Monday, November 28, 2011

Homeschool is Awesome Because...

-You get to stay up late if they can't sleep
-You can wake up any time & do your learning/lessons
-You can learn/teach in your pyjamas
-You don't have to walk/drive to school in -40c weather
-If it's nice out you can do your lessons outside
-Your child learns at their own pace
-If they have troubles you can slow down and explain it again and do extra review
-If they're ahead they can keep working ahead
-One on one instruction
-Everyday errands become part of lessons (grocery shopping etc, you can teach about money)
-Don't have to worry about what they might be learning (or not learning) in school
-No bullying
-No peer pressure
-You can teach ANYTHING you want, things they don't have time for in school
-Any subjects you need help with teaching you can outsource
-You get to spend time with your kids
-You never have to go to the principal's office to talk about your kid
-They're not exposed to a ton of germs every day
-You can do field trips wherever you want to go whenever you want to go
-You can go on a family vacation any time of the year
-You can choose to use a curriculum already made for you or you can make your own
-You could unschool and not use a curriculum at all
-You can decide to school year round, or break it up any way you want to
-If your kid(s) show an interest in something you can do a huge project on it and incorporate just about every subject (If your kid likes cars you could do a project encompassing art, math, English, science etc by having them draw cars, write an essay, build a model car, calculate how much their favourite car costs etc)
-Extracurriculars are limited only by your budget & your kid's interests (swimming, horseback riding, gymnastics, you're not stuck to whatever public schools offer)
-Homeschooled kids in general are better at socializing with people of every age group and tend to be more mature.
-Homeschooled kids score higher on standardized tests in general
-Standardized tests in most places (though not all) are completely optional
-Colleges and universities are starting to search out homeschooled students because they tend to have a passion for learning
-You learn just as much as your kids
-Even simple things like cooking and baking become opportunities for learning (math in measuring ingredients, science in how heat changes the ingredients into something edible etc)
-You have a completely flexible schedule, do lessons in the morning or after lunch or in the evening, whatever works for your family
-You don't have to miss lessons if you're snowed in. Or you could choose to go outside and build a snow fort instead
-Discussions with grandparents about how they grew up can be valuable history lessons
-Lessons don't take anywhere near as long at home as at school. 2-3 hours a day is generally enough
-Homeschooling is fun!!

I know there's more, so tell me if you have any I missed!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Almost 3 Years

Wow I let time slip away from me again! We're getting ready for Skyler's birthday around here. I can hardly believe it's been 3 years! It doesn't help that amidst the chaos we have all caught a cold. Yuck. We've been back and forth to the hospital to visit one of my family members who caught pneumonia and then had several other complications on top of that. She seemed to be doing better last time I saw her but we haven't been able to go visit for a while because I didn't want to risk getting her sick. I hope this cold is gone soon so I can go catch up.

As Skyler approaches 3 I am wondering if I want to start doing some more "formal" learning. I know for the most part we're going to just do play and play based activities. There's only one thing I am debating working on with him and that's reading. There's a huge debate in the early childhood education community and in homeschooling circles on formal education about whether early is better, or late is better. I usually tend to come down on the later is better side, but when it comes to reading specifically I don't know. Personally my mom taught me to read before I was 4 years old. It always served me well, as I love to read and write. In fact I am a speed reader.

I know that each child learns differently however and at different rates. I'm not looking to 'push' him to read at the same age I learned, but I am wondering if I should try something like Hooked on Phonics and see if he has any interest. (I played a Hooked on Phonics game when I was a little person too and I remember enjoying it quite a bit) I mean as it is right now we enjoy reading together and he likes to pretend to read, and he describes pictures and points to words, so he is showing definite interest and some signs of readiness.

I don't want to be one of those people who forces their kid into becoming some sort of child prodigy just for the sake of bragging to their friends "look what my kid can do!". I'm thinking that learning to read is just such an integral thing and it will open up worlds for him, plus I guess I want to share my love for reading. Anyway I know that if he doesn't catch on or show interest that I won't push it.. He will read when he is ready, whether that is now or a few years from now.

Any thoughts? When did you/your kids learn to read?