Let me first say, I hate the term “only child”. Hate.It. 'Only' implies something is missing. “You have 'just' one?” Yup. Shocking as it may be, we made the choice to have one child. We have our reasons and not ones I feel like getting into...right now. I am geared up for another direction, dum, dum, dum HOME SCHOOLING! “Oh my gosh, you have 'just' one child AND you're home schooling?! You must be some kind of crazy freak!” HA! I am! I reflect on my craziness on a daily basis! It takes a certain kind of fortitude/craziness to deal with judgmental jerks AND schooling your child at home.
One of my bigger reasons for home schooling is my idea of our family dynamic. Now, don't go getting all judgey on me! I'm not saying your way is wrong, I'm saying my way is right for US. Eastyn went to preschool in the Catholic school system. We chose this school for educational reasons not religious. Side note: I'd like to just point out that I consider myself very spiritual, but not religious. My crazy is showing again! Anyway...Catholic preschool 3 times a week for 3 hours...it was ok. Eastyn struggled with letting go of mama, but did fine once I was gone. He learned a lot and had fun, but it just wasn't our cup of tea. I had a conversation with his teacher about his struggles with getting there and here was her anecdote for me:
Not my style of parenting. I couldn't do it. To each their own. We will never know if we are doing it right until it's too late to make a change.
Well, preschool crawled by and all the while kindergarten was on my mind. I had internally debated on the home school option for a few months. Battling in my mind through the stereotypes and doing the “right” thing. Private school was still the key player...I knew I wanted Eastyn to attend a half day kindergarten, which was only offered at the same Catholic school system. I was invited to shadow the two classrooms for a few hours to get a feel for how kindergarten looks. The first teacher was very “motherly”, soft-spoken, extremely organized, and kind. The second teacher had just spent 12 years as a physical education teacher. She was rough and loud. Her classroom was messy, disorganized, and complete chaos. I left feeling no better off for making a decision.
Every time I thought of home schooling I got excited and felt such good energy. But was this just my mama emotions playing tricks on me? Wanting to keep my baby at home? I told no one of my desire to home school. I didn't want others' opinions affecting our decision. My husband was indifferent and felt I would make the best decision. Thanks, hubby for your help *eyeroll. After many, many lists I decided to let the decision up to fate...We had already enrolled Eastyn in kindergarten and were awaiting his teacher assignment. We decided if he was assigned the “motherly” teacher we would send him to the private school; if he was assigned the “rough” teacher we would home school. I think you know what happened next...fate had spoken!
Relief rushed over me. I FELT like we had made the right decision. We started telling people. People can be rude, ignorant, and down right cruel. I had to build up a wall against them and do what we felt was right for OUR family. I have never renounced all other educational styles declaring home schooling as the be-all-end-all to the “best” education. I think the BEST looks different for everyone. BUT, unfortunately, a lot of people do not see it that way.
A home schooled kindergarten was fun! Lots of games and physical activities. First through third grade? Straight up torture!! Teaching my child to read was hell. We fought, everyday! We cried, everyday! I wanted to give up, everyday!! I scoured books and the internet for new, creative ways to get the job done. Nothing really helped, it was just a battle we had to fight, together. And, we won! The first time Eastyn picked up a book to read “for fun” I cried, again. But, happy tears this time. It is the best feeling in the world to know that we got through it together.
I haven't had him “officially” tested but, through some research, speaking to educational professionals, and observations, I believe Eastyn to have dyslexia. He still mixes up some letters from time to time, spelling is difficult (although he is a freakin' math wizard!), and when reading too fast words get changed around. Had we figured this out sooner maybe I could have FELT a little better, but I don't think we could have done anything differently. Because while he was learning to read, I was learning patience, fortitude, and the ability to let go of the expectations of society.
So we are in our 7th year of homeschooling (6th grade)...it's still a battle. We fight, a lot. But we are so lucky!! I remind him and myself daily of how grateful we need to be to have such amazing opportunities!! The home schooling world has changed so much in 7 years and I have seen a dramatic shift in the paradigm of teaching our children in our homes. It is empowering, inspiring, and hopeful.
Are you a home schooling parent? Considering home schooling? Share your experiences below!
Peace, Love, Plants,