By Katherine Graham
I have a fabulous kid that is miserable in his current educational setting. He attends an excellent school with great teachers. He has all that a public education can offer and I don’t think it is what works for him. The pickle about it all is that I am a huge advocate for public education and the right of every child to have access to a free and public education! I attended public schools myself and worked as a special educator in various public schools as well. The plan was for my kids to attend public schools.
So, why am I thinking about homeschooling for my family?
I began this reflection of my family’s education from a concerned mother’s perspective. I have three kids. One of which is a very active 2nd grade boy who “checks out” when he is not engaged. He is now the proud bearer of the label ADHD because we had enough meetings about how he doesn’t focus and he does not complete his work ,that we pursued private testing. Interestingly, even with all of this inattentiveness, he has remained at or above grade level. He also demonstrates the ability to complete his academic requirements at home when he is allowed to take breaks and to regulate the time intervals in which he works.
Now this is not what has me to the point of considering homeschooling as an option. Instead, it is that my very bright creative child is no longer creating like he used to. He comes home after seven long hours to at least another hour of homework and has nothing left to just play and create. Also, my son is now demonstrating anxiety related behaviors that may be related to school. Let’s just say, he has chewed a hole in more than one shirt! My daughter is often pooped and just wants to play. We have pretty much cancelled all of our after-school activities because my kids “don’t want to go anywhere”.
I have not worked outside of the home for almost nine years now and my youngest of my three is almost ready for kindergarten. I have been itching to get back to work. I love teaching and working with children. I especially love the nature of special education in that we really try to individualize the child’s education so that they are successful and can retain what is taught to them. I have always tried to make my instruction educational meaningful and relevant! Hmmmm, isn’t that what I want for my own kids as well??? Here I am thinking about going back to work to individualize instruction for other children while my kids are sitting in a one size fits all educational setting, and as I have explained, it is not working for my son. Something just doesn’t make since to me here??
So here I am, thinking about homeschooling. Just so you know, I have thought about private school options, different styles of learning, and have visited many different schools in my area. I do not feel they can offer more than he is getting right now at his current public school. Remember he attends a fabulous school that is a first choice for many families. So I have decided to take this spring to read and learn as much as I can about the homeschooling option!
So far, my expedition into the world of choosing and developing my children’s educational curriculum, choosing how they will learn, and having the option to teach within the context of what motivates and stimulates them has me really intrigued! There appears to be a plethora of curriculum materials to choose from. I have seen many opportunities to engage in learning activities with other homeschooling families. It even sounds like we will have more time in our day to create and think out of the box! The research reports statistics of children who are home-schooled performing better on SATs and being very successful at the college level. Anecdotal comments from parents and children, who have home-schooled, are very positive and the kids are amazingly insightful and mature. I am not blind to all that it takes to educate a child. I have seen what the amazing teaching professionals do to prepare our children for success. I know that this choice will be a great family commitment.
What I need are your opinions and advice. I know there are many! I want your experiences, good and bad! I want to hear it all. I want to make the most informed decision for my family. I know more people are choosing this option and I want to know why and how it is going. In the end, I hope to not only help my own family, but gain some feedback that may benefit other families as well.
*Image taken from blogmagazine.org