This year starting school didn’t include homeschooling for our family. After being in the trenches with my four kidos for 20 years it was a bit of a shock. Do you want to know why we would choose to NOT homeschool our youngest? Well, read on!
Over two decades ago this month, I sat nervously down with my oldest and we started our first phonics lessons. It was so foreign to me as a public school teacher to only have to keep one child’s attention. The subject matter was totally different as I had taught middle school and adults prior to that first day of Kindergarten in our home.
A vision for the Future
When family would ask “how long will you homeschool?” my husband and I would glance at each other and say “we are taking this adventure one year at a time.”
Homeschooling became our family culture. It’s what ordered our days and activities. We loved spending time together(most days) and homeschooling allowed us to do that more. Plus as parents, we felt led to be our kids’ primary influence instead of handing that role over to teachers at a public school.
The hours and days melded into years and finally decades. Our oldest graduated with me having a bit of a hissy fit that it was all “over.” Boy did I have more to learn about mothering. 18 years of teaching, molding and growing a tiny human into an adult certainly does NOT end when they graduate from high school.
BIG changes to our home school
What WAS changing was the number in attendance at our kitchen table. Those numbers would continue to dwindle until 2 years ago when my youngest and I sat across the table from each other in a very quiet house. Our girls were away doing the college thing and my oldest was happily graduated, employed, and married. Amazing how many changes come with a few years passing.
That year I really struggled to make school “fun” for our youngest and continue on with a new normal routine. BUT it was a HUGE challenge for both of us.
The prior years with all the kids home were hard in a much different way. There were so many papers to grade, lessons to plan and levels of learning to balance for me as a home school mom. But it was always a chaotic, crazy hysterical kind of fun adventure. When you are schooling just one child it is VERY different from schooling 4 or even 2.
Social needs of the youngest child
If you have done any research or study on birth order then you know that often the youngest child will have a “life of the party type personality” and we’ve seen that play out in our home. Joshua is definitely the most social of our children and sadly I am more of an introvert. That translated into some of our youngest child’s needs not being met.
A year ago we were trudging on with our high school work which in itself is HARD. But it seemed we were rubbing each other wrong in more and more ways. I was jumping into a new business as I had more free time each day. So I was nagging to get things done so I could be free to focus on other things. Joshua wasn't enjoying the work because it was mostly independent and for a social youngest kid that was torture.
Reframe and revision of what is BEST for our youngest
Fast forward through a difficult fall and we hit Thanksgiving knowing something needed to change. My wise husband suggested that we visit the local university model Christian school. I resisted at first because I totally felt like I had failed my son at this home school adventure. He was excited because several friends go to this school and he had heard how much fun it was to attend.
In the end, we decided to give it a try for one semester and go from there. Much like our "one year at a time" motto from years past.
In the end, he loved it. I loved that he loved it despite being somewhat sad that my role of teacher was ending. And yes I love the freedom to just be a mom and not be the nag anymore.
Lessons learned from stopping the home school journey
It's ok to stop homeschooling. There is a time and place for everything and sometimes NOT homeschooling is the right thing for that child.
Children are different. I know we know this but it is so easy to try to put the square peg child in the round hole of schooling. We have to really look at what they need and then make it happen.
I'm not a failure because we stopped homeschooling. This was HUGE for me. I struggled most of January and February with this. It was hard to change and do something different even if it was the right thing to do.
After a great first semester, Joshua is thriving in the new school. He's chosen to play soccer and be on the student counsel. Both are activities where he can fellowship and be a good friend to others. So after homeschooling for so many years I can honestly say it was a good thing but now I'm retired and ready for the next adventure! More on that coming soon!
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