We have been “homeschooling” or schooling at home since January of 2014. I had never planned on homeschooling, and I’m positive my husband never had planned on it either. After 4 ½ years of being dissatisfied with the public school system we decided to plunge into the world of schooling at home. The decision was made quickly over Christmas break, and so we began the process of enrolling our then 7-year-old into the K12 format of online public schooling.
I was hoping to accomplish a few things with a Public school option at home. #1. I wanted Blake to be able to focus on learning to read, as a previous Reading-Corps member and avid reader myself I worried that Blake was behind compared to peers and knew he was struggling with self-esteem. I was told (by his various teachers) and saw that in comparison to many of his classmates/statistics he was behind. #2. I wanted Him to be Happy. My once joyful, caring son was becoming crabby, extremely emotional, and selfish. He was displaying these outward emotions at home and in the school environment. I was worried. In my mind, one-on-one communication and a less restrictive social setting would be ideal to help him work through his feelings. #3. I wanted to see gains in abilities. I’m not going to lie; I wanted to see him improve. Improve in reading, writing, communication, and behavior. #4. I wanted a curriculum that wasn’t going to cost me and arm and a leg. I wanted the support of another teacher. I needed this. I needed the guidance, the accountability, and the idea of a safety net.
And so we began schooling with K12. They sent us books, supplies, got us set up with a teacher, classroom and off we went. What happened that first year was a process of growth that needed to happen before I could realize that my sons education should be as much his choice as it is mine. That I have all the resources I need through the local library, internet, and a daily engaged life. We needed that time to regrow trust, security, and create secure learning environment. I needed time to relearn who my son was, not what I or society wanted him to be. I needed that time to learn what kind of parent and person I wanted to be.
What we found with K12. . . rushed days with little engagement, more, and more, and more busy work (extra mandatory sites the school would like you to use). Mandatory online times for reading and math classes. We felt these were rarely needed or relevant to what we were currently working on. There was an inability to move ahead in subjects that Blake enjoyed, or to work longer in subjects that needed it.
What we gained. . . wpm in reading, sight word or dolch word recognition, a disinterest in boring math (adding, subtracting, word problems, common core blah, blah, blah) but a love of math manipulatives and application.
What we needed. . . Freedom. The freedom to work on reading one day. Paint the next. To LEARN. Learn about ourselves, what we like, what we want. Experience. Travel. Culture.
This past year has been full of research on my part. On the authentic homeschooling culture, on traditional homeschooling, on unschooling, and finding our way through the chaos of choices and learning with our 3-year-old in tow.
From here on out. . . an eclectic mix of child lead activities that fit with our goals. With food from thought from mom, dad, little sister, grandparents and those we meet along the way.