This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Brewer Home School

We have homeschooled* on and off since my 15 year old was in kindergarten where she began her school career in private school. She is now in public school in an International Baccalaureate (IB) program where she is rockin it. My kids have experienced private school, public school, and public charter school, but we always seem to come back around to homeschooling. I'll tell you why.

You might be thinking we homeschool because we are scared of the people at public school. You may be thinking we homeschool because public schools just can't teach my type of kids. Or you may be thinking that we homeschool because I can't afford a religious education, I want my kids to learn about God and education at the same time. None of these is totally accurate.

In simple terms, we homeschool because it is the most efficient. It's fast. It's free of busy work. It allows for multitasking. While previously we have homeschooled using curriculum I wrote myself, based on the district's standards and with the help of a few mentoring teachers, this year we are schooling with the help of K12: an online public school program. We used them once before, and it was a great experience.

  • They send you everything. No seriously, we got three computers, two printers, all of our books (text and literature), enough tempura paint to cover a city mural, paper, workbooks, test tubes, a microscope, playdoh, clay, paintbrushes, a scale, rocks for science, math counters, play money, instruments, and on and on and on. Really great stuff.

  • They write the curriculum and tell you what to do each day. This was my biggest complaint about homeschooling. They swooped in and made this part all better. They know the standards. They know what works.

  • They have fun technology and tutors to help with less than fun subjects like algebra.

  • They level my kids and challenge them.

  • There is still time to do the things I want to do if I decide to do them.

  • They track progress and attendance.

  • They connect kids for social events, and not all of them are weird.

  • They give my kids rewards like $50 in Amazon gift cards for taking high stakes tests.

  • Having a large family, I want them to integrate our lessons more. Four science lessons is a lot for one teacher (me). It's just too easy to choose one topic and change it up a bit to fit different age groups. I'm still praying for them to see the light. And by "see the light" I mean I hope they get one of my fifty emails and do something about it (aka hire me as a consultant to write this curriculum).

  • Sending the supplies back was as simple as they could make it, but getting twenty boxes back to the post office was a little taxing. Still. Worth it.

We have always agreed in our house to evaluate what works best for our kids depending on our circumstances and their needs; we don't just assume we will homeschool forever. This year, it's what is right for four of my kids. As high school approaches for my two mid-kids, we will once again reassess. Or is it assess. Well that just looks like a swear, but you get what I am saying. No schooling answer is right forever. A dozen factors change making what worked last year not relevant to what can work this new year.

What is true forever though is that yes, you can homeschool your child. And you can do a great job. If you feel it isn't a natural step, find yourself some resources, ready up on it, join a group of other successful homeschoolers.

Check out my HOMESCHOOL tab above for resources, links to previous homeschool posts on this blog, and stories of our adventures.

If you have ever considered homeschooling, don't be scared. Be brave. It may be the best thing you ever did.

*Dear ABC check people. This is a word now. Get with it and stop underlining my words.


Ashley said...

Great post, Shontell! Thanks for sharing your experience. I am so glad to hear that K12 is working so well for you. Best of luck in the upcoming school year!

shontell said...

Thanks Ashley! I'm mostly excited to spend time with my kids again. My two littlest kiddos just haven't had me the same way my three big kids have. Plus. They are the funny ones. It has to be a win, right?!

Liz Dean said...

You always have the right words for me at the right time. It's like you have ESPn.;)

shontell said...

ESPN bahaha!! I really do. It costs me a fortune.

No(dot dot)el said...

Thanks for clearing that up, (never really wondered, but always have felt confident in your choices for your kiddos) and you are cracking me right up with your Ryan G. pics. I hope you have a great school year and enjoy your new family member. Can't wait to meet him. Eli was hoping he would cover the history of his 5000 year old country and that will count for the your history credit for the year ;) I told him that would a long conversation and he said you said the same thing!!