When I decided to start this blog, I knew that one of the things I wanted to talk about was homeschooling. I’ll reiterate, I am not an expert, but it’s a big part of my life, and something I get asked about all the time.
So why did I decide to homeschool?
Let me start with the fact that my children aren’t technically homeschooled, they are cyber-schooled. The difference? Traditional home school leaves Mom planning the lessons, deciding on the curriculum etc. We are very lucky to have a cyber school that helps with all that. We have options such as online “virtual” classes, online self paced curriculum, or more traditional book based self paced. We opt for the self-paced classes, which I guide them through, and my kids are at home doing school at the dining room table, so I don’t feel the need to nit pick home vs cyber.
I didn’t set out to be a home school mom. I grew up in public school and had every intention of sending my children, in fact I did. Anthony went to kindergarten and first grade at our public school. Kindergarten was fine, he had a great teacher, I was homeroom mom, we were facing this school experience together. Sometime around the first half of 1st grade though my sweet easygoing boy became a basket case. He cried every night that he had to go to “stupid school” in the morning. He cried every morning while getting dressed. He didn’t fight or disobey, he just cried, like his little heart was broken by the fact that he had to go.
So what’s going on?
Of course any Mom who has a kid crying about school thinks of a couple of possibilities, bullying, bad grades, a teacher that has singled them out for some reason. It wasn’t any of that. I spent a lot of time volunteering in his class, I watched him interact with the other kids, I requested a parent teacher conference where I was assured not only was he doing well but finished his work before most of the other kids. I watched him come out of the building at the end of the day talking and laughing with his friends. I talked to him, and he couldn’t seem to put into words why he didn’t want to go.
Come on now, no kid likes school, that’s no reason to pull them out!
That was my first thought, he’s just going to have to adjust. Life is full of things we don’t like, suck it up kid. Homeschooling hadn’t even become a blip on my radar, not something I even considered. After all when I was growing up all the homeschooled kids I knew were socially awkward and weird, certainly not what I wanted for my child.
But my heart was breaking for him. He cried so much, he was defeated, I felt like I was becoming this edgy monster mom who was torturing her child on a daily basis. At the time my husband was working afternoon shift (and was low man on the totem pole so that wasn’t changing anytime soon), which put him out of the house at 1:30 in the afternoon and not home til after midnight. So Anthony was up and gone before Scott was up, and Scott was gone before he came home, and Anthony was in bed when Scott came home. So I know that had something to do with it. Simply put, I had a little boy who missed his Daddy, hated school, and I was a Mommy dealing with it all by herself… it was trying.
Somethings got to give.
Enter in Grandma (my mom, Anthony’s grandma… just to clarify)
As fate would have it, my mom was having lunch with a friend of hers from high school toward the end of the school year. Having been the willing recipient of my angst and venting all year about Anthony’s trouble her interest was peaked when her friend mentioned her employer… the cyber school. At the time I had no idea what it was, I knew just across the state line in Pennsylvania there was a little corner building with the name “PA Cyber” on it, but that was all.
Making a long story short, (which is not something I’m good at!) turns out Mom’s friend was helping expand the PA cyber school’s sister school in Ohio. It was already established, accepting students, and much to my dismay… Free.
OK why not??
So we talked about it. Mom’s information was like a beacon of light to me, there was an alternative. Some way that I could educate my child without having to go it alone, without having to hear him cry everyday, without having to spend his college tuition for private school. But could I do it? Did I want to do it? I had Nathan the 2 year old Tasmanian monster child to deal with, a husband who worked full time, could I teach Anthony too?
Scott was all for it. My parents were supportive, everything seemed to be falling into place except for my hesitation, my lack of confidence in myself.
Then I presented the idea to Anthony.
“Really Mommy? Really? I could stay home and you would be my teacher?” He looked at me with all the hope and expectation of a dream come true, big alligator tears filling his little eyes.
That sealed the deal, I would try, I would risk screwing up and having a weird homeschooled kid. I would go against the norm, and how I thought my children would be educated, and hope for something even better.
The story doesn’t end there.
Anthony is now in 9th grade, Nathan is in 5th, and Daniel will be starting kindergarten next year. I have not once since that day regretted my decision. Though I was going to pull my hair out, and lose my mind, yes, but regret? no. I have been able to watch my children grow, and learn. I have been able to adjust our schedule to fit what works for them and their learning, not a one-size-fits-all approach. I have nothing against public school, for most families that works, I have friends who are amazing teachers who make a difference every day. For us though, homeschooling works, it’s a good fit, and having my kids here through these years, is something I will cherish my whole life.
We have our days though…
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