Homeschooling Part I

Suddenly the new, overwhelming dynamic of my life is the fact that I am teaching our kids at home.  A friend wrote and asked me why we had decided to homeschool and I had to think about it for a few days before I responded to her.  It was interesting to realize that this journey started long before the 2010 school year…

I always thought I would homeschool because it just seemed like that was the right thing to do.  I was homeschooled through high school and had a very positive experience.  I finished high school at 16 and started community college and was very prepared academically for college (although it still took several years to determine WHAT I wanted to do).  When we were first married, Anthony was in school to be a PE teacher, so we often argued about public school vs. private school vs. home school, but I don’t think we ever really decided what we wanted to do for our kids then.

When Jonathan was 2, I bought a quarter‘s worth of preschool curriculum from the same Christian company that my mom had used to teach us.  However, I thought it was too simplistic, so I then bought the whole Kindergarten program and proceeded to attempt to homeschool my two-year-old son who could barely hold a crayon!  Needless to say, it was a dismal failure, and after two days, we gave up.  Being an all-or-nothing person, I decided I could NEVER teach my child and boxed up both programs and sent them to my cousin to see if she could sell it for me. Dramatic much? =D

Our journey towards educating our children really started when Jonathan was diagnosed with learning delays.  At the time, I was a full-time college student and Jonathan and Hannah were enrolled at the Children’s Center on campus, which was a preschool/kindergarten.  After a few months there, Jonathan’s teacher approached us with major concerns about his behavior and she called in a specialist.  The specialist gave a very intense evaluation and her report included scary words like “autism”.  Obviously, we were panicked and began calling educational resource specialists, speech and language therapists, and occupational therapists.  It was crazy.  We had never thought anything was wrong with Jonathan and suddenly he had all these problems we had to fix right away! At that point, I thought I could never homeschool him, because I knew NOTHING compared to all the specialists with their fancy words and equipment.

However, we had him re-evaluated by another school that was specifically geared towards young kids with speech and learning delays.  Whereas the first specialist had tested Jonathan in the classroom (with the 20 or so other kids running around), the second evaluation was done in a quiet room, with just Jonathan and the teacher.  He scored much higher with that exam, and the diagnoses was that he did have some learning and speech delays, but it was nothing like autism, it was more like highly-distractible-three-year-old-boy stuff. In addition to his 3-days-a-week on the campus preschool, we also brought him to the special preschool twice a week to work on his speech, learning, and focus issues.

Anthony and I quickly educated ourselves on the teaching methods used by the therapists at the special preschool and worked with Jonathan every day at home with different activities and word games.  Within 9 months, Jonathan was back up to speed with other boys in his age group.  He continued to have problems with some things, but they were very impressed with our work with him at home.  Before we moved to Arizona, they encouraged us that we could continue working with Jonathan at home (since we were moving in the middle of the school year) and he would be just fine for starting kindergarten when he turned 5.

When we got here in February, we were not able to get him into the preschool program right away, but we had worked so hard to get Jonathan to where he was and I was worried that he would lose it all by the Fall.  My cousin reminded me that I had sent her that box of curriculum and she had never been able to sell it.  I had completely forgotten and I was amazed that she had kept it!  Since we couldn’t get Jonathan into the school, I figured this would be the next best thing.  I started homeschooling him without thinking much about it, and after the first two totally successful weeks, I was really excited by his progress!  While I was a total idiot for trying to teach him this stuff as a 2-year-old, he was rocking it at 4-years-old.  The amazing thing was, I could teach 5 subjects to him and be done by lunch time!  He learned huge portions of scripture, blending phonics, counting, memorizing Bible stories, and he wasn’t struggling!  I couldn’t believe how easy and fast it was.

When the local special preschool finally had space for Jonathan, it was May, so he only went to one more month of public school.  When we left California, Jonathan had 7 items on his IEP: educational goals he needed to achieve to bring him up to his age level.  By the time they re-evaluated him in May, he had all but 2 completed.  That was also very encouraging to me; even without a specialized degree in education, I am a specialist where Jonathan is concerned, and I was able to help him hit those educational goals.

I still enrolled him in the local school for kindergarten this fall, did some more research, and then changed his enrollment to a charter school nearby.  I figured I had done a good job, but I didn’t have to keep doing it, especially since school is free!

Free is good, right?  Usually.  But God had a different plan for our family.  Watch for Part II of our God story on Friday.  =D


About daniellaindie

I'm Anthony’s wife, and mother to Jonathan, Hannah, Joshua, and Isabella. When not making PBJs and cleaning, I like to write, immerse myself in a good book, play my piano, or plan epic couponing trips.

Posted on August 25, 2010, in Homeschooling, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I really want to homeschool our son when he’s ready for school. Having gotten my degree in secondary education and braved the classroom for a short while, I know how hard it is to give kids individualized attention. The kids in the middle seemed to be the only ones on track with what I was doing. I didn’t have time to give the accelerated kids the attention I wanted to, and I didn’t have time to give the kids who were behind the attention they so desperately needed. It felt hopeless, honestly, and I felt guilty every single day for what they were or weren’t learning.

    If I can give my son that attention–know how he learns best and at what pace–then I’m going to. I know not all 4- and 5-year-olds are ready to sit in a chair all day and do “school.” I want my son to be as successful as possible, so I think it’s what I need to do.

  2. Rachel, I think that when you get to that realization that you are THE EXPERT on your child, that’s when you start to get the confidence needed to teach your child yourself. How cool that you already have that high school teaching experience to know what you really want to avoid! Homeschooling is so adaptable, and I think that’s one of it’s coolest features. For instance, I’m currently having Jonathan read two words, then run up and down the hallway. It just helps. I don’t think that would ever work in a classroom…. =)

  3. My thoughts–you are one awesome lady, woman!

  4. Thanks, Susan! You’re pretty awesome yourself! 🙂

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