We are a small family living in Oregon's beautiful wine country. The girls love Ladybugs and Dragonflies (hence the name of the blog). My oldest is now out of High school and deciding on what he wants to do, while the younger three are having a fun time with school..well, okay, younger two since the youngest is more into eating books than reading them.
The girls favorite colors are purple, pink and blue. Someday's they are girly girls and wear their princess dress' all day, other days they enjoy running around in t-shirts and shorts and getting dirty. While they HATE spiders and ants, they LOVE dogs, cats, fish, reptiles, and well, generally anything but spiders and ants. Our youngest is only 16 months old, so we aren't sure yet what he's going to be into! The girls however are always getting into new adventures and well, often into trouble as well. It comes with the territory. So, welcome to Ladybugs and Dragonflies where adventures are waiting to be had....
And then a little bit about why we homeschool, since that's a question we seem to run across a lot:
I ran across this blog today that has interesting reading. I also see the posts on "which curriculum should I start out with my 3 or 4 year old with and really like this homeschoolers advice
I think one of the things you'll find is that as many people who homeschool, well that's about how many different reasons you'll find for why people homeschool. We don't use a set curriculum ourselves, we enjoy incorporating all the school subjects into our unit studies. We do a modified unschool schooling approach and let the girls interests lead us in the direction they are interested at the moment.
We don't absolutely hate the public school system (although at times after reading some of the news reports about testing, issues in the schools, etc it may seem like we do) AND we don't homeschool for religious reasons which seems to be the prevailing thought when people talk to us AND we aren't hippies (which seems to be the other prevailing thought). We tend to be secular in our teachings (although our curriculum list in the curriculum tab list both religious based and secular links, so others who do wish to teach more religion can get some starting points as well).
* Here is a fun chart to read * about homeschooling, test scores, reasons people homeschool, etc. Looking at the chart I do have some issues with their comparison between public school and homeschooling (at least for the middle school and under grades) since there are now so many online options, and many of the curriculum available is in some ways better than what is available in public school. While public schools are supposed to be able to afford more resources, they sure haven't been doing so at least in our area.
Here is another interesting article:
Some of the reasons we like homeschooling:
We actually like spending time with our kids (but yes having them with us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week CAN be challenging at times, and Mom (or Dad) need a break from it on occasion). We like the fact we can travel when we want to, no matter the time of year. Another nice thing about homeschooling is being able to tailor each project to the child vs. everyone gets taught the same thing at the same time and no one can move ahead until all the students do. We also like the flexibility to add in much more field trips and hands on learning than you get in public schools. We tend to do a lot of child led unit studies that are based on the kids interests.
"But what about"...arguments
I think the main argument we run into with homeschooling vs. public schooling (and I think most of us do) is the "But what about socialization" question. Everyone seems to think that because you "homeschool" your always at home and isolated from society. Not true for most of us. One of the nice things is being able to school anywhere: park, campground, flying kites at the beach, while working in the garden, at a friends house or just about anywhere else. Homeschooling doesn't always translate into "school at home" There are a lot of different philosophies when it comes to homeschooling from unschooling to a more true "school" at home idea and everything in between!
With homeschooling becoming more and more "mainstream", other people are catching on. For example, our local parks and recreation now lists "homeschool specific" classes, many of the colleges and universities now offer "classes for homeschool students" (yep, even for Kindergarten) its a win-win for everyone. The students at the colleges/universities get experience leading or teaching classes for the kids while the kids get an opportunity to experience some classes that would be harder to teach in a home (although doable!) classes range from physical education to science.
Most places that take public school kids for field trips accept homeschool groups as well, and no it doesn't have to be a "co-op" to do it. Just get an idea for a field trip and let other homeschoolers in your area what day you want to do it and let them sign up with you! It's nice to be able to get the field trip discount for your trips. On top off all of that if your still worried about "socialization" there are play dates, group sports, scouting, 4H, dance classes, music classes, volunteer work, and almost any other type of club you can think of!
The other argument we hear against homeschooling is the "but how can you teach all the subjects?" well the answer to that is a little more complicated. I figure most people can teach up to 3 or 4th grade fairly easily in most subjects. Here is where I usually get the "but teachers are educated to teach the subjects" well, in some cases maybe, but most elementary teachers in my experience are not specialized in one subject (not much different than us, right?!) and most of the curriculum we get (could be used in the school as well, and comes with teacher editions, answer keys, etc. so yep even YOU could probably teach math. The one I find that most people have an issue in trying to teach is science (and truth be told, my science teachers in high school would probably roll over in their graves at the idea of ME teaching anything to do with science). Science isn't something most of us were actually taught at this age so trying to incorporate science into our curriculum is a little harder. Most science is for 3rd grade and up but since it's such a FUN class why wait! From learning about animals to setting off geysers, there are way to many fun ways to explore science with the kids. It just makes it a learning experience for you and the kids. There's also so much stuff online to work with or watch (lots of experiments on you tube to watch!) that's fun and educational that starting in kindergarten isn't hard to do! When they are older and doing a lot of microscope work, chemistry etc. than yes, it does get a bit harder to teach, but that's when some of the other resources also help out. Many homeschoolers once they hit 15/16 years old can take classes at the local college in area's that the parents may not feel comfortable in teaching and yes, there are many homeschoolers getting their 2 year degree by the time they are 17 or 18 years old and move on to University as a Junior.
and the "where do you find other homeschoolers" question...
Well, this is actually the harder part depending on your area. If your secular it can be even harder. Many churches have homeschool groups anymore (we have a rather large church with a huge co-op) but if you don't attend church you don't really have that avenue to explore. However, this is where the magic of modern technology sets in...so here's a list of things to check out!
Facebook- many homeschool groups (co-ops AND individual groups) have "closed" facebook groups, so ask to join and they may or may not reply and ask WHY you want to join (most of us do try and keep spammers off our group) or they may just accept you if you have a profile that is fairly active and they can see you live in the area.
Yahoo groups - Type in your state, or city and homeschooling and you'll probably get a big list of small groups.
Library - Yep, the library. Many homeschoolers hang out and visit the library rather often, so the librarian tends to learn which families homeschool and if your new to the area you might mention it to the librarian and see if you can get directed to a family in the library at the time who are homeschoolers or see if you can post something on their board to try and reach other homeschoolers as well. They may also be able to direct you to a local group website. Some librarians are better than others (even in small towns) so if you see a couple of different ones during your visits make sure you check with them.
HSLDA - While I don't always agree with them, they do often have a list of your state wide homeschool associations that can connect you with a more local resource.
Parents magazine - if your city has a Parent magazine for the area check it out they often have homeschool info in it.