Monday, December 15, 2014

Why We Went Back to Homeschooling Our Kids- Again

 photo homeschooling_zps349fdcc0.jpg
A homeschooling lesson- real life learning.
Baking, following instructions, reading, math, etc..
Those of you who've been following my blog for a long time already might remember some details about my kids' schooling journey, how originally we were homeschooling, unschooling inspired, and then last year we decided to send our kids to school, and now we're back at homeschooling, again unschooling inspired.

People were surprised at my choice- many at my choice to send them to school in the first place (how can an unschooler not only stop unschooling, but actually send to a regular school?), but probably even more people were surprised that we went back to homeschooling after this year- despite the fact that we said from the start that our goal was to send them to school just for a year anyhow. Many said that the second we put them in school, we'd see how much better school was than homeschooling, and I wouldn't want to go back to homeschooling (because I'd miss the free time I had), and it wouldn't be fair to my kids to make them go back to homeschooling, since they wouldn't want it after being in school.

So, hence, this post. Why we're back to homeschooling this year.
But in order to address that question, I'd first have to review the reasons we sent them to school last year in the first place.

The one thing my husband and I have always said about our schooling choices is that they're not set in stone- we'd reevaluate them all the time. What we want is happy children, with good manners and a love of learning. Being stuck in the mode of "only homeschooling" or "only schooling" would really be missing the forest for the trees. And hence, last year, after some soul searching and a lot of discussing, my husband and I decided to send the boys to school for a year.

The main goal for sending our children to school last year was to learn the local language. My husband and I are both native English speakers (he from South Africa, and I from the good old US of A), living in a foreign country with a language other than English as the main language here (for the sake of all posts regarding this and our privacy, I refer to the language spoken here as Swahili), and we made the decision to keep our house an English speaking one. The reasons for this are many, but among them are the the following:
1) I want to be able to speak to my children easily in my mother tongue, without needing to feel like a blubbering idiot if I can't think of the words I need off the tip of my tongue. While I do speak Swahili relatively well, I am not as eloquent in it as I am in English, my vocabulary and grammar in it aren't amazing, and I just don't feel comfortable. I don't want language to get in the way of my relationship with my children or husband.
2) My parents and in laws and cousins all speak English, as well as many other relatives- I wanted my children to be able to converse with them easily.
3) We decided that it would only be a boon for my children to speak English as well as the local language- both for educational reasons (all schools here teach English as a second language, high school matriculation exams and university entrance exams all require a high level of English) and for future job reasons (most businesses here require decent English, not to mention all the international job markets), and felt that speaking English at home would be the best way to get them fluent in it.

However, we didn't anticipate how hard it would be as homeschoolers for them to learn Swahili. While my husband grew up in this country, and hence is more comfortable in Swahili than English (significantly so when it comes to reading and writing... and when it comes to speaking, his Swahili is somewhat better than his English, though his English isn't bad at all)... and even though I end up speaking Swahili while out and about with the kids, to local vendors, neighbors, and Swahili speaking relatives, that wasn't enough for them to pick up more than maybe 10-15 phrases in Swahili, plus a few other random words.
The local kids mostly speak Swahili, but our social circles tended to be other native English speakers, and hence, that's who my kids ended up playing with, and they got intimidated by those who spoke Swahili, and refused to play with them, even in the park.
Because if this, in addition to the not learning Swahili from friends, socially it was getting harder for them, since their already small pool of available friends was dwindling for various reasons.

We researched the schools here, picked the one we felt best aligned with our values, and that we'd heard the most positive things about, and said we'd send the kids to school for a year to learn Swahili, and I'm glad we did so.
For multiple reasons.

Number one, because it was effective in teaching my oldest, 7 year old, Lee, Swahili. He still has a long way to go, but he can have conversations in Swahili, will make friends and play with Swahili speaking kids, and has a good basis in the language on which we can build now.

