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Homeschooling
2 March 2008

Studying

Report Like every parent, we want what is best for our children.  We feel that education is important and we want our kids to receive the best education possible, even if that means having to teach them ourselves.  We tried the Hawaii public schools for a couple years before finally admitting that we need something better.  The choice of private schools on the island is limited so after much consideration we chose to homeschool our kids.  We have been homeschooling for almost a year now and it is going great.

We have homeschooled before with success.  When we lived in LA the local school had a teacher just for all the homeschool kids, many of whom were involved with the movie industry.  In New Hampshire, Valerie worked as a children's librarian and here in Hawaii she worked at the school as a tutor, so she has plenty of prior experience teaching children.  We're lucky that we have the time, training and patience required for successful homeschooling.  Not all families have the option to homeschool and homeschooling isn't right for everyone.

We're not doing it all ourselves, we've enrolled the girls in Oak Meadows which is a fully accredited K-12 distance learning school with text books, teachers and extensive lesson plans.  The only difference is that the kids do their schoolwork at home under our supervision instead of in a class of thirty wild kids with one overwhelmed, underpaid teacher.

Geography Keeping up with the assignments from the homeschool teachers (through email and the Internet) is often a challenge for us as well as the children.  Even with a minor in mathematics I've still had to brush up on my fraction arithmetic skills.  The entire family has learned a lot about world history, literature and science.

With homeschooling our kids can't slip through the cracks like they can in public schools.  They get plenty of direct attention every day with the lessons tailored specifically for them.  The kids spend several hours in the morning doing their reading, writing, arithmetic and other textbook work.  They get an hour of free time after lunch then the afternoons are dedicated to art projects, music lessons, science experiments and life skills such as health, cooking, woodworking and gardening.  The farm provides plenty of opportunities for P.E. and our great Hawaii weather means we can go swimming any time we want.  Emily loved her swim lessons last year and is anxious to sign up again.

Socialization is often cited as a primary disadvantage of homeschooling.  In our opinions the socialization learned in Hawaii public schools is simply not an option for our kids.  The first day of middle school Sarah asked "Mommy, why is that girl pregnant?"  We decided our kids can learn much better socialization skills from the plethora of activities outside of school.  Both girls are active in 4H and both girls have friends they like to spend time with.  Best of all, we're lucky that our kids get along great together and can spend hours and hours playing by themselves.

College acceptance is another common concern of homeschooling.  We're confident that our children will be much better prepared for the S.A.T.'s then they would be we simply let them attend public school.  Homeschool children tend to perform better on college application essays because their essays are well written, interesting and unique.  A big advantage of using an accredited school like we are is that the kids will receive high school credits for courses completed with teacher evaluation.  As far as the paperwork is concerned, our kids are attending a private school.

Homeschooling has made it easy for our kids to excel academically.  Even better is all the time we get to spend together as a family.  For the girls, their favorite part is all the fun projects and activities they get to do.  Next week I'll show some picture of these projects including a giant pair of scissors, a complete pig skeleton and a monster chicken.

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