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Topic: From A Retired Homeschooler

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Subject: From A Retired Homeschooler
Date Posted: 5/16/2011 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2011
Posts: 30
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     Hello Fellow Homeschoolers!

      I successfully homeschooled my children and you can too. (BTW, I am NOT selling anything. I'm just telling my story). I homeschooled my children from the time my son would have been entering third grade (he's now 24), and my daughter would have been in kindergarten (she's now 22), and I just wanted those of you that are new, or those that are feeling battle weary to know that it can be done. You will not screw your children up. They will not grow up scarred for life or be socially deprived. Just hang in there and let it happen.

     I was a middleschool teacher when my son eagerly started second grade. The year was a nightmare. I won't go over all  of it, but the final result was that when I threatened to pull my son out of public school and homeschool him, his principle started a campaign with our school board to blackball me, and sent Social Services to our door. (I was very naive then). After several harassing visits during the summer, when I was told I could either send them to school when it started in the full or go to court, out of nowhere my parents bought an RV and declared they needed someone to drive it. I will forever be grateful for their unselfish act!

     We RVed for several enchanted years. I will always remember those years with great love, and my kids tell me the same. We traveled across the U.S. back and forth as we wished. I practiced Unschooling with them and it worked in a big way. I learned about my rights as a homeschooler, learned how important networking is, obtained permanent legal counsel, grew some backbone, and when we finally settled down, went on to represent other homeschoolers.

     My daughter is now a successful restaurant manager and my son is an artist. He had his first gallery opening last month. I'm very proud of both of them. They are both well-mannered and balanced. They are everything I was warned could not happen. They are forever learning, reading, reaching. Homeschooling is the best thing I ever did for them and for me, as a mother and educator. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

     Good luck everyone. You are doing the right thing for your children. Never doubt it!



Date Posted: 5/19/2011 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 112
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Thanks for sharing your story, how wonderful for your parents to be so supportive!! It sounds like you did a great job and had lots of fun! I am homeschooling my children, we are just finishing up Kindergarten with my oldest. We've got a long road ahead of us but I am so excited and looking forward to it. It's great to hear positive stories from fellow homeschoolers. I love my kids and am grateful to be able to raise them and watch them grow and learn every day!! :)

Date Posted: 5/19/2011 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2008
Posts: 627
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its good to know that it does work.. i worry a lot that i might screw up my kids by homeschooling them. .im not the smartest person in the world.. im not stupid dont get me wrong but im not a genius either.. my 3 yr old we are 95% sure is genius status so i have no idea how to work with her.. my kids fight a lot.. but they love to learn.. so im hoping that this is right.. i love that if we want to go on vacation in the middle of the school year we can.. but besides my husband and you all in pbs and my homeschooler yahoo group i joined i dont have much support.. my mom is completely against it.. and im hoping (as wrong as this is) that by Jan when my girls turn 4 and 5 that they will be so advanced my mom wont know what to do. lol.. but well see.. im starting school with them next month so they are excited as am i.. and of course with the girls learning i know my 13 month old will be also as will this baby when he is born in aug.. i am glad to know so many in here are for it and helpful for those of us who are new and scared and need support. :)

Date Posted: 5/20/2011 5:25 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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Thanks for sharing your story with us!

Date Posted: 5/22/2011 1:25 AM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2011
Posts: 30
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All of you make me want to do it all again! This is such an exciting time for you and your children. With younger children especially, it's mainly a matter of making the learning available to them, and sit back and let the fun happen. Although I had a loose curriculum at this stage, I mainly took them on lots of field trips, watched educational programs with them, and exposed them to people from all walks of life. For instance, when we were traveling, while we were close to the Gulf of Mexico, we took active part in an environmental program for sea life. Part of their math was to keep charts on sea turtle eggs that eventually hatched. Learning has always been exciting for me, and when we were ready to move to a new area, I tried to incorporated all subjects of  wherever we might be. We would go to significant buildings, study the history of prominent people that lived there, how they lived, etc. The kids tell me it never really felt like school to them. It was just fun.

You will all be surprised how much knowledge your children will pick up from a trip to the zoo, or any kind of outing. It is important that you share it with them. You can't always sit and watch National Geographic with them, but they will be more interested if you are there taking part, available if they have questions. Do keep records of their work, but just try not to let the "busy work" become the mainstay of their learning. That's what you're trying to get away from. Although at this age it's fun for them to get out their pencils and connect the correct answers.

I'm not saying it will all be a piece of cake. There will be days you just want to scream. But isn't it that way with life in general? And wasn't there more days of screaming when you did it "normal?" At least you have the option on bad days to take the day off and go hiking (as you collect your rocks that you can go back to study, or sketch birds they may see as they're walking, or perhaps compose a story or poem of what they saw that day). Get it? Be sneaky with your teaching. Children naturally love to learn. And as homeschoolers you are all so lucky that you was smart enough not to let them be screwed up by a teaching system that will try to pigeon hole them into assigned learning slats, instead of allowing them to learn at their own pace.

I would like to caution everyone. As mothers we want to be proud of our children. Not all children will learn at where the state ,or we, or our in-laws, mothers, or the neighbor next door think they should be. You want them to learn because they WANT to learn. If they're what we might perceive as "behind", it's natural for them. They might lag for awhile, and then when we're not looking, suddenly be two grades ahead. That's natural. Everyone has subjects they're better in than others. Or sometimes it takes them a little longer for it to click. It will happen. Keep remembering that.