Number two, because it wasn't effective in teaching my five year old, Ike, Swahili. I am not sure he spoke any more (other than maybe 10 more vocabulary words, but still didn't understand a basic command in Swahili, like come sit here) after a whole year in school. He apparently has a language processing issue with a second language... and had I not sent him to school for that year, I would have always been second guessing myself, that "had I only sent him to school for full immersion in Swahili for a year, he'd be learning faster than he is now". Now I know that that is not what he needs. He needs something else other than full immersion, and we're working on that with him.

Number three, because I got to see that my unschooling was showing tangible results. When they went to get accepted to the school, they were "tested" by the principal, who wasn't sure my kids would be "on level" because of their never having been in school before (and I didn't even mention that I unschooled them- which would have scared the principal even more probably). His assessment was that my kids were not only not behind their age mates, they were more advanced. So that reaffirmed for me that kids can and do learn a lot, even without formal schooling, which makes me more comfortable this year taking a "relaxed homeschooling approach" since I got outside confirmation that it's working great.

Number four, because it helped my kids get into a routine, having a set bed time and waking up by a certain time, something that doesn't come naturally to me. By getting into this routine because of school, we now have it established, and even now that we're back at homeschooling, we've managed to keep it, which is helpful in life.

Number five, because my kids got to connect with their teachers, who really are amazing, quality, caring, loving individuals, who had a positive influence on my kids' lives. I was glad to give my kids this opportunity.

Number six, because my kids got to try it out, and see "what they were missing". Before going to school, they thought school was "so cool" and were occasionally asking why they didn't go, though they understood, sort of, why we weren't sending them. But this past year, they got to go to school for a year, and saw what it was all about. We were very positive and encouraging about the school, the teachers, their classmates- we made sure not to set them up for failure by having a negative attitude, speaking badly of the school, etc... We were confident that we made the right choice about which school to send them to, that it was the best option (and haven't regretted our choice in school)- and let the kids know how much we believed in the school.
However, even with all that, my kids asked to be homeschooled again. At the very beginning they asked to be homeschooled again, but we encouraged them to stick it out, to give it a chance to get past the initial adjustment period, and they did. But towards the end of the year, the kids said they didn't want to go back to school next year; they missed being homeschooled and wanted to homeschool again.

But are we just back at homeschooling because that's what my kids asked for?

Not only, though that certainly is a factor.

From the start, we had decided to send our kids to school for just a year. Because we believe in homeschooling. We believe that parents know what is best for their child, because they can get to know the child and their individual needs more so than a teacher with 10-30 other kids in the classroom can. And the parents, once they know what is best for their child, can give the kid what they need, and tailor their education to the method in which their child learns best.

I honestly feel that in this past year in school, my kids (and especially Ike) barely learned anything. And its not just because of the language barrier.
After speaking to a lot of people, including specialists, it appears either one or both of my sons fit into the category of 2E, standing for "twice exceptional"- meaning that they are very smart, but also have some learning disabilities (like sensory issues), which can get in the way of their learning.
Because of this, I felt my kids' strengths (and especially Ike's) were getting overlooked (Ike is a whiz at math- even if he generally needs to do it orally instead of written- is amazing with science- biology in particular- and is a super creative as well- both when it comes to problem solving and when it comes to story telling) because of the learning issues that came up in school.
I don't blame the school at all for this- the teachers were loving, caring individuals that my children absolutely adored. Unfortunately with so many kids in a class, it simply isn't possible to tailor the type of teaching done to each kids' individual needs.
I feel that at home, I'm able to focus on the kid's strengths, in a way that work around the weaknesses, finding ways that the kids are able to learn best, while at the same time working on the weaker points without the pressure or fear of failure that can happen in a group setting.

Another thing that I didn't like about school were the disciplinary problems. My children are not angels by any means.... but compared to their classmates, they were. They kept on coming home with stories about this kid and that kid who did such and such bad things in class and on the playground. When a teacher needs to spend so much of his or her time disciplining and unruly bunch, not much learning can actually take place!

