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Saturday, December 08, 2007

What a Difference A Year Makes Part 2

(this post comes from the journal I wrote in my first 18 months of homeschooling)

The Lost Files
What a Difference A Year Makes Part 1

At this point one year ago, we realized there was nothing we could do to help our
children excel within the school system. Looking at our own educational history and that of relatives and friends with similar backgrounds as ourselves, it was apparent that problems this early on in ones academic career meant sure failure in the end. We had to do something and we had to do it now. We decided to homeschool our children.

A year has passed since we made the decision. We had them stay in school for the
remainder of the year in order to do research, and to prepare for the great task of teaching our kids. This was not an easy endeavor by any means. The time I spent reading and doing research did help to prepare me for the task, but the thought of shouldering such responsibility often kept me awake at nights.

When the children left public school last May, I slowly introduced them to the idea of learning every day. I mostly gave them books and watched. Because they did not like the prospect of doing schoolwork in the summer, I did not push. Nevertheless, I did test them to find out if they had any holes in their education, and when I found such a hole (like my son having no knowledge or Roman Numerals or my daughter not understanding when to borrow in subtraction and when not to borrow) I filled in the blanks. We took the time to get a feel for each other during that first summer and when it was over, we officially started homeschooling.

At this date, one year has passed since we decided to homeschool, and it has been six months since this academic year has begun. I am proud to say that the problems we had last year this time are no more.

Jordan is still as energetic and distractible as before, but her confidence level soars. She is happy, has many friends and knows for sure that all the adults in her life absolutely adore her. We do not receive report cards any more, but other adults do assess her, so I am not just bragging. For one, her piano teacher is much happier with her progress than she was last year.

She has an easier time with the lessons now because she is not an emotional wreck by the time she gets to her lesson. Small errors do not leave her in tears thinking that she is stupid and worthless. Both the Piano teacher and her Tae Kwon Do instructor tell me that she had matured greatly in the last year. They both see marked improvement in her behavior.

Yes, she still is very hyperactive, yet she remains un-medicated. Since there is no one for her to bother while she is doing her school work, she often does it while standing, fidgeting, singing, and even jumping up and down. Such activity however has only enhanced the amount of knowledge she has been able to absorb, considering the fact that she has already finished a whole school year.

Jackson has always been mature for his age, but he is now in control over his emotions and so purposeful in his actions, instead of oversensitive and weepy like he was last year. He is very outspoken and never hesitates to ask questions from anyone and everyone who he thinks might hold a morsel of information that might be useful to him. He has many friends in church, Tae Kwon Do, and swimming class and has no problems getting along with others.

His health has also improved significantly, as he may now answer whenever nature calls. In fact he has gained a great deal of weight this year because his body is better absorbing nutrients. Our only worry now is that he may gain too much weight. The curriculum he is working on now is at 4th grade level, but he has electronic learning games that challenge him on math at 5th and 6th grade level with no problem. When he left school last year he was already reading on 7th grade level, but his comprehension was at 3rd grade level. This has is also now up to grade level.

I truly believe that had we not decided to homeschool our children that they would not have achieved these heights. They would continue to be unhappy, withdrawn, and
consider themselves as less than the brilliant children they are. What we have done is given them the freedom to learn without unnecessary rules and restrictions. They do not worry about grades and politics; they just concentrate on absorbing information.

In writing this, it is not my desire to convince you that you should homeschool your
children, but to give you support should you decide to homeschool. If you are on the
fence about whether or not you should homeschool, this book will give you a peek into this our first year as homeschoolers. You will see how we have decided to approach the endeavor and the processes that went into making decisions. If you decide not to homeschool, I hope that this can give you a bit of insight into the importance of taking charge of your children.s education. This is possible even while your children still attend public and parochial schools.

Read more Notes From a Homeschooling Mom

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