Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Homeschooling - Kids and Money

One of the things I love about homeschooling is to be able to offer courses that the schools don't teach.

One of these is economics. When you look at the statistics in North America, our level of personal debt makes it obvious that most adults never received proper education about finances.

I wish I had learned some of the things that I know today, about 20 or 30 years ago. Although wisdom does come with age, it doesn't mean my kids have to make the same mistakes.

It's important that our kids learn about compounding interest, managing finances, making money work for you,etc. These concepts need to be taught our whole lives, especially in our younger years That way positive habits get ingrained in our systems.

Did you know that if you put $3,000 in a 10% investment at 15 years old, it will accumulate to over 1.5 million by age 65. If you wait until you are 27 you will have to put $3,000 in every year until you are 65. One way you put in $3,000 and the other way $114,000.

That's the power of compounding that our kids need to know about.

If you want to teach your kids about economics (and maybe learn a few things yourself as well), I highly recommend the board game CASHFLOW for Kids

Check out the Rich Kid Smart Kid website. In the Teachers area, there are downloadable lessons that you can use.

The following books can help you to know what and how to teach about money.

Teaching kids about money is important, and homeschooling allows you the freedom to make it part of their class schedule.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Homeschooling - Geared To Your Child's Personality

Everyone understands how individual we each are. There are similarities that one person has with another but overall we're each quite unique.

So why should we teach every child the same way if each one is different?

One of the reasons that homeschooled children rank well by statistics in the area of academics is that they are taught one on one.

Individual attention is probably enough to help your child learn better and quicker, however as homeschool parents, we can take it even deeper than that. By teaching one on one, not only can we offer more attention, we can also gear the teaching to a child's learning style.

Each person has a natural learning style that when catered to, allows them to learn much more efficiently.

Some people are auditory and therefore respond well to audio style presentations. Spoken voice, recorded or live music, sounds etc. all help this type of person to learn well.

Another learning style is visual. If your child is a visual learner, then just talking to them can be counter-productive to their learning. They need visuals such as DVD's or pictures in textbooks or animated actions to help them comprehend what they are being taught.

There are other learning styles such as action or 'hands on' people. I don't want to go into great detail. (I recommend these books if you want to know more)

My main point is really that some children who may be considered slow learners, or attention span deficient, may just be getting taught the wrong way.

As homeschool teachers, we have a great opportunity to offer our children a custom tailored education that suits their personality.

When you combine that with the extra one on one attention, you really have a powerful combination to give your child a first class education.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Homeschooling - Added Benefits

One of the things that we've really come to enjoy about homeschooling is that there are many added benefits.
When we go on vacation, we make a point to go when others don't. Instead of competing with the crowds, we have the opportunity to go when it suits us.
Not only are things not as busy, but we ended up getting cheaper rates on almost everything as well.
Homeschooling and travel can go together. Field trips take on a whole new meaning. You can choose the projects you want the kids to study, and then study then first hand by going there.
Our home school daily schedule is usually routine. However, the flexibility that we have is a wonderful freedom. If something else needs to fit in the schedule, we just fit it in. Grandparents can visit a child for his/her birthday at 1:00 PM Wednesday or 7:00 PM makes no difference.
We have also moved a couple of times while homeschooling. This is also a simpler process when school moves with you instead of having the kids pulled out and replanted in a new school.
Home school allows you to teach life skills full time. Household management, cooking, gardening, economics, etc. can all be taught hands on as part of the home school curriculum. 

So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Second Edition: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It (Focus on the Family)

The school system usually includes a ‘take your child to work’ day. I believe that is an excellent program. Homeschooling allows you to do this any time you want to. If a great lesson could be taught on a particular day at work, take your child along that day.
If I thought long and hard, I'm sure I could come up with many more benefits of homeschooling. We weren't looking for them; they just ended up to be a pleasant surprise along the way.
Homeschooling can be a lot of work, but the benefits definitely make the effort worthwhile.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Does Homeschool produce social misfits?

Out of all the questions we've received about homeschooling our children, I think that most have been about the social issues.

We have learned much about this, both from articles that we have read, as well as from our own experiences.

First of all, we learned that it shouldn't be assumed that our kids social lives are so healthy in a traditional school setting.

Some studies have shown a substantial decline in self-image for many children even after just the first grade. Social pressures, mean kids, bullying etc., can be brutal at any age, especially in the early grades.

All of these factors influence a child's social abilities.

One thing that we had read really stunned me. It wasn't that it was so shocking, it was just something we had never thought of before. We read that in order for kids to become socially strong and have a good self-esteem, (self-esteem has a strong influence on social skills), they needed to be guided or mentored by adults. (parents maybe?)

In the school system, most of their best social time is spent with strong influences from their peers rather than adults.

They may be taught academically by grown-ups, but most of their social influence happens on the playground with people their own age.

Our experience has been that our own children have strong self-esteems and handle themselves very well, both with other children as well as with adults.

I'm not saying that every school system is a social problem ready to happen. Rather, our personal reading and experience has led us to believe that homeschooling can produce socially balanced kids.

A one on one teaching environment from someone who loves them, more than makes up for any social concerns that you may have.

Why Homeschool?

If you are tired or scared of the many negative things happening in the school system, homeschooling your children may be an option for you.

Private schools can also offer a better education, but you have to be able to afford it.

Homeschool offers you the opportunity to direct education to your child according to his/her individual needs.This one on one attention can help your child learn at a faster pace as well as develop unique skills that may not be offered in a traditional school.

I can honestly say that when we started homeschooling our first child, one of the main reasons was simply because we had friends who were already doing it and it seemed like a good idea. (Michele was home anyway, and didn't need to go back to work) We didn't even understand all of the benefits that it could offer.

Yes, there were the fears of whether or not we were qualified to teach. However, we soon found out that there were plenty of curriculum and teacher aids available to help us out.

Yes, we also had concerns about social activity, friends etc. Again, we found that we really didn't need to worry about that. Between neighborhood kids, soccer league, swimming lessons and church friends, our children have always had lots of association with other kids.

We just jumped in and went for it.

As we develop this blog, we'll get into more details about curriculum, social issues and many other things that we have learned since 1994.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Homeschool - Introduction

Well, we finally broke down and started a homeschool blog.

We are Henry and Michele, and we started homeschooling our 5 kids about twelve years ago.
If you are homeschooling or thinking about it, we hope that you will be able to learn from our experiences as we reflect on how this journey has been so far.

One thing we can say for certain, is that we wouldn't have had it any other way.

We'll try to post as often as we can, so check back soon.