From Our House to Yours
Why should you homeschool?… A Series on Reasons to Homeschool
Prior to homeschooling our own children, I remember attending an educators’ conference in New Orleans. Carrie and I were flown there to represent our school district of 26 elementary schools. Why? Our school district’s test scores in reading were dropping, and we were to find a way to remedy that. After the conference, we were to report back to the district about what we had learned. Then, we were to provide training for teachers in inservice education classes we led for our district and in classes we taught for teachers to receive college credit. Needless to say, we felt just a tad bit of pressure going into this conference!
What unique education opportunities are available for children?
After attending ample lectures, our first small group breakout session started with a question I still recall today. We were asked to share what unique education opportunities our school district currently offered. As teachers responded to this question and each turn moved closer to our position in the circle, we realized there were a whole lot more options to educating than we knew! French immersion schools, charter schools, fine arts schools, online schools, boarding schools, private schools, magnet schools, dual language schools, performing arts schools, public schools – oh my! We found this to be so exciting! It was freeing to think we could possibly think outside the box a bit, which in a public school setting is a rarity.
Multi-age Classrooms, Multilevel Lessons, and Looping
Many good ideas came out of that conference that we put into practice. Mainly, we began to implement multi-age classrooms, multilevel lessons, and looping. We were blessed enough to be able to implement them all in our school district! As we were doing our master’s degree at the same time, we were able to write and receive grants for teaching this way. We taught inservice education classes and college classes on these topics. Carrie and I were inspired! We often stayed up until midnight planning for our multi-age, multilevel, looping classroom. Best of all, we got to do this together because our school district also let us job share! So many funds and grants were poured into providing this education, and the results? Reading scores went up, and surprisingly, so did math scores and writing scores!
We found the one drawback to be the amount of time it took to write the plans, but we couldn’t go back to one plan, one age of students, and one classroom.
As Carrie and I taught inservices and college courses on teaching in multi-age classrooms, writing multi-level lesson plans, and looping students from year to year, one response began to emerge from teachers. They loved the results, but it was taking them way too much time to plan. We agreed. Carrie and I were staying at school planning on the weekends until midnight sometimes. We were exhausted. However, we believed in what we were doing. We saw our students all happily moving forward in skills so well! Going back to one reading lesson, one math lesson, one writing lesson, and one grade level was impossible for us. We loved what we were doing too much! We’d seen the results. Taking students where they were and moving them forward in all subject areas was the way to school. We couldn’t go back.
Our Last Year of Public School Teaching
In our last year of public school teaching, we had a class of about 28 students with one educational assistant. Over half of the students in our class were on IEPs (individual education plans for special needs students). We still believed in the multi-age classroom, multilevel lessons, and looping. But, there simply wasn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all we wanted to accomplish. We had too many students with too many needs with too many interruptions. Though we were ready to begin the interview process to become principals and the prospects looked promising, we couldn’t see putting another year into teaching other children at the expense of not teaching our own at home. In short, we longed to try our hand at teaching our own children, in a Christian way! Once we began homeschooling, we never looked back. We’d found our home!
Homeschooling is multi-age, multilevel, and looping at its best!
We began homeschooling when Cole was turning 5 years old. He is now 22 years old! My how time flies! We took turns homeschooling Cole our last year of teaching for our school district. Since we job shared, we could do this. On my days off, I’d homeschool Cole. On Carrie’s days off, she’d homeschool him. We also watched each other’s smaller children. We loved it! It didn’t take long for us to realize homeschooling is multi-age, multilevel, and looping at its best. Homeschooling is multi-age for families that have more than one child. It is multilevel for families using HOD, as each guide has multiple lesson plans and levels for customizing math, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and more. Finally, it’s looping, as each year the parent gets to teach the same children again.
So, why homeschool? You can have a multi-age, multilevel, looping education for your children!
So, in closing, there are many valid reasons why you should homeschool, and we have been sharing some of them in this Heart of Dakota From Our House to Yours series. First, we talked about how you get to spend more time with your children. Second, we talked about how you know what your children did for the day. Third, we talked about how you get to run your own schedule. Fourth, we talked about how you can give your children immediate feedback! Finally, today we talked about how in homeschooling you can give your children a multi-age, multilevel, looping educational experience without ever having to leave your home and without having your child be one of 28 students rather than one of just your family’s size. Who knew all those years of research and study would lead Carrie and I back home? God, that’s Who, and we are so thankful to Him for His leading!