Homeschool

Homeschool Thursdays!

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I thought long and hard about how I wanted to start my Home school Thursdays. Before I go into how I write my lesson plans and what curriculum we use I decided I should tell you why we chose to home school.

We tried the public school route with our oldest. Kindergarten went well, Drama Queen did well that year, we all adored her teacher. The only complaint we had was “Creative Spelling”.

Oh, creative spelling. For those of us who pride ourselves on spelling that is like speaking blasphemy. But in public school the teacher doesn’t set the curriculum and I could supplement spelling at home.

But all in all, given how well we loved her teacher and how much she adored her teacher I could deal with the spelling.

Oh but then came 1st grade, I don’t like to talk bad about people but her 1st grade teacher was the most judgmental, discriminating teacher I’ve ever met. Remember reading books and watching TV shows as a kid about the evil teacher that everyone despised? This was her first grade teacher.

At the end of kindergarten she was a grade ahead, her kinder teacher and the school all told us that she was performing on a 2nd grade level, including in math. (Trust me that’s the one subject she did NOT inherit from me.)

But halfway through 1st grade her teacher was threatening to hold her back. She was bored, repeating a lot of the work she had already done. She was falling behind and in Parent-Teacher Conferences the teacher would argue with us about how it was in no way the curriculum or the school or (god forbid) her fault. It didn’t matter if she was bored and should have been placed in a little more advanced class or even passed on to the 2nd grade. I needed to discipline my child more.

Better even still was the fact that all the parents talked about how she bashed parents who allow their children to play any sort of video games, watch any TV or movies, she openly and very strongly forced her religious views in class. All of these things she said to the kids and even to the parents.

What? Parenting tips from a teacher whom was despised by all parents and children? Preaching from a teacher? She gossiped with parents about other parents and children. Many parents complained that she talked badly about interracial families, families with step parents and step children, families who did not “attend” church.

So at the end of the first six weeks we started discussing our options. Private school is too expensive and although I believe in discipline and that all children should be respectful, kind and obey authority I also believe in self-expression and thinking for yourself. Private school tends to restrict this, with uniforms and a very one sided way of thinking. We talked about just switching public schools, but I do not like public schools. The violence, the curriculum, and the system all together I find a little disappointing. We talked about home school, the pros and the cons. We took all of the issues to the principle but nothing was ever done.

Just before Christmas of her 1st grade year she came home hurt (and I’m not just talking bruised knees) on two separate occasions.

On both occasions my daughter explained to me exactly what happened and where. Both times she was under the watch of her teacher.

On both occasions the teacher told her she would be fine until she got home.

On both I received phone calls from the school accusing us of sending her to school hurt.

After a lot of arguing with the teacher, with the principle and finally the school board we got an apology from everyone except the teacher. Which was really the person who should have apologized. To this day she is still the 1st grade teacher, despite all of the parents who have complained.

So before school started in January of that year we gave the school board our official notice that we were pulling her out to home school our children. I spent the rest of the year catching her up and “unschooling” her from the lack of curriculum that her teacher was using. She was still doing kindergarten math!

So you see, while I do not judge and I admire parents for homeschooling their children based on religious beliefs (whatever those beliefs may be) or because they believe it is not the schools responsibility to raise their children (I think this is a great reason also).

Though our choices did slightly involve those reasons we simply made the choice to do what was best for our children.

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Homeschooling and Mythology

So as I sit making lesson plans for the coming year I have decided to add a subject this year. Of course we do the normal subjects that everyone does. But I’ve struggled a lot with  How I want to do history, religion and mythology as a subject because I want my children to be well round and be able to make well informed decisions about what they choose to believe. As a child I researched mythology on my own time, but I loved to read and loved to learn about mythology. So here is what I have decided to do and why:

I am going to make each one it’s own subject.

History

Mythology

Religion

Why not just make them all one you ask? I do agree that they are all linked together, hand in hand. Human’s history is steeped in religion of different kinds which has in turn become mythology for some cultures. But this turn 1 subject into a huge burden that no one, including myself, will want to read. By breaking it down I’ve made it a little simpler for myself to teach and grade.

History – This is fact based and I feel learning this as a child it should not be clouded with mythology and religion which are a little more personal and not quite so fact based. The Holocaust, The Burning Times, Native American History these are things that should not be forgotten but are slowly being taken out of our history books. This should be based on facts not personal preference.If we do not learn from history it will only repeat itself.

Religion – This is faith based and personal choice. Making this it’s own subject means that I can do assignments on different religions. Focusing JUST on current religions around the world. Always questioning and learning about different religions helped me be more tolerant of people who believed different than me and helped me make informed decisions about the way I believe.

Mythology – I truly believe that to understand some of our history and some religions you need to know the stories of what we now call mythology. Zues and the Olympians were once a part of religion but are now mythology. But they are also an important part of understanding our history and where some religions come from. I also believe that learning about mythology helps expand our imagination into worlds unknown and unseen. To me this is no different than reading science fiction books. I used to get lost for hours in Egypt, Valhalla and Mt. Olympus, I want my children to experience that also.

This is just my opinion and may not be for everyone. But it works for us so I thought I would share!

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