As homeschoolers, we all build and learn from those that came before. Although I had to fight to homeschool my kids, my mother was taken to court when I was young when she tried to teach me at home and forced to put me back in school. (She still stole me away as often as she could on field trips. I sure stacked up a bunch of doctor and dentist notes). When we stopped RVing, we lived next to a homeschooler that had actually spent time in jail for refusing to send their children to school. They were forced to live under the school radar for several years until laws loosened. And now it's your turn. And it's a great time to homeschool. Some states now offer homeschoolers curriculums and lesson plans. And if they don't, they're easy to obtain. Homeschooling if now considered an accepted alternative.

Do familiarize yourself with the laws in your state. You can still be considered truant if you don't register your children at the school year. There are things we have to comply with. But for the most part, don't let ANYONE bully you and tell you it's not the right thing to do for your children. And don't worry that you aren't smart enough. I'm lucky to not add 1+1 together and get 20 (lol), and my daughter is a math whiz.

Thanks Nicole, Kaila, and Christine for taking the time to tell me my story helped you. I had others helping me, and I can do no less than to return the favor. But it sure is nice to hear someone say it. :)

Date Posted: 5/23/2011 8:14 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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Jeanne, what a wonderful way to raise a family. Your children are so fortunate that you enjoyed the process so much. Thanks for sharing.

It's amazing how much homescooling has changed in the short time (15 years) that I've been doing it. When we started, there were very few families homeschooling in our area and most of them stuck together and did it exactly the same way.

Now we find hundreds of families of all races and religions following their own paths.

I always wished we could do long-term travel with the kids, but my husband wasn't interested. So we have settled for short-term trips. I can't say enough about how traveling at all jumpstarts all kinds of learning.

It's always nice to hear from veteran homeschoolers. I hope you will tell us more stories!


Date Posted: 5/23/2011 9:58 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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Jeanne, it is amazing to me that you where a public middle school teacher and some how people in the school system thought you where not fit to homeschool your own children but perfectly qualified to teach a room full of other peoples children? What happened with your teaching license? Did you ever go back to main stream teaching? If not, could you have?


 My oldest is 11 years old, a late reader, but a joyful and polite child. She has never been in public school. With waldorf inspired homeschooling she is a year behind as far as age goes. She will be in 6th grade this fall and 12 in August. This seems odd to people. Outsiders seem to think homeschoolers must be little genuses or else the parents must be failing them. I have to try hard not to roll my eyes over what a stupid notion that is. My oldest has always been homeschooled and not sure if she will always be but for now it works. We are a military family and have moved 11 times in near 13 years now, it would have been hell on her education if we went that option.


 This coming year we have to officially add our 5 year old son to our homeschool, and we will do more official things with our 3.5 year old as she insists and picks up more than her brother does as it turns out. I think it will be a lot of fun, but I will not push them to meet some kind of arbitraty state standards. I secretly really really hope they are not late readers though, it is hard on my book loving heart. LOL


 Anyway, thank you for sharing your brave and bold story. While we live in a strict state at the moment I feel lucky I do not have the battles that you and many others have had!


  All the best,

   Kim C.

Date Posted: 5/25/2011 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 4/14/2010
Posts: 4
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Thank you for sharing your story.  I graduated my oldest last year after homeschooling him since 4th grade.  My other two will be in 9th and 10th grades this fall and they have always been homeschooled.  I was so worried they would be misfits and uneducated.  Now I'm glad they don't "fit" into the world and they are very smart.  There are holes in their education but they aren't in the areas that are the most important to our family.  My oldest, during his junior year, was holding down 2 part time jobs, taking a couple of classes at our local junior college as well as finishing his high school classes for our homeschool.  He survived, but I won't do this to the other 2.  We have all learned so much and I LOVE getting to be with my kids.  They are some of my favorite people to hang out with.  I cried a lot the first year because of lot of things changed for us all at once, but I have NEVER regretted keeping them at home.  My oldest recently got back from a missions trip.  He is now working part time and getting ready to return to the junior college.  He is a delightful young man and I am so glad I have had the chance to really get to know my kids. 

Date Posted: 11/21/2011 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/16/2009
Posts: 1
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Thanks for sharing your story! I needed that today. I am just starting out homeschooling my 2nd grade son and I'm very overwhelmed and wondering what I'm doing some days, but ultimately I know it's for the best.

Date Posted: 12/29/2011 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 227
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What an inspiring story! Thank you for the encouragement!

Date Posted: 1/30/2012 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,247
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I congratulate all of you.  After almost 33 years on the faculty of a major university I will retire soon. Over the years I have seen the system go from emphasizing quality to quantity. You get more resources when you can show more student hours. We now graduate Ph.D.s who haven't the faintest idea how to write a paper.

This does not mean that we do not graduate some truly outstanding individuals, but this is only because they set high standards for themselves. The others will go through doing the minimum required. I have seen numerous individuals receive graduate degrees who would have failed out of the liberal arts college where I received my first degree.

One exampe: I once team-taught a basic entomology class for non-majors, in which we required a two-page, double-spaced paper on the insect of their choice. I was absolutely astounded when one student wrote on his course/instructor evaluation, "Why did we have to do a paper? This is an entomology course, not a f---king english course." He didn't even know enough to write "English." What was this jerk doing at a university? Supposedly, we accept only the cream of the crop. What a statement this makes about our high schools.


Date Posted: 2/7/2012 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 4,505
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Ooooh, you REALLY make me want to travel!  RVing would be really cool.  I just wish it was something we could afford right now. 

Date Posted: 4/23/2012 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 7,143
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I wish we could travel to! I would love to just leave everything behind. I sometimes wonder if I'm making the right choice. It's hard many days, but we're still trying to find our way. I've tried doing it on my own and this year we're trying the online public school and now that I've tried both I need to decide which is best for us.

Last Edited on: 4/23/12 4:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: bittersweet
Date Posted: 5/22/2012 6:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
Posts: 91
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I'm almost finished too....it is soooo bittersweet!!!