We all have different reasons for deciding to homeschool.
For some moms, it’s what they grew up with. Others either had a bad experience in school themselves or with their own children. Others have visions right from the beginning that they can do better than what’s available for education.
This is our story.
About a month after our second oldest, Miss H, started SK we began toying with the idea of homeschooling the kids. Deciding to homeschool was one of the biggest and most impactful family decisions that we have made to date.
At the time, the two older girls were in public school- Grade 4 and SK. Although the previous years in public school for my oldest, hadn’t been ‘bad’ so to speak, they certainly weren’t great. Miss A had dealt with her share of nasty kids and only really connected with one friend. Miss A is very social, loves to learn and be in the teacher’s spotlight so her primary years had been pretty breezy besides the odd social situation we had to deal with.
Our middle daughter Miss H, was a much different story. She is a December baby and so she was 3.5 going into JK. I had taken a second year off work after her birth because we just didn’t feel she was ready for daycare. We live in Canada, so we are extremely fortunate to get 1 year of paid maternity leave. I spent the second year running a home daycare (which caused Miss H more stress) and consulting on the side. Then when I got an offer for the job I had wanted for a long time (IT Project Manager for the city I live in) we decided that we needed to put her in care.
Although she talked non-stop at home, Miss H didn’t talk for the first 9 months in daycare. She had all kind of tummy problems and one of our beloved daycare teachers suggested that it may be stress. I had to admit….it made a lot of sense.
The daycare we chose is a wonderful centre that is nature and play based. Miss A had gone there for 4 years and we knew the teachers well enough to know that she was very well cared for. We were pretty sure there was not an issue at the centre. It was just that she was not herself or happy in that type of an environment. Shortly after she turned 3 in December, we welcomed our third daughter and Miss H stayed home with me until the following school year started.
Time for School
As the school year approached, we were hopeful that would be excited to start JK (even though it seemed way too young to start all day, everyday school).
Big sister was at school and Miss H had always been very independent with toileting and dressing herself, so we weren’t worried about that. She expressed the desire to go to school and we thought she would be more comfortable now that she had spent additional time home with me.
At the time she started, I was positive that she was a true introvert (I’m not so sure anymore). There were 25 other kids in her class. As I would have expected from a 3.5-year-old introvert, she connected with no-one for the first year except her teachers.
She rarely talked about her days. If I occasionally walked by the schoolyard at recess, I would spot her alone sitting on a bench or rock just observing her peers playing. This made us incredibly sad. It brings tears to my eyes to even think about it.
By the time summer came, I was already back to work and all three girls were at the daycare centre that we had loved so much. Unfortunately, that wasn’t really any better for Miss H. She was in a different group than big sister and knew no-one.
Over the summer she developed Mulloscum Contagiosium from a lowered immune system. Thankfully she was not yet self-conscious about stuff like that because it was awful!!! I’m convinced that (and many studies confirm) that the lowered immune system was due to stress.
For Senior Kindergarten, Miss H had the same wonderful teacher but also the same experience. She had one close friend but would only interact with her when they were by themselves without other kids around.
Something Had to Change… So It Did
Needless to say, the gears were in motion to get our homeschool up and running for the following school year.
You may be wondering what happened to our oldest…..well, she was excited to be homeschooled too. However, right before the school year ended, her school librarian pulled us into her office and convinced us to attend the open house for the Extended French Program.
The program is half French, half English. It starts at Grade 5 and program is hosted at a much larger school. We attended the open house. She LOVED it. Her one best friend and two other friends from her school were signing up too. So she went for it – and it was definitely a good fit for her.
As for our homeschool year? Deciding to homeschool changed EVERYTHING for Miss H.
She is completely out of her shell. By the end of the year, she was asking to join karate and is quite outgoing in her class. She surprises us by answering questions in front of a mixed-age, mixed-level class. She would have never done anything that brave a year prior. It’s definitely been a game changer for her and our family as a whole.
That’s our story, I’d love to hear what helped you make the decision to homeschool!