An Unexpected Homeschool Journey

I pulled my oldest child out of public school a few weeks ago, and now I’m homeschooling him. Don’t choke, or spit out your drink. No one is more surprised by this than I am. Sure, I’ve talked about it for a while, but I’ve also talked about a lot of things that never happened. I assumed this would end up on that list, too.

More than a couple of people have voiced their opinions on it, and not everyone is supportive. Some have shared this with me directly, while for others it’s been filtered in. However, no one else’s opinions carry any weight on my decision. Though, I do understand why they have them. For one thing, a few years ago, I couldn’t have handled it, and I assume some people think my life hasn’t changed much from the days I was still in the midst grief after my husband’s death. But as time moves forward, people change. Most importantly is that when God calls us to something, He also equips us.

Besides that, not everyone is a fan of homeshcooling in general. There can be quite the stigma attached to it, but stigma has never stopped me from anything. The most common topics coming to me seem to be:

What about socialization?
My son was concerned about this one himself, wondering if he would still be able to have friends. Not only does he get to keep his old friends, there is a Huge homeschool community around us that is very active, so getting plugged in isn’t going to be hard. I don’t what it’s like in other areas, but I’ve already heard moms talk about this being a great place for homeschool families. There are so many activities and groups. The welcome and support I’ve gotten already has been incredible!

Homeschool kids are weird!
Okay, let’s get real here. There are weird kids who are homeschooled. But have you honestly never met a weird kid in traditional school? Of course you have. More than one. I’m confident of that. There are weird people everywhere. (Judge me for calling kids weird, I’m not going to lose any sleep.) Heck, anyone who doesn’t act the way society deems as “normal” can easily get that label anyway.
But can we also discuss for a moment what “weird” means in society today anyway? Not always, but often, children who are homeschooled are more respectful, follow the rules, and have better manners. Just the other day, I heard a doctor say that social media is causing children to be socially awkward by allowing them so much time on their devices and not interacting face to face.

What about the quality of education?
This one depends. I have spent HOURS researching curricula and hybrid schools. We have toured several hybrids, and I’m leaning towards that for next year. I have gotten tons of feed back from other moms, too. The quality is out there. It really depends on what each family uses. But the beauty of homeschool is that you can pick and choose what works best for your child(ren), and if one thing isn’t working you can stop using it and pick something else (except for most of the hybrids, as they have a set curriculum).

Common Core has not served my children well for different reasons. My daughter is in the gifted program at her school, but she only goes for half a day each week. That’s not enough to challenge her, so it’s dependent on the teacher. Some years have been good, others have not. She gets bored easily and loses ground when she’s not challenged. No one really has a leg to stand on in my experience when talking quality in terms of Common Core.

As for my son? Let me use this year as a example since it was one of the final straws. He seemed to pick up every bug there is this school year, got the flu, and then he ended up with bronchitis. He missed 6 days of school in a row shortly before I pulled him out. One of his teachers told him the lessons he missed were online and to look there. When I told her he needed extra help she said for him to come in early one morning. All she did was give him a make up test. I’m sure you can guess how that went. I wasn’t happy about it, but I let it go because I was ready to just be done with public school for him anyway.

My son is smart, yet his grades don’t reflect that in every subject. He has to work really hard at some things. That’s pretty typical, but he’s one of those kids who was slipping through the cracks. He was getting by, but he was struggling in some areas. He wasn’t getting what he needed to catch up and keep up with his peers, and I was worried about what next year would look like for him. One of his teachers said he should be in the Advanced class for that subject, but because he struggled in another area it kept him back.

The beauty of homeschooling is that we can work at his pace and be on the level he should be on. He doesn’t have to be held back in some classes and struggle to keep up in other classes.

Why do we send our children to school anyway? Is it free child care while parents work, or is it for them to get the best education they can so that they can succeed as adults? Homeschool isn’t a good fit for everyone, and it may not be the best fit for our family forever, but it certainly is right now, at least with my son. My daughter wants to homeschool because she doesn’t want to be held back by her peers and grade level. I’m praying about it because there is one teacher at her school whom I know would be a good fit next year, but there’s no guarantee she will get her.

