If you where to place 10 different homeschooling families into a room together and asked them why they started homeschooling; my guess is you would get 10 different responses. Sure some may be similar but each individual story is going to be different. Some families do this right from the beginning…others jump in later on…some will do this for religious reasons or just want to take control of what their children learn…oh I could go on and on with different scenarios. The point is you need to decide for yourself what is the reason for YOUR family. We jumped in three years ago and quite honestly we were drowning the first year. I will write about that in a later post, but today I wanted to discuss what brought us to homeschooling in the first place and explain MY reason for doing it.
Our oldest son, Caleb, was diagnosed with ADHD and OCD in Kindergarten. (age 5) From the very beginning, he has always struggled in a school setting. By 2nd grade, we moved school districts and unfortunately did not see much improvement. By third grade, Caleb was working with his teacher, a reading specialist, special education teacher, and a guidance counselor on a weekly basis. In addition to them, we were also meeting regularly with his pediatrician and a psychiatrist to figure out the correct medication and dosage for him. I can not say enough of the school district and doctors we were working with at the time because they truly were amazing. They did so much to try and help Caleb but for whatever reason he just was’t progressing. On top of all the academic struggles he was having, there was also the social struggles. Kids….oh kids can be cruel especially when one is “different”. Caleb did not have many friends and was teased quite a bit. It wasn’t until there was an incident where he was pushed around in a boys bathroom by a few kids in his class that we knew we needed to make a drastic change and quick. Caleb was only 7 at the time all this was going on. The poor kid was going to be “pushed” into 4th grade at the end of the year but barely according to his teacher and he had ZERO self-esteem. I honestly, can’t remember how I got the initial idea of homeschooling. I didn’t know anyone who ever did it. I always thought homeschooling was for families of a million children, who live in rural areas, with no electricity or running water…..ok that is a little extreme….but seriously I never thought homeschooling was something I could do because I wasn’t qualified.
I began researching. I read everything and anything I could get my hands on (something I highly suggest doing as well if you too are in the beginning phases) I began to see that there isn’t one set way to do this. The more I read the more confident I became. Our main reason at the beginning was to get Caleb out of an environment that was becoming more and more unhealthy. After many LONG conversations with my husband, and LOTS of prayer we decided to give it a “try” over summer break. It was only to try and get Caleb back on track to where he should be. Now this is NOT something we did just on a whim. Xander at the time was 7 months old and was hardly speaking at all and I was 4 months pregnant with Wesley and already on bed-rest. Looking back on it now…wow we were CRAZY!! But the timing of everything was perfect…(that I can only thank God for because his timing is perfection). Because of me being on bed-rest, my sister practically moved in with us to help out and really help take care of Xander since I wasn’t suppose to even lift him towards the end. Because the baby and house were “taken” care of by her, it gave Caleb and I two good months of just sitting together and getting a feel of homeschooling. I had no idea what I was really doing and didn’t have much direction. But we did it and you know what we actually both enjoyed it. Caleb went from DESPISING anything to do with school at the start of summer to looking forward to sitting down with me at the end. That right there for us was improvement. That summer was insane and a little bit of a blur but it is the summer that changed all of our lives. We originally thought we were just going to “homeschool” for the summer to help get Caleb on track to where he “should” be according to government standards. What we found out is that Caleb can not be put into one little box or category…honestly.. I don’t think any child can but that is a completely different topic =)
We fell in love with homeschooling that summer… We fell in love with the process, the time we got as a family, the stronger it made us as a family and the growth and improvement in my son that I got to witness. In just a few months, we started seeing Caleb open up and blossom in ways we had never seen before. I’m not saying everything was perfect at the end of that summer…FAR from it actually. We were still on long road trying to discover what was going to work best for Caleb and honestly, we are still learning and adjusting. Our main reason to homeschool was and still is at this point: Caleb. If he didn’t struggle academically and socially exactly when he did or I didn’t just quit my job because I was put on bed-rest for the 2nd year in a row, we probably would never have even considered it. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and this is ours.
If you are at the beginning of your journey or even in the midst of it, do you have your reason figured out yet? If not, you need to!! Your reason becomes your lifeline. Its your WHY you do this. Homeschooling is not all sunshine and daisies. It is HARD and EMOTIONAL and tests you in ways you would never imagine. But having your reason readily available to you helps push you through those difficult times and takes you right back to that field of sunshine and I prefer tulips =) The joys and rewards will GREATLY outweigh the not so pretty parts. Just remember your reason…. who, what, why…. and also know you are not alone in this. I personally got a lot of encouragement from reading blogs. Just knowing what other moms are doing and reading about there successes and struggles helped push me along. Even now with starting my own, there are even more I have started following on regular basis. Somethings pertain to me, others don’t but just knowing they are out there plugging along the same way I am…It’s like having that family member or friend that just gets you.
Bottom line: Get your reason! Of course it may change over time but you need to have one.
2nd Bottom line: Figure out where you get your encouragement..reading blogs, belonging to a co-op, weekly or monthly meetings with other homeschooling parents…It’s not always an easy road we are on but its much better when there are others cheering for you.