My Real Life

August 19, 2013

Education Series: Homeschool

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

So, obviously, I’m interested in education.

I know a lot about the topic, but the truth is, most of what I know is about public education.

I’ve always been curious, however, about other education choices, and so I decided that I’d ask a few people about these choices.

Because I think knowledge is always better when shared, I figured I’d share their responses with you!

I decided the three main types of education I’d like to know about were Homeschool, Charter School, and Private School.

Then, I chose to begin with the type I know the least about…Homeschool.

I have quite a few friends and acquaintances who homeschool, but I decided I would go with someone who homeschools in a different state than I do.

So, I went to the wife of an old friend.  Her name is Kelley and she homeschools her three children in Georgia.

Her answers reflect her experience with homeschooling in Georgia, and, as we all realize, every experience varies, so this is simply her opinion and her experience.

How were you educated, as a child?

I attended public school and was fairly miserable most of the time. My husband attended private school.

What shaped your decision to homeschool your children?

There was no 1 single event or factor that led to our decision to homeschool. First and foremost, we are blessed with the opportunity and the choice. Not all countries allow families to make decisions regarding their childrens’ educations (most recently see the decision regarding the Romeike family from Germany). And for that matter, not all states make it easy. We are fortunate to live in a state that, for all intents and purposes, is fairly homeschool friendly. Also, the county we live in does not have the greatest education system. The quality of education varies greatly from school to school and administrator to administrator. The schools are enormous and over crowded. There are (if I am counting correctly) 12-15 high schools in our county, and average enrollment is anywhere from 3000-4000 students.

We also believe that no matter what the school, far too much importance is placed on the results of standardized tests. Our school year started last Wednesday. On Thursday, I had a 3rd grade piano student express anxiety over the standardized test that will take place in the spring. In addition, we do have some health issues in our family that homeschooling has greatly helped. We have 1 child who is way above average intelligence and we were able to challenge her appropriately, where she would have been much more constrained in a traditional school setting. On the flip side, we also have a child with a processing disorder. I have been able to tailor her work, and how she gets it done, to fit her needs without worrying about how 30 other kids in her class were going to be impacted.

Last, our daily schedule has always been fairly unorthodox. It is nice to know that if my kids have the necessity to be up until 11:00, they’re not going to have to catch the bus at 6:15 in the morning-which is when the high school bus comes on our street. We won’t even talk about how I feel about the whole bus issue.

Was it your own experience going through school that made you want to homeschool?

I don’t really think my experience in our school system made me want to homeschool necessarily, but it did make me have serious reservations about putting our kids in “the system”

Would you have chosen homeschooling, even if you lived somewhere else?

I can’t say I would have had the courage to start homeschooling if we lived in a different state where homeschooling was more of a challenge. However, having successfully homeschooled for 8 years, I can say that if we moved elsewhere, I would fight tooth and nail to continue.

What is your favorite thing about homeschooling?

My favorite thing about homeschooling, hands down, is the time that I get to spend with my kids. That is more valuable than any “thing” a full time job could have provided our family with. A very close second is being on our own timetable/schedule.

Do you follow a specific homeschool curriculum?

We do not use any 1 particular curriculum program… I have used many different things. One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is that you can meet the needs of each student. So, just because I use one math curriculum for one child, I may not use it for the others. In fact, each year, I reassess the needs of my kids to pick what fits them for what they are studying, and where they are developmentally.

Do you belong to any homeschool groups?

We are members of a couple different groups. First and foremost, Homeschooled Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Second, Georgia Home Educators Association (GHEA), and finally, I belong to a homeschool mom’s support group. Occasionally we have get together for the kids, but it is mainly mom’s support. We meet once a month. Additionally, our kids have been heavily involved in scouts, and were/are part of a predominately homeschooled group. They have taken homeschool sports and music classes, and this year my son is attending a hybrid school one day per week.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced with regard to homeschooling?

The biggest difficulty we have encountered was getting our oldest child into the military. The civilian contractor in our area who is in charge of education coding has a known bias against homeschoolers. She was asking for ridiculous amounts of documents that public/private schools did not have to provide. We ultimately came to the knowledge that she was violating federal law by asking for these documents. Once I brought it to the attention of HSLDA, the investigator Generals for both Naval Recruiting and Military Entrance Processing, as well as the commander of Military Entrance Processing, out daughter was moved along with much haste.

Are there any myths surrounding homeschooling that you would like to address?

I guessed the thing I would like to dispel is that there is 1 reason for homeschooling, and that all homeschoolers are the same. There are as many reasons for homeschooling as there are families who homeschool. Homeschoolers aren’t any weirder than public/private school kids. They are simply more comfortable with what they believe in and what their interests are. Sometimes they are more “obvious” because they tend to be in public when most kids are “in school” and are therefore more obvious. The question I dislike most is this: how do you socialize your kids? My answer is: properly After all, when kids are “in school”, isn’t talking during class discouraged? So, why on earth would the “s-word” be a reason to send your kids to school. Not to mention that a vast number of kids in “regular school” are not exactly displaying the types of behaviors we want our children to emulate. I have had people ask me “aren’t you afraid you’re giving your children an unrealistic view of the world?” My response is this: we are showing our children that if you don’t like the “status quo”, you have options. Explore them. Educate yourself and find the best option for YOU.

Kelley Hardy is the Preschool Gymnastics Director, Music Instructor, Assistant Martial Arts Instructor at Dacula Family Sports, Dacula GA.

Kelley has a Bachelor of Music Therapy from the University of Georgia, eight years organizing and leading vacation bible school music, ten years teaching preschool choir, and six years combined experience as a preschool and elementary music teacher. During college, Kelley belonged to the Athens Symphony, University of Georgia Symphonic Band, the University of Georgia Redcoat Band, and the Wind Ensemble.

After earning her degree, Kelley went on to intern as a music therapist with the Clayton County Board of Education. 

Kelley loves children, and has wanted to work with them as long as she can remember. She is a mother of three and has had experience as a nanny. She believes physical activity and music should be fun for children so that while they enjoy it now, they will learn to love it for a lifetime.

In addition to Kelley’s experience with children and music, she earned her 4th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do in June 2012. She got involved with Tae Kwon Do in 2001 when her oldest daughter wanted her to coach, and has stayed involved and loving it ever since. She is Certified AAU Tae Kwon Do Referee. She is also a USA Gymnastics Certified Instructor.

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