We have just finished up our first year of homeschooling (we just began a short 4 months ago) and are very excited to begin prepping and preparing for the coming year and 1st grade. Continuing to homeschool our oldest daughter into 1st grade was really a no brainer with the way our first go at it has ended and I wanted to share with you today why we decided to homeschool in the first place.
Frankie and I had discussed homeschooling as an option way back when A was born. We talked about the pros and cons very often and sat on the fence about it for a long time. We enrolled her in a beginner’s preschool program when she was 3 with the intention to see how that year went. After an absolutely amazing experience with that program and the teachers, we quickly nixed the idea of homeschooling and didn’t really bring it up again until Kindergarten orientation. What we were hoping to be a fun and exciting evening in her new Kindergarten classroom quickly brought on panic and so many thoughts. Orientation was executed very well and the school did a great job of welcoming us and allowing the kids to get to know their classrooms and teachers, but Frankie and I just didn’t feel the same vibes that we did with our preschool. A, however, was still very excited to start Kindergarten so we put our thoughts and opinions aside and supported her beginning her Elementary School career with as much enthusiasm and encouragement as possible.
Unfortunately her excitement didn’t last longer than a few weeks. She was soon coming home each day distressed, upset, exhausted and sometimes scared. A child who once wanted to tell you each tiny detail about her preschool day was now not wanting to talk or discuss school at all. It really worried Frankie and I so we tried to dig a little deeper with her to find out what was going on. Eventually we came to the conclusion that there were quite a few distractions within her classroom that were making her feel uncomfortable and anxious. We also found out that she was quite a bit ahead of the curriculum and was starting to get upset that she wasn’t learning anything new. She even broke down into tears at one point, so upset that she “hasn’t learned about space yet” in kindergarten. We knew then that we needed to step in and work with her teacher and school to make sure her first year in a public school didn’t kill her love for learning and enthusiasm for school.
After a few meetings, phone calls, notes and changes in the classroom we still didn’t feel that A was in an environment that would allow her to rise to her potential. We let a few months go by, which now I deeply regret, but eventually we decided to talk to her directly about homeschooling and how that would work with our family. She had a lot of questions and came up with many scenarios about being homeschooled, but in the end she asked Frankie and I if we thought it would be better for her. We had to be honest and tell her that at this time we felt it was the best thing to do.
We got a bit of pushback initially from family but in all honesty I can see why they were concerned. Would we have enough time to devote to schooling each day? Would she feel left out or be upset that she wasn’t seeing her friends everyday? Would we be able to teach to her learning style?
I was a little worried and anxious at the decision too, but we soon found resources and support online and with long distance friends that eased our minds. We started to realize the opportunities that homeschool would allow our entire family. We would have the freedom to learn when, where, and how we chose. We would be able to explore, travel, and experience everything with A firsthand. She would be able to help guide her curriculum based on her interests and ultimately learning would be fun for her again.
Our family started to realize the issues and frustrations that A was facing in the classroom too and soon was behind our decision 100%. We withdrew her in February mid-week after not getting any resolution to our most recent contact with the school and began homeschooling immediately — even though it’s suggested to do a period of “unschooling” or take a break from learning for a short period of time. She actually was excited to get started and asked if we could begin learning about space immediately and of course we jumped right in and haven’t looked back!
So the whole gist of why we chose to homeschool was really to make sure A was in an environment where she was happy, excited to learn and being challenged and intrigued by her schoolwork. Now that we’ve been into it for a few months and finished up her Kindergarten year, we are all looking forward to this fall and 1st grade. I’ll share more later on about why we love homeschooling so much and some of the materials and supplies we are using with our curriculum too! Plus we have a living list of our favorite online homeschool resources and websites – we update it frequently so be sure to bookmark it!
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