Over the last couple months I have gotten questions regarding homeschooling and so I figured that I would just do a post to explain the five questions that I got the most often so that I could share it with everyone at the same time! Keep in mind that these are MY answers, MY experiences, and MY opinions.. so not everyone will answer the same way that I do and not every state makes it as simple as where we live. I can only answer for myself but will be happy to help you figure out your state laws concerning homeschooling or point you in the direction of someone who can!
1. How hard is it to home school?
It’s not hard, for us. We live in Virginia and we have very little regulation when it comes to homeschooling so the process of beginning homeschooling is fairly easy. That hardest part for us was figuring out our daughter’s learning style and what fit her best. The public school that she attended did not give out homework, instead they did their “homework” daily in class after the teacher had finished the lesson plan. Once a month, maybe twice if we were lucky, A would bring home her homework folder that had the different worksheets that they had been working on since the last time they brought them home. This made it difficult for us to see how well she was doing, what she needed additional help with, and whether or not that learning style was best for her. We tried multiple styles before we landed on one that worked amazing. It has been a learning experience for all of us, that’s for sure!
2. Does your family support your decision?
Yes and no. Let me explain.. when we first brought up pulling A out of public school and homeschooling her they did not offer their support. Immediately we were seen with the “What about her social life?” “You don’t have a degree in teaching..” etc. The typical questions that all homeschooling parents get, we got. It hurt, at first, that they were no behind us on this but we knew that as her parents we knew what was best for her and continued with her plans.
The time came for us to give A her end-of-the-year assessment test and when her results came back we were ecstatic. She had tested in the highest stanine possible (meaning she passed all sections with no problems, whatsoever, and even tested in higher grade levels) and we knew then that this was going to work. However, family still had their doubts. “Well, she did complete half of third grade in a public school setting..” Whatever. We nodded and went along with it because we knew they would eventually come around.
Now, it’s time for fourth grade and we are working on our lesson plans and such. A is working on a review packet for math since that is her worst subject and we wanted to make sure she remembered everything from last year before plunging into fourth grade math. So, part of the packet was also some math she had not worked with before (finding the value of X in an equation) and after reading the instructions she said “This is how I do it, right?” and told us step by step how she thought it should be done. She was right.
That was the beginning of our family believing in us and our decision to home school A. We are getting ready to take our end-of-year assessment for fourth grade and we will see how it goes this year!
3. How long do you plan to home school?
We do not have a set plan for how long we want to home school. As long as she still wants to be we will continue. I won’t lie.. high school home schooling scares me but I know that with all of the resources out there for homeschooling parents that it will be just fine if she decides to continue on through high school.
4. Will you be homeschooling your younger children as well?
Yes! We have talked about this over and over again. Although the younger girls will have a completely different personality and mindset than A does the school is still the same. Yes, the kids will be different kids but the teachers and other support are all still the same and S will be starting preschool (she has actually already started doing some work) this next school year and we do not want to have her in a school where the children are not taken serious.
5. Why did you decide to home school?
Long story short, she was being bullied for years, on and off, and despite our interaction with the school and superintendent nothing was done. This started in Pre-k with her getting picked on by a couple kids – nothing harmful just the typical picking kids do. Her Kindergarten year was a little better but she still had some picking from a few kids. The picking happened because she is a tomboy and does not like “girl” stuff. First grade is when the real bullying began. It went from being made fun of to physical between first and third grade. Second grade was great, she had an amazing teacher who did not allow any bullying to happen to any of the kids and she made that clear on back to school night. A loved her and didn’t really have any issues the whole year. Third grade was rough. In third grade they started block scheduling to “get used to middle school” and while they were switching classes there was no adult supervision. She would get pushed, slapped, hit, etc. but it was always her word against the other kids because “no one saw anything happen.” We met with her teachers, the teachers aids, the assistant principal, and the principal. None of which were any real help. “We will keep an eye on it and see if we can get to the bottom of it.” Fast forward about a month and I am waiting for the bus to drop her off at the end of the school day. It was a Monday, the week before Thanksgiving break. A gets off the bus, head down, slowly walking towards the house. Once she’s across the road and into our driveway the bus pulls away. Once she gets to me she raises her head and she’s got tears in her eyes. I ask her what’s wrong and she simply pulls off her glasses. There was a red circle around her eye that matched the frame of her lenses. I asked her what happened and she tells me that some kid punched her in the eye because she did not like a game that he was talking about. I called the school and told them what had happened and I was told that they would have a meeting with the bus driver and the bus aid when they returned back to school and would give me a call the next morning.
I take A to school the next morning, go into the office, and ask how the meeting went. I was told that neither the bus driver or the aid saw anyone hit her but they would continue looking into it. I told them I would check again when I picked her up from school that day. The kid was in an older grade and the likelihood of them seeing each other during the day was very slim so I was not particularly worried about that. I go to pick her up and I am told that the kid said he didn’t punch her. End of story. Except I was not allowing it to end there. My daughter had evidence that she was hit so someone was going to see consequences. I set up a phone meeting with the superintendent the next day. This went pretty much the same as it did when I met with the school. “No one saw anything happen but we will try to figure it out.” I was not happy with this and told them that something needed to be done because my daughter got hit, whether they wanted to acknowledge that or not.
This went on all week. That Thursday night we talked to A about being homeschooled and she immediately agreed. So Friday I took her to school, got everything around that I needed to legally pull her from school, turned it in, and picked her up. I told the principal that she would no longer be attending their school and that Tuesday would be her last day. She wanted to go the last two days before Thanksgiving break to say bye to her friends.
We officially started our homeschool journey on November 28, 2016.
Whew, that was longer than I thought it would be but I hope that you enjoy this post. I am very passionate about homeschooling and doing what is best for your children in and and ALL situations.