Charlie is learning to read! I'm so proud of my little girl, and so happy that she is discovering the world of reading. And I must admit, I guess I'm a little proud of myself, too, for learning how to teach her. :) Paul and I'd decided a long time ago that we want to homeschool, but I have to tell you, as resolved as I am, the thought seemed more than a little daunting. We have this book that I've been very happy with:
Every day we do our lesson together when the little kids are sleeping. It takes about 15 minutes or so, and it's a very special time for us. Charlie is getting quicker and bolder every day. I'm learning how she learns, and I know that is going to be immensely helpful once we start the real deal.
We're not going to start "officially" homeschooling for a little while. Charlie turns 5 in September, and as far as we're concerned, there's no need to rush her. We'll start kindergarten some time next year.
The further along we get in our parenting journey, the more I know that homeschooling is the best choice for our family. I know that we all have different preferences and needs, and I'm not at all going to question anyone else's choices. I just know that I can teach my kids better than anyone else can. I like the flexibility that homeschooling offers--both with our schedule as a family and also with the pace that our kids will learn. Homeschooling also offers the opportunity for a parent to immediately see where a child is excelling and should be encouraged and also where that child is having trouble and needs a little reinforcement.
For me, though, one of the biggest reasons for homeschooling is the socialization. Ironically, for some reason, this also seems to be many people's reasons for NOT homeschooling. I don't mean to sound morally superior, but sometimes I see the way kids of all ages are acting, and I just can't believe it. So many kids are rude to adults and their peers, materialistic, hyper, uninterested in learning, aggressive, dishonest, and self-destructive. I personally don't want my kids to be "socialized" in this manner. It's really the blind leading the blind. Kids NEED to be taught by adults how to interact in the proper way. Having them at conventional schools puts kids in a room full of 30 other kids their same age (that are also learning how to behave) and one adult (unless, of course, we're talking about a montessori or other learning establishment). I know that it's not all kids that are misbehaving, and I also know that putting kids in conventional schools is not necessarily going to ensure that they have behavioral problems or that homeschooling is going to ensure that they don't. But I DO know that if my kids are home with me, I will be the primary source of information that they receive and the eyes and ears of how they are behaving.
I should also mention, regarding the socializing, that there are really good homeschooling communities and co-ops in most parts of the country. Homeschooled kids get lots of opportunities to socialize together, do field trips, and learn in many different environments. I know that I will be doing my best to capitalize on these opportunities once we get started!
Talking to opponents of homeschooling, one might hear something like, "I just don't want to shelter my children from the world." I don't understand this philosophy. Why is "sheltering" our children a negative thing? We SHOULD be sheltering them. There are so many negative and even (dare I say) evil things that can influence these little people at such a vulnerable stage in life.
Again, I'm not judging anyone else's choices. I know many children that are in good homes and are being taught wonderful things at home and at conventional schools. These kids have received great foundations at home and have parents that they know they can openly communicate with. Their parents have made the best choices for their own families.
These are just my thoughts regarding my own family. We all have to do what is best for the little ones that we've been entrusted to raise and turn into responsible big people. We get only one chance to do it.