We also had to deal with bullies in the kids' school. Ike kept on telling me how the kids in his class would steal his lunch of he had a yummy lunch, so they could eat it themselves, so he asked me to please not send certain meals for lunch because it meant he didn't get to eat it. And he said that a lot of the boys in his class would hurt him and in general be mean to him.
When a kid doesn't feel comfortable, when a kid feels like they have to constantly be on guard to protect themselves from bullies and other mean kids, their mind can't be relaxed enough to actually absorb knowledge and learn. That's not a conducive learning environment.
There were also kids in an older grade that tried to beat up Lee a few times- Ike protected his big brother, and ended up beating up boys a few years older than he, instead. Again, that is not what I want my boys to have to deal with on a regular basis.
(Its not like being out of school means they never have to deal with tough social situations. They do. Regularly. Just not during our "learning hours".)

There are a few other odds and ends as reasons why we're back at homeschooling, but one other main, all inclusive reason that covers many of the aforementioned, plus other reasons as well.

My husband works closely with a lot of schools. He doesn't work for the schools, but his job regularly brings him to places where he can observe what is going in in schools. Over the years, he's worked closely with at least 40 different schools from all sorts of different backgrounds and age ranges, including schools that friends and family members send their kids and rave about how amazing the schools are. The stories my husband comes home with, about the horrible and shocking things that go on at these schools, even in schools that others think are "super amazing" is astounding. When you hear what is going on that the parents are oblivious to, and still think the school is very amazing, it really makes you doubt yourself, and whether your trust in a school and its administrators are misplaced.
People ask me how I can have faith in myself, that I'll be all that my kids need as an educator. Personally, I feel it takes a greater leap of faith to send to school and entrust someone else to educate your child...

So now we're back to homeschooling.

So let me tell you what I love about homeschooling.

I just love learning with them in general. I love watching their eyes light up when they discover something new and exciting. I really missed this last year. Even though I could have potentially learned with them after school, by the time they got home, they were tired, and didn't feel like spending more time learning- they just wanted free time to go out and play with their friends. We're really having a great time learning together now.

I love the challenge of thinking up ways to spark the kids interest, and make more complex topics relevant and relatable to my children, so they want to just keep on learning more and more.

I love the creativity needed to find ways to work around any learning disability and find ways that my not stereotypical learners learn best.

I love being able to fully delve into topics that thrill my kids, to be able to spend as much time as they desire on these topics, even if they're not typical topics covered by schools in these grades (if at all)

I love having the flexibility to structure our day as works best for us, that we don't need to rush out the door by a certain time, and if I go out in the morning, I don't need to drop everything and rush back in the middle of the day to get back by pick up time. I like that we're able to relax and not stress out too much about structuring our lives to suit someone else's timetable.

I love being able make yummy, healthy, frugal foods for my kids daily, and not need to worry every single day about having something that they like and is easily transportable for them to eat in school.

I love the real life learning that goes on here, from skills to knowledge to manners, that my children are picking up from being around adults and older children regularly.

I love spending many hours of each day with my children, so that I don't have to work too hard to have a good relationship with them and be the primary influence on my kids' lives, especially when it comes to the values that I would like them to get.

I love that my children spend a lot of time with each other, and are consequently each other's best friends, and are very close to each other.

There are many other reasons why I love homeschooling- this is just the tip of the iceberg.

And as for Swahili, I now speak in Swahili to my children between 5%-20% of the time. We practice a lot of the words, with fun, games, stories, and activities.
In the 3 months since the "school year" started, Ike has picked up a lot more Swahili than he did in a year at school, and Lee's Swahili is constantly improving.

Should things change in the future, we're open to sending them to school again...

But at this point...

We homeschool because that's what works best for our family, and we love it!

P.S.- Everyone needs to make the decision that works best for their family at that point in time. In no way do I think that every family can and should homeschool. I'm very glad that it works for us, and I hope everyone is able to find the educational method that works best for their children.


  1. Very, very interesting. But how do you determine what they should be taught? How do you decide what to teach them in biology, math, art et al? In what way were your kids more advanced than their peers when tested by the principal?

    1. I don't remember which topics they were more advanced than their peers- at least not all of them. Math and science they were definitely more advanced in, among other things.

