Why We Chose to Homeschool This Year
Earlier this year, my husband changed careers. Almost twenty years of schooling, wrenching, and managing a service department for Harley Davidson, as well as teaching at MMI in Arizona came to an end. An opportunity to be a conductor for Union Pacific came about. It wouldn’t be very long before we realized with the schedule of a train conductor that if the two littles went to public school, he would probably never see them again.
Making It Work
Not really, but, we couldn’t help but feel that way. The life of a railroad worker is a grueling one. Now that UP is his second wife, it just seemed important to us to homeschool to have the kids able to be present for when he was home. It’s been a very difficult transition. I don’t know if we will ever get used to him being gone from home as much as he has been this summer. However, we are taking this next step in hopes of finding a new dynamic to our family and are very hopeful about it.
Why We Chose A Charter School
My friend asked me the other day, on Facebook, what curriculum I was using, which led to another friend asking, after I responded with the mile long list of our curriculum, that she thought I had to use and teach what was provided by the district. With a short but in depth response I quickly let her know about a few options in homeschooling. One of the great things about Idaho is that it is such a “homeschool friendly” state. Combine that with the internet and you have about a zillion and one resources at your fingertips for any method you choose to go. Private ISP, theres a place for that. Charter School, theres a place for that. District provided work, theres a place for that. And the list goes on. After looking at a few options I was interested in, we chose Tech Trep Academy. I wanted a charter school that provided a strong parent community as well as a school that would help guide me with what to teach my kids at each grade level. These may not be the reasons others chose Tech Trep but for us, it was perfect!
So, What Will I Be Teaching My Kids
Because I chose a charter that is funded by the state of Idaho, I am required to not only submit an intended schedule of courses, but I also have to have curriculum approved. Each week, I am also responsible for submitting a learning log through an education specialist. Twice a year, my kids will also be taking state standardized testing just as if they were in public school. While I like the freedom of being able to choose my own curriculum, I’m ok with them taking standardized tests. Following state standards will help keep me on track of what they should be learning. I will fill in with what I want them to learn.
The Fun Stuff
I won’t bore you with all of my curriculum choices, but some things you can look forward to reading about on my blog this coming year are Five In A Row for Hawk, and studying state history using a little bit of the Girls of American History curriculum which is based around the historical American Girl dolls for Sadie! We are SO excited about that one!
Where Will l Teach Them
We have a dedicated school area in my office with two vintage desks, a world map and a calender on the wall. We will be following a standard 36 week school year just like a traditional public school. The cool thing about homeschooling though, is that if we decide to take off on a spur of the moment field trip that day, we can. When Dada comes home from work and the kids haven’t seen him for a few days, we can devote that day to spending time with him. If we leave, we can take school with us, or get it done later on in the evening. When necessary we can move that days work to the next day and adjust our week. It’s such a flexible opportunity for us and that’s exactly what we need right now.
How Long Will It Take
With homeschooling a Kindergartner and a fourth grader this year, I’m expecting things to take a tad longer than maybe if I just had one. I have to actually spend the time teaching him how to read, and how to write. I can’t just toss a workbook at him and tell him to read directions on page 9. Thats not how I homeschool anyways, but you know what I mean. Bless all of you Kindergarten teachers. I’m nervous to just teach my one. Thirty or more kids, I imagine is like stepping into a cage of wild monkeys and attempting to get them all to stop swinging and howling, and throwing poop at each other in a matter of a few hours. No thanks. Your’e a much braver person than I am.
Will They Have Friends
Part of the reason for choosing the charter that I did was because after joining Tech Trep’s Facebook group, I learned that there are scheduled field trips, park days and other get togethers planned. We already attended a pizza and park meetup this summer! My kids played for roughly three hours. They discovered how to stomp a home made rocket launcher, while I crossed my fingers that their teeth didn’t get knocked out. I also was able to interact with other parents which was nice.
Sadie and I already have a plan in place for an American Girl doll meetup where we have a craft planned to do. Sadie and Hawk also love their dedicated sports of figure skating and hockey.
If that wasn’t enough, I also belong to a “Wild and Free” group where we will be attending nature based field trips as well as having a Charlotte Mason inspired craft market where Sadie will be able to have a vendor table to sell some items she has made for under $5. Our city also has a park day meetup specifically for our city only.
Lets Not Forget How to Parent
I also have a great group of friends here that have kids of their own that we will see. Oh and lets not forget that part of socializing isn’t always with kids. I make my kids order their own food when we go out to eat. They pay for things at checkouts and ask where things are in stores. I’m always making sure they are learning to properly socialize in every day situations. But that’s just also how I parent. I’m pretty sure after all these things we have on our calendar, my kids will probably have more socialization with other kids than kids in every day traditional public school. I’m just not that worried about it.
What’s In It For Me
Well, to be honest, I’m not looking forward to schooling my Kindergartner. He is wild and naughty and full of more antics than I could possibly know what to do with. I’m doing this for my husband and my children. I know what this means to the three amigos. Those three are tight. Nothing can stand in the way of how their faces all light up when they see each other. It kills me to think about how little we see him right now. I can’t bare thinking about how bad I’d feel if he had to leave before they got home from school. How they wouldn’t be there to say goodbye to him, knowing he wouldn’t be around for a few days again. Military families do this stuff all the time. I get it. But for us, it’s just not something we want.
The Days are Long but the Years Are Short
We want as much time as possible with each other. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we’ve already got a 21 year old. We know how fast time goes. I don’t know. All I know is we cherish every second spent with the kids. We are really looking forward to adventures in learning outside of this house as a family. So really, what’s in it for me? Time I can’t get back. Going on field trips across Idaho and Oregon. Learning cool things together. Sliding down slides and swinging on swings while reciting their math facts. We are all looking for more time. I’m making sure I get it.
Miller Manta Rays
The kids decided on a name and a mascot for our school. We have many field trips planned this year and can’t wait to share those adventures with you, but if you want to check out some cool places to go in Idaho, click here. I hope I was able to help you understand just one families reasons and choices behind homeschooling. Many families have their own ranging from vaccines, to religion, to choice of curriculum. I am excited to go down this path again. I homeschooled my older boys when they were little and know they benefitted greatly from my time with them. Stick around! Our homeschool adventures are going to be so amazing!