The other day, a friend very near and dear to my heart stopped by. She had to stop by because in typical Nichole fashion, I hadn’t read or answered her text. So, if I have done this to you, now you know it is nothing personal. Except that it is a personal problem of mine that I am attempting to work on. But, let’s be realistic here. Mom of 2. Wife. Homeschool. Girls Scout co-leader. Gymnastics. My brain can only hold so much. Grace over guilt, right?
Anyways! She was so excited to tell me that she and her husband had begun seriously discussing the option of homeschool and were really considering it and looking for a program that worked for them. A week or so later, her sister, who is also considering homeschool, began telling me how my blog regarding homeschool was so encouraging and informative for those parents exploring other options and looking for information. Not looking because the “normal” public school option is a bad one. Looking for another option because we live in an evolving world and for multiple reasons, we need to explore other options. Because we are lucky enough to have other options to explore.
She actually forwarded my blog to other people! What a compliment and complete validation for me. This journey and our story is worth sharing.
Was my single blog post the deciding factor for them? Absolutely not. However, it is encouraging that the stigma I so strongly felt when I started this journey with my girls is slowly going away. I would actually shy away from telling people we homeschooled because the reactions became exhausting. Sometimes, those close to me would question my choice and stare blankly at me. It can be hurtful. As if they are questioning my role as a mom. Other times, strangers feel that they know the best options for your children. People actually stop me in grocery stores and ask why they aren’t in school. Seriously, multiple checkers have said, “Uh, she looks like she should be in Kindergarten?” Kind of like the people who rub your pregnant belly and think they should tell you to double check with your doctor that you’re not having twins. Huh!? Joking aside, I know that anyone close to me expressing their opinion or concerns only have my child’s best interest in mind. However, it can feel like I am under a spot light because I am choosing a different, yet equal path.
Traditionally, homeschool has been for child actors and athletes. It often comes with the idea that it will create unsocialized and awkward children. I am so excited to see this changing. It is encouraging that people are asking me questions. There is nothing I want more than to help anyone wanting it (not to convince anyone to homeschool who has no interest- that’s not my motive or desire!). Homeschool programs have evolved so greatly that there is actually more opportunity for children to become socialized and grow in the ways that are best for them than in the past. In California, public school is the main avenue for education. When we lived in Texas, it was split pretty evenly between children attending private school and public school. As Alabama residents, I was not yet a parent, but working as a hairdresser, almost all of my clients had school aged children. I did not have one client whose children attended public school. Private school was not a choice some parents made, it was the normal school selection for the majority of families. Do I think parents in Alabama care more about their children’s education than those in California? Of course not. My point is that the normal choice of schooling will change no matter where you go, so who is to say one is better than the other? We are lucky to have the option of choosing the right method for our children.
One hurdle I faced when I began this homeschool journey with my crazy littles was reading a homeschool blog that was written through rose colored lenses. Systems for staying on track, curriculum organization, a timed schedule written on a white board, and polite little angels that never opposed getting dressed in the morning. While some days are fabulous and I feel as if I’m conquering the world, it just ins’t realistic to think everyday will be that way. Kids get sick. I get tired. Life happens. Homeschool is not always easy. It takes self discipline and a lot of planning. I am still learning and not every day is a success. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it.
In order to encourage the discussion of educational choices and options, I am going to try my best to share my trial and errors, tips, and success when it comes to homeschool. The more we can share and learn, the easier the process will be for others. Maybe another parent won’t have unrealistic expectations or feel judged after reading what another mom has to say.
Again, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you need any help or information! It may take me a day or two, but I promise I will get back to you! Especially if you want to meet with me over coffee, who could forget anything when it is associated with coffee!? It is my love language.
If you are interested in the program we use for Bentleigh, see my blog post here: http://www.themotorhomemomma.com/index.php/2016/12/20/the-h-word/
Recently, I have also begun more of a schedule with Austyn. She is three, and not ready to be enrolled in transitional kindergarten, however, I am able to create my own preschool curriculum through various tools.
- Starfall.com: Starfall has a website and an app. For a ridiculously reasonable price ($35/year), I am able to allow both girls to learn through games. Starfall covers so many different subjects and levels. It is our new favorite tool. Recently, Austyn’s favorite activity through Starfall is learning sign language! She has memorized A-H and is learning to spell her name. Some of the aspects of Bentleigh’s math classroom don’t “click” with her right away. I have found that we spend more than the usual amount of time going over lessons after they’re completed. We have begun using Starfall to review or teach some of these lessons and she learns and retains the information exceptionally! Yes, in my opinion, part of homeschooling is using multiple forms of learning and modalities to impact your child the most.
- Teachers Pay Teachers: Go ahead, log onto the daunting and overwhelming world of Pinterest and search homeschool. No doubt that TPT will flood your screen. This is a website filled with every worksheet and activity you can imagine! While some are free, there are others that cost money. I have yet to pay for any. Our homeschool does not include activities for holidays or special seasons because everyone goes through curriculum at a different pace. So, all of our seasonal and holiday activities come from TPT!
- Pinterest: The big fat P word. I have a love hate relationship with Pinterest, as many moms do. I use it to gain knowledge and ideas. However, I do not set myself up for disappointment by thinking I can create all the pins I see. As a homeschool parent and learning coach, I have to remember I am not only creating a preschool curriculum, I am also teaching it. There are only so many hours in a day, even if I forego sleep. Which, as a Momma, is not a rare occurrence. So, log onto Pinterest, and search your child’s grade and the word homeschool. Take what you love and pass on the rest. Remember, there are SO many options. It is about what is right for you and your child!
- Your current school: If your child is older, contact your school and inquire about different options. Many Elementary, Junior High, and High Schools have programs that allow their students to split their time between home and school. Homeschool is no longer an all or nothing program. Explore your options!
- Dollar Tree: If you aren’t already a Dollar Tree fan, you soon will be! There is an entire section made for teachers! From poster boards to flash cards and even grade level workbooks, Dollar Tree has so many useful tools. The best part, it won’t break your bank!
Again, I hope I am able to share more of our experiences and daily activities so no homeschool mom is left feeling like she is reinventing the wheel!