Thursday, January 15, 2015

We moved from Texas to Colorado in 2013, just 2 short months after Baby Boy was born. Sweetie Girl was 4 and we had been discussing what we wanted to do for schooling. We had been looking into preschools before we moved and decided to just do some preschool stuff at home instead of sending her somewhere. Especially since school would have already begun once we made our move. We tried to do some research on schools in Colorado once she turned 5, but had trouble really locating any options. We knew we didn’t want to send her to public school and we didn’t want to send her to a huge school. There were very few charter schools where we had moved from and we didn’t even think of researching them. So, we landed on private school. We got a scholarship that made it somewhat affordable.

We started thinking about the future, we could only get the scholarship for 3 years and we still have 2 more kids at home. I know for a lot of you, changing schools doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but I lived in the same house from the time I can remember and went to the same school district with most of the same people from kindergarten thru graduation. It’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like. I also think it would have been devastating to me if I had moved. We’re thinking eventually, there’s going to come a time when private school just isn’t an option and really it was barely an option in the first place. We decided to start looking into what other choices may be available.

There were also many other reasons we began to look at our other options. The biggest reason was that Sweetie Girl would frequently make comments about never getting to see us or spend time with us or snuggle with us. She was utterly exhausted everyday. She would fall asleep on the couch every night before bed until we moved up her bedtime and then she still ended up crashing on the couch several nights a week. There was a significant increase on whining and fit throwing as well. Also, I had to move up the boys nap times so they could get it in before we had to leave to get Sweetie Girl from school and I ended up waking them from naps pretty much daily. 

We started this whole process with trying to figure out what the best option would be starting in 1st grade. As I said before we weren’t really interested at all in public schools, so we looked in to charter schools in our area, and there are a lot, but that would have only really solved the financial aspect of our situation and not really answered the most important reasons for re-evaluating what was best for our family. 

Obviously, that left our main option to be homeschooling. Although, this is something Hubby has been wanting to do for a while, I was hesitant. I didn’t even consider it an option for 2 reasons: I didn’t know what all it would entail and I didn’t feel smart enough. I decided to ask some friends who homeschool if they could share experiences from their homeschooling adventures, I went to a bookstore that sells a lot of homeschool curricula and we prayed and we asked our families to pray. The more we did, the more we decided we wanted to homeschool and if we were going to start homeschooling, why not just start now. 

So last month, we pulled Sweet Girl out of school (really we just let them know that she wouldn’t be going back after Christmas break). We started homeschooling last Monday. Even though we jumped in to homeschooling with both feet, we still had LOTS of questions. We decided to wait on buying curriculum and mostly use free stuff we found online and a few small books for a couple of subjects. 

We took a trip to the library a couple of weeks ago and found some books on homeschooling. One of those books has been an amazing help in answering many of my questions. It’s called: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy. Yes, I know there are several updated versions, but it’s what they had available at the library. Anyway, this book has helped tremendously in answering many of my questions and I’m not even finished with it. It asks some really important questions and walks you through writing your own Philosophy of Education. It also talks about the different types of homeschooling and asks questions to help you determine what type is best for you. It explains the different learning types as they correlate not only to the child, but also to the parent as a teacher. Then it shares 100 different curricula and walks you through what will be the best options taking all these things into consideration. Then it reviews each of them. 

It’s been so helpful in answering many questions that I felt I should already know when talking with others who have been homeschooling. It’s helped me decide what things we feel are most important to teach and what are the best ways to discover and utilize Sweetie Girls and my learning/teaching styles. How they differ and how they're the same and what will work best for us. It’s gotten me more excited and a little less overwhelmed with all the options out there. 

Being a parent is filled with moments when you put your foot in your mouth and do things you thought you’d never do. I never thought I would be a homeschool mom, I also never thought I’d drive a minivan or have picky or whiny kids, or any number of things. Honestly, the list is just too long. So, here’s our little story on how we came to homeschooling. My plan is to continue to share our adventure, but I haven’t really ever been super successful in my blogging, so no guarantees. 

I’m not saying that this is what we’ll do forever. We’re going to try it out and take it year by year. Life, family, it’s all a journey with many different twists and turns, most of them that we never saw coming. We just trust that God has our best interests in mind and we handle it all to the best of our abilities. 

Here’s to continued research, to experiments, to trial and error and learning as we go. Here’s to our homeschool adventure, no matter where it takes us! 

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