As parents we face many important decision in the lives of our children. One of the most important and crucial to their development and transition into adulthood is their education. Thankfully we live in a country where parents have many options to choose from. Gone are the days of one size fits all approach to education.
No one knows a child better than the parents. As parents we are intimentally acquainted with our childs personality, strengths, and weaknesses. Some children are natural mechanics others are natural scientists, writers or actors. So naturally parents want to harness and nurture these special abilities. There is no better way to help our children grow than through their education.
For this reason, we as parents have to make the very important decision on the educational path we send our children down. There are many paths available public school, private school, military school, boarding school, charter schools and homeschool.
In this blog, I will be detailing my experience as a homeschooling parent. My students will be seniors next year. I have been down this path and hope to helps others who are just starting thier educational journey.
Let me start by sharing with you how my journey began. When my first son was born, I loved showing him things in the world around him. Things like, colors, animals, objects, and reading. The delight I would see in his eyes when he made the connection was just magnetic. I dreaded the day that I would have to send him to school and no longer share these learning experiences with him.
Then a year later, my second son was born. Although just as curious about the world around him, my second son did not care so much for repeating colors, animals, and objects. Rather he was independently drawn to letters, numbers, and books. He was a delayed speaker, not really talking till about the age of 4. By the age of 3, he knew how to work a calculator, write letters he saw in books and read.
When we arranged play dates, he was not interested in playing with other children or toys, he was happiest when he was reading. At one of his doctor appointments, I presented this to his physician. After visiting a few specialists, it was determined that he was Autistic, specifically Aspergers Syndrome. Although technically on the autistic spectrum, he was very high functioning.
On cognitive tests and intellectual tests, he was off the charts for children his age. But on social assessments he really struggled. He was unable to “go with the flow” or able to adapt to a change of plans without a lengthy prior warning.
Intellectually he was labeled as “gifted” but socially he was unable to conform. Knowing the public schools in my area, this meant one thing. Special Education.
Being unable to conform to the mainstream schedule of a normal day, this would present problems. He was undoubtedly intellectually gifted but since he could not be placed with the mainstream students, I knew this would intellectually detremental.
As I began to look for options for his education, homeschooling began to appear on my radar. I had never considered homeschooling. I just assumed that my children would attend school and start their education journey like many other children.
Now that my second child was in a very unique situation, I began to dig deeper into the possibility of homeschooling. While my children were still toddlers I began to do some serious research. Fortunately, after spending many years at University pursuing several degrees, deep research was no stranger to me.
I spent several years researching. Finally, I derived an education path for my children. In my state of Tennessee, I have to inform my local school board that my children will be homeschooled. I only need to provide proof of attendance and meet the mandatory 180 days of instruction per school year. In some cases, an umbrella school will take upon this task, freeing me of the task of any contact with my local school board.
Knowing that I decided to homeshcool my children, I began laying the ground work early. While they were still 4 and 5, I began to make education a part of our daily schedule. I turned thier play time into a time for teaching. Things like counting, writing, coloring, and so forth. By the time I actually started kindergarten with them, they were working at a first grade level.
Another decision I had to make was when to officially enroll my younger son in homeschooling. Before I made this decision, I sought the counsel of his doctor, speech therapist, and several homeschool counselors. The consensus was determined that holding him back due to his age would be intellectually determental. This meant that when I started kindergarten, my boys would be in the same grade. I assumed that at some point they would naturally diverge when we encounter the harder math. But to my surprise, next year I will have two senior students. Both my students are working at a college level in several subject.
My departure into homeschooling was a bit unconventional. I had not planned on educating my children at home. Then I was presented with circumstances that required a different direction in their educational journey.
Now that I have more homeschool days behind me than in front of me, I can honestly say it has been an honor to homeschool my children. It has been a long road, but one that has yielded many memories and treasures. One of the most meaningful aspects was being able to watch them learn. Had they attended school, I would have missed all of these precious moments in their education.
Now that my homeschooling journey is nearing its end, I want to help others who are just starting theirs. In the posts following, I will share with you all my knowledge I have gained through this experience.
Next time, I will discuss learning styles and how to identify your child’s particular learning style. Knowing how your child learns will be the key to their educational success.
I want to thank you for dropping by and reading my story. I hope that my journey will be helpful in starting yours.
In addition to homeschooling, I am a published author, multi-disciplinary writer and blog contributer. If you like this blog, please visit some of my other sites.
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