      How do I determine what should be taught? That's actually the thing about unschooling- you don't have a set curriculum of what you teach your kids- you follow their lead and their interests, and trust their natural curiosity and love of learning will make them learn more than if you set out an official curriculum. I am not 100% like that, I do have some things I would like to cover with my children by a certain age, and for that, I keep a very loose idea of basic topics, like in math, reading, etc... that if my kids don't learn on their own by a certain age, I'd try to find a way to make sure they learn it, but so far, they've been exceeding those expectations, just by things that come up in our day to day life, so I havent needed to. And biology, art, etc... its really just by things that come up. My kids are inquisitive by nature. Instead of being bored, they exercise their minds, come up with all sorts of questions for me to research the answers for them. Like, they've asked about atom bombs and how they work, how many atoms are in the sun, why fire stations have a pole, about gladiators and how they worked, why there are lower case and capital letters, etc... so we ended up covering all those topics that might not have been on a standard curriculum...

  2. You mention high school and university- I'd be very, very surprised if your kids can manage to be successful in either- or even be accepted to college- based on your homeschooling. Your cute little lessons might be fine while they're so young, but there's no way you will be able to adequately prepare them for higher learning. You're setting them up for "careers" in minimum wage jobs.
    Also, I don't think much of a mother who, in her list of why she home schools, talks about HER convenience (the not having to rush to school, the easier lunches).

    1. My brother's college girlfriend was home schooled her whole life except for the last 2 years of high school, to make transition to college easier. She was hugely successful, both academically (top of her class) and socially.

    2. Statistically speaking, homeschooled and especially unschooled kids who then go to high school or university tend to be very successful in both, for many reasons. For one, because they are self motivated learners, and because they are on a higher scholastic level than their schooled peers. For this reason, many universities specifically like acceping homeschoolers compared to others. So you may think these "cute little lessons" are only ok for when they're young, but the lessons become more complex as the kids get older, and involve a lot of in depth, complicated research...
      In short, statistics show that you're simply incorrect.

    3. And as for my convenience or the kids convenience:
      Its not "my convenience" vs theirs. The same things that I appreciate are also things the kids appreciate. I don't mind getting the kids out in the morning to school, for example... it was the kids that minded it, that it stressed them out... they're much happier without that stress in their lives. So its not just about me. But since I'm writing this blog, I am writing things from my perspective, about why I like homeschooling. (Do you, when telling people about why your kids go to their school, tell people about what your kids like about the school, or what YOU like about the school?)

      If you want a list of why my kids enjoy being homeschooled more than being in school, here's what they just answered me:
      Ike (5)
      1) I don't have to be around the kids who are hurting me
      2) I don't spend so much time with the teacher, and instead get to spend time with YOU, Mommy
      3) I get to spend more time with my brother and play with him
      4) I don't have to be shy in school because I can't speak

      Lee (7):
      1) We can learn what we want, when we want to
      2) There aren't so many kids going wild and hurting me by accident at recess
      3) You explain things well to me so I can learn more
      4) I don't like the long trip to and from school

    4. I'm not sure why anyone would come into someone's home and harshly criticize them the way you just did (and this blog is a virtual extension of her home). And the fact that you are so wrong in your assumptions makes it worse. You obviously have no idea what it's like to homeschool in today's world or you would not have made such ignorant judgements. If you don't like it/don't agree with it, just move on without scathing remarks.

    5. I'm sure if you asked 1000 kids from various backgrounds if theyd like to be homeschooled instead of going to school, 999 of them would say yes, for most of the reasons your kids gave. Of course most kids would rather be home with their mom and siblings instead of the teacher, free to learn and do what they want when they want! I'm sure I would have said the same thing as a child. Not have to get up early and ride to school every day? That's a no brainer. Of course I would have wanted to stay home. Thank goodness my parents wouldn't have given into those whims.

      And sure I tell people what *I* like about my kids' school. But they're things that ultimately beneft the kids, too- like the fact that I have good relationships with their teachers and can discuss things with them any time. I'd hardly put that in the same category as things that make my life easier, like not having to make lunches or rush to get to school on time. You say your kids are also happier without the morning stress? Every kid in the world would be happier without it! That's just a part of life. You don't just stop sending them to school because of that. Hey, I don't like getting up early for work everyday. Might as well just quit my job! Since when do we let small children make such big decisions, anyway? What if they asked you for a chocolate-only diet? To stop wearing clothes outside the house? Would you say yes to those things, too?

