We always knew that we wanted to homeschool. We just assumed that it would be during the high school years. Once all the basics had been taught I could easily teach school from home. No one was more surprised that I ended up homeschooling so quickly more than me.
I believe that God gives us all individual strengths and weaknesses. There are things we are bad at and things we excel at. None of these makes us any better than anyone else. Just different.
We specifically chose the school we went to because of it’s curriculum. It had a strong focus on a classical education. Since reading was so difficult for my child I knew I wanted a strong start in Language Arts. However, my child excels at math. In kindergarten the teacher noticed this early on and began “encoding and decoding” work to make it more challenging. She really is an amazing teacher. Pretty sure that woman is related to Mary Poppins.
The next year however, the teacher thought it was a fluke. Math went from exciting to boring. I heard things like, “I don’t remember what I learned”. Then I started to receive complaints about behavior, “Please stop your child from planking on the desks during class”.
Trying to Get Assistance
When I told the teacher that I suspected it was boredom and a lack of being challenged causing these issues she gave my child a basic electronic math aptitude test. When it came back exceptionally high I was told it was probably a mistake or a computer error.
At home I began to supplement things like Beast Academy which I had found while doing my own research on the internet. It’s such an amazing program. But this meant that I was sending my child to school and then teaching math lessons at home.
At this point I went to the head of the school simply because I didn’t know what else to do. I was told they would be willing to administer more testing but not to expect much as most kids couldn’t sit through the three hours of testing at such a young age. The test came back higher than the first one. I remember feeling so relieved. I thought I was finally going to get my child the needed assistance to keep school challenging and engaging. It never happened.
To the schools credit, they did try their best to provide assistance. They tried to do pull outs and enrichment classes. But as soon as the pandemic came, the assistance stopped. When I asked about more assistance I was told there were no more resources to help.
With distance learning we were starting school at 8 in the morning and sometimes weren’t finishing until 5 or 6 in the evening. The chaos of logging in and daily changes made me feel like I was losing my mind. I was literally homeschooling on someone else’s schedule. A schedule that wasn’t working.
The Last Straw
One day we had a one on one zoom meeting with our teacher and she asked how things were going. The reply, “I hate learning” was all she received. I knew at that moment things had to change. My husband came home and I declared I was going to homeschool. Winter break was coming up. He simply relplied, “if you can put together a schedule in two weeks we can try it.” That’s how my journey began.
I picked up a copy of The Well Trained Mind and began creating a schedule. If you haven’t read this book, order it now. It has step by step instructions on how to put together your own curriculum. It follows a classical education and is an incredible guide for anyone wanting to homeschool. It’s a great jumping off point.
Just like that, we started homeschooling two weeks later. I was terrified I would be a failure. So many hours were spent researching every curriculum I could find. Phone calls were made to anyone who had homeschooled, asking for advice. Four months later the school year ended we realized that not only had we completed it early, it had gone really well.
What I Learned
Some days were hard especially in the beginning. But it got easier each day. I was constantly worried that I wouldn’t do things right. I thought that my child would end up with learning gaps. Honestly, I probably put far to much pressure on myself. But that’s how I felt.
It’s very important to understand that distance learning is not homeschooling. It’s a form of school at home. Homeschool can be what you want and need it to be for your child. For me, the wonderful thing about homeschool was that for the first time I was able to build a curriculum that would meet the specific needs of my child. I was able to immediately correct learning issues because I was the one grading the papers. If we needed more time on a subject, we could take it. If we had the subject down and it was getting boring, we moved on.
At the end of the year we decided we had made the best decision we could have made. We chose to continue it through another year. So here I am, homeschooling and hoping to share my story with others.
Homeschooling is not for everyone. I completely understand why people send their kids to school. There are many factors which make homeschooling unavailable to parents. But I am sure there are other moms out there who have wanted to try homeschooling but are nervous or afraid. Just know it’s very possible. Maybe this story will give you the confidence to educate your child in the way you have always wanted to. It was definitely the best education decision we made for our family.