It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. We’ve had a few things change around here and I haven’t been sure where I want the focus of this blog to be. When I started, I had planned on including a lot on our home schooling activities, lessons and accomplishments. We have since made the decision to put our oldest son back in a traditional school. This was a huge decision for us to make, and I still question it every single day. There are pros and cons that each carry their own weight, and the scale is very balanced at this point.
Our journey has bee a long, and sometimes difficult, one. I had never planned on home schooling at all. It was only after 3 years of frustration with the local school system that we even started. I will tell our story about that journey another time, now I just want to touch on the transition back to school.
Many people that I have encountered have had pre-conceived ideas about families that have chosen to home school. It has been assumed that we have chosen this path because of religion, because our children are struggling (and that we don’t want to admit it), or because our children were kicked out of school. I’m sure there are many more ideas floating around out there, but hopefully you get the point. None of those were the case for us. Our son was at the top of his class; his teachers were even shocked that we would withdraw him. There was a lot going on in that school’s environment that had me quite concerned. The classes were taught to the lowest level. The biggest reason – our son was not happy.
After more than 3 years of home schooling, we decided that it was time to give it another go. The biggest reason here – a social life. My son’s two best friends in the neighborhood had moved away, and there are few other boys his age around. He used to play on a soccer team that became close, but as the kids have gotten older, many have drifted to other activities. His home school PE class was discontinued, as were many of the home school programs for children his age. Now there were other factors as well, like experiencing other teaching methods, but the social aspect of it was what tipped the scales in the first place.
So, my son went back to school. Junior High actually. We were not sure what to expect, especially considering that he had started school a year early and would be one of the youngest in his grade (there are a couple of others that also started early). Would his home schooling be an advantage? Would he be very far behind? I didn’t teach him according to the standards, I taught what I felt he could handle and what seemed appropriate at the time. Would he be able to make new friends? On top of that, the school we decided to enter him in uses an accelerated program. Would he be able to handle that?
Just a little past halfway through the school year, I can finally answer some of those questions. He is doing just fine. His teachers have been surprised to learn that he had been home schooled. They are astonished at how well adjusted he is (why do people think that just because a child has been home schooled he should not be well adjusted?!) and how mature and responsible he is. In fact, we even received a phone call from the principal because one of the teachers wrote a glowing report of him. He has made a few friends and seems to get along well with most of the kids. Academically, he has no problems. Occasionally we’ll come across some math we hadn’t gotten to, but there have been areas where he is ahead too.
Is he happy? We’re still figuring that out. There are parts he likes and parts he doesn’t. He feels that much of what is taught could be learned independently much more quickly. He hates having homework. He enjoyed being on the soccer and cross country teams and is looking forward to track. He has finally realized that he is actually good at math (I’ve been telling that to him for years) and he even likes some of his teachers’ teaching styles.
Where to go from here? It has been hard for me let go of this part of our lives, but I am also enjoying a bit of solitude that I haven’t enjoyed since having kids. It is an adjustment. One more school to drive to (25 miles from my other son’s school), a more challenging schedule (especially during sports) and homework when it used to be family time. Slowly things are being changed, re-organized away from home-schooling. I don’t think I’ll let it go too far from me though, at least not until the kids are finished with high school, just in case! I’d still like to share some of that home schooling journey here and there. I found inspiration in so many blogs, I hope I can contribute something back. Other than that, I guess we’ll just have to see where it takes us!
Nice to meet a fellow fibery Phoenician. Waldorf schooling – never had heard of it until I met Stacey of Puppet Pie. I've been admiring your furry box guys for awhile on Etsy!