Saturday, November 7, 2009

Why do we homeschool?

Unlike so many other parents who home school, we don't have a grand philosophic reason, more of a few little reasons.

1. Finances
In New Jersey, preschool and pre-K, if they are available are expensive ($3500 yr/2hrs a day, five days a week). Even IF we could afford to pay for two hours a day, five days week, I don't think I could justify the investment when Kaelyn has already met the criteria for LEAVING preschool. In essence, I would be paying for a baby sitter. As for pre-K, it's not an option in our district and we would HAVE to be teaching this at home anyways.

2. Convenience
Ryan is gone A LOT, and this year it will be over the holidays (probably all of them). Since I don't currently have a job (working on that), I am going to be traveling often. I don't want to have to worry about how Kaelyn's school will handle her being gone, so homeschooling frees up our schedule for being with family during the holidays.

3. Trial Run
I know a lot of military families who choose to homeschool after having moved states and a child is either 1. woefully behind, 2. doing the same coursework they did the prior year, or 3. ahead by more than one grade level. Knowing this, I couldn't help but take this opportunity and treat it as a trial run of homeschooling. Can I be disciplined enough? Will my children (I do structured learning time with Anna) learn? Will we enjoy this time as a family?

For now, we have decided to fore go a formal curriculum due to price (what if I get a job tomorrow and we can afford private all day preschool? this money would have been wasted). I have been utilizing a really great workbook that we have now advanced past and completed. As alternative activities, we use lapbooks, file folder games, montessouri-esque learning activities (sorting manipulatives, counting them, graphing them, and usually eating them!).

Trust me, I've heard all the negatives....What about socialization? What about structure? What about....

Kaelyn does love a structured environment with other children and a formal instructor. SHE WANTS THIS, so to help give her all the things she needs, we have her take classes at the Y. We generally do one class a week, and I try and pick it as one on mathematics or science since I want Kaelyn to be strong in those sections. This class and Dance provide great opportunities for socialization.