Because of my last post, I feel the need to spend a few minutes defending homeschooling...only because I won't actually say any of this to the naysayers in real life.
Here are some of my answers to the questions that we get: "Aren't you worried about socialization?" The definition of socialization is: a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position. Hmmm. I don't know about you, but I think I'd rather my 6yo learn norms, values, and behavior from me, instead of a roomful of other 6yos.
I think what they mean to say is "What about socializing?" The definition of socialize is: to associate or mingle sociably with others. I remember from my school days getting reprimanded for this very thing, but maybe school is different now and your supposed to talk in class? Anyway, my kids get plenty of opportunities for social interaction, and they are very good at it.
This actually brings up one of my favorite benefits of homeschooling. Kids are not relegated to interacting with same-age peers all day. They excel at relating to individuals of all ages and enjoy the company of adults, as well as children. My kids and their friends are not hung up on ages and grade levels of their friends. The older girls have a group of friends that range in age from 10-14 years. They are close with one another and the 10yo (my Ellie) and the 14yo are just as close as any other members of the group.
Speaking of Ellie, she tests at or just below grade level. Someone outside looking in might decide that she is the poster child for anti-homeschooling. However, we are, in fact, very proud of her success. Ellie has ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and probably a few learning issues that haven't been diagnosed. Because we homeschool, we have been able to teach her in an individualized way that capitalizes on her strengths while working to overcome her weaknesses. I am convinced that she would be much farther behind in a traditional school setting, and would most likely have very little self esteem. Instead, she is a very confident girl who loves to learn. It has been a struggle to get here, especially on the heels of her gifted older sister, but we've worked at finding just what works with her and are proud of her success.
A huge benefit to homeschooling is flexibility. We can schedule school around any event, even as simple as a sunny, 50-degree day (after months of teens and twenties) that just begged for us to venture out for a walk to the park today. Because we don't have crowd control issues and I only have a few students, we are able to accomplish the bulk of schooling in about 3-4 hours. That leaves a good deal of the day for chores and play. Last year at this time, Michaela was able to fly to the Everglades and spend three weeks with her grandparents learning about the ecosystem. Her grandfather, my dad, was a park ranger there. It was a wonderful adventure for her as she loves nature above just about everything.
Another pro is that I get to be with my kids all the time. That's also a con, too, depending on the day. :)
I'm often asked if I intend to homeschool Eon. I don't have an answer for that. It's so hard to imagine my baby as school age and, frankly, I'm just enjoying my time with him. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but my inclination is to say probably not...at least not initially.
We take it year by year, but I do intend to continue homeschooling through high school. We live in an area with a huge homeschooling population with tons of alternatives, sports, band, art classes, choir, etc. I'm intrigued by our university's online high school courses for college credit option, too.
We took this year off from our homeschool support group because of therapy conflicts. We are so excited about going back next year. I feel like we "went to ground" getting our bearings after Eon was born. It's nice to feel like we can begin to add in all the extras that help round our childrens' educational experience.