My husband and I talked about a lot of parenting “things” when we were first together. We discussed all about how we raise our children, what kind of parents we wanted to be and about “their” education. As most of us know, our “pre-parenting” times and ideals often change. You become more realistic and have a greater appreciation for your fellow parental posse. One thing that we never discussed, was schooling at home. So when this idea came up, it was a very foreign and an unsettling concept for me. Yes, I did work in a school setting already, my whole career has been working with children and with individuals that had challenges, but does that make me qualified to do this from home?Like I said, we had never really thought of the homeschool environment before. This was kind of sprung upon us. My daughter has a few challenges and one of them is anxiety. The school environment had become so overwhelming and a place for many triggers, that this decision was based on a reaction to what was best for her at the time.
We had gotten her to a comfortable place with school and things were going well until grade 5. Grade 5 is when we had a teacher that was reading different psychology books. Hey, I’m all for further education, but she had tried a few strategies on our child that actually had sent her back a couple of years in her progress! After many exhaustive attempts to work with the school, our counsellor at the time had advise us, for her our well being, that homeschooling may be what we want to look into. So our adventure began. I still had one in kindergarten and a baby at home and we pulled her out of school in Spring. It gave us a bit of time to figure out new schedules and routines before grade 6 started in the fall.
We are not “traditional” homeschoolers, we are more doing school at home. I like to think of it as the best of both worlds. We have a teacher that oversees the program, but we have flexibility with how their learning is done and presented.
My older son completed school up to grade 2, when we made a decision to do school at home for him. This decision was not based on the same issues that we had with our daughter, but we realized he needed something more. He needed to be challenged more than what could be provided for him. He is a fast kid, in all aspects of the word. He moves fast, whips through activities and learns fast. He is a goer. In school he would complete tasks very quickly and become bored. What happens when an ADHD boy has nothing much to do in the classroom? He finds stuff to do and he sure did. He made wonderful things out of pencils, elastic, erasers, felts, staples etc. We were blessed with a wonderful teacher that would try her best to provide him other things to do. She used these “talents” in his daily activities, but when we had an opportunity for him to do project based multiage learning, we took it. Both of the older children were attending a program 2 days a week and then 3 days at home for schooling.
When it was time for the littlest one to go to school, the decision was easy for us. We were already homeschooling 2, he had some learning challenges of his own, so we decided to go right into the school at home environment. We were able to access funds for a full time educational assistant for the 2 days that he attended class and have occupational therapy once a month. So far it’s been a good option for him.
Each year, well even through the year, I am constantly evaluating whether or not this is the right fit for each child. We don’t homeschool because I don’t like the school system. We homeschool because it’s what’s best for them at this moment. This could change, depending on what they need and I’m OK with that. Actually it changed for our daughter. She went back into the public system last year (Grade 11) and has done very well. This change was so needed for her and she was ready to take on this new challenge. There has been enough time and lots of work that has gotten her to this point, but here she is! She will be graduating this school year. EEK!!
Many people ask us about our decision to school at home. I often hear:
“I could never do that, you must have lots of patience. It takes a special person to homeschool.” ‘OR’ “You can do this because you worked in the school system, I would never know what to do for them.” My response… Um, no, nothing miraculous here, it’s what was best for our children. I’m sure most parents want what’s best for their child and if homeschool was that option, they would take it too.”
The other comment is:
“What about socialization, aren’t they going to be isolated?”
Actually no, isolation is not an issue. They have many other activities and friends in the neighbourhood just like everyone else. They get lots of opportunity to socialize and lots of time to focus on their learning. They are pretty confident and outgoing people. We got it covered.
Homeschooling may not be for everyone and it’s one aspect of what we do for our children. Our children change, life changes and their needs change too. What ever decisions you make for your child and family is the right one and if it isn’t, you can change that too.