Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On why we chose (or didn't really) Preschool Homeschool


I haven't blogged about it much yet, but this year we decided to homeschool Zoelle for preschool. I'll be honest and say that I had mixed feelings about it to begin with. For one, Zoelle and I have very similar personalities and I was afraid she would fight me to do her work. Secondly, Chris and I have noticed a trend in homeschooling kids. They either are way ahead of their peers, or way behind. If you are the former, you tend to have the typical "nerdy homeschooler" reputation (not that it is bad). The latter, is something we do not want to happen at all! Being that homeschooling is something that most already look negatively upon, I did not want to attribute to the negative by having my child be one who falls behind. Thus if we homeschool, I will strive to have my child be at least average, if not ahead.

So when we started researching what we would do we had to weigh the pros and cons. I have my degree in Elementary Education thus it only seems natural that I should teach. We also looked at our local private schools and public schools. We are not a "Christian school only" type of family, nor are we just going to send our kids to public school without thought. I see nothing wrong with either of our choices in the area we live.



So why homeschool? I'm not sure we came up with a concrete answer. It's not because we are Christians, or want to keep Zoelle home longer (although I'm sure those things attributed to it). Rather, it just felt right this year. We decided to take it on a year by year basis. We agreed that for this year, we will homeschool her. She is three afterall. Had we sent her to preschool at either a local Christian school or public school, her schooling would have only been a few days of week anyway. At this age, school is geared more towards social interaction, than actual learning.



Speaking of social interaction, Zoelle gets plenty of that during the week. On Sundays she goes to church in which she participates in Sunday School and nursery with other kids her age. Every other Tuesday I go to a bible study, so she once again gets to interact with other kids. We have play dates! We also go to storytime at the library every Thursday. Anyone who knows my Zoelle knows that social interaction is no problem for this chica!




So how are we liking it (both her and I)? Which curriculum are we using?

I'll answer those questions and any others you have in a separate post to come soon!

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9 comments:

  1. Those are all great things to think about! People always ask me if we will homeschool India or send her to public school & we really don't know! I think it's best to take it on a case-by-case basis.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I think it's great doing what works best fo ryour family :) My sister homeschools her 4 girls and has for years...me on the onther hand chooses to PAY someone to teach my kids :) These all work for our families. I think your approach to the year-by-year is awesome. That's how my sister does it too. Who really knows other than year-by-year if it will work out, ya know? Keep on teachin'!

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  3. Genevieve-I think that was one of the first questions we got when Zoelle was born. I always said, "We have lots of time to think on it". However, now we are so close that sometimes I panic about making the "official" decision.

    Salena-Thanks for the encouragement Salena! I agree, a yearly review is always needed because so much changes in a family in a year!

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  4. Hi Vanessa,
    I read your blog every day, and this post was no exception. I intended to comment on the day you posted, but didn't have more than a second to read. I've meant to come back to this post each day since then, but, again--not enough time to put my thoughts in to typed-out words.
    I have to say I was disappointed in your first paragraph about the "trend" you and your husband have noticed. I think that statement is a very broad one to make concerning the millions of children who are being discipled at home by their parents all across our country and throughout the world.
    In no way do I think it is a "trend" either.
    I also disagree that most look negatively upon homeschooling.
    As you may know, I sent my oldest sons to public school until they were in 3rd and 1st grade; it was then that I finally listened to the Lord's leading and brought them home where they belong. When I was in the process of fighting the Lord, however, I asked the school superintendent for his thoughts. His answer: homeschool 'em--hands down. If his kids were younger, he said he would not put them in school. He'd have his wife homeschool them.
    Because I was teaching at the school that year, I also had opportunity to tell many of the other teachers that I would not be returning the following year and neither would my children. Many--15 or so--told me that they could not disagree. It would be the best decision for my children and that they wished they would have done the same thing with their own kids.
    The family is the model for education--consider the Hebrew model versus the Greek. The Hebrew model for education utilizes the family and the home as the learning environment.
    Many homeschoolers feel the need to justify all that they are doing to make it seem as if they are "keeping up" with the public school.
    God forbid!
    If anything, the private/public school should be trying to convince parents that they are providing a learning environment like that of the home!
    I encourage you to read up on home education--my recommendations include: "Things We Wish We'd Known" by Bill and Diana Waring; "When You Rise Up" by R.C. Sproul, Jr.; "Dumbing Us Down" by John Taylor Gatto; and "None Dare Call it Education" by John A. Stormer. I have all of these and would be more than willing to lend them out to you.
    Additionally, I have two dvd's that speak on home education: "Exposing a Trojan Horse" and "Children of Ceasar"--again, I would be happy to lend them to you.
    I also encourage you to go to Homeschool Legal Defense Association's website www.hslda.org and read the articles listed there, along with Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educator's website www.mache.org.
    Mr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute has done some eye-opening studies. You can read them at www.nheri.org
    Obviously, this issue is one close to my heart. I came on a bit strong, perhaps, but it pains me to read the terrible misconceptions about homeschooling that exist.
    I would love for you to read some (all!) that I mentioned above and let me know your thoughts--perhaps another blog post!
    Your Sister in Christ,
    Melissa

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  5. Melissa-I was SO hoping you would respond to me as I know you have insight into homeschooling and much more experience in it than I do.

