Friday, October 30, 2009


Lately I've been getting a few questions about homeschooling from friends who are considering it.  It's a big compliment when you figure this is only my 2nd year doing it (DS1 is in SK).  But I did a lot of research before making this decision and I've found it so helpful to get feedback from other friends.  Anyway, this is just a place to park the info.

"So I'm wondering, do you have to battle "the sillies" when trying to teach DS1? Does DS1 ever ask to be put in regular school?"

My reply:
"DS1 has never asked to go to regular school as far as I can remember but I'll bet that comes up for most homeschoolers. There are also public schoolers who ask to be homeschooled!

We don't have so much trouble with "sillies" as with "I can'ts"... some days he is really not interested in cooperating with his reading lesson and that is the one thing that is mandatory for me. So I explain that it's his "job" to learn and that he needs to be obedient and try. It can get very frustrating when a lesson that one day takes 10 minutes takes 45 minutes. I am trying to be more patient & loving and remember that the lesson that day might not be so much about reading but about being accepted and understood when you're having a bad day. It's hard."

"I just have to ask you, how do you do it all? You are working, homeschooling, being mom of two, in school (I think) and pregnant with DD. I have just the two children, am staying at home and considering homeschooling (my eldest is only 2.5y still). Really, how do you do it? I appreciate your posts and just finished reading the Duggar book too. What are your reasons that you've chosen to homeschool? By the way, I've always wanted to be a librarian. :) Anyway, I hope you don't mind the questions and would love to hear from you if you have a spare moment!"

My reply:
"Sorry for taking so long to reply. Well, right now I'm off school for my mat leave so that's one less thing :-) And only 2 more weeks of work, yay!! But how it normally works is that between work and school I'm out 3-4 nights a week and J takes care of things at home. He is extremely supportive and is the one who makes pretty much all the dinners around here so that is one less thing I have on my plate. I've also relaxed a whole lot to the point where I can handle dishes in the sink and hair on the bathroom floor. That's a big God thing in my life for sure.

DS1 is 5 so SK this year and DS2 will be 3 in a few weeks. We do school in the morning (starting around 9 most days) and it takes an hour to an hour & half depending on how cooperative DS1 is with his reading lesson - on a good day that takes 10 mins, on others it can take up to 45. DS1 sits in if he feels like it, and mostly he does and insists on a turn at reading too. After that we do "seat work", which is worksheets for math or science, colouring/crafts, etc. Probably 4 out of 5 days go pretty well, sometimes I do less than other days and make up for it on another day.

So that means that by 10:30-11am I'm done with school for that day and can send the kids to play and do some housework. Sometimes I get them to do chores too because that's part of training. Sometimes I can get some of my school work done but I get most of that done during my commute on the GO train since it's an hour each way to U station. I'm thankful for that quiet time!

I chose to homeschool because I felt that it was my responsibility as a Christian parent to shepherd my kids and raise them up in the faith, especially during these vulnerable years as little people. I am not saying that all Christian parents must do this, only that that is how I was convicted. I feel quite strongly that the public school has an agenda that runs contrary to our beliefs. I also don't think it makes sense for me to work longer hours to pay for Christian school. As parents we are directed to instruct our children every possible opportunity we have, not to turn them over to strangers. I also felt that DS1 would be labeled "ADD" or some other behavioural problem. He has a lot of energy and is usually not interested in conforming to the group activity, this would not go over well in school! I have seen him change over the past year as he is getting older and as we have opportunities to direct him and help him develop his character. I would hate for him to be a round peg in a square hole and to have his spirit crushed. I believe God made him the way he is and that I can help him to discover his unique giftings and calling.

Anyway, lots to say, which is why I took a while reply since I knew it would be long!

Hope that helps. Remember you don't have to legally register your child in school until age 6 so you can take your time connecting with homeschool support groups and pouring into your child. Even if you decide to send them out to school at least they will have had those extra years with you.

Feel free to ask more. I'm a newbie but have a great support group here and have found a lot of my questions have been about the practical "how tos" on a daily basis."

"I've read the articles you posted on homeschooling with great interest. Truth be told, I had never really considered it a viable option for our family, but I'm reconsidering now that I'm not totally going insane any more (daughter is now almost 4 and son is 2 1/2). I was wondering if there were any resources that you found helpful (books, web sites, curriculum, conferences, etc) that you could recommend that I look at? My husband and I are in agreement that academically it's definitely the best option, but we're still not sure about the social angle and would like to do some additional reading on that as well if you know of anything.

I was also hoping to ask you how much time it takes to prepare the lessons, etc. I know it varies depending on what format you choose to follow etc etc but I know you're a planner and I am too, so I was hoping to get a bit of an idea.

No rush on answering this - I wouldn't do it this year for JK. My daughter is going to the same school where she went to preschool and we're really comfortable with that environment - and she's going part-time, which is all we wanted for this age. I was thinking maybe for SK so I have a year to figure it out (but of course, as a planner, I like to figure stuff out ahead of time). "

My reply:
"- it doesn't take as long to plan as you might think, especially at the lower levels we're talking total of about an hour/day of teaching

- the social aspect is a strange strange myth that persists, when you think about it your child being with other children their age is not really learning the best social skills... a better environment is a family where they interact with people of all ages and learn how to cooperate and respect each other... plus most of us have regular interaction with other people, whether extended family, church, Early Years Centres, sports, or even out in the community.

- there is a LOT of curriculum to choose from and you don't necessarily have to choose anything at this point, your library is a great resource for books & DVDs.

Check out to find a group near you, you don't have to be committed to homeschooling, you can just be checking it out. But lots of wisdom to be gained from those who have gone before.

And you're right, academically homeschoolers outperform their peers."

"Hey, I was wondering if you could help me, R has not entered the daycare world yet and I want to start her education while we are still together during the day.  I don't really know where to start in getting the proper material or even what to teach her other then her ABC's and 123"s.  So I thought who else would I ask then the home teachers in the family.
I am grateful for any advice you could give me."

My reply:
"That's great! In most provinces you don't legally have to educate your child unless they're between 6-16 so you shouldn't have to file any special letters with the school board saying you're educating her at home. But of course check with your ministry of Ed there.

The public library is a great resource (and of course I'm seriously biased here!) - so much to borrow and great programs. If R will sit through a storytime or even part of it that's a good start (and DS1 only started recently so it depends on the child).

You don't have to spend much money really - if you have alphabet magnets you can use those to learn the letter sounds and how they go together (though that is something more for JK and I forget if R is 4 yet). You can count pretty much anything so line up the toys and do that. Also chalk outside is great. Walmart and the $ store have little books labeled preschool, Kindergarten etc and they are great. It's important to remember that little kids learn so much through play so you don't want to over-formalize her learning at this point. I wouldn't spend more than an hour total a day at the JK level and am aiming for about 2-3 hours at the SK level this coming year with DS1.

If you have an Early Years Centre (for kids up to age 6) then check out their programs because they are fantastic! Out here they have one to prepare them for school so it's like a mini school idea with routines etc.

Hope that helps. You may also want to look into homeschool support groups in your area even though you might not intend to homeschool but they provide great information & networks as well as friends for R :-)"

Posted on an old blog Oct. 30th, 2009

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