January 10, 2012

Homesteading and homeschooling

Homesteading and homeschooling both used major focuses of my blog, and I have questions about both pop up now and again, so I thought I'd go ahead and address them (I don't think I really have in the past!)

Homesteading-  Well, I am still very interested in this.  I would absolutely love to have a family farm and live off the land as much as possible.  However, it is a lot of work.  Even just enough livestock and produce for our family is a good amount of hard work, and it's more than I can handle on my own.  My husband, however, is enjoys the fruits of the labor (ie, food!) but is not at all interested in labor aspect.  I don't say that as a dig on him, he just does not want to do it, and he's honest about it.  He was sick of living outside of town ("town" being a small town with a population of about 5K), and while I could have pushed him into moving farther out into the country and getting livestock and such, I didn't feel it was fair to either of us when he had clearly stated he didn't want to.  And, as I'm not able to do the "heavy lifting" work and the children can only contribute in a very limited way, it was not feasible to take on a family farm effectively on my own.  Furthermore, it was just not a financial reality.  The only homes available with a few acres of land in our price range were either very small or run down, and we don't have the know-how or inclination to remodel and such on our own. So, it's a dream that will go on the back-burner, and I'm okay with that.  I do hope one day that it's something we can do, but we will see.  I have enough space here for some veggies, and I'd like to look in to the legality of having a few laying hens (I could get a "tractor" coop to move around the yard for them). 

Homeschooling- I am not currently homeschooling any of the children, which feels strange after three years of homeschooling my oldest!  She really wanted to go to public school, and as dh and I are both adamant that junior high is out of the question, fourth and fifth grade were her last chances.  While I wish it were more academically rigorous (ie, classical!) it is a very nice school.  Small, rural, with none of the liberal PC junk infecting many larger schools.  It's the school that our 6 year old with special needs has been attending since preK (it houses the developmental pre-school for our area), so we're very familiar with it.  She's doing well and enjoys going, so she will go again next year for fifth grade, and we will be homeschooling again for junior high.  After that, we will re-evaluate based on her needs (for example, if she's certain she wants to attend a 4 year college, it's imperative that she be able to take full advantage of all available scholarships.  In that case, we would probably send her to high school, at least for 11th and 12th grade).  I don't enjoy doing pre-school, so I've always sent the kids out for it, and our 3 (almost 4!) year old attends a Christian pre-school.  She's enjoyed this year and has a lot of fun, but I think I will homeschool her next year.  Frankly, it's a lot of money for what's effectively a playgroup (which is not a criticism of the school, it's lovely!  But pre-school in general is really more about learning to get along with other kids and preparing  for how public school is structured than anything) and because of the time difference between her school and the other girls' (they start at 8, she starts at 9) it's a lot of back and forth driving that's inconvenient.  For now, I plan I homeschooling her from next year on, but I do admit I feel a fair amount of conflict about it.  As I said, we really like the local elementary school, and I go back and forth on whether or not they're "missing out" if they don't go.  If I'm honest, the turning point for me with my oldest was when we went to dd2's Christmas program.  She just looked very wistful and sad and said a few times that she really wished she could be up there with the other kids.  It probably sounds silly, since in the scope of things it's such a small thing to "miss out" on, but I guess in the moment it was kind of one of those "knife in the heart" things where I really questioned if I was doing the right thing but not allowing her to go when she earnestly wanted to. 

At any rate, dd2 repeated kindergarten this year, and after starting on Strattera for her ADHD, she really made significant academic progress.  She won't be held back again (the school system only allows a child to be held back twice K-12) but even with the progress she's made, she's still significantly behind her peers.  So I believe she will spend much of her time in the resource room with the special education teacher next year, and I'm okay with that.  I personally don't feel it's fair or reasonable to make her sit in the classroom while they learn things that are beyond her current abilities.  It just makes her frustrated and bored.  Much of the focus in 1st grade is on learning to read, and as she's nearly blind, I would much rather have her in the resource room getting one on one attention and instruction with Braille readiness than listening to other kids learning to read when she's not even able to distinguish most letters of the alphabet (even when significantly enlarged and contrasting colors are used, there are only a couple letters she can identify).  At this point I'm pretty confident that she will continue at this school until she's ready for junior high, and then she will board down at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  I would like to get her in sooner, but I just feel like before that she's not going to be emotionally ready to be separated from us all week, and I want her self-help skills strong enough that she doesn't need to rely heavily on the people there for help with her personal hygiene.

I think that about sums it up for now!  I hope that helps clear up any questions.


ccc said...

Just a quick thought about scholarships and college. My children were able to still get some and they were home schooled all the way through highschool. I do think though that being enrolled in Seton was a major help since it was an accredited school, but I do know others that have not used a homeschool curriculum program and still received scholarships. Many scholarships are based on act scores alone.

Katie said...

Enrolling in an accredited distance program was also something I've considered. I'm just not confident that if she wanted to go to a pricy school I could navigate scholarships well enough to fully fund it.