Home Education Week Catch Up-Looking Back

This is the last one I swear! Once again, this comes from Principled Discovery where Dana had listed a series of prompts for bloggers to use to celebrate Home Education Week.

This was actually the first prompt that was intended for last Sunday which means I am officially a week late.  Here it is:

Share your personal history…before you were a home educator.  What was life like.  Think about things you miss and things you and your family have gained.

How far back should I go?  I was your typical college tracked kid in a PS high school in a college town.  I attended college for 3 years with the intent to get a degree in Biology but became disillusioned and quit to marry W.  Never did get that degree but still have a passion for science!  I thought I would study early childhood ed and get my teaching degree so I could teach science.  I actually took ECE classes for awhile and worked daycare but found I really didn’t like the atmosphere in centers. Once I had my own kids I just wanted to stay home and take care of them.  W got a job when M was a year old which allowed me to do that.   

I hate to admit this, but before I started homeschooling I was one of those parents who thought homeschooling was…well…a little nutty.  I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to homeschool and really thought that there were things my DDs was getting at school that *I* couldn’t possibly provide.  Our family was (and is) a blue color, working family who was always right on the edge financially.  We’d done the preschool thing with DD and it was very difficult financially so Public School seemed to me to be a place where my kids could have a good educational experience and I wouldn’t have to pay for it.  I did struggle with sending K to school because I had a terrible time there myself as a child, but figured that was my issue and I shouldn *project* it onto her.  So off K went on the Kindergarten bus at the tender age of 4. She had a wonderful teacher and K was only (ha!) a 1/2 day then so she was fine. 

This same year M was diagnosed with  autism and placed in a specialized program at a local preschool so by fall I had half my days home with only B.  By now though K was being labeled as *behind* in reading.  Also, her 1 st grade teacher was NOT a good match for her and she was really struggling.  To make a long story short, I should have pulled her that year but I was too afraid.

The next two years were better and by this time B had been identified as being *at risk* and was attending the same preschool as M.  Suddenly I had several mornings a week all to myself!  I was told I should feel free and happy!  I had *me time*! W and I took advantage of this by going out to breakfast alone and spending other quality time alone 😉 That was fun, but he wasn’t home all the time and mostly I just felt…alone.  Things were so crazy too, getting the girls on and off their buses (when the bus stop was at the end of our road and they took two different buses) with a toddler that still napped and then getting B to preschool was a PITA.

By the end of that year K had reached the breaking point and since we couldn’t afford private school I was *forced* to consider homeschooling.  We did end up pulling K and by the end of that next year (K’s first at home) I was fully converted and decided to keep B out of PS altogether. 

What have I lost?  I supposed those mornings at home with W, but we still mange one every now and again.  Also that coveted *me* time, but again, since the kids area older now they do their own thing quite a bit.  It’s so different having older kids at home then it is toddlers and preschoolers! I can read, work on the computer, knit and write while they are here with me, probably working at one of their own hobbies.

What have I gained?  Peace, both in mind and schedule.  Sure, we have lots to do now but it’s Our choice to do them.  If they are too much we drop something or skip a day without worrying about he truant officer or getting a doctor’s note.  SO , I guess we’ve gained choice too!  We have also gained a superior education, and I’m not just talking about the kids.  I feel I know them so much better now! I still remember how I would ask K what she did in school that day and she would say *I don’t know* and slouch off to her room.  Now she really talks to me!  She still slouches off to her room sometimes though 😉

All in all a fair trade!

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