More about Kari's Homeschool . . .
When we don't have extra activities going then a typical day starts between 8 and 9. This year we start with algebra since Gary is doing that with Liberty before he goes to work. After algebra then Liberty usually does her Bible study, shower and then we continue with the rest of her subjects. From the time I started homeschooling until this year we always started the day with prayer, pledges to the flag & Bible, then Bible study and Bible memorization. After that we start working our way through the different subjects. The order we do the subjects changes from year to year. This year we knock out the most difficult subjects or the ones Liberty is the least enthusiastic about at the beginning then go on to the rest. Of course we still start the day with prayer and our pledges. I always felt this was important because I felt like it set the time apart, made it more special. We ring a bell and then it all starts. We never ever have done school in our pajamas in the past. The kids were to wake, do their chores, eat, dress, etc. and be ready when the bell rang, which for most years was between 8:30 and 9:00. I always felt like every hour before noon was worth 2 after noon. I don't know why but it just seems that way to me. Anyway the past year or two things have been a bit different and we started sleeping in a little later and it got to where we were starting at 10:00. That was not as productive for us. So now Liberty gets up and does her running and work out & gets all her animal chores done, then we start. After Gary finishes algebra then she goes on to finish her morning routine before start ting the rest of her subjects. So, on days that she doesn't do her work out first she is still in her PJ's when they do algebra so we can say for the first time that we do some school in pajamas.
Now, when we have other activities going on, which in many cases are an extension of our school then we hit the subjects that we can and try and catch up with the rest.
I like to try and follow a schedule, even though loosely at times, is because it gives structure. It helps create self-discipline, for the student and the teacher. And it shows the kids that their school is important, a priority. When they know you believe it is important then it is easier for them to feel like it is important. I always wanted the kids to be proud of their school. And if they don't feel like they are doing as much as they should or being challenged intellectually I believe it is easy to be discouraged and lazy about their school.
I have always tried to stay on a Sept. - May schedule just because I need the time off. But this year because we had so many other things going on we got behind and so we are playing catch up with a few subjects this summer.
I have an opinion about getting too busy. I find that some homeschooling parents feel like they have to compensate in areas because maybe their children are missing out. I used to feel that way but that is a deception. Of course we want our children to have all the opportunities that we can afford them but you must be careful not to overdo it. Your kids do not have to participate in everything that comes along. I have found us so busy running from one activity to another that I hardly had time to do school. I told my husband 'this is supposed to be homeschool but we are never home'. So I found if everyone is stressed because of crazy schedules then you need to just step back and re-evaluate, prioritize. Just because something is good doesn't mean you have to do it. Find things that your child is truly interested in and develop those areas. Sometimes it takes a while to find what they love but it is better that way.
Think and pray about where you want your children to be when they are 18 and finished with school. What kind of character do you want them to have? Do they have a heart for God, do they see less fortunate people and reach out to them? Does your child seek to hear the voice of God in making daily decisions? Are they servants? Are they willing to sacrifice their own desires for the good of others, for their country, for their God? Is their faith solid? Do they really know what they believe so they can stand against all the voices in the world that will try and pull them away and not only stand against them but be influential to lead others to Christ? When you know where you want your child to be, then work backwards from that and ask yourself every year, "Am I doing things with him or her to help toward achieving these goals?" Everyone's school will look a little different because we are all unique and trying to follow the path that we believe God has for our family. That to me is the beauty of homeschooling.
Everyone has chores. I think it takes everyone pitching in to keep the home running. I also believe that having responsibilities whether it be your chores, an outside job, etc. are character building. Our job as parents is to prepare our children to live in society as productive adults. It has to start somewhere. I think it causes children to be selfish and self-centered if they are not given duties in the home. I believe it also helps build their feelings of self worth.
The cost of homeschooling depends on the curriculum you choose to use and how many you are buying for. Many families are able to use the same text books year after year for all their children so their initial expense is quite a bit higher than their continuing expense. Our current algebra curriculum runs about $250.00 a year. A friend of mine is using the same curriculum and bought it for less than half that through eBay. There are lots of websites you can go to and buy used curriculum.
No one should let the cost of homeschooling stop them from trying it. You can homeschool for very little if you put forth the effort. Between the library, internet and used books there are lots of options.
Anyone can homeschool if they really want to...and if they are willing to work hard. I don't ever let anyone think it is easy because it isn't, but the rewards more than outweigh any hardship they might encounter.
What is it like homeschooling a teenager?
I have a different answer for each of my teenagers. But the one word I could use to describe the experience with each one is HARD. It is hard to stay ahead and I'm not sure I really do in many areas. I have seen each of my children excel past me in some things. On the one hand it is wonderful seeing who your young children are becoming. On the other hand you know in the back of your mind that your time with them is growing short, which is where Gary and I are right now, and that can be a little sad.
One of my greatest rewards in homeschooling is just being such a huge part in the lives of my children & seeing things through the eyes of my children and learning all over again and again and again. I loved teaching the kids to read. That has to be my favorite. I think that is one of the most rewarding parts of homeschooling.
Do you think your children will homeschool their children?
My two grown children have homeschooled their children at different times. They are not homeschooling now and don't think they will in the future but you never know. They are both really pleased with the school in their neighborhood. They are very involved with the school and every aspect of their children's lives. My youngest daughter, Liberty, seems the most likely to homeschool her own children in the future. I will just have to wait and see.
Do you have bad days?
Yes. Some days start out hard and you just want to stop before you start. Fortunately that is the exception. I think you handle bad days like you would handle any situation in life, turn it over to God. That is, of course, after you have gone to your room and cried, wondered if you could get away with running away from home, called your husband at work pleading with him to come home NOW, screamed, thrown your book down on the table... Then you stop and think it through, remembering that you are in charge, they are just children and immature and that it is up to you to take hold of the situation, deal with it and move on. I don't separate from being the mom & the teacher. I am their mother giving them an education.
My biggest challenge...I have a few. One was overcoming a mindset of fear. That took years. I was arrested the first year I homeschooled. In the early 80's there just weren't that many families homeschooling and it was common to hear of different families battling the courts for their right to be able to homeschool their children. I used to not go out during school hours because we were always challenged and questioned. I have had people walk up to my kids and basically give them the third degree because they were not in school. One woman went up to Liberty when she was about in second grade and told her how sorry she was that she couldn't go to school. Then the woman clucked her tongue at me, shaking her head as she walked away. Fortunately, Liberty wondered what was wrong with the woman. Another challenge for me was overcoming my own feelings of inferiority. I did not finish high school and have struggled with doubts about myself being able to offer my children all they would need for their future. I do better with that now but I look forward to going to school when Liberty graduates. My other huge challenge was with Jessie and Hiedi. When they were teens they did not appreciate the homeschooling experience as much as Liberty does.
Yes, I have experienced burn out, if by burn out you mean thinking you can't do it another year or struggling with putting your 'all' into as you once did. I think when you get to that point you get help. Talk to your husband, if he is supportive, visit with a friend, go back to your reasons for homeschooling and see if any of those reasons have changed, pray for renewed strength, shake things up a bit. Do things a bit different, if possible. Just don't keep it to yourself.
I think the single most important thing to remember about homeschooling is that your child is just a child, to remember they are not finished yet. Try and be patient and see their hearts through the eyes of God.