      As for the bullying, that's something you should take up with the teacher, the principal, and the bully's parents. If that didn't work, then I'd look for a different school. And if all the schools where I lived were like that, I'd move.

      Julie, I don't agree that a blog is a virtual extension of someone's home. This is an Internet site open for public viewing and public commenting- and its owner is anonymous. I'm sure she's not unrealistic enough not to expect any disagreement or criticism. If my post seemed harsh to you, it's probably because you disagree with my anti-homeschooling views.

    6. Your comment simply amuses me.
      According to this logic...
      I'm not allowed to say I homeschool because I think my kids learn better at home.
      I'm not allowed to say I homeschool my kids because it allows my kids to pursue the subjects that intrigue them at the pace that intrigues them.
      I'm not allowed to say that I homeschool my kids because our lives are less stressful this way.
      I'm not allowed to say that I homeschool my kids because I think everyone is happier that way.
      I'm not allowed to say that I homeschool my kids because the were getting bullied in school. (Mind you, I WAS dealing with the teachers about this, and it helped... a bit... but not much. But the other schools here are worse when it comes to that.)

      So, according to your logic, what is a valid reason to homeschool? None at all?

      Do you hold people who send their kids to school to as strict criteria? They're not allowed to send their kids to school because they need a break from their kids (thats actually what most people who speak to me about homeschooling say- that they could never homeschool because they need a break from their kids)? They're not allowed to send their kids to school because thats how their kids are happiest? (I've spoken to many kids about this subject- most tell me they wouldn't want to be homeschooled, to tell you the truth.)
      They're not allowed to send their kids to school "because that's what everyone else does"? They must have a very compelling reason to send their kids to school, that doesnt involve what they or their kids enjoy, doesnt involve where their kids learn best, doesnt involve what makes their lives easier... Right?
      Or do you only hold homeschoolers to these standards?

    7. And if you think I let my kids make the decision about whether or not to homeschool, I never did. It was always my husband and I who made that decision, and fortunately, our kids have always been happy with our decisions. Because we made these decisions with their best interest in mind, from their education, their emotional well being, their spiritual well being, etc...

    8. Anon 8:24,
      You are kind of an ass.
      I home schooled my son while working a full time job. His only year in school was his senior year.
      He is 19, in his second year at college and doing wonderfully while working a part time job. He is also one of a very few kids his age who have never tried drugs of any kind. And yes, he was raised in church and many of his friends come from that environment.
      There is nothing more convenient than dropping your kid off at school. I wanted better for my child and I think Penny does as well. Home schooling is not easy no matter your approach.
      A loving parent really can do a good job.

    9. Sure, you can argue whatever you want, but the fact remains that your tone and judgemental accusations are condescending. If you want to have an honest, open discussion about homeschooling, I'd be happy to answer your questions, but when you approach someone with the attitude you have, you're more likely to get a harsh response. Disagreement and criticism is one thing...being nasty and judgemental (and ignorant), that's a whole other story.

      You obviously know nothing about homeschooling, so I can't understand why you would continue to spout your opinions based on your (false) perception of what homeschooling is...that makes absolutely no sense. Do you imagine us as off-the-grid hippies who eschew all of society? Do you think we are fundamentalist religious folk? Do you imagine we are sitting around the kitchen table, all lonely, with our books and assignments? Take a look at what homeschoolers are really like -- Logan LaPlante (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h11u3vtcpaY) and Jacob Barnett (http://tedxteen.com/talks/tedxteen-2012/111-jacob-barnett-forget-what-you-know) share a little bit about what homeschooling has done for them.