Are you qualified to teach your children?
There is no one better qualified to influence and teach my children than me. I teach them all the time really, just not in a structured setting.
Now, if you’re asking if I have a teaching degree (those who have said this using other words know the answer), no I do not. I could sit here an tell you how many times I made the Dean’s List in college and my GPA while I pursued a Master’s degree, and you’d likely be impressed. However, my good grades and intelligence shouldn’t be on trail, nor are they completely relevant. Some wonderful moms out there who never went to college are great at creating their own curriculum. I couldn’t do it. And thankfully I don’t have have to. I get the privilege of using a curriculum already proven to work and teach my children what they need to know.

In just the few weeks that my son has been home, I have seen him become a completely different child. He’s happy and smiling almost all the time. The stress from school isn’t there, and a weight has been lifted off of him. He is more obedient, respectful, and thoughtful; his true nature and character are shining through once again. He’s sleeping better, too. He’s also nicer and more loving towards his sister.
But here’s the real kicker for all the skeptics and naysayers out there who are anti-homeschooling – my son is learning. We had to fall back a bit in a couple of subjects, and are working to get him caught up where he needs to be, but it’s amazing how quickly it’s sinking in.

For me, the best part is seeing that he wants to learn. Maybe it’s because he’s seeing his successes instead of being frustrated with a system that was failing him. Public schools are overcrowded, so it’s not that the teachers don’t care. Sometimes they just don’t have the time to give, but that’s not acceptable to leave my child in that situation when I have the ability to give him what he needs.

We are still adjusting and it’s still a bit overwhelming, but not like it was the first week. I’ve been blessed to have several other homeschool moms help guide me along this new journey. I’m so thankful for the amazing community that we are getting to know. I’m seeing people who are kind and go out of their way to make others feel welcomed. I see smart kids – I don’t see weird ones. I see different perspectives of how to homeschool and people who want to help you find the right one for your family even if it’s different than theirs.

One mom said, “Homeschool is not meant to be public school done at home.” When I realized that it was as if a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. That environment isn’t a good fit for our family right now, so I shouldn’t try to replicate it. It’s a breath of fresh air knowing I can do this on our terms. I feel such peace about being on this journey even while I’m still working on getting my footing, and that’s how I know it’s the right decision for us.

An Unexpected Homeschool Journey

I pulled my oldest child out of public school a few weeks ago, and now I’m homeschooling him. Don’t choke, or spit out your drink. No one is more surprised by this than I am. Sure, I’ve talked about it for a while, but I’ve also talked about a lot of things that never happened. I assumed this would end up on that list, too.

More than a couple of people have voiced their opinions on it, and not everyone is supportive. Some have shared this with me directly, while for others it’s been filtered in. However, no one else’s opinions carry any weight on my decision. Though, I do understand why they have them. For one thing, a few years ago, I couldn’t have handled it, and I assume some people think my life hasn’t changed much from the days I was still in the midst grief after my husband’s death. But as time moves forward, people change. Most importantly is that when God calls us to something, He also equips us.

Besides that, not everyone is a fan of homeshcooling in general. There can be quite the stigma attached to it, but stigma has never stopped me from anything. The most common topics coming to me seem to be:

What about socialization?
My son was concerned about this one himself, wondering if he would still be able to have friends. Not only does he get to keep his old friends, there is a Huge homeschool community around us that is very active, so getting plugged in isn’t going to be hard. I don’t what it’s like in other areas, but I’ve already heard moms talk about this being a great place for homeschool families. There are so many activities and groups. The welcome and support I’ve gotten already has been incredible!

Homeschool kids are weird!
Okay, let’s get real here. There are weird kids who are homeschooled. But have you honestly never met a weird kid in traditional school? Of course you have. More than one. I’m confident of that. There are weird people everywhere. (Judge me for calling kids weird, I’m not going to lose any sleep.) Heck, anyone who doesn’t act the way society deems as “normal” can easily get that label anyway.
But can we also discuss for a moment what “weird” means in society today anyway? Not always, but often, children who are homeschooled are more respectful, follow the rules, and have better manners. Just the other day, I heard a doctor say that social media is causing children to be socially awkward by allowing them so much time on their devices and not interacting face to face.

