We have finished up our first official week of homeschooling, and my daughter isn’t the only one who has learned a lot! We have settled into a groove and schedule, and I am getting more comfortable making lesson plans.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that people are incredibly opinionated about homeschooling. Most people have been extremely supportive, if not a little curious, but a few have been pretty vocal in their opposition. Two of the questions almost everyone asks are, “How does the school monitor if your daughter is actually learning anything?” and “How will she be socialized?”
As far as the school monitoring our progress, we are voluntarily dual-enrolled with my daughter’s former public school, and participating in the Homeschool Assistance Program, which means as far as the state is concerned my daughter is enrolled in that school and we are supervised by a teacher. We chose this option because we are new to homeschooling, and were really comfortable with the teachers in the office. They have been a great resource. We are also able to continue with the same textbooks my daughter was already using, so her year is pretty seamless. Legally, however, we could choose not to enroll with the school in any way or report our daughter’s progress. Just because a child attends public school and completes standardized testing does NOT mean that they are performing anywhere near grade level, and more often than not they are passed from grade to grade whether they are performing at that grade level or not. My daughter has been on the honor roll for her entire middle school career, but doesn’t know how to do a basic outline or spell many words. I don’t know why people believe homeschoolers should be held to a higher standard than the public school, but I suspect it is because they don’t realize the true situation in public schools. I can already see positive results from the one-on-one attention my daughter is receiving at home.
As far as socialization, we are active in church and my daughter is still participating in orchestra at her former public school. The Home School Assistance Program also has several field trips and co-op events every month we can voluntarily participate in. That being said, I suspect anyone who questions the social health of homeschoolers has not spent a lot of time in a public middle school. The majority of the children have social skills slightly better than those of a crowd of primates. They are rude, lack self-control, and have very little confidence. The behavior of many of the students is the primary reason we pulled our daughter out of public school. I have already seen improvement in her attitude, and she is much more respectful.
Adding a fully-functioning school to a 2 bedroom apartment has been an organization challenge for me. I ended up installing two shelves above my desk with magazine holders to store notebooks, folders, and binders. Neither my husband or I is especially handy, so I winged it putting the shelves up The first one is totally level. The second one may or may not be held up with a pen cap.
I got an accordion file folder that I keep receipts in from purchases related to homeschooling, as well as any other receipts that might relate to taxes. Any important paper work is also filed there. I also added a “homeschool binder” to my arsenal, and am using a printable homeschool planner in it. This has worked out great! I have been accused of having a printable addiction. I plead the 5th. I keep my lesson plans in the binder, and am also able to document exactly what we cover every day.
So far this week we have just covered the basic 5 subjects, math, english, reading, science, and civics, but we are going to add a technology class, as well as art and home ec. Or whatever they call home ec nowadays. We are going to do a daily devotion, and get some physical activity in as well. My daughter is interested to learn photography and photoshop, so I am excited to be able to weave that into our homeschool curriculum.
So, that is our first week homeschooling in a nutshell. I think it has gone really well, and I am excited to continue to refine our schedule!