“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
We just completed our first year of homeschool! Wait……What? Definitely not something I’d ever hear myself say, let alone write out on my blog for all the world to read. I mean, really, I never really liked school and my favorite days were snow days! But, here I am finishing up an entire year of homeschool AND I’m preparing to do it again next year. And crazy of all crazies, we all really enjoyed it!
My boys are just finishing up grade 6 and grade 8, so what made us switch from public school to homeschool? Let me just say right out of the gate, I’m not anti-public schools. As a matter of fact, we live in a community that has outstanding schools full of stellar teachers. The middle school my boys were attending ranked #2 in our state. When we moved to this community in 2013 I felt very secure in sending my boys to the new school. In fact, we have lots of friends who attend our local schools and are very successful.
Then why the change? Here’s the simple answer, it was an answer to my prayer.
One of my sons was struggling. We were spending several hours each night working and completing assignments. And despite his hard work, he couldn’t seem to get his head above water. I went to teacher meeting after teacher meeting asking how can I help him? And then you add those end of grade tests that I know everyone loves,;)right? He was beginning to not just dislike school, but he really didn’t want to learn. The combination of computer based learning, difficulty in grasping all the concepts in the time allotted and the pressure of performing well on EOG’s were causing my son to be stressed out. And no, I do not think that this was preparing him for life. He was 11, being “stressed out” shouldn’t even be a part of his vocabulary.
In each teacher meeting I was told how great my son was, how smart he was and that he has what it takes to be successful. I loved his team of teachers, they were awesome and his success was very important to them. In one particular conversation i had with one of his teachers I asked the question, “how can I help?” Her response to me was a game changer, she said, “You won’t be able to help him, we just don’t do things like you did when you were in school.” Now, I believe she was being sincere and honest and let’s be real, common core math is NOT how I learned to do or continue to do math. So, in part she was right, I will never get common core math, and oh, by the way, I don’t want to! But me, his mom, not be able to help him? I just could not accept that this is how it had to be.
So…..I prayed. And I prayed. And I prayed. My prayer was simple, I asked God to help me help my son. I wanted him to love learning and be a life long learner. I began to research my options. And folks when I say I researched my options, I spent hours and hours reading and researching education and options available to me. And that is when the door to homeschool was opened in front of me. And, straight up people, walking through that door was a terrifying thought! Could we do this? Would I ruin my kids? Could they still go to college? What would people say? How would this effect their friendships? What about Prom? Sports? Graduation? Diploma? And on and on the questions came.
Part of my research was to seek out parents who have homeschooled successfully. Thankfully I knew several families who homeschooled and I sought out those whose kids had already gone on to college. I wanted insight and wisdom to come from parents who stayed the course and could show the fruit of their labor. I picked their brains. I asked the obvious questions, I asked the not so obvious questions and I asked every question in between. I say all this so I can say that my husband and I did not make this decision on a whim, nor was it a decision based on a problem. We set out to build the best possible plan for our son to be successful and excel in education and in the rest of his life.
And that my friends is where our honeschool journey began! And as I began to plan I included my older son in the process giving him the option to try homeschool. His response was he had never been homeschooled and didn’t really know if he’d like it, but he would try it for 1 year. I felt if I was going to homeschool one, why not both! And what we soon discovered is the flexibility we would have as a family. The flexibility we could foresee became our second reason for homeschooling our boys.
I never dreamed I’d homeschool my boys, but now I cannot imagine NOT homeschooling my boys. It’s not the easy road, we work hard and we have cried, but we regroup, we chill, we laugh, we shake it off, we try again and we celebrate our success! I am truly enjoying being with them every day, yes, seriously, I really mean that! We are all closer and I love that there education is weaved into every part of our lives.
I want to end by saying, this is our journey. This is what works for us. I don’t think there’s a one size fits all to this question of how we educate our kids. Every family dynamic is different. Every kid is different. What works for us may not work for you and what works for you may not work for us. If school is difficult for your child, pray and ask God for wisdom, He will give it to you, take a deep breath, homeschool may not be where He leads you, but maybe you will find yourself peering into that door and wondering….what if?
If your struggling with school, homework, behavior, family life and the everyday difficulties of raising children and you want someone to pray with you, post a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll pray with you and for you as you find balance and direction for your journey.
Check back soon for my 2017-2018 curriculum picks for grade 7 and grade 9!