The Homeschool Project

Welcome to the Homeschool Project.

The aim of this project is to educate the public about the realities of homeschooling, the diversity of homeschoolers and their methods, and the value of homeschooling as an education option.

I don’t know exactly where this project will lead, but I know it starts with a conversation. So, let’s put the comment section to good use. If you homeschool, please share your story. Give us an understanding of your homeschool experience. You can use the prompts below if you are unsure where to start. If you don’t homeschool but are curious about it, ask questions. We’ll do our best to answer.

Communication is the foundation of the Homeschool Project. Say what’s on your mind now, and come back later to add to it, ask questions, answer questions. There is no right or wrong here. So long as we listen to each other and respect our differences, we can keep the focus on what we all have in common: we want to offer our children the best education and life we can.

Here are some thought prompts for homeschoolers:
Why do you homeschool?
How did you start homeschooling?
How has homeschooling benefitted you/your family?
What challenges have you faced through homeschooling?

Feel free to offer more prompts in your comments; these are just a start.

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11 thoughts on “The Homeschool Project

  1. Marisa

    I guess I should be the first to talk. So, I’m Marisa. I homeschool my two kids, ages 9 and 6. I’ve already covered some of my reasons for homeschooling in my blog posts, but I can add one more reason now. Aside from any philosophical reasons, homeschooling was also a functional choice for my family. At the time that we started, we were living across the country from home. We had moved 4 times in 3 years (for my husband’s career) and weren’t sure when or where the next move would happen. Ashby was in preschool, and the thought of pulling her in and out of elementary schools unsettled me. I figured that homeschooling would offer some sense of continuity no matter where we lived. So, that’s why we started. We’ve been back home for two years now, but we continue to homeschool because we love it. One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is the efficiency. We can finish our lessons by lunchtime and have the rest of the day open for park days, field trips, library trips, sports activities, or just playing.

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  2. Julie

    I think this is a great idea Marisa!!! I’m thinking about what I’ll write to contribute, and I’d also like to ask you if you’d like to post this to the Marin Homeschoolers’ blog as a guest post (that way, whenever anyone is browsing our website, they’ll be able to see it, and it will link back here, too.)

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    1. Marisa Post author

      Thanks for the response, Julie! I’d love to do a guest post on the website. I’m looking forward to hearing more from you here, too. I know you have a lot of insight to share.

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  3. Kaleolani

    🙂 I’ve enjoyed reading through your entries.
    Because I love answering questions, and well, as an introvert, I love to talk to my computer, I’m going to answer your prompts.

    Why do you homeschool? We homeschool because it fits our life the best. With Shawn’s job having us move a lot and him not being home a lot, this seemed a better fit then brick and mortar schooling.

    How did you start homeschooling? Jessie was in preschool and the thought of putting her in Kindergarten made me cringe. I have always loved learning but loathed school. Jessie already knew what would be taught in Kindergarten and I really didn’t want her to be the bored one getting into trouble because she didn’t want to, or couldn’t sit still.

    How has homeschooling benefitted you/your family? Homeschooling as benefited in so many ways. It’s allowed both Jessie and Kathleen to progress with their learning at their own speed. They have different interests and we can use those interests in our schooling as well. We can take off when ever we want, school at different times and have the flexibility I was needing.

    What challenges have you faced through homeschooling? The biggest challenge has been the moving and not knowing what different states would require. It also scares me about what certain states require. I’d like to avoid the highly regulated states. I was very nervous in Hawai’i as you have to test there. I had no idea what I was doing, other then following my instincts, as I had never met a homeschooler before, ever. After 7 years though, there’s a bit more to relax into. Not that I don’t still get nervous and I do more so now that Jessie’s 13 and will soon start high school. So really, the challenges you face, change with time and location.

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    1. Marisa Post author

      Thanks for sharing, Kaleo. I think it’s interesting to learn about our different motivations. I hear you on the different state regulations. That was one of my concerns before we returned to CA. I hope to hear from people in some of those states to learn firsthand how they handle it.

      Please come back here again when you think of anything you’d like to add.

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  4. Betsy Kipnis

    Though our family hasn’t chosen home schooling as our primary option we are BIG fans of the approach. Since I am a veteran educator I use the precious family time in meaningful and purposeful ways because there is no reason not to. I am on and off state websites and in and out of various teaching resources to guide how we use that time learning, creating and enjoying subjects together. Currently, our children also ages 6 & 9 are learning about the human body. They are building models of the body, identifying and understanding the parts separately and as a whole. Yesterday’s field experience brought us to the International Museum of Surgical Science. During this time our children got to explore various topics in medicine and have a rich experience of a museum on a small scale. While there, our daughter noticed a very important female contributor to medicine absent from their collections. This turned into a discussion with and letter to the curators of the museum about the importance of representing women in Science. Even our 6 year old crafted a letter discussing how the prenatal collection lacked examples of fertilization. If you’re reading this you might be thinking, “You should homeschool and you could really broaden this topic…” For our crew and my lack of organizational skills, it’s best to supplement and enrich and connect ourselves to others and bring back that experience for enrichment and refinement. It’s kind of how we roll and seems to be working so far. I love the homeschooling blogs and shared resources and feel that though my commitment is much smaller, it is a commitment and I am thankful to be welcome in this dialogue. Hope you’ll hear from me! By the way, Marisa I like how you integrate your curriculum and your lesson plan templates are excellent. As always I am a fan and look forward to a lesson plan that includes bread baking since you are so wonderful at it. It’s important not to lose our authenticity and passion as educators and our classrooms become so lush and vivacious when we model, extend and include our students in them.

