Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer For This Homeschooling Family . . .

. . . is pretty much the same as any other time of the year. We don't take the summer off, the way most people do. We've found that taking a whole summer off makes the children lose their momentum, their motivation, and they forget everything they learned the year before and we have to do a lot of review. Instead, we take our vacation here and there throughout the rest of the year. For instance, there are days when I just don't feel good. Or we have a lot of errands to run. Or we have dentist appointments. I tend to count those as vacation days, and resume school as normal the next day. This way, we're still getting in our 180 school days a year, but the vacation days are placed where we need them to be, not where other people think they ought to be.


Karlene said...

I sooo loved that flexibility during the very short time I was able to home school. But we counted errand day (learning to shop and count money and following homemade maps to the post office) and visits to the dentist (learning all about teeth) were also school days. In fact, every day can be a school day. Why should learning be limited to only 180 days a year?

Tristi Pinkston said...

I completely agree -- we also work as many little "lessons" in where we can. And as doctrinal learning is part of our curriculum, we also count church as part of school time.

Kimberly said...

Hi there! I found your name through a review you wrote on Amazon (Josi Kilpack). I'm only just beginning to delve into LDS fiction, and your reflections on it are very enjoyable.

What caught my eye most though, is that you live in Pleasant Grove. My best friend lives there as well (moved there last year), and I couldn't let the coincidence slide by unremarked upon.

I'm sliding my bookmark in here and look forward to delving in deeper.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Hi Kimberly,

Glad you found me! I actually moved from Pleasant Grove recently and now live in Orem, but I did live in PG for eight years and enjoyed my time there quite a bit.

Lynne said...

Tristi - I have a couple of questions about homeschooling. Do you teach your children by yourself or do you work with other parents and teach as a group? If you work with other parents, do you each take a specific subject and teach a group of children? How do you know what to teach? Does the state have certain requirements for homeschooling? Do you give grades? Do the children have to pass specific tests like they would in public school?

I know, that's more than a couple of questions, but I'm really interested in how this works. Since I've been doing this blog, I've noticed SO many mothers who homeschool.

This is probably too much to answer in a comment, so feel free to e-mail me. Thanks!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Hey Lynne,

I bet a lot of readers will be interested in my answers to your questions, so I'll answer here.

Your questions:

Do you teach your children by yourself or do you work with other parents and teach as a group?

While there are a lot of homeschool co-ops out there that do work together, I prefer to teach by myself. I like the freedom to do things my own way, to do it at different times each day, depending what's going on, etc.

How do you know what to teach? Does the state have certain requirements for homeschooling?

As far as knowing what to teach, there are scads of workbooks and teacher's editions available online and at school supply stores. I get all my materials through stores like that.

The state of Utah is actually pretty vague in their requirements. They're starting to put together more of a list of what they expect, but up until very recently, they only required that you get in 180 days of school and that the students showed proficience in certain areas. They do like you to keep an attendance record. You will find that the requirements for homeschool vary from state to state.

Do you give grades? I do not. If the child did the page correctly, I praise them. If they missed some, I help them figure out what went wrong, and then I praise them. I think grades do very little for the self-esteem.

Do the children have to pass specific tests like they would in public school?

I give them spelling and math tests, and then check for general understanding on other subjects. But the state doesn't do a battery of tests. They do in Nevada, I know that because I lived there as a child, but in Utah they don't. You do have to pass a college entrance exam to go to college, however.

Anything else you'd like to ask, please feel free!

Lynne said...

Tristi - Thanks for answering. I really have to take my hat off to you and all the other homeschooling moms. I don't think I would have had the patience to teach my girls at home. Or the knowledge or the trust in myself to do it and do it correctly.

Tristi Pinkston said...


To me, that's kind of a metaphor for motherhood! I don't know if I'm doing either one of them correctly or not -- I'm just doing the best I can, learning from my mistakes, and trying again tomorrow. My kids seem to be happy and well-adjusted, so I'll take it. :)

violetlady said...

I think home schooling is such a great thing to do. Thanks for answering Lynne's questions that reflect questions most of us have. I used to think that kids missed out on the social aspect of school (sports, friends, etc.), but there are so many things they can join outside of school (church activities, local sports teams) to give them the opportunity to bond.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Violetlady --

Yes, there are lots of chances for kids to socialize. The best part is, the parents are more aware of who their kids are associating with. When your kids are off at school, you don't know if they're being fed all sorts of erroneous information by their friends. I like knowing who my kids' friends are, and their parents.

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