Monday, March 17, 2008

How We Came to Homeschooling the Way We Do: Part 2

I first began "teaching" my own children at home when my daughter was four years old. My daughter's best friend at the time was nine months older than her and was beginning kindergarten without her. My daughter wanted to go to school, but with a birthday in January, it just wasn't going to happen. She was ready for it in every way...academically, emotionally, socially.

After explaining to my daughter that she wasn't old enough to go to school, she asked me to teach her to read. I didn't know how to teach someone to read so I put it off. It hadn't occurred to me that there might be curriculum for reading instruction that I could buy. Then one day in Costco, I happened upon a phonics workbook bundled with a handwriting workbook. Nearby was an alphabet workbook bundled with a math workbook. I wanted the alphabet and phonics workbooks but the only way to get them was to buy all four. The price as right so I walked out with all four workbooks. These became my first curricula.

The next day, I sat down with my daughter at the dining room table and began going through the alphabet book. We ended up going through a letter a day (2 pages, front and back) and added a few math pages as well. It didn't take long to finish that alphabet workbook. Once it was completed, we moved on to the phonics workbook. It only took us about 30 minutes a day. I still wasn't considering homeschooling at this point however.

During this time, we learned that our son was severely delayed in many areas including language, speech, cognitive, and social development. When he turned three in December, we enrolled our son in the public school district's special education preschool program so he could receive much needed age-appropriate speech therapy. Each day I put him on the bus to school (our neighborhood school didn't have a preschool so he was bussed to the closest one that did) and then walked inside to continue working through those Costco workbooks with my daughter.

My son's school sent out a newsletter each month. I found it interesting to look through these as each grade level had a little article discussing the things that were being learned along with suggestions for the parents to assist in the learning. With my daughter beginning kindergarten the next year, I paid close attention to that article. I realized that my daughter already knew or was learning everything the kindergartners were learning and doing it at a much faster rate. It was at this point, I began to consider homeschooling as an option.

What I was reading about homeschooling looked ideal for my daughter's academic progress. However, she was extremely social and I felt that she would enjoy being with and playing with the other kids in her class. We went back and forth on the idea not able to decide which way to go until one day I decided to visit the school with a request.

Part 1: Before Homeschool
Part 3: The School Makes My Decision for Me

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