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    1. Marisa Post author

      Hi Betsy! Thanks so much for stopping by and providing a glimpse of your unique educational experience. You are a perfect example of how custom education benefits kids. It takes a dedicated parent to create the public school/ homeschool blend you offer your children. And, knowing your kids as I do, I can attest to the fact that your approach works for you. This is exactly why I want to make sure we parents have options for our kids’ educations. What is best for one family might be different from what is best for another. Yet, both methods are equally valuable. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and please comment again when you have more to add! Take care.

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  5. amy

    Hi Marisa. I like your site. I will be using your schedules Thank you.
    I do love homeschooling my three kids 5y and two 2y. This does not come without many challenges, yet more rewards!

    My challenges are organizing my lessons plans, wondering if I am teaching them what they need to know, and being concerned about teaching them the way they learn best. I balance these three obstacles by talking with other homeschoolers and focusing on my kids needs and wants. The network of support is amazing!

    Our family is close, we play together and support each other everyday. Homeschooling has given us a strong bond.

    I homeschool because my kids can learn at their own pace, be it slow or fast in different subjects. We have afternoon freedom and they are learning time management. They have plenty of friends of all different ages, from 1 year old to 85 years.

    I never thought I would be a homeschoolers!
    After I had my daughter I started noticing well mannered, social, happy kids. Most of the time when I asked the parents where they went to school they would say ” we homeschool”. I started considering the idea, then the twins came and she went to preschool. I wanted her to try school, maybe she would love it, my instincts were right on and we pulled her after 6 months.
    I did some research on homeschooling and talked with people and jumped in! I am so happy that I was lead here by so many signs.. It is a right fit for our family.

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    1. Marisa Post author

      Thanks for contributing, Amy. Like you, I find my most valuable insights come from talking to other homeschoolers. I love hearing how other people approach my same obstacles with different techniques. There really is no right or wrong with homeschooling since every kid is different.

      I’m glad you like the schedules. If they can be of use to or inspire another homeschooler, I’m happy. I think the more we share with each other, the greater benefit we’ll see as a community. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Julie

    Hi Marisa — here’s a bit about what homeschooling looks like in our family:

    We are a family of life-learners (sometimes also called unschoolers.) This means our children learn through their daily life experiences, and we live life as if school didn’t exist. My boys are still quite young (ages 6.5 and 4,) and we have found that all the ‘basics’ are pretty much happening all around us all the time! When they are older and are curious about more complex ideas and concepts, we will likely seek out classes, tutors, mentors, and apprenticeships for them to find out what they want to know. I am not worried about ‘gaps’ in their education because, seriously…how much of what you learned in school do you actually remember or use in your life today? We all have gaps, and if we are ever faced with needing (or wanting) to know more about something, we figure out ways to make that happen. I am confident they will know what they need to know to be happy and successful in any path they choose to pursue.

    We chose to homeschool because I believe children (and adults!) learn best when they have freedom to choose what interests them and are not bribed, coerced, or judged and compared with others. No one learns when they are bored. I want my children to love learning and to pursue their curiosities because they want to, not because some politician or corporation has decided the curriculum. We get to live life at our pace, not because the school schedule dictates…we enjoy museums and vacations when others are in school; we have leisurely mornings filled with play and exploration; we participate in as many or as few activities as we like; and we are able to adjust our schedule at any moment when need be.

    Our biggest challenges we have faced have been dealing with our families’ overt disapproval of our choice as well as the (seemingly innocent, but sometimes not) barrage of questions we get when we tell others we are homeschooling. I don’t like feeling as if we need to justify our decision or prove that our boys are learning — it irks me to no end when someone starts quizzing my boys to see if they know how to read, add/subtract, etc. I have had to do some inner work in order to be able to respond calmly and intelligently to those who question our path. I have also been working hard on finding time for myself…at first I didn’t even realize I needed it! I was having such a good time spending time with my children, that I hadn’t realized that making time for myself was just as important. I did experience a little ‘burn out’ in that I started to feel unhappy — I thought I was ‘just a mom’ and couldn’t find other ways to enjoy my interests and passions (at that point, I didn’t even know what those interests and passions were anymore!) Finding a balance has been my greatest learning achievement so far, and I am deeply grateful for the community of families that have helped me along the way.

    Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts about homeschooling…I’ve enjoyed reading the other posts and look forward to hearing more stories 🙂

    Peace,
    Julie

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    1. Marisa Post author

      Thanks for your honest expression, Julie. I love to learn from all of you, and your words paint such a clear visual of your homeschool experience.

      I agree with your thoughts on finding time for yourself. I went through that same discovery period of realizing I had lost myself in the whole “Mom” role and trying to find my individual self again. I wonder if all stay-at-home moms experience that?

      I look forward to hearing more from you. I know you have lots of ideas. 🙂

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