Our Life Changing Decision: We’re Going to Homeschool Our Children

School3059671572_de84735b4eA few years back when my son was just in first grade, he suffered from a serious incident that happened to him at school.  I’m not at liberty to say what that incident was, but my husband and I were horrified to find out that it had occurred many times before we found out.  When we asked Bookworm about it, he was forthcoming.

We reported it to the school and didn’t send him back to school.  At first we thought he’d just be out a few days until it became obvious that the school was not handling things in a way we would like.

During the days that he was home, I briefly thought about homeschooling, but at the time, I had a 6 month old and a just turned two year old.  Homeschooling seemed impossible and too out there for me.

By the next week, we had enrolled him in a different school.

The Problem Is Back Again

Everything was fine until recently when we learned the person responsible for the incidents when our son was in first grade will be at his school next year.  We expressed concerns to the administration at his school, and we were told that the school does not share our concern.

I prayed, I talked with my husband, and I talked to Bookworm.  I thought about my girls and how they were set to start at Bookworm’s school next year, too.

For nights, I had trouble sleeping.

For Now, Homeschooling Is the Best Fit

And then, little by little, I came to the conclusion that our best option right now is to homeschool.  Surprisingly, when I brought this up to my husband, he agreed.

Those of you who are on Facebook know that I was waiting to hear what the administration would do.  While I waited, I researched homeschooling and I reached out to other people I know who homeschool.

I knew, deep in my heart, that Bookworm wouldn’t be able to continue to attend the school.

I don’t take homeschooling lightly.  In fact, I’m a bit intimidated by the whole idea.

While my girls are eager to do ABCMouse.com, and I see them learning so much every day, I worry about being the one who will teach them to read.  What if I don’t do it right?  What if Bookworm falls behind in his studies?

But between the first school’s lack of action and the second school’s lack of concern, my husband and I have given up on private schools.  The public schools around here aren’t where we want to send our children, either.

And honestly, when I see reports on the news, I’m shocked by the way some teens behave.  I know it’s not like this everywhere, but when I see reports of teen girls and boys being harassed and bullied online and then committing suicide, I feel ill.  I can’t understand teen girls who pass out at parties and then get raped.  I don’t understand the rapists who share images of the rape and post it on social media.

As a mother to both a son and daughters, I worry about them.

I don’t know if we’ll homeschool forever.  Right now our goal is just to get through the first year and see how it goes.  I know it will be a big adjustment for Bookworm.  It’ll be a big adjustment for me!  But I also think it’s the absolute right move for our family right now.

If you’re a homeschooler, I’d appreciate any advice you have to give a newbie!

Photo courtesy of ND Strupler via Flicker.com

Comments

  1. One of my good friends was homeschooled. I know it can go great. My only bit of advice would be to make sure your kids are still exposed to many social settings with their peers. One of the important lessons of schooling is learning to interact with others around you and strangers. It will be tough but it can be done.

    Good luck!!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Bookworm is very social, and we’ve enrolled him in some activities, so I’m not too concerned about that aspect.

  2. Hi I totally understand your concerns. We went through bullying, poor education, and watched the decline of personal values in our county school before we decided to homeschool two years ago. My 9 year old is an enthusiastic reader and to me that makes homeschooling easier! My mistakes from my first year were structuring our school like the real school too much. This made for a very bland day! The next year we decided to focus on math and then check out books on interesting topics in history and science from our library. My daughter liked this method much better! Good luck and I will be following your posts as to how it goes, Liz

    • Thanks, Liz. It’s amazing what goes on at the schools, even when you try to pick a “better” school for your children. I’ll be blogging about my journey. Like your daughter, Bookworm loves to read, so I’m hoping that is helpful as we transition to this new way of learning.

  3. As a veteran homeschooler of now 16 years, I can say you can do it. We have had one child graduate from college and be accepted to graduate school, one a junior in college this fall and 3 at home. I don’t know what state you live in, so you may have some regulations that I don’t have in the state of Illinois. Even so, relax and give yourself and your kids time this fall to adjust. If you have questions, ask those homeschoolers you know already.

    KellyH

    • I love hearing success stories like yours. Bookworm already has some colleges in mind that he would like to attend, and I actually called their admissions area to see if he did end up being homeschooled for the rest of his education if it would be to his detriment admission-wise. I was surprised to hear that both colleges welcome homeschoolers. Of course, college is a long way off. 🙂

  4. Yay! I will keep your family in my prayers. Even though I’m a former public school language arts teacher (6-12 grade) I was terrified to try to teach my own children to read and write.

