Thursday, 31 July 2008

Our Adventure in Home Schooling ~ How and When?

Makita at Twinkling Stars Family School has another Friday Freebie...and I would like to participate again, not for the prize, but just for fun!
The question is "When and how did you start home schooling?"

When Fairy started junior kindergarten in September 2001, we were both devastated. We had enjoyed our time together and she really wasn't ready to start school but I had no idea there was another option. No one I knew then ever mentioned home schooling and I didn't know any home schoolers. She adjusted after a few months, but she also turned into a very quiet and almost depressed little girl.
By the time Dragon started school, I had heard of home schooling, but only in the USA. I thought it was something that was allowed there, but not in Canada. Over time, with the Internet, I became more educated on the whole topic. By the time Dragon was entering his senior kindergarten year, I was reading everything I could about home schooling and I knew it was a legal option.
Fairy was a quiet, no-trouble for teachers type of student. She never asked questions, and I had this concern that she would miss out on basic education. I didn't know at the time that she was getting bullied (I found out after she stopped going to school). On the other hand, Dragon was a bright little boy that was so eager to learn. In particular, to learn how to read. When I approached his teacher, he told me that learning how to read wasn't in the plan for that year. Learning the alphabet and counting was what the teacher was covering in junior kindergarten. Dragon had learned all the letters at home with me, so he was bored at school. And what do little 4 year old boys do when they are bored? Get in trouble! School must have been really boring for him. The principal warned me at the end of his senior kindergarten year that first grade was much different and that Dragon would be expected to sit for long periods of time during the day and to pay attention and be quiet. She suggested I consider having him tested and that medication might be required for him to be able to handle the school day. That day I walked out of the school wanting to protect my son, wanting to quench his thirst for learning and not having him be labeled by the school system. I also wanted to give Fairy a chance to be happy again and to learn at her own pace, and be comfortable asking questions when she needed to.
After meeting a local home school group, and finding out all the great extra activities that were available to us, we considered home schooling seriously. The social part wasn't an issue for us. I thought anything would be better than the social environment they were getting at school.
Fairy finished grade 2 and Dragon finished senior kindergarten at school. Even though in theory I was optimistic about home schooling, I wasn't sure it would actually work for us, so I decided we would try it out over the summer and decide at the end. I. During that summer, we used a couple of workbooks (Math Smart, English Smart) and we also did some fun unit studies on animals (I didn't know they were called unit studies back then, lol). The main goal for me was to see if we could get along and get some "work" done together!
After a month, we were hooked and decided to start our adventure. In September 2005, I sent the notification to the school board and we started doing school at home. And it was truly school-at-home! Textbooks, workbooks, tests, even recess and snack time!
We have learned over time, to relax a bit and enjoy our learning time together. We now use a more eclectic approach to home schooling.
We take it one year at a time, even though when planning out our studies, I do look ahead a few years. I like to stay flexible. Over the past years, we have had our share of fun and also a healthy dose of challenges! It has been a great adventure so far for all of us.
Thanks Makita for a great question.


  1. je ne me souvenais plus du début de ton aventure ? s'est chose faite maintenant, mais crois moi sur parole les choses semblent pareil en france, il faut que les enfants rentrent dans des moules spécifiques les enfants plus curieux que la moyenne ne sont pas pris en charge, mais commment ne pas repondre à des enfants qui ont la curiosité et l'envie de découvrir des choses, je ne freine absolument pas Sébastien mais j'oriente sa curiosité

  2. The experiences you and your children had were just what I feared ... Kudos to you for having the courage to take the path less traveled by... :)

  3. Your oldest daughter's school experience (and reaction to it) sounds very similar to ours. Our gut feeling was that it was too soon to send them off so young, but we did it anyway. I fully expect that they'll want to go to school again at some point (and I hope to follow your transition here), but for now it's wonderful to have them at home.

    Here was my wife's post about some of our decision-making process, and mine for some background...


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