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Our Reasons for Home Education:

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Although he was achieving good results, he wasn't reaching his full potential because his love for learning had been destroyed & hence his grades were steadily declining.

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Completely failed by the system, he hated school, was always tired & homework time was a major frustration for both of us. He was severely frustrated & quickly heading to become yet another ADHD statistic.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Freedoms & Benefits of Home Educating

WoW, I can hardly believe we’re heading for the end of September and  yet another week of time-out from school. whilst Jesse is away on holiday with an old school friend he’s had since grade 1. We’ll be using this time off to complete some long needed maintenance to the house.

For us home education was meant to be an interim solution to help Misha recover from school, fix his foundation and help him catch up to his peers. However after a few months after also bringing Jesse home in January last year, daddy decided that school would no longer be an option for us.

I just love having my boys home and for us the joys of home education have proven to outweigh the sacrifices and commitments having to be made to make it possible by far. I must honestly admit, that I have questioned our decision to bring the boys home a couple of times, but when I think about the benefits of having them home I’m happy I’ve managed to stick with it.

Here are some of the benefits we’ve seen since we brought the boys home last year.

  • 2012_0326_083609For starters I don’t miss having to be up & out on the road early in the morning for dropping them off at school. The boys get to sleep in and work when it suits them best. At first we were up by 7am so as to start at 8am, but then the winter came & we extended sleep till 8am. Now of course they get up around 9am & do school whenever it suits them, just as long as by the end of the day their day’s tasks are complete.
  • 2012_0116_083313Our family relationships have improved tremendously. After 2 years at home I still have a 15 year old spending almost 2 hours a day on my lap for SOM (sit-on-mommy time) even though he has outgrown me and my lap by far. Boy do I miss those when he’s away with his friends. Overall our family is much more lively & we are all much more relaxed.
  • 2012_0131_131947The boys now actually get along much better and except for occasional disagreements we no longer have the constant fighting & whining in our home. It turns out that the reason they were constantly fighting was merely stress causing them to be irritable most of the time.
  • Of course my body doesn’t quite agree with the rough & tumble sessions, but they love those wrestling sessions and mommy’s happy to oblige, although sometimes it borders on dangerous...
  • I’m happy that we could alleviate the stress for Misha, who has picked so much damage at school. Home educating has allowed us the opportunity to unschool and allow him to recover. We were able to focus on his strengths and restore his confidence.

I was amazed at our eTV tour that Misha wanted a shot at reading the news and although the article was way beyond his reading level, he really did a good job of this one.

    After only few visits to the technology co-op, Misha started showing enough confidence to present his projects.

  • I love the flexibility that we have with regards to curriculum. The boys are able to learn at their own pace. We can take their learning styles, interests & talents into account when choosing curricula in order to make sure they don’t get bored or frustrated with their material.
  • Jesse has just started Grade 9 with Alpha Omega Academy using their Switched on Schoolhouse Curriculum. What we love most about it is that it caters for his learning style and allows him the freedom to learn at his most productive study times & he can work wherever he’s comfortable. For the first time since we took up home education, he actually works without having to be told to do his work and if he does plan to do something in the evening, he works ahead.
  • 2012_0903_130442We’ve also taken up geography & science lessons with Barry Bryant from Education Support. These hands-on group lessons have been great for them. I’ve actually been sitting in some of the classes myself and the more I do that, the more I realize how school had failed me. I don’t remember any of the science he’s been teaching the boys… Sad smile 
  • 2011_1111_114941Both boys have loved the Junior Engineering lessons they’ve been doing. Many of these lessons have been beneficial for their technology and science activities.
  • This year alone, we have already done 16 field trips with another 3 to go. We’ve done loads of fun stuff and were able to de-school in order to work on restoring the boys’ love for learning.
  • Last year we purchased the “Legacy Learn & Master Guitar” homeschool curriculum for them, but they didn’t enjoy it much. We were able to put it away & tried it again this year. This time we also added some friends to join in and boy are they making huge progress teaching each other now.

The boys doing their guitar lesson.

  • This year we discovered that Misha is quite an artist and also that he has a gifting for music. I’ve always noticed when he touched an instrument, it never sounded like noise, but now we know he’s a natural and have started him on drum lessons. Our next aim is to get him his own drums and invest in the “Learn & Master Drums” homeschool curriculum.

Here he’s practicing at Edward’s. Not too bad for a kid that’s only been able to play once a week for the past few months.

  • The boys especially love the monthly ice skating sessions where they get to socialize with their friends.

Except for twice, the boys haven't missed a session in 2 years.

  • 2012_0901_123035Oh and let us not forget the homeschooling horse camps at Mooikrans Equus. We sent them on their first camp last year, they just did another one last month and we’re already planning their next one for March 2013.
  • I love the flexibility of our schedule that allows us to make use of out of season rates to go away as a family. We started off with a 5 weeks on 1 week off schedule, but also didn’t stick to that a 100% but most of the time we take a break when we need it. We will be taking 2 weeks at the end of October to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I’m happy not to be bound to the  national school holidays, although we still take them into account because both boys still have friends in private school. This tends to cause a little havoc for us sometimes.
  • Cover PhotoI’m grateful to have “met” a number of very supportive home educating moms via Facebook & email forums without whom, I may have given up by now. Here I must say a very special thank you to Linnie, Taryn, Wendy,Donette. & the rest of the Hello Mornings SA Group whose support and encouraging words have picked me up many a time when I was down and out.

I’m sure if I were to think about it a little longer, I will find many more freedoms and benefits that home educating has allowed us. I may just use this list as a basis and continue to add to it as we continue home educating.

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This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers (SACH Bloggers) where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more.  You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page. We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!

SA Home Schooling Blog Carnival September 2012 ~ The Freedoms of Homeschooling