Friday, 20 April 2012

Homeschooling? Me?

I contemplated homeschooling my son - in this post i'm exlporing my reasons for it and how everything happened differently than i planned it

Hello there,

It looks like i’m not going to homeschool my son next year.
Let's step back and take a look at what happened and why I, who have NEVER considered homeschooling to be for anyone other than religious fundamentalists, seriously planned to do this in the first place.

1). The situation in viennese Schools isn’t the best overall, but our district is fairly catastrophic. I really don’t care where anyone comes from or where anyones parents come from, but i would like for all first graders to be able to speak the language that is used for teaching, thank you very much. If they don’t, they need to learn the language as quickly as possible to be able to understand their classmates and teachers. Yes, there should be a fund for that, that’s a good thing to spend tax money on. If there are a couple of kids that aren’t fluent in german, that’s no big deal. They will learn the language soon enough. But in the Schools that are closest to our home, there are perhaps two or three kids starting each year that ARE fluent in german, and no teacher in the world can teach 20+ kids in a language they don’t understand.

2). I know my kids need social contacts and the whole peer group thing is important, but i don’t like our district very much and i definetly don’t like its people. Is that really who i want my kids to hang out with and learn from?

3). I’ve seen with a couple of kids that the start of school stopped their fun they had with learning. My son is smart and interested in many things and i’m dreading the time where learning will become a chore for him. I would love for that point in time to be very, very far away. I have an examle of that – my friends daughter is very smart, but impatient and a bit of a wild child. She’s also very exact when it comes to coloring or glueing, so stuff like that takes a long time. The normal classroom situation is just not what she needs. She’s always behind and has to take work home that she didn’t finish in addition to her homework. She’s smart – it’s not like she can’t do the work, everything just takes soooo long because it has to be perfect and then she gets bored and distracted. It takes her two to three hours every day to get that stuff done. That girl is eight years old. She loves reading, but she doesn’t have the time to read much…

So, these were the main reasons for me to consider homeschooling, and i actually started preparing for it. I read so much, mostly things from mothers who homeschool, i had a couple of wonderful conversations with some fantastic people, and i was quite confident that i would be, in fact, able to pull this off. ’ So what changed?

1). I found a school that I actually like. It is fairly close and they have good tutoring programs for kids whose german isn’t too good, they start with english in first grade and they have a model class that i really, really liked. They teach the grades one through four in one classroom, with five to eight kids per grade. The kids have three to five years to finish the first four grades, and a lot of the work is Montessori based and the kids work things out for themselves.

2). My kids will have to learn to get along with all kinds of people, and while i would love to shelter them from all unleasant kids, i can not (and will not) do that. School is a somewhat controlled enviroment to meet these people and if things don’t work, there are grown ups to help.
3). I applied to the school, and even though there are only seven spots this year, we got one of them. My sons best friend is in the same class, she started last fall and their experience has so far been really good. The homework load is minimal and she can work at her own speed. I know my son will be really fast in math and slow when it comes to coloring, cutting or even writing. I hope he will not be judged on his weaknesses but his strengths in this class.
I am extremely happy we got in – but with a little bit of sadness mixed in. It would have been a great opportunity. I loved being there for my kids firsts – and now someone else gets to do this. We will continue our study time, i think – greatly reduced, maybe, but it’s not over completely.


  1. I know that the decision to homeschool, and then the change of decision was difficult. I never planned to homeschool, actually didn't think it was a good idea, until it became the only viable option for my daughter. Someone directed me to the Welcome to Homeschooling Guide and that made a world of difference for us. Just remember, the decision to send your son to school right now doesn't mean that you can't change your mind if the need arises. Homeschooling is not for everyone, but it is a great option for some families. We have been homeschooling for 5 years, and I can't imagine any other way now, even though I was against it to begin with. Best of luck, the school you have chosen sounds great!

    1. Hi linda, thank you for stopping by :-)
      You totally get it :-)

  2. We are debating the same for our son. I'm glad you have found a great answer to the situation. I hope it is a fruitful solution to a stressful problem! I want my sons to love learning as well and it's so hard to support that in any mass schooling system where the pace is at the speed of the slowest child.

  3. Thanks, Vee! Charlamommy, just remember that your child's attitude about learning is partially influenced by your attitude toward learning. As long as you model that learning is important, fun, exciting, etc., your child will see that and respond accordingly. If your child sees you make time in a busy schedule to curl up with a good book, then he will know that reading is important.