Friday, August 31, 2012

To Homeschool or Not To Homeschool

     Two little boys!  So much fun yet so innocent.  So much potential.    So much energy.  So the question arose upon my retirement, "Should I homeschool them or not?"  I had conflicting emotions as I considered this question with all its ramifications.  One of the problems was that it would limit my opportunities to supplement my income heading into early retirement.  More than that though, as a former teacher I had serious reservations about homeschooling.  Too many home-schooled students had come through my classroom with serious deficits, some with significant academic problems, many more with social problems.  However, in recent years I had a large number of really good, well-trained students who had been homeschooled.  I began to realize that homeschooling could work if a parent is both qualified and committed to providing  a quality education to his children.
     Weighing the pros and cons, my wife and I finally concluded that  it would be beneficial for me to homeschool our children.  Some major considerations that we spent much time researching and working through were the curriculum, a support group, an umbrella, proper scheduling, and social opportunities.  We knew that getting the right curriculum was important if our boys were to enjoy this experience.  After much research I finally decided on a curriculum and ordered it.  Now I am not saying that the curriculum I ordered is the only good curriculum, but I felt it was the best fit for my boys and me.  The next factor to be considered was which umbrella group to all under.  I decided that my best choice was to go with the school where I had been teaching.  This provided me with the option of having my elder son take an extra class such as art or music there, giving him an opportunity for socializing with other students  with whom he had previously been classmates. We have also planned other opportunities for socialization such as Sunday school, AWANAS, and spring soccer league.  Logistics such as where to hold classes, scheduling and routines to establish all had to be considered.  A large section of Mom's and Dad's bedroom was dedicated to the primary purpose of education.  A nice perk for Mom and Dad is that we now have an upgraded lighting system in our bedroom.  Developing a good schedule with a solid routine is imperative if the students are to be successful.  Recognizing this, we developed a good routine although we do not slavishly adhere to it minute by minute.  Still the exceptions must be rare. 
     With some trepidation, I approached the school year wondering how this would work.  I believed it would, but I was a bit worried because I had never taught students younger than fifth grade before; however, I was firmly committed.  Two weeks prior to starting the school year, I received some confirmation from my sons when, after seeing the materials for the curriculum they would be studying, they told me they were anxious to begin.  The end of the second day I received further confirmation when my older son put his arms around my neck and whispered, "Thank you, Daddy, for thinking of homeschooling us."  Certainly I am getting a tremendous opportunity to have input on a daily basis into their lives.  I really am having a wonderful time with them.

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