We’re on our third year homeschooling our 8 year old son, Kristo. We’re also informally homeschooling our 17 month old ninja, Audrey. We’ve often been asked where Kristo goes to school or what grade he’s in. The moment we tell whoever is asking that we homeschool Kristo, we usually get a few questions and I’ve compiled them for you… you know, just in case you’ve always wanted to ask but you were too shy OR maybe you’re considering homeschooling your kids too!
1. Are you enrolled anywhere?
Yes, we are. For the first two years we were with TMA Homeschool. This year we’re moving to our home church’s homeschool Every Nation Leadership Institute (ENLI Homeschool).
2. Who teaches him?
I am Kristo’s main teacher. I teach him all of his subjects the best way I possibly can.There are also times when my math whiz husband steps in to help explain things from the male-brain’s perspective.
3. Do you need credentials? What are your credentials? What makes you qualified to teach him? Do you get training?
I’m a college graduate with a degree in Communication Arts teaching grade school level lessons. If I think I’m a little rusty on certain topics, I research and study! In this day and age, you can google and learn anything and everything!
More importantly, I’m his mother. I know when Kristo doesn’t understand a lesson. I know when he’s sleepy. I know when he’s hungry and he needs a break. I know when his heart is heavy and he just can’t focus. If any of these situations happen, we can take a break and rest a bit or talk about why he’s confused. At the end of the day, my goal is for Kristo to love learning, understand his lessons and apply whatever he learned. Isn’t that enough credential to teach someone you love dearly?
As for training, when we enrolled at TMA, we went through two days of homeschool 101 training and were given an academic consultant who guided us all the way. If we had any questions, we could text or call her. Then I started meeting other homeschool moms who’d give even more ideas, tips and suggestions. The homeschool community is huge and it’s global, so I learn a lot from moms around the world too!
4. What time is class?
Ideally, we start at 9 and end the morning session by noon. Then we continue whatever lessons we’re not done with after lunch. There are days when he everything goes absolutely well and we’re done with everything by noon. There are also days when we’re done by 5pm. It really depends on how each day/lesson goes.
5. How do you teach Kristo while taking care of Audrey?
After I gave birth, I’d teach Kristo every time Audrey was taking a nap so our study time was spread throughout the day. When she got a bit bigger, I’d either carry her or have her in her seat while I teach Kristo. Now, she’s just so used to our study time. She usually plays with her toys or grabs a book or two, sometimes she points at a crayon and would want to scribble while I teach her brother.
6. Is it expensive?
Let’s put it this way, the tuition fee is far cheaper than most schools out there, 25 thousand and under. When it comes to books, you have several to choose from per subject. You have the liberty to choose which books would work for your child, and realistically, your budget too. We like Singapore Math so even if it’s pricey (over a thousand for the text and work books), we invest in it.
7. What about their socialization?
We were waiting outside our pediatrician’s clinic one time when a lady asked Kristo where he studied. He said he’s homeschooled. The lady turned to me and asked, “So he doesn’t socialize?” I was so tempted to say “he just did when he answered your questions,” but that would have been rude, right?
Homeschooled kids socialize vertically, which means they interact with different ages – kids of different ages and adults too. It’s great training for when they start working, after all, in the workplace you work with people from different age groups too, right?
In Kristo’s case, we live in a community where there are a lot of kids his age and kids who are slightly younger and older than him. They usually meet up at the playground at 4pm til about 7pm. They run, they hang out, the wrestle, they enjoy being kids! Kristo also has a number of friends who are homeschooled and they meet up every now and then.
8. What about the discipline they’re supposed to learn in traditional school?
I totally get that you learn discipline in school, but that doesn’t mean homeschooled kids can’t learn that at home too, right? When you go to a traditional school, you need to be in school on time because otherwise, it’ll go on your records. At home,you have the luxury to start class whatever time you want, so it requires more discipline to “show up for class (on the couch)” at the time you’re supposed to.
As parents, we want to raise disciplined children, so we’re gonna do everything we possibly can to train them to choose what is right.
9. What are the advantages of homeschooling?
Oh there are loads! Just to name a few…..
- I know when Kristo is really into the lesson and I know when he’s just looking at me, nodding, but his mind is somewhere else. I know him well enough to call his attention and ask as many questions I can to find out what he understood and what he totally missed. Then I have the liberty to adjust how I teach him the lesson – all over again.
- Learning becomes a way of life and not just something he does “in school.” We learn on the couch, or in bed or on the floor. We can discuss a math problem while we’re on the swing in the playground. We can go online and watch videos related to the lesson even when we’re done studying. When Kristo has a question about something when we’re out, he asks to learn more about what caught his attention. One time at a toy store, my brother had him choose any toy he wanted. He chose a constellation kit because he knew we were gonna study constellations soon.
- Kristo gets to enjoy being a kid. He learns everything he needs to learn at his level, but he isn’t stressed out. He doesn’t need to wake up very early in the morning. He doesn’t need to sit through rush hour traffic every single day. He gets more play time if he finishes early and does his best on his worksheets/activities.
- Our relationship is stronger. We talk all day, every day. We learn together. We argue and cry, but there’s always that tender moment of asking each other for forgiveness and praying for each other. He knows he can ask and tell me and his papa anything and everything, and we’ll be there to guide him and help him understand whatever he needs to know.
- We are his main influences. Family time is big for us. Having the kids at home with us all day, we’re able to play as a family, we learn as a family, we eat as a family, we pray as a family and we watch tv as a family. He shows us the videos he watches and we’re able to discuss if the content is good or not so good. He spends about 3-4 hours a day with his friends. I think that’s more than enough at this age, because as it is, they manage to influence the way he thinks and talks. Since we know who all of his friends are, we are able to identify who is good to be around, and who isn’t, then we discuss this with him and encourage him to choose good friends. I read that up until the age of 12, parents have all the right to guide kids when it comes to choosing friends. As adults we’ve chosen the wrong friends at one time or another, what more kids, right?
10. When is he gonna go to real school?
This has to be one of my favorites! I’m hoping they weren’t implying that homeschool was fake school! I’m gonna pretend that what they meant was traditional school.
Kristo wants to be a scientist, so we’re aiming for the traditional science high schools. That’s the only thing we’ve decided on so far. He’s in third grade now. Like we’ve done the past two years, we’ll see how this year goes. Nothing is set in stone. If we feel he’ll learn better in a traditional school next year, then we’ll go for it. If we feel he’ll learn best homeschooling til 6th grade, then that’s what we’re gonna do. Whatever and wherever he’ll grow and learn most – that’s where he’ll be.