Thursday, August 28, 2014

How We Started Homeschooling - Part 1

I can't remember if I have told y'all about our reasons for homeschooling or how we do it, so that is what I thought I would start rambling about today.

We lived in Central Florida when my oldest daughter was in preschool. She is our Christmas baby. Most of her friends were born in October and November. Our local schools would not let her start kindergarten with her friends, because her birthday fell just after their December 1 cut-off. She was as smart as her friends. She was as physically developed as them. She could already read. She was ready for kindergarten, and she really wanted to go to school with her friends. None of us wanted her to have to wait another year for her to start school just because she was born 3 weeks too late. I had to do something.

First, I called the private schools. My thought: If the public schools won't let her start due to a birthday, surely the private schools would want my money enough to let her start with her friends. I was wrong. To quote the school administrator, "We have enough families wanting to send their children to our school. We do not make exceptions for any reason, especially not for birthdays." Several of my in-laws had homeschooled for several years, so I asked the private schools that if I homeschooled my daughter for kindergarten, would she be able to start 1st grade the following year. Their response? A resounding YES. And so I began my research into homeschooling.

Over the next several weeks, I read everything I could find on homeschooling. I searched online. I read blogs. I went to teacher supply stores. I called my sisters-in-law. Absolutely everything available. I read and read and read some more...and then I reviewed and reread my notes.

Finally, I ordered curriculum. My family has always been a family of readers. We have books everywhere. My father raised me with the mantra, "There's no such thing as too many books." Our stacks of books have stacks of books piled on top of them. Flat surfaces in our home beg for books to be placed on them. I was nervous about what curriculum to order. Since I was new to this, I wanted a complete curriculum that laid out exactly what I needed to teach my child every day. My husband and I are also self-professed academic snobs. We both graduated from Vanderbilt University and have always wanted our children to have the best education available. If we were going to pursue homeschooling, we would have to find an academically rigorous curriculum that would challenge our daughter. After hours and hours of research, I finally chose Alpha Omega Publications LifePacs for math and language arts and Moving Beyond the Page for science, social studies, and art. Each of these curriculae told me exactly what I needed to adequately teach a complete year of kindergarten to my child. Alpha Omega LifePacs are traditional textbooks - my kind of schoolwork - absolute answers, fill-in-the-blanks, etc. Moving Beyond the Page is developed for the gifted student. The curriculum is unit-study based and dives deeply into the material, requiring your child to creatively figure out solutions to various concepts and to generate a unique project for each topic. My child loved it, every minute. I discovered very rapidly that she is a nontraditional student. Workbooks make her miserable. Art projects and creative writing excite her. School-wise, she is my opposite. I LIKE textbooks and workbooks. She hates them. I forced her to complete the kindergarten LifePacs, but that was the last year that we used traditional textbooks for her schooling.

We started the 5K curriculum after Christmas. I was working full-time in a Pediatric ER at the time, and our Kid went to preschool in the mornings. When she came home from preschool, we would 'Do School' until time for me to go to work (usually either at 2PM or 9:30PM). We easily finished the year of kindergarten curriculum within a few months, and our daughter was on track to start 1st grade at the local private school the following fall. Little did we know that God had another wrench to throw into our lives and that we would be relocating before she could actually start her real school. And that, My Friends, is a story for another day...

No comments:

Post a Comment