to read about your thoughts on homeschooling. I was not homeschooled. My hubby was. I have my el. ed degree and taught in a public school for 2 years and a private school for 2 years. The words "I will never homeschool my kids" have come out of my mouth back when I was in college. But God has other plans for me ;) I have learned not to say "I will never..."!! It is very important to my hubby that we homeschool our kids ~ so much so that we talked about it on our first date! God has been changing my heart. Anyway, no kids for us yet, but we will be homeschooling when the time comes :)

Krystle said...

Good for you for tackling this subject!
My husband was a public school kid, and I did public school until 6th grade, when I started going to a private Christian school.

I do not believe homeschooling is for everyone, and I believe it is a gift. There are a lot of homeschooling families out there and their kids are suffering because the Mom is not equipped to do this.
I think there are other options available besides public or homeschool.
Private Christian school is where our kids will go, I will sell everything and eat beans and rice to pay the tuition.
Charter schools are another emerging option that are having great results.

I watched the documentary Waiting for Superman, and it was so depressing and discouraging and I could never fathom of sending my kid to a public school.
That being said....if we pull all of the Christian kids from public school...where does that leave the other kids?
We need good Christian kids in public schools, a lot of them.
That's often the only place a child will be exposed to it.

Just my first thoughts. :)

Tatiana said...

I def. agree that you need to look at kid's personalities when planing their education. I went to public schools most of my life, and to a private christian university. For the most part, I really liked it. High school was a bit different, but I had some cultural differences that I was trying to figure out and work through.
I had a very extroverted personality, and was a social butterfly, and I know I would have gone insane if my mom would have homeschooled me. I learned how to read and write when I was 4yrs old just because she was so hardcore, and rigorous about education. I can't even imagine spending all my school years being taught by her.
That being said, I know a LOT of people who have been homeschooled and who turned out great. My SIL is homeschooling her kids as well, and both the kids and she love it.
Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on it :-)

Melanie said...

I have been looking forward to hearing what all you have to say about homeschooling..its definately had me intrigued but like your moms thinking in the does seem overwhelming!! And WOW..a Buddist temple field trip??!!?? That is unreal!!! I can't wait to hear more about your homeschooling experiences!!

Melanie said...

I forgot to say..I totally agree w/you on the public school system..there is alot that needs to be worked out in a big way. Just a couple months ago..the kindergarden teacher from the school I went to as a child was arrested for doing drugs during her lunch break. Can you imagine??????

Ashley said...

Ooh, I'm excited for this series! It will be great to hear the experience from a fellow homeschooler! I think that your mom's reasons for homeschooling sound like a lot of other homeschool moms' - just the desire to provide a personalized education for their children, depending on their kids' personalities, learning styles, etc., as well as to be in control of what their kids are being taught. I know this played a role in why my mom chose to teach us too.

katie said...

This is going to be a great series! I'm not even a mother yet and I already want to homeschool my own children! I was not homeschooled, but I don't like the things I hear and see and that I experienced in public school many years ago, so if I have the opportunity to homeschool someday, I will definitely take advantage of it.

Melissa said...

This should be a great series! :) I think there are a lot of misconceptions about homeschoolers. I worked with 2 homeschooling families when i was a part-time nanny & I can definitely say that most of those stereotypes are SO not true. Those are the most vibrant, social kids I know!

I wasn't homeschooled, though. I went to private christian school from pre-school through fifth grade, and eighth grade. But I went to public school 6-8 grade & 9-12. I think educationally speaking, homeschooling can often be a GREAT thing for certain kids. Now, some families do it b/c they want to shelter their kids from the world, and I don't really agree w/ that. Mainly b/c i don't agree w/ the idea that EVERY kid will give in to peer pressure! I was in public school for those awkward teen/pre-teen years & I never got into drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. Mainly b/c my parents were christians who made me go to youth group! I had a good relationship with God & wanted to do what pleased Him.

Also, public schools can be good OR bad. I think it depends on where you live. Here, in Louisiana, half of our schools failed in performance. But schools in certain districts are known for being excellent schools. This is why we want to move to a certain area of town. B/c our kids would get excellent educations even in the public schools there.

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