Homeschooling was not in my plan. To say homeschooling was never on my radar would be an understatement. Both my husband and I grew up in public schools. All of our family attended public school. My husband has worked in the public school system as both a teacher and an administrator. Now, he is a professor who trains students to become schoolteachers.
When we sent our oldest to school, we were pleased with his teacher and the principal his kindergarten year. Both of them were wonderful at differentiation and he had a pretty good year because of that. Then first grade came around; complete with a first-year teacher and a new, first-year principal. The atmosphere of the school changed. My son was crying and not wanting to go to school. He developed a skin condition that specialists couldn’t identify. My mom kept telling me she thought it was stress. I didn’t think a first grader could be that stressed. We pushed through that year, but the first thoughts of homeschooling started to creep in during that time.
As second grade started for my oldest, our next child headed to kindergarten. While both of their teachers were incredibly nice people, it became more and more evident that I was sending two of my children off for over 7 hours a day to sit around and do nothing. We met with the teachers asking for more difficult work, for differentiation. We offered to buy learning materials ourselves and send them. Our son’s second-grade teacher met us with amiable resistance. Our kindergartener’s teacher was overwhelmed and overworked with close to 30 students in her class with no help. The gap in skills was great as many in his class were not able to identify all letters of the alphabet while my son was reading chapter books. I know that our public school teachers work incredibly hard and I would never dream of asking them to do more work than they already do. My husband and I were willing to do what we needed to provide a positive solution for the teachers and our sons.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to bring the boys home for school. Over Christmas break, I approached the subject with my husband. Given his experience and relationship with public education, I was sure that he would talk me down from this craziness… He didn’t. He agreed that it seemed like the best option for our boys. My husband told me since I would be the one responsible for the day in and day out that the final decision was up to me. I waffled back and forth on what to do until the night before they were to return to school. I knew that I couldn’t send them back. I quickly called a homeschooling friend who met me at Mardel and gave me a fast rundown on curriculum choices. I grabbed a few workbooks to get us started and our journey began.