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Q: My husband and I are considering homeschooling for the first time.
We have two boys (Aaron: 5, Jay: 7) and because of the mediocre quality
of the surrounding schools and the very small but strong community of
homeschoolers in our area, we're thinking about the option and want to
know where to look for more information, educational ideas, a plan to
help us through the transition. We're also just interested in hearing
stories about it. What are the considerations we should take into
account? The community here is very strong. Everyone contacts everyone
else and gets on everyone's messageblaster.com account and sends out open
calls to join field trips and they share rides and even put together some
small team games. There's a lot of close contact between a few families.
That seems a big plus. Any ideas about what kind of research I should do
to help make the decision?
A:Though I homeschool my children, I DO believe that traditional public school, private school, independent, homeschool, etc. are all valid ways for a child to receive appropriate education. Among our five children, each has a very different learning styles. Our oldest finished his education by working independently. The next received an OPtion 2 diploma from his special education program in the public school system. The third went after his GED. Our daughter is homeschooling this year to allow her more time to involve herself in those areas she wishes - in her case she is much more creative and artistic than she is allowed to express in a traditional school program. Our youngest is learning disabled. Private schools are not setup to work with his difficulties; public schools wished to keep him in a remedial program that would work with him at the 2nd grade level across the range of subjects. HOWEVER, by their own testing (and several private specialists), he is dually challenged... that is, severely dyslexic and dysgraphic, however extremely gifted in science and math. In other words, they wanted to place him in a 2nd grade work atmosphere, when he works at a K level in reading/writing/language arts and a 5-SEVENTH grade level in science, 4th grade in math. We should hold him back in those areas he excels in because.........???? My niece, on the other hand, does quite well in a traditional classroom setting. Oh, and in the defense of teachers... we've all had our experiences with poor teachers... however, there are number of WONDERFUL teachers out there. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of them (and my children had the benefit of having a few good teachers mixed in with their own horror story teachers). I hope that Michelle turns out to be one of those excellent teachers. Helping her, and others like her, to see the positive benefits of homeschooling and some of the reasons WHY we homeschool, might help make a difference in the future of the school system. If all education students were given a better understanding of the problems, difficulties and learning styles in public schools and different POSITIVE approaches us homeschoolers have found, perhaps the traditional school system approach might eventually turn around to a VERY positive thing.
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