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Homeschooling: 3 Months Later
Well, it's been almost three months now since my wife and I decided to homeschool our son, Jakob, due to some bullying issues at school (more specifically, due to lack of attention given to these issues by the school's administration). Now that I've had some experience with this heretofore unfamiliar world, I realize that some things about it are much easier than I realized they would be. However, that doesn't mean there haven't been, and continue to be, challenges along the way.
Jakob loves to learn and is, in general, a pleasure to teach. Many days his instruction is almost completely self-guided, thanks to an excellent online homeschool curriculum provider that we found. However, there are at least three areas on which I feel we need to work.
1. Structure. One of the best things about homeschooling is the parents and child can decide when to do everything. Don't feel like getting the day started until 10am or later? No problem. As long as he gets through the day's lesson plan, does an exact timetable really matter? Maybe not for a lot of kids, but I think the relative lack of structure (compared to a "real" school) may be hurting Jakob. He's always done his best in school when he's had teachers who were fair but strict. As much as it goes against our lifestyle in general, we plan on implementing a strict schedule and making him stick to it. We'll see how that goes.
2. Social skills. Jakob's never had an easy time making friends, and obviously pulling him out of school won't help that. Sure, he still has kids he plays with and talks to, but it's not the same as being around a lot of other kids all day long and learning how to get by in "real world" environments. We'll be working on hooking up with homeschooling groups in our area, and it looks like Jakob may be getting into Boy Scouts soon, so hopefully we can make a positive impact on his social skills in these ways.
3. Grading. Grading is more difficult than I imagined it would be. We try to take Jakob's quiz and test scores, and those of any worksheets we have him do, and average them out into grades like he would be getting were he actually in school. I'm just not sure what we're coming up with is an accurate picture of how well he's doing. We're going to be going over sample questions from our state's "WESTTEST" standardized testing to see if we can use those to gauge how much he's learning.
No Looking Back
Despite the few challenges along the way, we're really happy with our decision to homeschool Jakob. It's satisfying to know that we're having a big impact on our son's education, and it's a pleasure to watch him learn new things.
If you've had experience with homeschooling, feel free to leave comments below.