Well, since I expected homeschooling to be "public school at home", I have been very pleasantly surprised. It takes us just a few hours each day to complete all our lessons (not 8am-4pm), we do much of our work on the couch (not at a table), we can skip days whenever we need a break (not follow a rigid schedule), we can have school outside on nice days (instead of being cooped up in a "classroom"), we can take vacations while the other kids are in school (not with the crowds), we can have field trips every month (not just twice a year), ...
Im findng that is fairly different from what I expected but I like it. Homeschooling really depends on the child. Every year we go through the same thing. I buy books and have all these great lessons planned and it never goes the way I want it to. But I am very happy with everything he is learning.
Yes and no. Part of our teaching at home is no different than just our regular life being lived. But then there are things that I would like to do that are educational that my daughter stubbornly refuses to go along with.
I think in general it helps if you keep your expectations and plans to a minimum. Especially, at early ages I don't plan on very much organized seat work, just the basic 3 R's. And right now I limit ourselves to three or four major goals per semester (we live our lives in semesters since hubby teaches college). And I don't try to win some sort of race for getting through what little curriculum we use.
It is a lot different than what I expected, in that I started with a very strict school-at-home set-up. We had a very strict schedule, time wise and work wise. It worked well but it wasn't what I wanted for my kids.
We are now unschooling, which is completely different than what I expected. Instead of hours at the table reading books and filling out worksheets, we spend half our day out of the house, learning by doing. It's a lot more labor intensive than i expected, but easier in many ways because children learn better by doing than by regurgitating.
We started in 1990, we live in Michigan, and at the time, we were all worried that the authorities were going to knock down our door and take our kids away for truancy.
All of our well laid plans for Field trips, experiments, etc., would be interrupted by life in general.
We had one child who just couldn't absorb much after a couple of hours and needed frequent breaks.
I would do a lot of things differently, but I would definitely do it all over again.
I was a Preschool Teacher before I started Homeschooling, so I had a pretty good idea teacher wise of what to do.
To be very honest, I have enjoyed it very much and I am learning some things right along with her and sharpening old skills that have lain dormant. It is very easy to place yourself in parent/teacher mode and stay there, but it is important to look at things thru the eyes of the child (we tend to forget how hard it is to grasp certain things once we reach adulthood).
Too be an adult means having responsibility, but to see ourselves thru a child's eyes puts it all in perspective.
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