I'm glad to see other atheists with positive attitudes toward homeschooling. I was homeschooled from forth grade through highschool and I received an excellent education and got a full ride through college and graduated magna cum laude. I probably wouldn't have been able to go to college had I not received the superior education I did from homeschooling.
Granted, I had to deal with a lot of major fundie xtians. I really got to see the ugly, scary side of xtianity on a regular basis.
My son is 8, we are 'technically' in 2nd grade (fine for math and literacy for which we use JumpStart computer application) but he is doing other subjects at his own levels (all over the charts). We mostly unschool, but there are some things that we plan...which is usually something that is seasonal. I decided to homeschool because my son was being bullied in public school, coming home in tears daily...wishing that he were "dead" or "never born" and calling himself horrible names. I pulled him from school and got him into a psychiatrist asap, but since starting hs-ing he is much happier.
We're a homeschooling atheist family in Virginia. We have one son, who just turned 7. We're doing mostly 2nd grade work this coming year. We're very eclectic in our studies. We homeschool for many reasons. I'm not happy with the public schools here, I don't want my son to be a sheep, I don't want my son pigeon-holed, etc. I also like being able to take vacations whenever we feel like it. I like being able to spend as much time as we like, or as little as we need on a subject.
I buy books at Barnes & Noble, off bookcloseouts.com (LOVE that site), and other places. We watch educational documentaries and go on many field trips.
Homeschooling is very big in our area (about 4,000 kids), though not many are atheists or have only one child. There are tons of activities, play dates, discounts from businesses, special events, etc for homeschoolers. We have plenty to keep us busy and social. Virginia is a fairly easy place to homeschool. We notify the superintendent of our intent to homeschool and give a rough outline of subjects we're going to cover. We submit either standardized test scores or a portfolio evaluation at the end of the school year.
First, Sarah, here in Georgia, your child must be registered at age 6 and the state doesn't mandate what grade your child is in...you do. ;o)
My boys are 23, 19 and 12. All homeschooled. The eldest went to public through 3rd grade, at which time we pulled him out. He was talking and drawing pictures of suicide....
The younger two have always been home. I never planned on being life long homeschoolers, but each year, we look around and see how much better behaved our boys are, and how wide and varied their interests and knowledge. They have no trouble discussing politics, or religion, or really anything with anyone.
My boys also have plenty of female friends, as well as older and younger friends...3-5 years younger, and even 20 years older. The longer we homeschool, the stronger our reasons for staying with it.
Oldest used Curriculum Services materials; secular workbooks, very portable and affordable, and American School for high school.
Middle used CS, and eclectic stuff in elementary school. Then PLATO, a CD Rom program for middle school and then back to eclectic and Math U See for remainder.
Youngest is using an eclectic mix...Math U See, and mostly child led learning based on National Geo mag, and other science books, as well as various history, political and science websites.
Also have a list of must reads to "graduate" each year and we do a lot of unit studies based on current events. We are also looking into Intelligo this year...looks very interesting!
Oldest son attends SCAD...Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta campus. Middle son was accepted at an art college in San Francisco at 17, but after a semester, decided to come home. He works now and plans to start college in the spring.
Permalink Reply by K on September 8, 2009 at 6:38pm
Ahh I see. I apologize for my misunderstanding!
Thank you for the compliment; I think he's a pretty awesome person, too.
My girl is just 5, so we're still pretty much focused on playing, trying to get lots of outdoors time, and having playgroups. She does go to a class 2x a month at the Also Leopold nature Center here in Madison, it's a great place. She's also in Girl Scouts, in a Daisy troop, which is also working out really well for us. We were interested in Waldorf school - I liked the emphasis on arts and idea of moving through the day with a gentle rhythm, but as we got closer to actual enrollment we all had increasing discomfort with the religious aspects. We still do wet-on-wet painting and handcrafts, but without all that praying. We tried public school kindy for a month, that didn't suit our needs at all, so we went back to our original plan, and we're homeschooling. At the moment we have no curriculum. (I'm very interested in hearing more about your curriculum choices!) What we do looks pretty much like unschooling, but that wasn't a deliberate choice, just the most reasonable seeming path for us at this very early stage. Most of our homeschooling friends up here unschool, but I'm not at all certain what style we'll eventually choose.
We're doing a very general "unit" on the Stone Age, this is our plan for age 5. We've done basic spinning, weaving, pottery, fire-building, simple cooking and fermenting, we build debris huts whenever we can, carry things with burden straps, that kind of stuff. As spring rolls in we plan to play around with a very basic sundial. We read about stone age cultures, and are going over evolution in a very general way - she's very interested in the history, anatomy, and domestication of horses and dogs for instance, so that gives us a kind of reference point for delving into simple biology.
I also keep a set of Kumon workbooks around and when we feel like it we work on those. While I'm mostly convinced that pushing study and book work too early is a bad thing, I still feel some kind of strange pressure to conform to the current norm that goes the other direction (pushing literacy learning earlier and earlier while adult literacy rates decline) but I try to restrain myself from acting like a taskmaster over the workbooks.