      I feel badly for you or anyone else who feels trapped by convention and societal norms just because it's "a part of life." We (homeschoolers) strive for meaning and fulfillment in everything we do, so sitting at a desk for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 12 years of childhood and adolescence, does not compare in the least to the myriad of experiences we are able to have because we are not spending the majority of our time doing work that has little relevance to real life. Seriously, think about what you learned in school...if you're honest, you'll admit you've forgotten most of it. The stuff that sticks with you are the meaningful experiences (good and bad) as well as things you actually ended up pursuing in life -- the rest was just busy work...LOTS of it.

      And let's not forget that the schooling we all grew up with looks very different from what our kids are experiencing in the classroom today. Here in the US, the Common Core State Standards (No Child Left Behind's legacy) has really messed things up -- the Arts and Physical Fitness have no place in today's school schedule. The focus on standardized testing leaves little room for creativity. My goal is not to raise good little workers who will kowtow to their boss -- I want my kids to be creative thinkers and problem solvers, to embrace life's joys, and have a true sense of self-determination so that they can accomplish whatever their dreams may be. I know this is a sentiment shared by most parents, but I can assure you that conventional schooling does not value these same ideals.


    10. Amen and well said, Julie and Patti.

    11. In a sense, you are correct. You obviously would be surprised to learn the statistics of homeschoolers and college success. Look up the independent research. Homeschoolers tend to fare very well in college:)

    12. I'm the oldest of 7 kids and we've all been homeschooled. I graduated college with my bachelor's and a high GPA and had absolutely no problem finding a professional job. My sister next in age to me graduated with a 4.0 and her bachelor's in nursing and also has had no problem finding an excellent, extremely well paying job as a nurse. My brother after her has always wanted to join the army, so last year he entered the National Guard and was trained in one of the harder jobs, I don't remember the name, but he learned how to drive the extremely complicated construction equipment. If he ever just wanted a job doing that, he could start with a salary of $70,000/year. Hardly minimum wage starting pay. Brother after him is working on his bachelor's in Criminal Justice and wants to become a cop. The rest are still in school but I think us first four are pretty good proof that homeschooling can be a perfect fit for some families. If you needed more proof, I know tons of similarly successful homeschooling stories, since those were my friends and peers growing up and they've all been very successful by your criteria. Plus, Penny has said over and over that they plan on seeing what their family needs each year, she's not stuck on homeschooling if she ends up thinking it's not working. I find that very commendable and inspiring, and my husband and I plan on doing the same with our kids. Please don't make such negative claims in the future, research on homeschooling has been very positive and most of us did in fact turn out more than fine.

    13. I'm not sure why you say that. Now, I'm not a homeschooler. I have friends who are - they tend to home school for religious regions. But I can tell you here, in California, it's the homeschooled kids who succeed at a FAR greater rate than the kids who go to regular school. Why is that? I'm not really sure - it could be a number of things like:
      1. Smart and educated parents tend to be more interested in their children's education
      2. Children at home get more individual attention and can learn at their own pace (I can tell you that my son is very good at math - he's in 3rd grade - and he could do more math than his own teacher last year.)

      I'm sure some of it has to do with the type of people who choose to homeschool. One of my friends who is homeschooling has a PhD in materials science and engineering.

      I think you have an anti-homeschool bias that doesn't really match reality.

  3. I'd like to hear more about what your schedule with them is like on a regular day.. and is there any registration process or reporting now that at least the oldest is past the age where there is mandatory schooling?
    also, do you think they came out of formal school learning so little because it was kindergarden, not real school yet?

    1. Really our schedule varies so much from day to day, so I can't give you a set schedule.
      There is an official registration process, but its complicated. Feel free to email me if you want to know more.

      My oldest was in first grade last year, so I don't think it's because of that that he barely learned in school.

  4. I think it's fantastic that you're able to give your kids the type of education that works best for them. I also think it's great that you're being open and flexible and willing to try different things out.

    1. Thank you! People who plan out their whole life before they actually have kids and see what their kids are like and need, and how their family dynamics change over the year... aren't having enough foresight in my opinion.

  5. Honestly, I would love to homeschool my kids in the future but I am terrible at math and probably would not be able to help them beyond middle school level math and I wouldn't want to throw them back into a public high school (many people I knew had that background and they had a hard time adjusting after a whole childhood of homeschooling). I know a family friend who homeschooled her kids and because they didn't have to deal with constant repetition or all the other "fluff" that public schools have, they graduated from high school level by the age of 15. But then going off to college at that age doesn't seem quite right since maturity wise, they are far behind their peers. I would be interested in your take on the matter!

