The Education Experiment

Posted by  | Wednesday, May 4, 2011  at 7:50 AM  
(first, thank you to Christina for posting for me yesterday. I was at Disney with my mom and Samuel and typed up my whole post by phone to e-mail to her!)

Christina introduced the topic of Schooling Decisions a few weeks ago and shared a little blurb from each of the POH authors about what we would be doing with our kiddos next year. My blurb read:

Samuel will turn 5 in late August. The cutoff for school in the Chicago area is Sept 1, so I could enroll him in kindergarten if I wanted. We have decided to keep Samuel at home for two reasons: 1) We feel he isn't ready to enter the school setting because of his age, and 2) we are pretty sure we'd like to homeschool him and we thought this would be a good year to give it a try. We plan on attending a homeschool co-op in the area on Mondays, Bible Study Fellowship on Thursdays and a couple hours of "school" at home the other days. I plan on doing things with both Joel (3.5) and Samuel(5).

My husband and I have talked about our schooling options a lot and have come up with a sort of Education Experiment. We plan on keeping Samuel home for one more year and following the plan I outlined above. Then the next year, when Samuel will have just turned 6, we plan on enrolling him in kindergarten at our local K-8 school to give him one year in public school to see how it goes. We have committed to waiting to make a decision about which direction to go until after he finishes out that year (well, unless it is going horrible and we decide to pull him out early). Here is a sort of run-down of what we see in each choice:

Why would we homeschool? I really like the flexibility and individualization that is available with homeschooling. It just makes sense to me that a child would be able to excel academically when they can move at their own pace and with their own interests. After having read A Well Trained Mind I was really encouraged to think of all we might be learning in our home. The academic side of the equation is a big draw for me. Second, I see the days we spend together to be a time of character building and training. With the boys home with me and around me all day, I have plenty of opportunity to teach them things I want them to know that they may not see modeled and taught in a traditional school setting. I can be a side-by-side guide to a lot of character training. Third, the unity of the family is a strong draw. Instead of splintering the family for 8 hours a day, with each of us going to our respective "jobs", we remain a more complete unit that share experiences and responsibilities together.

Why would we go to public school? I really like the school that our boys would attend. It is a short walk from our house (just across the street from our little neighborhood). It is a small K-8 school in a single school district (meaning all the tax dollars from our district go to this school instead of being spread around many schools). Second, I see the enrichments and specials that a school setting is able to offer my boys that would be difficult to duplicate in a home setting (art, gym, group activities, etc). I know these could be done at home but not in the same way, with the same dynamics. Also, if Samuel and Joel were both attending school, I could (hopefully) get a job at the school (if we don't have any more children; see last post!). Finally, there is an intangible factor of growing up "going to school" and the good and the bad that come with it that can build character.

Our experiment is our way of giving ourselves time to experience both options and also to have two years to pray that God would help us to make a good decision. I'm nervous to try both and not just be decided in what we are going to do. But I think this will help all of us (me, Ed, and Samuel) decide what we want. We'll see!


Lauren said...

I've been enjoying these last few weeks, as you've shared about your educational decisions. I've known Leah F. for years, so I don't know how I didn't know about POH until a few months ago, but I'm glad to have discovered it!

Karen said...

What a great idea! I have a daughter who is a mid-October birthday, so I think I will do a year of homeschool pre-K with her to see how it goes. Thanks for sharing!

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