31 March, 2009

Home schooling for us

Today I'm home schooling. If you'd told me 10 years ago just before my first child was born, I'd never have believed you. Me, home school? Not that I am fundamentally against home schooling. I have lots of good friends who home school. It just was never something that I've been interested in doing. I guess I myself had a good school experience. I also enjoy time apart from my kids! I know there are many different reasons why people home school, but I primarily see it as a calling and something that needs to fit both the kids and the parents. In our case, it fits neither. So how did I end up home schooling? Well, it is more of a stop-gap measure than a long term lifestyle. Our middle son, as you might have read, just finished Japanese kindergarten. We ourselves are going to Australia in under 13 weeks (!!panic!!). Our six-year-old son will start school in July, the middle of an Australian school year. So our alternatives for the intervening weeks were: 1) Send him to Japanese primary school for 10 weeks. (Big culture shock) 2) Send him to CAJ (Christian Academy in Japan) for 10 weeks where our eldest son goes and my husband teaches. (His age would put him into kindergarten there too, hours of 8.30-12.30 every day. I would spend most of my day commuting - 20/30 mins each way). 3) Do nothing. (But this doesn't prepare him to start school in July very well.) 4) Home school (As well as sort and pack our house for moving.) If you add into the equation that his personality is one that takes a while to get used to new situations and people, and the decision to home school was not too hard to make. But hard to explain day after day as well meaning mums at kindergarten and in the neighbourhood enquired! Actually I have been home schooling part-time for the last 3 1/2 years. Ever since we last left Australia in the middle of my son's grade one year. We desired to give our children a head start with the language and culture by attending Japanese schools when they were young. So that is what we did. So he didn't lose what English he already had, I home schooled him in reading and writing before and or after school. It met all my expectations - difficult, impossible, frustrating and undesirable. He is no longer in Japanese school and the day we finished home schooling with him was a day of celebration. Thankfully our second son is a little more cooperative and compliant. On my second day of 'full time' home schooling, I can say that I am glad that I am no longer working around the time table of kindergarten. I can use the best hours of his day to teach him! All that being said, I am being fairly relaxed and we are not doing a full curriculum by any means. Reading, writing and arithmetic would about sum it up. All I'm doing is (hopefully) smoothing his entry into school in Australia in July. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

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