Sunday, July 27, 2008

When and how did you start homeschooling?

Makita over at Twinkling Stars Family School asks the question, "When and how did you start homeschooling?".

I decided that I'd find a way to homeschool, if I ever had children, when I was 14 years old. I was desperate to be homeschooled, but I lived in South Africa where homeschooling was illegal. I had a teacher for exactly one subject. The rest of the time we were in classrooms with substitute caretakers.

There were no other schooling options in my town. If my parents wanted me at a different school, I would have had to ride a train and have a long walk the other side. They felt I was too young so we worked a way for me to still get a good education at the abysmal school I attended.

My father said that since I didn't have teachers, I was to work through the textbooks on my own, ask him questions and then teach the material to my classmates the following day.

I realized then that school was a huge time waster and that I could get all the education I needed without it. The lack of teachers turned out to be a huge boon to me. I ended up matriculating with one of the highest marks in South Africa. (A few weeks ago, I was looking at the newspaper photographs of me at 18. I was such a nerd, it was truly frightening - too frightening to even put on this blog). I honestly believe that I managed this because I had to take responsibility for my own education and because my father made me teach my classmates. I could only teach if I truly understood the material.

Fast forward 3 and a half decades. I was pregnant with my twins when a girlfriend sat me down and gave me the lecture about planning to get my children into prep school. She laid out all the steps that started with the "right" preschool at age 2. She stressed that if I didn't implement the plan, my kids would never get into the right prep school.

All my thoughts of homeschooling came rushing back to me and I decided then and there, that sprogs A and B were going to be homeschooled. It took me another 2.5 years to convince Marc that homeschooling was a good idea. It was only after we bumped into some homeschooling fathers in Elizabeth City that he started doing his only investigating and agreed with me that homeschooling was the right route for us.

I've considered myself a homeschooler since I was pregnant, though I did find it sad that I had to declare my intentions the summer Ben and Shira turned two. Everyone around me was sending their 2 year old children to preschool. When I admitted that we weren't sending our two to preschool at such a tender age, there was much smiling and nodding. They saw that I was one of those people who believed that children needed to be older when they started preschool and it was assumed that we would send the kids to preschool at age 3. I finally had to admit that we had no intention of sending the children to preschool, or school for that matter.

After this declaration I had a delegation of fellow Jewish moms come and explain to me that I was "letting down the community" by keeping the children out of Hebrew Day School. I was truly annoyed that they tried to pressure me over our school choice and secondly, it irritated me that they assumed we would choose the day school. The day school was never on our horizon. I don't hold with mixing academic education with religion.

We're hardcore philosophical homeschoolers. Politically we could never put our children into public schools as we question the constitutionality of government education. We also believe that no one can educate our children better than we can. Our intention is to homeschool our children until they go to college.

How and when did you start homeschooling?


Henry Cate said...

We didn't start off as committed homeschoolers. When our oldest was born we signed her up for the local charter school. As she approached kindergarten we decided to give it a try. We figured that if we messed up she wouldn't be damaged too badly. Over time we've grown to recognize homeschooling has so many strengths.

Kris said...

We started homeschooling in 2002, after two miserable years of public school with my oldest daughter.

I had always wanted to homeschool, but my dd wanted to go to "big school" and my dh worried about my prepensity for making big plans, but not following through, so off to ps my dd went.

She had a couple of great teachers, but she was (and still is) one of those kids who doesn't learn in traditional ways. She was falling behind in a couple of areas and the school couln't offer us any solutions that sounded feasible.

So, we chose our own solution: homeschool. The first year was a trial year, but our decision was made within the first three months. Even my skeptical dh and even more skeptical extended family members could see the positive results of homeschooling.

That was in 2002 and we've never looked back. My youngest two have never known anything but homeschooling and none of my three would have it any other way. Neither would I.

ina said...

hi, just a few words.. i just new when i first held my daughter in my arms that i wanted to be the one responsible for her upbringing, and i have never had the slightest intention of sending her to a governemnt training camp, i mean a public school. my choice to home school is not based on religious reasons. im a free thinker and a free spirit and i dont want my daughter 'educated' - if u want to call it that - by strangers, after telling her not to go with strangers, huh. living in the UK is also a mega advantage as there are no subjects i must legally teach. so there is no pressure. no exams. although i personally got high grades in all subjects at school, to be honest nothing i learned has truly helped me in the 'real world'. also, although the first few years of school were ok, teh more the years went on the more i hated sitting behind a desk all day long. i never knew why i couldnt be outdoors running around and spending time with my horse. its like counting down a prsion sentence, and not about socialising at all. i dont find a school the best of places to socialise. its more like a rat race. IF my daughter ever had to be entered into a public education system, it woukd be a montessori or steiner school. good luck to all home schoolers. its so exciting, exhilarating and gives me a tremendous sense of relief and feeling of freedom. X

i have several websites, a couple are