This Summer we really enjoyed spending long days at the pool and our month long vacation at my mom's in July. However, as the start of the school year got closer and closer, I couldn't help the waves of anxiety that washed over me. I had a choice to make. For a while I had been praying as well as weighing the pros and cons of whether to enroll JJ into traditional school with his sister or to put on my teachers hat and teach him at home (homeschool).
Like most parents, I take my children's education and emotional well-being seriously. So after much consideration, some research and a slightly passionate conversation with the Mr, I finally decided that homeschooling was the right the move for JJ. Since making my decision, I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and I sleep much better at night now. When it comes to homeschooling, there are several reasons/factors that make families choose this option over traditional school. I can't speak for every homeschooling parent, but I can share with y'all why homeschooling is the right fit for us.
Why Homeschool Works For Us
My biggest concern about enrolling my little guy into a traditional kindergarten class was that he wasn't going to get the one-on-one attention he'd need to be able to keep up with the rest of the class. JJ is a slow learner. He's also a special needs child. At the school he would have been going to with his sister, each teacher usually has 15 to 20 students, usually closer to the 20 students range. It just wouldn't be possible or feasible for his teacher to be able to pull him aside to work one-on-one with him all day.
Also, JJ can be easily distracted. We did a trial run of homeschooling for about a week during Summer Break and he kept getting distracted by his sister. This is why I made the decision to let her continue with traditional school and not to join us at homeschool. I can see my little guy's focused being pulled into a million directions inside of a regular classroom. He'd be overwhelmed in no time. And when he gets overwhelmed he shuts down.
Lesson Plan and Schedule Flexibility
Slow learners often times get frustrated easier and more often than the rest of us when they can't get a concept. This frustration can get more intense in situations where everyone else around them seems to be getting this concepts. I've seen this time and time again with JJ when he's observed his sister, cousin or a friend do something that looks easy but proves to be a challenge with him. His frustration is more heightened when he's around his peers compared to when he's frustrated about the same thing when it's just him and I. This is where having a flexible time schedule comes in handy.
In homeschool if he gets more frustrated than usual about something, I back off that concept for while until he cools down. Then I can take as much time as needed to break the concept into even more smaller aspects and approach it that way so that he doesn't get overwhelmed. Furthermore, I have the flexibility to throw in subjects like Spanish, STEM and even a little Home Economics. I'll go more into detail about schedule and lessons in my weekly updates throughout the school year.
More Hands On Learning
Moo's biggest complaint about school is that all she does is sit at her desk while working on worksheets, copying work from the whiteboard or reading. Sure she gets a few minutes of carpet time to listen to a story, but she's still sitting. She's her happiest on the days when her class goes to art, music and P. E. Her kindergarten year, she got to do science and is bummed that they she hasn't had science yet at her new school. Long story short, she's not getting enough hands on learning.
JJ is very much a hands on learner. He learns more and better by doing and through dramatic play. Sitting down for hours at a time doing worksheets is not his speed. Trust me, I've found that out in these three short weeks of us homeschooling. So now I'm incorporating more out of the box learning activities and am finalizing the plans for our first of many field trips.
I'm sure parents of children with school allergies can relate to how stressful it can be to get a school to fix your child's lunch properly. Moo's first year of school, I had to rope in a little help from her teacher and the school nurse to get the cafeteria manager to stop playing games with me and fix her lunch as outlined in her diet order from her Dr. Once they knew I had witnesses and wasn't afraid to take the matter to the superintendent, it was smooth sailing and Moo had a blast telling me what she ate everyday. Fast forward to last year when she got rezoned to a new school and the shenanigans have started up again.
If I can't trust her school to get her lunch right and she only has food allergies, how can trust them with JJ who has more food allergies than Moo as well as sensory issues with certain food textures? I can't. Cafe Mom it is for the win!
Have you seen those spoofs of parents praise dancing and jigging for joy on the first day of school after their kids hop on the school bus and it drives away? Yeah, I'm not that mom. Growing up my mom worked three jobs and we didn't get to spend as much time together just enjoying being a family as we should have. The bills had to get paid and we had to eat. On the list of things I would change about my childhood, spending more time with my mom and siblings is at the top of my list.
My mom, aunts, cousins, great cousins are educators. So, I don't have anything against schools in general. I appreciate and admire how hard teachers and all the school staff works, but what I don't appreciate is how much time it takes away from our family time. School starts for Moo around 9 AM. They have to be in the classroom by 9:15. They're supposed to get out at 4:15 PM, but they way that car rider line is setup, she doesn't get in the car until 4:30 or 4:40 PM.
Listen, if you live in a city be it Charlotte, Atlanta, NYC or wherever, I don't have to tell you that certain times during the day you just don't want to get caught in traffic. Moo's school lets out right at the start of rush hour traffic. We make it home at 5 PM or a little later usually. Then, we have to do homework, study, chores, dinner, and bath time to do it all over again the next day. We have very little time Monday through Friday to just enjoy being a family.
Honestly, if JJ wasn't so easily distracted, Moo would have be homeschooling right along with us. But I want him to really get the basics down. However, next school year, I'm pretty positive that I'll be pulling her out of her current school to join us at home. There's so much I want us to experience and explore and I don't want to feel forced to squeeze everything in over a weekend or just during Summer Break.
Again I can't speak for every parent, but these are my reasons for taking control of my son's education and homeschooling. We're three weeks in and it's been challenging, but more rewarding than anything. All the worrying, praying and convincing his dad that this was the right move has been worth it. Join us every week starting Monday, September 19th for our Adventures In Homeschooling series as we chronicle our journey in homeschooling as well as a linkup.