Do you homeschool? We started homeschooling in March, 2015. Our kids went to a nearby Catholic school, which we were very happy with until the 2014/2015 school year. Our daughter was in 3rd grade at the time and up until then, she absolutely loved school. I mean, she loved it!
She was sick the year before, in second grade, one day and I made her stay home from school and she was really upset because I made her stay home. Skip ahead to third grade, and my sweetie started displaying signs of anxiety, serious attachment issues, and was sick on and off for five, yes I said 5, weeks that school year! What in the world was going on with this child who absolutely LOVED to learn and go to school?
We tried throughout the school year to talk to her teacher about this, along with the school principal and counselor. I truly believe they were trying to help as much as possible but her teacher was not very encouraging and supportive at all. We finally felt like something had to be done before the situation got any worse.
We went to the principal and she said that our daughter could go to school half days with the same teacher. This was a huge school and had three classrooms/teachers for almost each grade. We were told that we could not switch to a different teacher, which we understood because that would not be fair if someone else wanted to switch. However, this was a serious situation and our girl needed to feel better emotionally and physically.
Years ago, we were introduced to homeschooling by a good friend of mine who was previously an elementary school teacher. She did not like the way her children were being taught in a school environment so she and her husband (who is also a teacher) made the decision to homeschool their kids. She was the only person I knew who homeschooled. At that time, my husband and I said if we ever need to homeschool our kids for one reason or another, we would definitely entertain the idea. Never in a million years did we think God would lead us down that path, though.
So, here we were, sitting in the principal’s office being told that our daughter could go to school half days with the teacher who was very discouraging and did not really seem to care a bit about our child. Granted, this teacher had been there for a number of years so maybe she was burnt out. But, we were not about to let this one teacher totally break our daughter’s spirit.
I told the principal that, “No, she will not be coming back to school here. I will finish the last few months of school with her at home.” Our son was also going to school there and being the oldest in the class, he was bored. So, we pulled both kids out of school and brought them home with the intention of homeschooling them the last few months of the school year and sending them to a different Catholic school for the 2015/2016 school year.
Well, God had other plans!
I immediately called my friend, who homeschools, to ask her for help. She was amazing and pointed me in the right direction. I was introduced to several homeschool groups and for a few weeks, we used school books from the school. They were very gracious to let us use them until the end of the school year.
What I learned, shortly after pulling our kids from school, was that our daughter had been embarrassed in front of the class by her teacher several times, was told “you should know this” when struggling with a concept, held inside from recess when her teacher misplaced our daughter’s work, and our daughter would get up and go to the bathroom for a break because the requirements for a third grader to sit and learn, except for lunch and recess, were pretty high.
I really started thinking about this way of learning. Not only was she required to sit so much, but she was also already taking the Iowa (previously the MEAP) test as early as first grade. That is really ridiculous to me. There is no reason that an elementary school child should need to take those tests in such an early grade. Not only that, the amount of homework that our daughter had in the third grade was also ridiculous to me. There are statistics that show that homework in the elementary years is not beneficial at all. I tend to agree after seeing all the work my third grader was doing and then coming home to do more work. I wish I would have refused to have her do her homework now that I look back. Hindsight is always 20/20.
So, I homeschooled our kiddos for the last few months that school year. We joined some different homeschool events, went on field trips, met a lot of wonderful people, and made some friends. Still all with the intention of sending the kids back to school the following school year.
What we learned very quickly was how much our kids love homeschooling! They soared in their academics. We learned that our daughter learns so much better being able to get up and move while learning! She is a kinesthetic learner and had we not pulled them out of school, we would have never known this about her.
As it turned out, my husband and I could see the huge progression, academically, socially, their confidence boosted, they were not as clingy to me, and our daughter’s awesome spirit and laugh came back. That is music to a mama’s heart!
Our kids begged us to try homeschooling again this past school year. We tried it again and I am happy to say, we had a great year and our kids learned a ton! I even taught my son, who was in kindergarten, how to read! What? Amazing!
Is it challenging to homeschool our kids? Well, yes, but in a different way than expected. I also run my essential oils business so needed to figure out how to do both of these things each day. Is it rewarding to homeschool our kids? YES! More so than I could have ever imagined!
I will write more about our journey soon. It has been quite the learning experience for our entire family. I will include some great resources I have used a lot for homeschooling our children next time.
It’s all about the journey…