Today’s question comes from Michelle who writes a blog at “A Vision Splendid“. I believe that Michelle began to blog around a year earlier than I did. Anyway, here is the email, with her permission.
“Hi Gavin and Kim,
Just wondering how the homeschooling is going ? We are seriously considering this option for our boys ( now almost 11 and 14). It seems like such a natural progression in the lifestyle path we have taken.
I have spent today talking to other homeschooling families, one in particular who now has two sons in uni and others still at home learning in a rich environment. These families started from the ‘beginning’ though so could not talk to me about the transition from school to home.
I was therefore hoping ( if you had the time) you could let me know of your thoughts on the transition and whether you have met any other homeschooling families around your area.
thanks in advance
Now I did reply to Michelle, however if anyone else has had home schooling experience, I would love to hear how your transition went, for Kim and my benefit. It would also help Michelle make up her mind as well. So here is my answer.
The home schooling is going very well. We took Ben back a grade so he has consolidated for this month and will be starting year 7 work in a few weeks. The curriculum that we are using is from http://www.homeschooling.com.au/ which is set about two years ahead of mainstream ed so we started him off on what they call year 4. Our eldest daughter is a year 7 & 8 high school teacher so she knows where they are up to in mainstream education and we believe that year 4 in this curriculum is equivalent to year 6/7. We took the time to met Valerie at the homeschool place a few times now when we tested Ben and picked up the material. She wrote most of the books and we think they are quite good and easy to follow most of the time, and is quite the advocate for home schooling. She also taught all of her children at home. With the books, at least the answers are in the back (which we ripped out and hid) for those of use who went to school a very long time ago.
Kim teaches Ben from 9am to 1.30pm on the 3R’s, spelling, social studies (history, geography), and languages. After lunch he does art/home subjects, like drawing, painting, modelling, cooking and baking. I get to teach him gardening, animal husbandry, and DIY on weekends, and every second Wednesday, I take him on an excursion that relates to one of his subjects for that week
As for Ben adjusting, he was a bit of a loner at primary school with only a few friends so he has adjusted very well. He is racing ahead of where he should be with this one on one attention and we can add in subjects as we see fit and according to our values. He loves it, as does Kim, because even with her mild MS, when she has a bad day with fatigue, she can set him some work and explain anything he doesn’t understand. He also does school work when he is sick! Also I get to spend some great time with him during the excursions, and now I feel like I am part of his growing up and a larger contributor to his education instead of being just a bystander and an observer of the process.
As for socialisation, he sees his friends more now after school than he did before, and has quality time with them. He also actively participates in workshops and events we hold for our sustainable living group, like the worm farm workshop I just wrote about. We haven’t met any other home school families in our area, however, one of our friends also enquired about the process regarding registration here in Victoria. Talk about influencing others in a short amount of time!
Hope this helps, and I really could not recommend it highly enough, if you are disgruntled with mainstream education, and have the time, or want to enhance your boys education with lots of sustainable living topic that are unheard of in our schools today.
Gav & Kim