I have been thinking on and off about homeschooling. It alternately fills me with dread and fills me with hope but I have questions. Many, many, many questions.....
I am a single mum. I am self employed but dont earn huge bucks. At times my job is extremely demanding on my time and energy. At other times its quieter. I am someone who needs some time alone. I would say I am generally resourceful, determined, creative with situations and capable of turning my hand to a variety of situations.
I am wondering how home ed fits around one person needing to do it all. Sometimes I feel at the point of frazzle, but have had a lightbulb that much of what Im frazzled about is worry about the kids and their various issues at school.
I am concerned that my low income from self employment will be a problem in the future - both for accessing facilities and experiences for the children if I was HE, especially with one in a secondary which has amazing things like full science labs, dance studios, lazer cutting 3d printers, etc... I cant provide these resources or pay to access them. I also worry about new benefit issues - I have heard that if you dont reach minimum income from self employment that they will force you into paid work - where would that leave HE kids if I have no partner - most of the HE people I know have mum at home HE-ing and dad at work or both PT working and HE in shifts (though I know my experience is probably very limited) I believe HE doest count as a valid reason not to be looking for (paid) work.......
I wonder about autonimous learning - I worry that the kids will only ever be able to work at what they want and this will mean they are cutting themselves out of being able to do the often necessary task of 'stop gap' employment that sometimes needs must (for example they may need to work pt if they decide to go to college, but they will find it very difficult to accept being told what to do by bosses who often, frankly, are idiots) - I can see that the drive, motivation and enthusiasm they hopefully develop for something they have a passion for would set them up to work in that field, but what if it doesnt work out that way and they end up with no direction, no exams and no idea what they want to do......
Im certainly not criticising. I am just seriously wondering. People who HE have lots of great research and feedback as to why its good, but I am sure there must be some where it hasnt worked out, and I want to know why it didnt - what clues are there that it could fail? I dont want to make a mistake and mess up my kids futures because of an idea I had (even though both kids would jump at the chance, though think they focus more on the home than the education bit)
When I am in a dilemma I write it all down. Get a piece of paper with a line down it with pros on one side and cons on the other. I find it clears the mind. With schools you get the whole range from excellent to dire, HEers have the same range. I would also see what groups you have locally, it doesn't sound as if you would want to be doing it in isolation.
There's a Yahoo group for single parents who home educate. You'll get expert advice there on how people manage things.
Resources rather depend on where you are. In my city, there's a lot of home ed co op stuff going on, and a science museum with workshops and stuff. Obviously home edders have to be a lot more resourceful about finding cheap activities. Might be worth doing some investigation about what the local community is like.
on the rubbish job/idiot boss thing- I see plenty of people who've been through school who have an over inflated sense of what they will deign to fill their days doing. They've already been under arbitrary authority for 13 years. This would depend very much on your children and the values you raise them with and the example you set them.
Also, just because you start doing it now, doesn't mean you are committed to HEing them forever! Take it year by year (or term by term if a year seems like a long time atm), and only do it if it is working for you and for them. Even a year or two at home could make a big difference to them.
FWIW, my kids went to school at 11, 13 and 11, and haven't struggled with now having to work at stuff they aren't particularly interested in - autonomous education won't ruin them, honest
I second what exotic said about writing it down, we too are having a dilemna and this is my first action. We don't have lots of money for resources and have begged, borrowed and well, not quite stolen yet There are lots of resources online free to print and some reasonably priced interactive ones too. Not everybody takes an autonomous approach, some like us have a mix. For example we think Maths and English is important so make sure dd does some everyday, even if its only a little. She happily gets on with other things and will find something if bored. On the days when you are busy would it be possible to work from home, have a relative or friend care for your child for a while? In terms of having time to yourself I think this is the same if they are schooled or not. I would suggest swapping play dates with another parent and making most of your free time then. Somebody once told me that there are so many different ways people choose to H.ed, there certainly doesn't seem a right nor wrong as long as the child/ren are happy.
Thank you everyone for the input. List writing it is then!! DD is currently in hospital. We have had FLESS (who are the guys who come round from the LEA about home ed too) and they have signed her up for e-learning. she has a timetable of live internet based lessons which she can go into on an as and when basis depending on how she is or what else we are doing. If she did 45 mins morning and afternoon she would be marked with a code at school to say she is being educated elsewhere, although they dont have a full week and so some days there is only one lesson available. it has been authorised and put in place for the whole of her time at secondary due to her medical condition (though have been told that its not for her anxiety related issues)
DS is now enjoying school for the moment and seems to be making some progress on the social side, which is something that I cannot do for him. This is his flashpoint area. He adores his new teacher, so while he is happy and the emotional support is being addressed, and he WANTS to go, I am happy that he is going.
Strangely its turned full circle. Initially it was DS I was wanting to pull out, and DD who I couldnt imagine having at home. Now I am leaning towards something different for DD, depending upon what happens with her over the next few weeks.