    My best advice:
    1- you don’t homeschool for the same amount of hours that a traditional school does. So if you’re finished by 11am it doesn’t mean you aren’t “doing it right”!
    2- don’t feel like you have to have your child complete every activity and every worksheet. I didn’t do that in the public school! If your child masters a concept move on.
    3- what works for one child may not work for another. Homechooling is always changing and transforming for us. Reach out for advice and sift through to see what might work for you. There really isn’t ONE best curriculum. There are many!!
    4- have fun! Who says school has to be boring?!?! Go on field trips. Do real life math (baking, building, etc).

    Please blog through your journey! We who homeschool love to read others’ thoughts and experiences. You are not alone.

    • Thanks for the advice, Kelly. I do plan to blog about the journey. I’m a former college instructor, so I think the biggest challenge for me will be getting out of the school teacher mentality. 🙂

  5. I’m not sure if I have ever mentioned this before or not, but I was homeschooled. From 2nd grade through 4th grade, then again in 6th grade through 9th grade. I can’t remember exactly why I ended up going to a public school for 5th grade but it might have been something like my mom was planning on going back to work or something.

    Overall, I did well with it. The re-entry into the school system for 10th grade was a bit rough, but that was more because they didn’t know how to handle an incoming sophomore who didn’t have any true freshman credits to go off of.

    One thing that I wish had happened differently:
    – more socialization. Homeschooling is a bit of a lonely schooling. Aside from parents and siblings, it would have been nice to have a few more kids my age to do activities with.

    Find a good homeschooling group in your area. There’s probably a couple. Not only will they be super helpful in getting started, and resources, but they should do group activities with the other homeschoolers that make for fun field trips.

    Good luck!

    • I didn’t know that. I’ll have to ask you about your experience when I see you at FinCon this year. We signed him up for soccer, and he’ll still be able to sing in the children’s choir like he did when he was in school because we’re not switching churches. We’re looking into also signing him up for Boy Scouts, but during the first year, I don’t want to schedule too many activities and be overwhelmed. We’re still on the hunt for a co-op, too, but that also might wait a year.

  6. It is indeed a big decision. It’s hard to really understand the background that I know you tried hard to provide without the context of the issues at hand. I’m sure you have your reasons for not posting more details, but for me anyways, it makes it a little abstract. Good luck!

    • Yes, I know. I revealed as much as I could while trying to respect Bookworm’s privacy. In addition, some people from his school read this blog, so I had to be a bit vague. Still, you can know that we wouldn’t make the decision to pull him out of the first school midyear lightly, and we didn’t make the decision to homeschool lightly.

  7. I homeschooled my oldest for 2 years and youngest for 3. They were in 3rd and 5th when I started. I created my own curriculum which was heavy on math, science and history. Both were already reading above high school level and loved to read, so that wasn’t an issue. We were able to finally get them in a charter school that suited them. When we moved out to the country they matriculated to a regular public high school and middle school. The oldest graduated #1 in her high school and is on the Dean’s list (all four semesters so far) with a 3.96 at a major university. The youngest graduates tomorrow #2 in her class and has a full tuition scholarship to a major university. So….homeschooling certainly didn’t hurt my kids. I would not have been able to teach them languages or calculus, etc. I know I’m bragging, but honestly, I’m sick of people putting down homeschooling as an option.

    I did not invest a lot of money in online curriculum or programs. We did a very hands on, active, fun, style of learning that met our state’s requirements. You can find a lot of books at parent teacher stores or through scholastic. My advice is to make sure you stick with a fact-based, science/math curriculum if you want your children to matriculate back into public or private school at some point. Let them read fun things so they learn to enjoy reading. Remember, if they look like they’re having fun then they’re probably learning.

    Make sure they get plenty of social time at church, scouts, playgroups, sports and art groups. Some kids do great long term, but that just wasn’t right for our family.

    • Congratulations on your accomplishment as well as your children’s! I love hearing of homeschooling success stories, especially since we want Bookworm to go to college.

  8. isabella says:

    I am an elementary school teacher and now work as a substitute teacher in the Minneapolis area public schools (elementary level), and I heartily support your decision to home school. You will accomplish more in 2 hours than can be taught in a full day of public school. I used to be a little down on homeschooling (thought it was too conservative), but I have changed my tune. When I am in the classroom, I see how much of my time is dedicated to discipline and helping the slower learners keep up. The public schools are very standardized test driven, which is mostly reading and math, so very little time is devoted to science and almost zilch to history and geography.

