I posted this as a response to a family member's comments here. But I figured it would be buried there, and this family member's concerns were probably not only hers. Since the central purpose of this blog is to help family and friends (and interested strangers) understand what we do, and why, I'm happy to share my answer with you all.
In this post, I didn't say "regular" school could NOT provide these skills; I said my girls ARE learning them. That's key because I OFTEN have people ask me about HOW in the WORLD kids could EVER learn these skills without going to REGULAR school. Kids do. All over the world, in a variety of educational settings. The last line ("...there are no better tools any teacher can give them.") also may have been read as a blow AGAINST "regular" schools, but I meant ANY teacher - a parent, "regular" school teacher, coach, pastor, family member, stranger or friend. I never mentioned "regular" teachers in that line either.
I agree with that their spelling and rote mathematical skills are weak. But their understanding of math far surpasses the state standards for their grades, and when we sit down and "do spelling" they pass their grade-level lists with flying colors. When FOCUSED on SPELLING, they test well at grade level both on paper and verbally, but it doesn't translate to their personal writing, their recreational writing. We work together to correct their writing assignments (I send E to the dictionary to find the answers herself these days in hopes that the extra effort will help the answer STICK in her mind), but I don't correct their journals or their letters. Those are their personal writings, and they should be able to do whatever they like with them. However, I HAVE talked to both of them about the need to spell correctly so people can UNDERSTAND their correspondence. V takes this to heart much more than E does.
There is some debate in the math world about which is more important - memorization of facts or understanding of the process(es) needed to solve any given problem. To date, we've focused more on UNDERSTANDING HOW to solve a problem more than memorizing the answer. After all, it's GREAT to know that 12 x 12 = 144, but what do you do when it's 5,678,934 x 7,893,425? THEN you need to know HOW to arrive at the answer. STILL... it is SO much easier to find the solution if you KNOW answers to smaller problems (12 x 12, etc.) The girls each have their own math workbooks. Once they wrap them up, we're going to refocus on the basics (through various methods of repetition) in hopes that both schools of thought will meld - HOW to solve a problem, AND JUST KNOWING basic math FACTS.
Will they go to "regular" school? I don't know for sure. We never thought we'd homeschool, but here were are. There may come a time when the public school works better for us all. There ARE some fabulous teachers who I adore, and the girls would, too. Whether=2 0they continue here or take the brick-n-mortar route, they will NOT simply be allowed to pass with a GED. They'll have a diploma and complete the CAHSEE. I HOPE they go to college. They already TALK about going to college, and at ages 6 and 8, I think that puts them on the right (collegiate) track mentally. (V wants to go to Cal Poly and study either art or science or chemistry - with my friend Lara - or equine biology. E wants to go to Hancock College then to an as-of-yet unnamed university to study dance, or art, design, history or maybe writing...depends on the day.)
Will they go to the prom? Possibly. Homeschoolers have proms, too, believe it or not. Play sports? If they so choose, but on club teams if not school teams. Music? There's a tough one - neither our high schools nor the community provide opportunities for musicians interested in strings or piano, so given the girls have chosen violin and piano at this point, the only way they'll get the group performance experience (whether we're homeschooling or in traditional school) is if we join Youth Symphony in San Luis Obispo. That's MORE likely if we're homeschooling because our schedule could be tailored around the symphony schedule. (Rehearsal is too early for Santa Maria kids to make it in time after the typical school day.)
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