    Perhaps "trend" was the wrong word to pick, yet I really do see it as a trend in the Christian church. I think too that many are made to feel guilty if they don't keep their children at home and homeschool. Now I do realize, and have many friends, who are non-Christians and choose to homeschool for varying reasons. But where I live, and in the circle I am, it really is pushed to homeschool if you are a Christian. I know many who feel completely guilty for sending their child to a private school, or public school because other Christians have made it clear homeschooling is the only way. They have to justify to the homeschooled on why they have chosen not to do so. I would hate to choose homeschooling for our children only because to others it seems the "Christian" thing to do. Rather, I want to base it on God leading us to do it.

    I think we will have to agree to disagree about homeschool looked upon negatively. In the Christian world homeschooling isn't seen as foreign. But to the majority of non-Christians, homeschoolers are thought of as weird, un-educated, socially inept, etc. If we choose to homeschool, I don't want to attribute to those thoughts by having my children be any of those things. I'm not saying that homeschoolers are those things, it's just what the majority of non-Christians see them as. I will say too that after being a third grade sunday school teacher for two years, the majority of my homeschooled students could not read or spell (compared to their public school counterparts). It did disappoint me. Now I have no way of knowing for sure, but had a non-Christian or even a non-homeschooler talked to a child and found out they couldn't read, spell, etc. would that negatively impact how they view homeschooling? Christianity? If I choose to educate at home, I will make sure that to the best of my ability, the girls are on track in their education.

    You are right, family should be the basis for education. Yet, we also have the duty as a Christian to positively influence society. If we all were stuck in our homeschool box or for that matter our public school box, we wouldn't really be impacting non-Christians. Think Jesus did not hang with people who were like Him, rather he reached out to those different than Him. If homeschooling, or again going to public school, detracts from impacting others for Christ, I would want to re-evaluate.

    I would love, love, love to borrow those books/DVD's sometime! If I had to guess now, I would say that in the future we will homeschool. I know it's a passion of yours and I'm glad it is because you can enlighten others (like me) on things I am less versed about. I'll also be sure to look at the HLDA website and look at those articles, along with the others you gave me.

    Obviously, homeschooling is near and dear to my heart as well and if I do it, I want to do it "right" so to speak. I'll definitely continue blogging on it as I learn more! :)

    Thank you for your thoughts Melissa! I truly appreciate them and you! :)

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  6. I know I just sent you an email with my opinion of this post. But I came here afterwards to read what others said -- a bit backwards I realize, but I didn't want what others said to affect my decision to email you. I have to say I agree with Melissa.

    I also want to say that whenever the subject of homeschooling comes up around me in the Christian circles I am around we always agree that the decision is such a personal one for each family and what the Lord is calling them to do. There is no right or wrong. I'm sorry you have not had the same experience.

    My biggest critics were always my family members. Now they are saying how "lucky" I am that I don't need to worry about all the negative socialization and drama they need to deal with. It's best to seek the Lord in your decision and what is best for you and your family and not worry about the world's or even other Christians points of view.

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  7. Angie-Working on an email response right now! :) I wish I could honestly say that I have seen Christians be positive about someone choosing to send their child to public school/private school, yet I haven't (just being honest here). :( Instead, I have seen much judgement that also passed down to their children. Almost as if sending a child to public school is a sin. :( Again, I wish it was different, but that is what we have seen.

    And yes, family will definitely be our biggest critic here. Thus, we are seeking God (even now half way through this year) and trusting that He knows where to lead us, not others.

    Thanks for your thoughts! :)

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  8. This is an issue that I've struggled with in the past, and still do. It was very interesting reading your thoughts and the comments as well.

    At the moment, my 5yo is in public school kindergarten. She is in a great school with wonderful teachers. My concern is that she is quite advanced for her age (reading at a 2nd grade level and even doing multiplication), but she is far too small and not mature enough to skip a grade. This is further complicated by her bio dad (with whom I share legal custody, even though I have full physical placement) is rabidly ANTI-homeschooling. For now, she is doing great in public school, so that works for us.

    However, I do find her picking up habits from her classmates that I wish I could do away with. I suppose that is the downside of socialization for public or home-schoolers.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and thanks to the other posters for your links. I'll have to check those out.

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  9. Sarah-That is such a concern of ours as well being that Zoelle is advanced. We still haven't decided on what to do next year. She is advanced and I think would enjoy school, but is it necessary when I can teach her? Yet, Chris believes she may thrive in a more structured school setting...sigh...I'm still at odds trying to figure it all out. I can't imagine trying to decide in your case while dealing with your daughter's bio dad. Picking up bad habits from classmates is also a concern of mine, yet I do keep telling myself that I can't "shelter" her forever.

    I don't know...I hope both of us can find peace with what we decide. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sarah!

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