Why We Homeschool

Our initial reason to homeschool Grasshopper is because the traditional school setting was a horrible experience for him.  He attended preschool for 2 years, his preschool experience was half a day 2 days a week.  Since preschool was pretty much all learning activities built into playing, and the shortened time spent there we didn’t really experience any problems here.  The real problems began in kindergarten.

Gavin MicroscopeLike many moms I was so ready for the first day of kindergarten.  At the time I was working part time out of the home. The combination of all day everyday kindergarten and the change to all day 4 days a week preschool for Ladybug meant I was finally going to be past the point in my life where I was juggling work/kids/babysitters to just work/kids.  Or so I thought, yes that was a naive mommy moment.

We didn’t even make it through the first day of school before I got the call to come pick up Grasshopper because of behavior problems.  I was shocked!  Grasshopper is an all around good kid, he is helpful, kind and compassionate what happened in the first day of school that completely changed his behavior?!?  At the time I thought he was simply acting out to having a special needs sibling who demanded a lot of our attention.  He struggled with understanding why we expected him to be more independent but we didn’t expect that same independence from Ladybug.  Now, I believe it was a combination of things.  I believe he was bored, he already knew everything the teacher was teaching the class.  I also believe he was overstimulated, I think the number of kids, sounds, etc were all too much for him.

Since these behaviors were all new to me, and because they were making me feel like I failed as a mother, I agreed to have him spend time with the school counselor weekly.  He also participated in groups for leaning social behaviors.  The outbursts didn’t stop, he would run out of the class, down the hall, even made it out of the building once before a teacher could catch up with him.  He would yell out terrible things about himself, hit his head, and be downright uncontrollable during an outburst.  One outburst became so bad they actually removed the entire class from the room because they couldn’t get him to calm down or come out from under the table.  It was getting so bad the school staff thought maybe he was suffering from a personality disorder.

I wish I could say I pulled him from school right away, but no we stuck it out through the entire school year.  After he adjusted his outbursts were not as frequent, they learned to give him quiet time and breaks (Christmas break, family vacation) seemed to help a little.  Plus, I was still working outside the home and we relied on that income.  Naturally I was concerned about financial impacts would come if we chose to homeschool.

By the end of his kindergarten year we decided to homeschool Grasshopper, public school was not the right fit for him and it was crushing him.  When we told Grasshopper he would be homeschooled it was as if I got my son back that same day.  He was back to the kid I knew before kindergarten.  Of course it hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine, but I have my little boy back and after a year of homeschooling he never wants to go back to school again!

While the reasons listed above are our primary reasons to homeschool there are many more reasons why I love it.

  1. I can teach from a Christian Worldview
  2. I can tailor our lessons based on his learning style
  3. I can choose areas of study that interest him
  4. The joy of watching him learn/grow/discover the world around him
  5. When explaining things such as the theory of evolution I can teach why we don’t believe this is true based on the Bible
  6. I don’t have to worry about political agendas being forced upon him
  7. Developing a deeper relationship with him
  8. Having a say in which social groups he is involved with
  9. Learning in a setting without other social pressures

Why  we don’t homeschool

*GASP*  I’ll give everyone a minute to let that thought settle in after reading all the reasons I love homeschooling.

Ladybug still attends public school.  I know, I know all the reasons listed above are great reasons to homeschool and since we have already become a homeschooling family we not teach everyone at home right?  I do admit that I feel guilty for continuing to send Ladybug to school, but truth be told I have my limitations.  While I am usually flying my supermom cape proudly I am still human and can only do so much.

Let me explain, Ladybug’s cerebral palsy means she is very limited in the activities she can do.  She requires hand over hand assistance with EVERYTHING, including using a pencil, crayons, Mikayla buseating utensils, you get the idea.  While she does use a gait trainer to help with walking her primary means for mobility is her wheelchair.  She is unable to sit up on her own, or transition on her own in and out of her wheelchair.  Her speech is also limited, we’re lucky if she will put 3 words together and is just now (at the age of 7) starting to carry on short conversations.  She is very oral and will bite/chew on anything and everything so she needs constant supervision.  To sum it all up, the only independent activity she can do is watching cartoons.

I know many families teach multiple children, but in our home each child would need to be taught separately in order to teach them effectively.  This means that while I am teaching Grasshopper, the only thing Ladybug would be doing is watching cartoons.   Plus, they do like to eat and enjoy having clean clothes to wear which means there are many times a day she is watching cartoons while I’m just trying to get things done.  So while I feel guilty for sending Ladybug off to school, I feel even more guilty about the time she would spend watching cartoons because I do have all the other normal mom responsibilities.  Sending her to school means when she comes home I am available to be to the mom she needs me to be because I will have already completed day to day tasks.

Because of her speech delays I also feel inadequate for the special education she needs.  It is really hard to access what she is and isn’t learning.  I know she’s smart and catches on to more than we think but when she can’t communicate what she knows  it’s difficult to know when we can continue to move forward.  The special ed team at her school have been great to work with.  and Ladybug enjoys spending her day with them.  She has a one on one para professional with her all day, and loves being at school.

I will continue to reevaluate this every year especially as Grasshopper gets older and more independent, but for now we feel this is what works best for our family.

 

What are your reasons for homeschooling?  Homeschooling a child like Ladybug?

I would love to hear them, please comment below.

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