Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spotlight on Homeschooling Series: Sara

Sara is another woman from an online group. We all shared approximate due dates-- our babies range from February to May birthdays. Sara is a homeschooling mother of four.

1. How old is/are your kid(s)?

9 1/2, 5 1/2, 3 1/2, 8 mths

2. How long have you been homeschooling?

9 1/2 years. I believe learning starts in utero but for the sake of this, I'll say since birth.

3. What made you choose to homeschool?

There isn't just one reason. Both my husband and I felt led by God to homeschool since before we knew each other. We decided to follow that leading because we believe God has a divine purpose in each of our lives and directs us in specific paths and homeschooling is the path we believe He has led us down.

We also have some major issues with what is being taught in the public school as well as how certain subjects are being taught. We cannot afford private school but, at this point, we wouldn't choose it anyway. We want to raise our children not just with learning of the mind but also learning of the heart but from a Christian, not a worldly, perspective.

My oldest has ADHD and, while she scored ahead of her grade, she has struggled learning certain subjects such as math. Homeschooling has allowed her to go at her own pace, learning in unique ways, without pressure to keep up with classmates. She also has an auditory processing disability which makes typical classroom learning very difficult. Because we want her to excel, we feel like homeschooling allows her to learn in ways that are best for her without making her feel different or excluded. It also prevents teasing or bullying from children who may not understand her difficulties.

Lastly, we feel that children need the nurture of family for as long as possible. Homeschooling allows them to be in the loving arms of their parents at any time. It also develops a close relationship with siblings because they are interacting on a daily basis without hours of separation.

4. Is there a particular style you use (e.g. Montessori, spiritual, etc) and why?

Nope. I call ours a smorgasbord. We've used and changed curriculum until we feel we've found what works best for each child.

5. Do you believe you will homeschool for your child(ren)'s entire academic life, or do you plan on using public, private or charter schools at some point?

At this point, our plan is to homeschool through high school. However, life doesn't always go as we plan so I am keeping an open mind as to what will happen each year. I try to evaluate each spring whether I feel like homeschooling continues to be the best choice for our family.

6. How do you respond to claims that homeschooling children leads to socialization issues and doesn't prepare children for the 'real world'?

I'm not sure where this argument arose or why it arose. There are people who have been raised in public, private and charter school settings who still graduate with very little skills in relating to other people. A lot of the relations you tend to see at school arise around anger, bullying, jealousy and cliques. Why these would be considered necessary to knowing how to live in the "real world" is beyond me. And, I'm not sure where those claiming this argument think a homeschooling child is currently living. It is not as if we who homeschool place our children in an isolated environment. A child who is homeschooled isn't left unattended, or at least shouldn't be left unattended, all day. It just means that their learning is done at home. So, they are still surrounded by others whether it is adults or other children. For my children, they are surrounded by myself and my husband, their siblings, the children at church 3 times per week, dance class, playdates, field trips and other activities. Our children have experienced no issues with trouble socializing. In fact, our oldest, who is the oldest by 4 years, is one of the most outgoing children I know and has no issues with making friends and fitting in in a classroom setting.

7. What is your biggest worry about homeschooling?

Being able to keep up with organization and what needs to be accomplished each day, week, month and year.

8. Briefly, what are your state's guidelines for homeschooling families? If you feel comfortable saying it, feel free to indicate what state you're in.

MN: Start date age 7. Yearly testing though the results only have to be turned over to the state if the child scores in the lower 20%. Yearly information turned into the school district by October 1st including vaccination information and a school calendar. I follow the guidelines written up in MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Homeschool Education). Because neither my husband nor I have a college degree, we have to turn in quarterly report cards, but we choose the scoring. That's all I know for now, for elementary age. I'm not sure if it changes in later school years. We are also members of HSLDA, a legal defense agency for homeschool families.

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