Hello to the wide world of bloggers everywhere! I am Java Jo Mama (aka Sarah) a 26 year old mom of 2 boys(I am expecting my first girl just after Christmas). I homeschool my oldest son - he's 7 - and I plan to homeschool all of my children as they grow. My second boy is almost 10 months old and he has been walking and getting into everything for more than a month now. I am a stay at home mom and I wouldn't want it any other way. My wonderful husband just turned 40 and has started going back to school on top of working a 40 hour week. He works the second shift, so our family is on a night-owl schedule so the kiddos get to see daddy every day before bedtime. We live in San Diego, California and try to play at the beach every weekend.
Why do I homeschool, you ask? I did the "normal" thing with Artist (my 7 year old): part-time preschool for 2 years, kidnergarden, and (most of) first grade in public school. But we had some pretty major problems with school. My son wasn't progressing in the reading department as fast as was required and he was bored with everything else in school because it was too basic for him. Bigger kids picked on him at recess and stole the good parts of his lunch. He got in trouble for running at recess. He got in trouble for not paying attention in class. He started becoming a class-clown. So I spent an hour every night working with him on reading, then we would spend an hour on learning about things he wanted to know, followed by an hour (at least) on an art project of his choosing. No play time, no fun family time, and my son was becoming very depressed because he wasn't progressing in the reading department. He got glasses, it helped some, but he was no where near where the school required him to be in reading and would either be held back or made to do summer school. He was WAY ahead of his peers in math and science skills, his advanced vocabulary made it hard for most kids his age to understand him, he knew more about history and literature than kids several years older than he was and his imagination was beyond stellar, not the best canidate for being held behind in my opinion. He was labeled a liar and I was told to get him checked for ADD. He hated school and anything to do with learning at this point. He would beg to stay home sick every morning. So, I made a HUGE decision and pulled him out of school. It was one of the best things I have ever done for us. At first, we didn't do a whole lot. I let him play video games and watch TV, we read books and talked about everything under the sun. I wanted him to get happy again, we're still working on that.
How do we Homeschool? Unfortunately, my son is still pretty scarred from his school experience. He doesn't do "forced learning" as he calls it, and is very reluctant to try anything new because "learning is too hard". We have a basic plan for our days: story time, art project, subject of the day, life skills. We don't unschool, exactly, nor do we follow any set lesson plans. We take it one day at a time, without rushing through anything. He still doesn't read at grade level, or at all if he can help it. I sneak reading and writing into our day by having him write letters to grandparents and keep a daily log of our school activities. He sometimes illustrates his own comic books and asks for help in writing the text. I think he will be ready to read in the next year or so as long as I don't try to force it on him too much.
I decided to start a blog because, well, I don't get out much these days and I really hope to be able to connect with other moms who understand some of what I am going through. I also want to do something for myself. It seems like I never do anything just for me these days, but such is the life of a mom.