Homeschooling….Mainstream?

Have you ever felt alone on your homeschooling journey? Well, I sure do. There are days that I feel like normal is no where around. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to encourage a homeschool martyr syndrome. Yet, the feeling of being alone can be very real. Even family can alienate you,  and after 5 years of home educating some members of our family still think we are pretty “out there.” All that aside, I used to try to defend our position, but recently I have decided that it really isn’t worth the trouble. We believe it is the right thing for our family, and trust that in time people will see the difference in our children.

That is why I was so encouraged when I read an article this week by Dr. Ray from the National Home Education Research Institute. Dr. Ray says that homeschoolers total almost 2 million in the United States alone. Can you believe it? I was so suprised. He also said,

“Homeschooling – that is, parent led home based education – is an age old educational practice that a decade ago appeared to be cutting edge and “alternative” but is now bordering on “mainstream” in the United States. It may be the fastest growing form of education in the United States.”

WOW… Could it be possible? Homeschooling bordering on the mainstream? I sure would like to let a few people in on that one! But for now, I am thrilled to know that homeschooling is growing fast. That means there are alot of others out there just like me! That helps dispell the loneliness, but sometimes we need interaction on a more personal level.  I know there are the tried and true methods of homeschool support groups -but  ours is pretty small and we don’t do too many activities. So for me, I have looked into online alternatives. There are online support groups and even homeschool forums. I have been getting involved in some of these, and it has helped me to see the “big picture.” There are so many wonderful home schooling families out there. If you are feeling “alone” in the home education world – try one of these.  You’ll soon begin to see that homeschooling may be “bordering on mainstream” after all.

Interested in a homeschool forum? Try this parent forum.

Dear Children…

On a personal note, this week has been a bit frustrating. My son has been very reluctant to do his online work on Time4Learning.com. He is a typical 8 year old boy – would rather be outside playing cowboys and Indians. We have several children doing Time4Learning and so they have to share the 3 computers that we have. Dear son uses this as an excuse to avoid doing it at all.
Monday – he avoided the issue and snuck through the cracks…. I determined then that I would personally make sure that he did what I had asked him to. This eventually led to me sitting beside him while he did his online courses. By the time it was done, he was laughing and having a good time! WHY does he drag his feet? The only thing that I could come up with was that: one, he doesn’t usually like trying new things, and two, he is a perfectionist and really hates it when he misses questions.
I was able to show him that he could go back and do the quizzes and and other things that he was not happy with over again. This definitely seemed to brighten his countenance and make him more relaxed.
I have 5 daughters, so my one and only “boy” is new territory in so many of these learning areas. Girls and boys think, feel, and respond so differently. Boys are new for me, but it is always so exciting and challenging seeing his amazing differences at work! All part of that exciting learning “adventure” that we are on!!!

Why Online Education?

I think that every parent desires the best education possible for their child. In my world, it is keeping them at home and taking responsibility for their education myself. However, I still have “standards” or goals of my own that I desire to help them reach.
At the beginning of our own homeschool education journey, we traveled down many roads. From DVD courses to computer based programs, we tried many different things. All with the hopes to meet each child’s individual needs, to keep them very interested, and to challenge them to reach beyond themselves. With all of the wonderful curriculum out there for homeschoolers, I had difficulty finding something that would meet my own personal “standards”.
That was when I began thinking of online education for my children. (Back to those elementary school daydreams of children working at their own pace!) I knew that I wanted something that would meet all my criteria, help me plan, and track their progress. Most online educational programs are very individual oriented, are engaging, and have some type of parent tracking. I began searching for the one that seemed to fit our needs the best…
Five of my children began using an online education program this year. Some of my blogs will be about their success and struggles as we work through this exciting adventure of online education!

My First Thoughts for a “Different” Education

I guess I’d like to start at the beginning and explain what prompted me to take the path of individualized education. Well, the begining was a very very long time ago! 🙂 I can clearly remember sitting in the first grade listening to my teacher go on about things that I already had learned. I was very bored… so I daydreamed. Sound familiar? Anyway – one of my favorite daydreams was how we could fix this problem by making little individual cubicles where “kids” could learn on their own. I thought about this alot! I¬†had even¬†planned out what the cubicles would look like… and on and on. That was a seriously bored first grader!
As I got older I determined that I was going to have a part making a difference in education. I would make sure that little first graders didn’t have to DREAM of learning! I have been involved in elementary education for about 14 years. Though I didn’t make little individualized cubicles for my students, I tried my best to make learning interesting and fun, and to reach EACH child in my class!
After I graduated with my Master’s Degree, I became involved with distance learning at the college level. I enjoyed developing courses that would keep the interest of a student, even if they were learing at home – again no cubicles involved.;)
Now, our own children have come along, and each day is dedicated to making sure that education is interesting, fun, challenging, and ongoing! I enjoy teaching them myself, but I also enjoy how excited they get when they use online programs such as Time4Learning. Each lesson seems to coincide with my overriding goal of keeping it interesting yet challenging. They look forward to finishing their written work each day so that they can “have fun” on Time4Learning (that is pretty sneaky… they think they are having fun – but really they are learning…. how cool is that????)
I am so thankful each day for the adventure of exploring education with my children…what a journey!!!