We started homeschooling in 2013, when Bookworm was in 4th grade. We were just going to try it for a year, but it turned out to be a good fit for our family, so we kept homeschooling. PB & J Girl and Cuddle Bug have never been to school.
I still remember our first year homeschooling Bookworm; we used Sonlight’s Core D (as it was called back then), and we both loved it. I remember either that year or the year after, we sat down together with the Sonlight catalog and marked all of the Sonlight Cores Bookworm would use as he homeschooled through high school. We even planned out his high school electives.
Thinking back on that memory now, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at my naivete.
Homeschooling has definitely not been that smooth, linear path I planned for years ago.
In the last few years, our lives feel like they’ve been turned upside down. As a result, we’ve made some changes to our homeschool; the changes might be temporary, I hope they’re temporary, but who knows now? Now I’m taking it one month at a time, and I’m definitely not planning years and years ahead in the future as I once did.
Enrolling in an Online Public School
This year, we made a radical change for our family and decided to enroll all of the kids in an online, public school. There are a few reasons why we did this.
Bookworm was not motivated at all to do school. He’s a very bright kid, much brighter than either my husband or I, but he lacks motivation. For the first three years we homeschooled, everything was good. He was an eager learner; then, when he hit 7th grade, we hit a wall. I was tired of cheering, cajoling, bargaining, and expending a lot of energy on a kid who had no interest in book learning.
This year, he’s a 9th grader, so we decided to enroll him in an online public school. He does better with firm deadlines and being accountable to someone else. I hope that he stays in the online school for the rest of his high school education, in part because he can take college classes while in high school, and the online school will pick up the tab.
One of my children was struggling with reading and writing. Letters were flipped backward, numbers were reversed, handwriting was hard to read and spelling was atrocious. This child can read, but the child reads very, very slowly and can have trouble with comprehension. I noticed this problem a few years ago, but I thought the child would grow out of it, but the problems still remain now.
I asked our local school district for testing, and they tried to tell me what I was reporting was on the low end of normal for kids at that age. I disagreed. In the end, last spring, they gave my child a quick, 10 minute test, dismissed me, and told me some simple strategies to help improve reading ability such as using a piece of paper to cover the rest of the text so the child could focus on only that line (s)he was reading.
I was fed up. As soon as we started online school this August, I requested testing. The online school has been wonderful. They took my concerns seriously, and they hired an educational psychologist from the local university to test the child. The test was 3.5 hours long, and in the end, I not only got this child’s IQ score, but also a diagnosis (specific learning disability in basic reading skills, reading fluency skills, and written expression). Essentially, this child has dyslexia.
We were also given a long list of educational suggestions to help this child have an easier time with schooling. The child will now receive one hour of specialized instruction through the school to help with issues caused by dyslexia and assignments have been modified to make them less exhausting for a child with dyslexia.
Homeschool Plans Derailed
In the last year, I have discovered that I have not one but two kids with high functioning autism (Asperger’s, though they don’t use that term anymore) and another child with dyslexia. All of my kids qualify for and have an IEP.
Certainly, homeschooling is never easy, but these extra challenges make it more intensive. I would still like to homeschool the girls, but we’ll see. For my husband and I, the most important thing is to place our kids where they can do their best and learn and grow as they should. Right now, that’s through an online school. We’re still essentially homeschooling, but it’s in a way far different than I ever planned when I naively browsed the Sonlight catalog with Bookworm years ago.
If you have or currently homeschool, have you found your homeschool journey taking a different path than you had ever anticipated?