October 1, 2010

What has been your greatest homeschooling challenge and how have you met it? or have you?

QandA Jaime:   Our biggest homeschooling challenge would be dealing with other people's misinformation about homeschooling. So many people do not have correct information (or any at all) about homeschooling and judge us or challenge us in our decision. We have many uneducated questions thrown at us and many people drawing conclusions that are unfounded.

We deal with this on a case by case basis. Here in Alberta we have quite a few "rules" as homeschoolers and it helps to tell people them. For instance, we have to be enrolled with a school board and as such are subject to teachers and principals. We are lucky as a family to have a wonderful teacher who affords us much freedom, but people hear teacher and think TEACHER in school. We also hear a lot about grades and tests. Here in Alberta we still have to take standardized government tests every three years and we are issued a report card. This seems to take care of most of the questions.

If someone is truly interested in what we are doing though, we find that after all of the questions, they want information. We are more than willing to provide it.

For us it has not been a challenge in the traditional meaning, we just need to remember WHY we homeschool and we can explain the HOW to people who don't know.

Tristan:  Two challenges come to mind for me.  First, my oldest daughter really struggled with math from Kindergarten through the end of 2nd grade.  It brought tantrums and tears from both of us and we quit all math before her 2nd grade year ended.  After a few months off we began a different math curriculum, starting way back at the beginning with the first level of math, even though my daughter was heading into 3rd grade.  It was wonderful!  She built up her confidence and skills and now we have no more tears at math time.

The second challenge is really an ongoing one in my life, it is the challenge to homeschool my older children with babies and toddlers always around!  I have been pregnant and/or had a baby every year for the last 6 years, (baby #6 will arrive in about 8 weeks!).  There is always a little one who needs mommy, or a not much bigger one who is mobile and getting in to everything.  As everyone is always growing our coping strategies change regularly.  With a baby I wear them in a baby wrap so my hands can be free.  As they begin mobility we try to baby proof and keep a baby gate between the math manipulatives and the crawler.  When they are walking and insist on being right in the middle of the action at the table we use a booster seat with a seat belt.  They go at one end of the table with safe things to play with, while the other children get their work done out of reach further down the table.  It is a never ending balancing act, but we just take it a day at a time and enjoy each new stage together!

Dana:   I think the biggest challenge I’ve experienced in homeschooling is ME.  Self-discipline is so important, especially in homeschooling.  If I am lazy, impatient or whatever negative trait you can imagine, I bring it with me to our learning environment.   I have to be able to push myself to rise above the “nature man”- in this case woman - as King Benjamin directs us in the Book of Mormon. ☺

Another challenge for me is, that sometimes the conveyor belt,  fill their brains with x, y, and z, mark off this study item, public school mentality sneaks its way into our learning.  Even though I KNOW that it is detrimental to true learning, that mentality sometimes pops back in for a time, until I realize it for what it is and am motivated to offer something better for my crew.

How do I meet this challenge? Prayer, commitment, pondering, and loving my family.  As these challenges don’t seem to go away entirely, I often have to forgive, recommit, and try again.  But no matter what challenge is before us, we always manage to find joy in the journey.

How about you?  What challenges have you faced in your homeschooling experience?

4 comments - Add a comment below -:

Roblynn said...

After home schooling for 30 years I thought I had faced and conquered all the challenges that could come along.
Last year the "PANI", which is equal to the child protective services in the U.S. came to our home and threatened to remove our 6 year old daughter from our home if we did not put her in school the next day.
What a shock and I was of course outraged. I called our embassy, since we are not even residents here or citizens, and I was told that if we are going to live here in Costa Rica we have to obey the rules.
The deal is I was always under the impression that home schooling was legal here. It is not. Now we are in the process of getting her out of school legally, and it has been such a challenge.
Nothing can freak you out like someone threatening your child!
The mistake I made was not educating myself about the laws here, and just going by "blogs" I had read about the laws. If I had been educated I would have done things differently and averted the whole problem.
We are working it out, but it has been very scary and serious stuff. If they take your kid here you don't get them back!

Camie said...

My biggest challenge has definitely been dealing with how others around us, and especially our family and friends view my choice to homeschool 2 of my children. I am so tired of all the less-than-supportive comments spoken in worried tones and the assumption that I will eventually come to my senses and place my children back in the school system (which failed them in the first place).
While I often try my best to educate family and friends who question my choice to homeschool, it would be a refreshing change if they would simply appreciate the time I'm giving to my children and be more open-minded about education options.

Tomena said...

Wow! to the above comment that is scary. I'm glad everything is turning out okay.

So I have to say I can relate to all these challenges.

shauna said...

I'm in British Columbia and, from what I read in the School District Act, once my children are registered as home school learners, as parents, we are entirely responsible for their education. There are no standardized tests, no one to report to, no minimum number of days in school, no required curriculum, nothing. (Although I do appreciate that since we are going at home school entirely different from the public schools here.) I am on my own and sometimes that's a lot of pressure especially when there aren't a lot of people in my area home schooling. When others ask questions about our school, I feel like I have to provide them with solid numbers and examples of how long we schooled and what we learned. Those sorts of questions really stress me out because the only other thing mentioned in the School Act is that if people don't feel my kids are getting an education I can be reported with no action against the complainant unless it is found to be malicious. I find myself keeping meticulous details about our education as a just in case.

However, I think my biggest challenge is trusting the Lord to guide me and letting go of stress. I'm 5 weeks into our home school journey and I have already had terrible bouts of "WHAT am I doing?" "Why am I not doing what *she* is doing?" "Are my children ever going to learn anything?" I have to remind myself over and over of the vision I have for our family. Thankfully, things have been getting better and prayer is becoming my focus in teaching my kids. I love how much closer we feel as a family as we learn together!