    1. Interesting you say this... Because as a teenager, I actually tutored another high schooler in our homeschooling co-op whose mother was bad at math, while my mother tutored his younger sisters (and mother), bartering her time for something else. Homeschooling co-ops, if available in the area, are a great way to fill in the gaps in your skill sets.

    2. And about college, funny you say that. As a homeschooler, I graduated high school also at the age of 16 (through an accredited school, with twice as many credits as needed), and at 15, I went to college through a program that allows high schoolers with high enough SAT/ACT scores to attend college for free (providing they pass the courses) and get both high school and college credit and even though I was the youngest there by far, it was a good year for me, I made some good friends and learned a lot... I was living at home then, commuting to the school 5 days a week (by public transportation), not dorming/living on campus. After my experience there, with that program, I definitely would not be averse to doing something similar with my kids.
      Other options regarding college at that age are online courses or parents attending the classes with the kids (I've heard of them doing that when there are REALLY young kids/geniuses in college, like 10 or 12 year olds). There are more and more programs for youngers at college, especially community colleges, so I wouldnt be worried about younger kids at college. Of course dorming is out of the question, just local schools.

    3. PS- I am anti skipping grades. VERY anti, actually. Especially because of maturity not generally being on par with intellectual ability. But I have no problem with attending college early. They're different kettles of fish entirely.

  6. I wanted to homeschool my son when we moved here, but my Swahili was nonexistent and I chickened out. Regretting that decision still. Keep up the good work and ignore the uneducated comments.

    1. Thank you! Not being able to speak at all in the local language definitely would have affected my decision to homeschool. It is doable, but much harder, not sure I would have had the guts...

  7. I think its terriffic that you can homeschool. I personally couldn't, do it, either because of patience, and or my a.d.d. keep on doing what you do best. a couple of my kids had a harder time in school because of their lack of good learning skills. they are in their early 20's now and have been learning thru the open university and doing amazing. never give up. each child needs to find a method that suits him.

    1. Thank you. Homeschooling definitely isnt for everyone- but for the families for whom its a good match, its amazing.

    2. I really admire your decision to homeschool. I send my kids to school for two reasons- social (my son has a hard time making friends and if he is not with kids every day he won't play with them) and because I need the break. It is great that you have the energy to homeschool. How do you manage with all your kids? I have 4 children around the same age as yours and when they are all home it is difficult to do projects or learn. Thwy are jealous of each other and all want my complete attention.

  8. Great post. I also homeschool my kids, until they reach high school age, and then we send them to the local Catholic high school. I was fascinated with the exchange above with Anon - such ignorance about homeschooling. Here in the US, homeschooling is becoming more and more mainstream, as parents become less and less satisfied with the school options. As a note of reference to her comment about college and jobs, my oldest just started his freshman year in college. He is on a full scholarship to a well respected university and entered college as an academic sophomore. He was able to do this because he had so many AP credits in high school, which was a result of how advanced he was from homeschooling through middle school. My next oldest is on the same trajectory. All my kids are math whizzes (like Ike) and are two grades ahead in that subject. And I can do that, because I homeschool and can tailor to each kids. I was also intrigued by your discovery about Ike. I didn't always homeschool and started because my now 16-year old had some learning issues due to Tourette's. Because I was able to take him our and homeschool him, I could help him learn in a way that fit his needs. He is now successfully back in high school and doing really well. Kudos to you and your husband for making decisions from year to year based on your family's needs and what is best at that moment!

  9. I homeschooled my 6 for 27 years. All have attended college, one is a highly successful software developer (autodidact, as he went to a private Catholic college, not for computer programming), one in the Air Force after some college and has continued taking courses every time he's stateside. All of them have been able to work at different jobs. There are colleges that have representatives who actively recruit home schooled students and assist them in developing non-traditional transcripts because they know the students usually do well in college.


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