Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why do you homeschool?

I used to ask people who were homeschooling why they did it.  I couldn’t understand it.  My husband and I are from the same small town, and the school system was pretty good. I couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t want that for their kids.  I was younger and didn’t realize that all school systems weren’t like our town’s school system.

Fast forward a few years to a time where we have children who are school age and I am asking that question for a different reason.  Why do you homeschool?  Is it for religious reasons?  Is it because it is easier for your schedule?  Is it because the schools aren’t good where you are moving to?  Is it because your child is having trouble in school?  For each family who was asked that question, I received a different answer.  This proves that choosing to homeschool is a very personal and individual decision.  I am a firm believer in doing what works for your family and your children.

As an Army family (retired now), we started S in a great school at Fort Rucker, AL.  He was there for PreK-1st grade.  We moved to California where my husband was stationed for 18 months.  S attended public school for 2nd grade.  Due to the number of issues we had with the school there (that will have to be its own post some day), we opted to homeschool him for the first half of 3rd grade until we moved again.  We still had J attend the public school there because his experiences with the school were very positive.  We moved to Virginia and have been here since (8 ½ years now).

S started public school here.  He finished out his elementary school years in the public school system here.  Overall, it was positive for him.  We started having issues in 5th grade with getting accommodations in place for his SOL testing (VA’s testing program).  When we sat in meeting after meeting trying to get everything in place for him, a staff member told us that this would be a lot like getting ready for middle school.  I think she thought she was being helpful.  She wasn’t.

I remember going home wondering how much longer I could devote that kind of time and energy to meeting after meeting along with all of the homework that would be greeting us at the end of every day (again, we have another child who needs attention from mom and dad).  My husband and I talked about it a lot.  I told him that we could take that time and and energy and just direct it to S’s education.  After talking to S about it, he agreed that it might be good.  We started homeschooling him in the 6th grade and we have been doing it since.  He will be a senior next year.  

We can’t say that we homsechool him because the school system here is bad, because it’s not.  J attends the public school system here.  He is happy at school, and it has been good for him.  

For us, we had to individualize our plans for our children.  One is happy being homeschooled, and it works for him.  The other one is happy attending public school, and it works for him.  

I’m happy I don’t have to attend meeting after meeting.  It’s also a lot less paperwork I have to keep track of.  It gives me more time to be on the couch with chocolate!

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