San Antonio Home Educator Profile: Kim

Want to know what real home educators look like in the San Antonio Area?  The following is a brief overview of one San Antonio homeschoolers. Her real name is not used to protect her privacy.

How long have you been homeschooling?
Five years.

How many children do you have?
Two

Do you homeschool them all?
I homeschooled my older child, who’s now 16, for 3 years (5th, 6th and 7th grades.)  She attends public school now. I’ve been homeschooling the younger one, who’s 7 now, for 2 years.

What are their ages?
16 and 7

Why did you decide to homeschool?
For the older child, it was a combination of her needing more challenge than the private school she’d been attending could provide, and our wanting  flexibility so we could travel for several months. With my younger child, it was again, a reaction to a school that didn’t fit his needs.

Did you try public/private school?
The older child attended private school before homeschooling and public school after. The younger one attended a private preschool and then a public kindergarten.

What has been the hardest thing about homeschooling?
Pacing.  With my younger child, who has special needs and is very asynchronous, and whose learning style and personality are very different from my own, I struggle constantly with the questions of how fast, how much, when to push, when to support, and when to back off and allow learning to take place in its own way.

What has been the best thing about homeschooling?
See above.  With homeschooling, my child’s differences are not a liability, as I think they would be in the context of  traditional school.  He can be in several “grade levels” in several different subjects, get intense remediation in some areas and more challenging enrichment in others — without feeling singled out or pressured.  Similarly, he can set the pace for his own learning, and spend as much — or as little — time on special projects or areas of interest as he chooses. (There’s also a downside to this aspect of the “pacing” issue; for instance, he’s spent so much time studying Ancient Rome that if I never hear another word about gladiators, it will be too soon,)

Do you use a set curriculum?
For language arts and math, I do use set curriculums.

How did you decide on the curriculum?
I read reviews by other homeschoolers (http://www.homeschoolreviews.com) and selected programs that emphasized hands-on and conceptual learning in math because that is my child’s preferred way of learning. For language arts, I selected a program that was highly recommended by other homeschooling parents of learning disabled kids and I supplement that with a program he chose himself. For all other subjects, we more or less follow his lead with a lot of projects and computer learning.  We pretty much design our own unit studies.

What do you wish you had known when you first started homeschooling?
I wish I’d known how many opportunities there are for my son, who as an extrovert is outnumbered in our family,  to spend time with other kids his age without school.

Are you a part of a homeschool support group or coop? Has it been useful for you?
I was in a coop, briefly. I didn’t find it useful at all.

What would your advice be to someone considering homeschooling?
First, I’d tell them to think about, not only what they DON’T want, but what they do want. Homeschooling is sometimes a reaction to a bad school fit. Getting your child out of a toxic situation is a very good reason WHY to homeschool; it’s not such a good answer to HOW you’re going to homeschool. Once they’ve identified not only what negatives they want to lose by pulling their child out of school, but also what positives they want to gain by homeschooling, (and I’d encourage them in the STRONGEST POSSIBLE terms to solicit the kids’ feedback and input during this process). I’d tell them to sign up for curriculum mailing lists, check out a few books on the subject, and read websites and attend a few support group meetings, or talk with other homeschoolers about how they might accomplish that. And then finally, I’d tell them to RELAX.  Listen to your child, listen to your instincts, try what feels right, stay with it if it works, change it if it doesn’t.

What has been your experience in preparing/sending a homeschooler to college?
My older child, although she is in public school now, will have an unconventional transcript, with community college classes, public school classes, a year of classes in a foreign country, some self-designed homeschool courses, and NO PUBLIC SCHOOL DIPLOMA. We’re consulting with a private school that works with homeschooling families to evaluate homeschooled students portfolios, prepare transcripts, track graduation  requirements, and ultimately issue a diploma. She’s been following a college prep curriculum all along.

Explain your family circumstances:
I’m a stay at home mother. My husband works full time (plus). We have two kids, two dogs, and a cat.

Give a typical week of homeschooling for your family.
One day a week, we have art class (for homeschooled kids), sports practice (mostly public school kids), occupational/physical therapy, and music lessons. I’ve really tried to keep all of our out-of-house activities limited to this one day, except for some Saturdays when he has sports games or recitals. The other four days of the week, he works on language arts and math in the morning, plays on the computer or draws or practices music for about an hour after lunch (during which he and I usually read, and I check email while he writes in his journal), then works on a project of some sort (geography, history or science experiments, or art) for a couple of hours.

What books or resources do you recommend?
When I’m insecure about what he’s “supposed to be” learning (ie, what all the other kids his age are learning in school), I reassure myself with the book “Home Learning Year by Year” by Rebecca Rupp.

 

Leave a Comment