Friday, March 7, 2008

Why do I want to Homeschool?

My oldest son is 9 years old. I believe he is very bright and very capable of many things. He loves Pokemon, Star Wars, Bionicle, and Transformers right now.

The public school he attends participates in AR (Accelerated Reading). The title is deceiving. It is not for Accelerated Readers. It is mandatory for all students to read books that are approved and take a test to receive AR points for each book. Each student must have so many points per marking period. March is Reading Month, this month he is required to have 16 AR points. An idea for how points are assigned is as follows:

Magic Treehouse Series Books 1 point,
Magic Treehouse Merlin Missions Books 2 points.
Many others .5 points.

He has already read almost all of these books. You can only read a book once for points, that is for your whole education, not just year. This is actually a good idea. My argument is that only certain books are approved. The things that he is interested in are not approved. If I allow him to read what he is interested in, he'll have his nose in a book all day. If I tell him to read what is required by school, there is a huge fight.

I don't want a fight.

I will occasionally joke that I am the Homework Nazi. That is because I was titled that by many of our family members. I believe that education is very important and I will not do his work for him. I will help him to know how to do his work. I don't really want to be a Homework Nazi. I want my children to understand the process in which to find an answer to a question.

I don't want a fight.

He is required to do a Science Fair Project using the Scientific Method, due by April 4th. That is not really a bad thing, because then he can learn the process of the Scientific Method. He also has a large Planetary Report that is due March 20th. That really is an OK thing as well. My issue is how the two are in the same time frame. I personally think that this is too much for my 9 year old child to do at the same time. Let's break this down, do a little bit each day. He works better with me next to him, helping him in each step. After getting home at 4:30, dinner at 6:00, dishes afterwards, bed at 9:00, and regular homework, a little bit is very time consuming for a 9 year old. We fight.

I don't want a fight.

In math he is working on long division, he hasn't mastered his multiplication tables. So it is difficult to come up with the answers when you don't know the facts. When you know how to do something, but cannot because you do not have the right supplies, it is very frustrating. We fight.

I don't want to fight.

So why would I want to keep my child home to school him? We would be doing all the other things that they do in school, along with reading (but no AR, a book of his choice in his age group and reading level), handwriting, science, mathematics, history, hands on, crafts, computers, library and field-trips.

We would have from 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. Not that we would be working the whole time, I even know that. We'll have more flexibility. We can work at a pace that is good for him and myself. I can be certain that he understand the concept before moving on and forcing a future failure.