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Monday, January 20, 2014

Home-school Why

Ems here-

I know that Jules had decided to home-school Grace even before the dreaded preschool experiment for a whole host of reasons that she will compile later. Her post reminded me, however, of why I decided to home-school and brought back a flood of reminiscences -- especially in light of my oldest two children's birthdays coming up over the next couple weeks: Nate will be 11 and Theo will be 10. I've schooled them at home since Kindergarten, and now they are both in 5th grade! Amazing. Amazing that we've all survived it!

Because Nate and Theo are only 11 months apart (I can tell that story at a later time), I've pretty much treated them like twins. I sent them to preschool at this darling Catholic school called All Saints. It was a small, homelike environment and the 4 and 3 year-olds were grouped, which was perfect since both my little sweeties could be together. Unlike gentle cousin Grace, my monsters loved preschool. Well, they loved snack time and recess (chasing girls, to be precise). Circle time was another story. And don't get them started on singing.

Anyway, I was all set to have them continue at All Saints for Kindergarten, when we got the news that the school was closing down. The Catholic schools in town were consolidating into one larger school. Right away, I knew that would be a problem for me.

Here's what I was thinking:

1.  I liked the close-knit family that was All Saints, and I didn't want my kids to get lost in the shuffle at a large school.

2. To make matters worse, Kindergarten was an all-day affair! Gone was the half-day option of the past.  I wasn't ready to be apart from my son for a full day, every day. Too long.

3. Theo would only be 4, too young to officially begin Kindergarten with Nate.  He would be without his "twin" every day for HOURS!

4. Theo could read at 3 1/2 years old. He would be bored to tears with another year of preschool.

5. I had a toddler and a baby at home--the idea of driving to and from school both for half-day preschool and then again for Kindergarten pickup seemed like a horrible, nap-interrupting nightmare.

So here it was. I had to figure out another way to make us all happy. I knew about home-schooling but was very intimidated at the idea of educating my child from the ground up without a system. Luckily for me, Ohio is extremely favorable to e-schools, and after research we decided to go with the Ohio Virtual Academy that uses the K12 curriculum. Haven't looked back since.

Is it easy? No way. My house can't get really clean because there are always kids around. Sometimes I have to be Mean Mom + Mean Teacher Lady. BUT:

1. My kids are best friends. The older children get to really know their little siblings!

2. They can learn at their own speeds, up or down as needed.

3. We don't have to leave the house by a certain time. Or get dressed.

4. We don't do homework. Or projects using poster board.

5. We don't have to participate in bake sales or sell anything door to door.

6. The kids look forward to afternoon activities (sports, clubs, etc.) without being too tired.

7. We can go to appointments or shopping or family trips regardless of school schedule.

Basically, homeschooling has simplified my life in many ways. Do I struggle with being calm and patient? Heck yeah! But I could just as easily lose it over homework or paperwork or projects or getting everyone out the door on time in the morning if we did "normal" school...

I get to spend lots of time with my children; time that is going by so quickly and that I know I will be grateful for when they leave the nest.

And those are my deep thoughts for the day. 

Now, here's a picture of Gabe biting into a beef bouillon cube thinking it's candy!

Easy Rule #1007: Don't be afraid to search for solutions for your family that are outside the box. You may be surprised by what works!

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