What about the quality of education?
This one depends. I have spent HOURS researching curricula and hybrid schools. We have toured several hybrids, and I’m leaning towards that for next year. I have gotten tons of feed back from other moms, too. The quality is out there. It really depends on what each family uses. But the beauty of homeschool is that you can pick and choose what works best for your child(ren), and if one thing isn’t working you can stop using it and pick something else (except for most of the hybrids, as they have a set curriculum).

Common Core has not served my children well for different reasons. My daughter is in the gifted program at her school, but she only goes for half a day each week. That’s not enough to challenge her, so it’s dependent on the teacher. Some years have been good, others have not. She gets bored easily and loses ground when she’s not challenged. No one really has a leg to stand on in my experience when talking quality in terms of Common Core.

As for my son? Let me use this year as a example since it was one of the final straws. He seemed to pick up every bug there is this school year, got the flu, and then he ended up with bronchitis. He missed 6 days of school in a row shortly before I pulled him out. One of his teachers told him the lessons he missed were online and to look there. When I told her he needed extra help she said for him to come in early one morning. All she did was give him a make up test. I’m sure you can guess how that went. I wasn’t happy about it, but I let it go because I was ready to just be done with public school for him anyway.

My son is smart, yet his grades don’t reflect that in every subject. He has to work really hard at some things. That’s pretty typical, but he’s one of those kids who was slipping through the cracks. He was getting by, but he was struggling in some areas. He wasn’t getting what he needed to catch up and keep up with his peers, and I was worried about what next year would look like for him. One of his teachers said he should be in the Advanced class for that subject, but because he struggled in another area it kept him back.

The beauty of homeschooling is that we can work at his pace and be on the level he should be on. He doesn’t have to be held back in some classes and struggle to keep up in other classes.

Why do we send our children to school anyway? Is it free child care while parents work, or is it for them to get the best education they can so that they can succeed as adults? Homeschool isn’t a good fit for everyone, and it may not be the best fit for our family forever, but it certainly is right now, at least with my son. My daughter wants to homeschool because she doesn’t want to be held back by her peers and grade level. I’m praying about it because there is one teacher at her school whom I know would be a good fit next year, but there’s no guarantee she will get her.

Are you qualified to teach your children?
There is no one better qualified to influence and teach my children than me. I teach them all the time really, just not in a structured setting.
Now, if you’re asking if I have a teaching degree (those who have said this using other words know the answer), no I do not. I could sit here an tell you how many times I made the Dean’s List in college and my GPA while I pursued a Master’s degree, and you’d likely be impressed. However, my good grades and intelligence shouldn’t be on trail, nor are they completely relevant. Some wonderful moms out there who never went to college are great at creating their own curriculum. I couldn’t do it. And thankfully I don’t have have to. I get the privilege of using a curriculum already proven to work and teach my children what they need to know.

In just the few weeks that my son has been home, I have seen him become a completely different child. He’s happy and smiling almost all the time. The stress from school isn’t there, and a weight has been lifted off of him. He is more obedient, respectful, and thoughtful; his true nature and character are shining through once again. He’s sleeping better, too. He’s also nicer and more loving towards his sister.
But here’s the real kicker for all the skeptics and naysayers out there who are anti-homeschooling – my son is learning. We had to fall back a bit in a couple of subjects, and are working to get him caught up where he needs to be, but it’s amazing how quickly it’s sinking in.

For me, the best part is seeing that he wants to learn. Maybe it’s because he’s seeing his successes instead of being frustrated with a system that was failing him. Public schools are overcrowded, so it’s not that the teachers don’t care. Sometimes they just don’t have the time to give, but that’s not acceptable to leave my child in that situation when I have the ability to give him what he needs.

We are still adjusting and it’s still a bit overwhelming, but not like it was the first week. I’ve been blessed to have several other homeschool moms help guide me along this new journey. I’m so thankful for the amazing community that we are getting to know. I’m seeing people who are kind and go out of their way to make others feel welcomed. I see smart kids – I don’t see weird ones. I see different perspectives of how to homeschool and people who want to help you find the right one for your family even if it’s different than theirs.

One mom said, “Homeschool is not meant to be public school done at home.” When I realized that it was as if a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. That environment isn’t a good fit for our family right now, so I shouldn’t try to replicate it. It’s a breath of fresh air knowing I can do this on our terms. I feel such peace about being on this journey even while I’m still working on getting my footing, and that’s how I know it’s the right decision for us.

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