Before you start homeschooling, let's look at the benefits of homeschooling.
If you are already homeschooling, feel free to share some of your benefits with us.
It is a normal reaction to want to do research on homeschooling before you start, I did. I sat an entire day in front of the computer searching for everything I can find about homeschooling.
Although I've been pondering over the idea for many years while my children were in public school, I was still a little uncertain and scared, because we knew what we had and didn't know what to expect.
Before I share the benefits of homeschooling with you, I would like to share our story with you.
My children were in a small farm school - which was a great school, but there were the small things that started making us unhappy.
In South Africa it is very expensive to put your child in a public school (especially a small farm school), here the government does not subsidize our school fees. Although that was not the initial problem, this started creating conflict in the schools, because there are "certain" parents (and their children) who get the most out of all the donations they give the schools.
My children were in a popular school before they went to this farm school and it was a problem there too. When they went to this farm school, it was not a problem in the beginning, but as soon as the richer parents started moving their children to this school it started there too.
I am not so small that I will take my children out of the school just for this reason, but this also started building up conflict - when your child comes home from school and tell you that the teacher treated him bad because of certain homework he did wrong and there is a certain child in his classroom whose parents are rich and the teacher did not fight with him about the same mistake, then you start to realize that your children don't go through this world blind.
We never mentioned anything to them about certain children being treated differently.
This was not the only reason for us taking out children out of the school, there were allot of conflict between parents, unfair teachers and many things that happened over the course of many years.
Then one day, someone invited us to go have a look at another farm school - right at the point when we felt we had enough. Because my children were used to the small school environment, we realized that we cannot move them back to a big school. When we took the children to take a look at this school, they immediately felt at home, they were happy and everyone was so nice to them, they immediately decided that they wanted to go to this school.
Until the next day ...... it was their first day. They realized that the teachers were only wearing masks to impress the parents, they weren't nice at all. My little girl did not know where the classes were (obviously) and no one helped her to find them.
We were far away from this school, so we could not even be there on their first day- they got a ride from one of the teachers.
This was too far from our home and they had to ride to that school every day on a very dangerous road. I was a nervous wreck every time we dropped them off where the teacher picked them up and when I knew they were on that road from school in the afternoons.
They were in that school only 2 days, because I could not take the stress of the road anymore as well as the very unhappy crying daughter I received every afternoon.
In the previous school she also cried at least 3 days out of the 5 - every week. Sometimes it was the friends and sometimes the teachers.
I have been considering homeschooling for many years, but I was scared and uncertain, also I had to work and was not able to spend the time we needed on schoolwork.
So I spent an entire day on the internet, searching to find out if I would be making a mistake. Because I was scared that I would take away my children's future.
We asked them if they would like to homeschool or if they preferred to stay in a public school and they quickly answered that they wanted to try home schooling. We set up some ground rules and they agreed that we should give this a chance.
Some of the things we demanded from them was that they must work with self discipline, honesty, give their best and have a positive attitude towards their school work.
What we had to do before we could start:
Firstly if you are considering homeschooling, you must know the laws in your country.
The most important if you live in South Africa is to read this report - it is in Afrikaans (tuisskole bedreig), follow the Association for homeschooling by subscribing to their newsletters and be sure that you are up to date on what is going on in South African home schooling news. You can also read some of their articles like whether homeschooling is legal in South Africa.
Still, if you live in South Africa, you should consider contacting and joining Pestalozzi trust even before you take your child or children out of a public school or when you wish to start homeschooling before they are 7.
You can also go to Eastern Cape homeschooling association for allot of guidance.
You must be sure that you will be able to spend the time with your children teaching and learning with them. We start at 7h30 and work until 2h30 in the afternoon with two breaks in between. But after we are finished at 2h30, we are done for the day and they can "go enjoy life" as my daughter calls it. (no homework)
Was this a good idea?
One year later, I can tell you, it was the best decision of our lives and we are sorry that we did not do this earlier.
Although I can say that I don't think every parent will experience home school in the same way, we have our tough days - but mostly we have great days and they enjoy learning.
Differences between public school and homeschooling:
- They did not have allot of friends.
- Got bullied and looked down at because they were shy.
- They got allot of homework and would come home from school, eat lunch and start with their homework - sometimes they would be doing homework until it was time to eat dinner, take a bath and go to bed.
- My girl was in trouble most of the time, because she did not understand all the homework and then she had to sit break times to write out something like "I have to do my homework" - where is the use in that, can't they write out tables, spelling words or something useful?
- She also fell behind in allot of work because she did not understand everything and was too shy to ask.
- There was always a problem with my son's handwriting, because no one was ever happy with the way his handwriting looked.
- I regularly had to take them to occupational therapists, psychiatrists, etc. (Don't get me wrong, those people do a great job, but I spent allot of money in a year paying for all the places they had to go - without any difference - teachers still complaining)
- My son had to drink Ritilin to satisfy the teachers.
- My daughter could not do Math or English (how she made it to Grade 5, I don't know)
- There was never time to spend on learning life skills.
- Most importantly - we start our day - every day - with the Word of God and in His presence.
- Within the first week of homeschooling I realized that my daughter cannot do Math or English - she did not understand much - a year later, she understands and English is her favorite subject.
- I had to go back with her to do Math from Grade 1 to find out where the "gap" was - with homeschooling there was time to do that as well as time to keep on explaining and trying until she completely understand before we move on.
- My son started writing better - his handwriting is not so shaky any more. (It was nervousness if you ask me)
- They are happy and look forward to working and learning every day.
- If they don't understand something we don't move on until they do.
- They have time to play and enjoy life.
- They can concentrate better and everything they learn sticks.
- They can type and work on computers most of the time (This is the future)
- We have allot more family time and are more peaceful.
What curriculum should you use
This is entirely up to you. (If you live in South Africa for now - see the above report in Afrikaans)
We use Kenweb. The program is affordable and you buy your books with the package. They do the work on the computer after they studied it in the books, they have to answer the questions. We have to print out the books, which uses allot of paper and toner, but that is the most expense per month. This program is in Afrikaans, so if you are not Afrikaans speaking unfortunately this will not work for you. The work is quite allot and where in the schools they will take out portions of the books - here they do the entire book. (I always tell them that they will be allot smarter than other children their age)
The downside is that Kenweb only goes up to Grade 9.
They also do the typing lessons from Kenweb.
If you are in South Africa an you don't want to use Kenweb, there is also Impak.
They do extra math on IXL
You can follow all of the homeschooling blogs in the links page - there you will find allot of advice and awesome help. These will also lead you to follow other blogs where you will find more advice. Be sure to sign up to receive i homeschool network emails as well, they are very educational as well as supporting.
At the links below you will get free activity books from all about reading and all about spelling with great tips. You can see how easy the program works and how easy your child will learn. There are allot more free downloads and you can download the Phonics app as well, which is great.
These are just a few of the benefits of homeschooling, there are allot more - care to add some? Feel free to mention them in the comments box bellow.
---But you must remember that homeschooling is not keeping your children at home just to have fun - they must learn and grow and for this to happen - you spend allot of time during the day teaching them.