    I am also appalled at the poor writing skills of the upper elementary grades. Very little time is devoted to good old- fashioned spelling, grammar, and sentence construction. My four children went to elementary and high school in the 1970’s and 80’s, and I have seen education slip since then. Even the younger teachers are lacking in so many of the fundamental writing skills and critical thinking skills. I see gaps in education and learning. I was just in a classroom a few weeks ago in which the teacher thought the
    Salem witch trials occurred in Salem, Oregon in the 1800’s. Of course, I kept my mouth shut!

    That said, I do hope that it was not a bullying situation that initiated your decision. It just irks me that this happens in our schools and the good kids are put on the run. Since you have made your decision, you probably do not want to take it any further, but I know of bullying cases in which the parents said they would call the police or retain a lawyer. In those instances, the school dealt with the problem pronto!

    • Melissa says:

      I used to think of homeschooling as too radical and intense, too. Funny to think of that now. I can’t believe the teacher taught that about the Salem Witch Trials. Even if she didn’t know, just some basic research would give her the right info. Yikes! It must have been hard not to say anything.

  9. I’m looking forward to reading about your homeschooling journey! We’ve considered it for future kids, but can’t really make that decision yet. 🙂 One of the useful tips I’ve run across is to let someone else keep track of administrative work like grades and other records. If there’s a possibility that your kids will want to attend college, it can be easier for them to go through the application process with a proper transcript and diploma from an accredited private school. Global Village School is an example that looked good to me.

    • Melissa says:

      I think letting someone else do the grading is important. I’ll do some of it, but I’ll also pay for the service for a counselor from the program we’ve chosen to grade some of Bookworm’s work.

  10. I think that is amazing you chose to and are able to undertake such an important task. Sorry about the causes that led you to, but surely your kids will do great at home. If I have children I am seriously considering homeschooling. I read about unschooling a bit on zenhabits and discovershareinspire, it is an interesting concept where the kid is responsible for his education and learning what he is interested in, he is just pushed to learn something. good luck!

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks. I’m not happy about the circumstances, but I really do think homeschooling is the path we are to take.

  11. I am so excited for you! I think that given the back ground,you are doing the right thing. I am homeschooling my boys this fall for the first time as well. I had a father of a local homeschooling family tell me that God gives each parent the unique ability to teach their children! That was a huge encouragement for me.

    • Melissa says:

      I’ve heard that, too, and it is reassuring and inspiring at the same time. Keep us posted on your homeschooling journey, too.

  12. Stephanie says:

    I took my kids out of the public school system when they were in the middle of 1st and 3rd grades. (They will be starting 8th and 10th in the fall.) I don’t regret my decision to homeschool them one little bit. My oldest would have absolutely fallen through the cracks. He is meticulous in his work, and what would “normally” take one child ten minutes to complete, it sometimes takes him twice as long. It’s not a matter of him not knowing the content. He just goes at the pace of a little old man…he’s been that way since the day he was born. Homeschooling has also given my daughter the freedom to persue her passion of dance. She often does her school work around her dance hours. With her being a night owl, she is much more receptive to doing Algebra at 10 pm versus 10 am.
    With all of this being said, I promise you, there will be days where you want to pull your hair out, cry in frustration, or beg for a few minutes of solitude. Don’t fret…it’s all completely normal. Just keep your eyes on the big prize. You will be raising well-rounded, self-confident, “think outside the box” individuals. 🙂

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks for the insight and encouragement. I’m hoping we will be able to homeschool for many years. My son is a bit like yours. 🙂

  13. I am contemplating homeschooling my kids once they become school age (oldest is 2.5). My oldest also enjoys abcmouse. I have seen time4learning.com and it looks like a good platform to use if your kids enjoy the abcmouse lessons.

  14. Heather says:

    Welcome to the homeschooling world! : ) We have homeschooled our 5 from the start; they are now 13, 11, 10, 10 and 9. It is something I never imagined I would do, and would now miss terribly if we didn’t. My 2 cents:

    – with your husband, write down your goals for your childrens’ education – what is important to you that they learn while they are in your house? Then work backwards to make a plan (kind of like with finances, right?!?)
    – we haven’t done grades until 7th grade, and barely any “tests”, also. My kids had no concept of what a “B” or “C” was and when I would explain it, they would see no point. : ) They understood the percentages. We do some now just to get them used to the system. I never saw the point of saying “well, you got 75% on your math test”; we just did math every day, and didn’t move on until they fixed any (and understood) they got wrong.

    – enjoy it all and don’t be afraid to quit things that aren’t working or shift the “plan” as needed. The thing I would research and review most before picking is math – it’s better to stick with one math curriculum if possible.

    • Melissa says:

      Thank you for your advice! We definitely need to have a meeting to determine our educational goals.

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