How many days a week does your child stay home from school? Do they continuously complain about stomach aches and being sick? Have they always been that child that has a hard time leaving you? My son did all of these things for years. That is why we finally decided to start homeschooling him.
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Looking out across the back yard in the fall setting sun, I am feeling anxious. It’s funny, my son has been anxious since he was born. He has always needed myself or my husband to help him and reassure him. He has always just been a child that worries. He is a thinker, and because of that, he plays things over and over in his head. He worries about things that he did and said, he also worries about what may happen in the future.
When we started him in 3 year old preschool, he was the kid screaming his brains out, tears running down his face and clinging to me for dear life. Saying no mommy please don’t leave me.
I believed that we were doing the right thing for him. He needed to go to school and most of all, he needed to learn how to socialize because that is how the world works.
He is now in third grade and for years, school has been something of a burden for all of us. Every morning with my son, he wakes up and tells us something hurts, and he cannot go to school. In the beginning, it was maybe Monday and Tuesday of each week, you know, after being home all weekend.
It also always happens right after Christmas Break and Summer Break, and this year was no different, except for the fact that it was extreme.
He was on two different antibiotics at different times because the first one didn’t work.
By the time he was feeling better from his illness, he started having stomach problems, probably from the second, stronger, antibiotic. At the point of his stomach hurting, he had missed the first 4 weeks of 3rd grade.
The School Was No Help
We live in a very good school district, so homeschooling wasn’t ever something we needed to do for our kids. We knew our kids were learning what they needed at the school. I was also always very active volunteering and then later substitute teaching at that school, so I knew the principal and the teachers.
Everyone loved my son. He was hard working, well mannered, and very smart in his classes. But when he missed the first 4 weeks of school, he could not bring himself to go back.
We spoke with the school and they recommended things like me leaving my son there whether he was upset or not. They told me they could pry him off of me and take him up to class. They also told me they were willing to have someone come to my house and physically remove him and take him to school.
I don’t know about you, but my son was already anxious and having stomach problems. How was any of this going to make it better? So of course I said I would deal with it on my own.
The next talk from the schools began to fall into truancy laws. At that point I was scared. I didn’t feel like truancy could hold up in this situation. How can you force a child to go to school, knowing that he is terrified to go.
There was one point when I had gotten him to the door of our house to go to school, and he started hyperventilating and dry heaving. So I calmed him down and we made it to the car where he started doing the hyperventilating and dry heaving again. We sat in the parking lot of the school and I told him some stories and let him draw to get his mind off going to school.
We were able to get into the front doors and then it all happened again, though this time he was clinging to me for dear life.
We went into the principal’s office together where my son clung to me and dug his nails into my back. The principal whispered in my ear that she could get some other teachers to pull him off me and take him to class…
That was the point that I realized I needed to be an advocate for my son and his feelings. How can you fight fear with more fear?
We Decided To Start Homeschooling
It was at that point in my life that I think I truly grew up and realized that I was the only one that could fight for my son. All along, I was trying to make sure that he was making the decisions and a part of what was going on in his life.
But sitting in the principal’s office, I realized that they didn’t believe my son has the right to be afraid. He didn’t have the right to make his own decisions, and they didn’t believe that any way but their way was what was best for him.
It truly opened my eyes to the public school system.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe public school is right for some people. My daughter is in public school and she thrives there with her friends and in her classes. But for my son, he needed something different. He needed a place where he could thrive, and public school was not it.
So we signed up for K12. It is still public school, but it is all online, and it is all done from home.
The Decision For Homeschooling Was Not Easy
I am sure there are people in the world who just know that homeschooling is right for them and their children. Whether it is religious based, or maybe their school system is not the greatest, or they just want to be the one that chooses what their child learns.
I applaud them for knowing this. But I did not want this in my life.
I had plans for myself. I had started my blog a year earlier, and after being a stay at home mom for 10 years, I wanted some things for myself. Something I could call my own.
The thought of giving up the rest of my child’s years in school to teach him made me scared, angry, frustrated, depressed.
But I knew I needed to put him first. So I sucked it up and started homeschooling my son.
Looking back, I feel like this was probably the point we were headed for all along, so it is good to know that we are now on the path that God has chosen for us.
Instead of fighting every morning to get my son ready for school, we will just be doing school from the comfort of our own home.
Here is what has changed for us
Since beginning homeschooling, my son has become a different person. A child who was once scared of the world, is now relaxed, fun, and more outgoing than I have ever seen him.
I can remember the first month after starting homeschooling, we went out for pizza as a family and my son actually told our server his order…without us prompting him. This was amazing because he NEVER would have done that before homeschooling.
He started playing outside with the neighborhood kids, even the ones that he refused to play with before because he always said he didn’t like them.
He was always a crier. He would cry over everything, which has stopped now.
I have learned that my son is an audio learner and that he needs to move around while he is learning. Which he never could have done in school. I also know that since he is an audio learner, it was probably hard for him in class with so many kids moving around and speaking out of turn. It made me realized why he was always so drained and grumpy when he came home.
He has always been a child that needs a lot of physical touch. So he can get that touch and attention throughout the day at home with me.
Why We Chose K12 Homeschooling
K12 was what we chose in the beginning for our homeschooling needs because it was easy to sign up for and we were already 6 weeks into the school year.
But now that we are into K12, it is a great program.
K12 offers languages for the kids in elementary school which we didn’t not do this year, and my son is super excited to start learning French next year.
K12 has a teacher that teaches 2 of his classes online. There are other kids in the class, so he still has to participate by answering questions, reading aloud, and working with other kids in breakout rooms on math problems and reading problems.
All of the other classes are online. I read through history, science, art, and music with him. And then on his own he does the typing, vocab, and spelling lessons.
The teachers are always available for questions from the students, and there are people called “advocates” that help out the parents whenever they have questions.
K12 still has the students do state testing, testing throughout the year to make sure the kids are on track, and they follow state standards and guidelines for learning.
Best of all, because K12 is a public school, you just have to transfer your student to their “school district”, and it is free.
Other Online Homeschooling Programs
There are many online programs that you can go through, though they all require payment for access to the curriculum. Here are the 3 that I have looked into.
Time4Learning came highly recommended to me by many other homeschoolers. The entire curriculum is online and done through video lessons. Most of the lessons are fun cartoon characters that talk about the concepts for the subject being watched.
Funcation is again an all online curriculum. The great thing about this program is that they have different curriculums to suit your student’s needs. Some offer more support, some offer less. They have a few questions to answer in order for you to find the best program fit for your child.
Miacademy is also an online curriculum that came highly recommended. The curriculum is again entirely online and done through video lessons, though the video lessons are slightly different than Time4Learning. With Miacademy, the videos feature real people who do the videos and teach the subject matter. Another bonus to this program is that they offer languages as part of their curriculum.
If you are on the fence about homeschooling your child, feel free to contact me, I will talk to you about our adjustment to the new lifestyle and help answer some of the questions you have about the life of a homeschooler.
Thanks for Reading!