The end of the school year, and a milestone.Today was the last day of our school year...and it marked a big milestone, for myself, and my oldest child. I have now successfully home schooled a child from kindergarten to the beginning of high school.
Nine years ago, when my oldest child was a newly minted 5 year old, I did all the requisite research into sending him to kindergarten. the reading readiness guidelines said that my 5 year old should be able to recognise the alphabet.
At the time, he was reading "The Hobbit".
(It should be noted, none of my other kids did that. Matthew was exceptional, and unfortunately for the younger two, my husband thought he was typical)
I consulted with a friend who knew my children well, and who taught in our district's gifted programme. She told me that our district "can't meet the needs of a gifted kindergartner". (See why I didn't name names?) and that i should home school him until he could test into the gifted programme.
Needless to say, by the time the summer before his third grade year rolled around, I was sold on homeschooling for the long term. I had also recently discovered classical education, and was convinced an education lacking in Greek and Latin was, well, lacking. I also had to consider a middle child who was showing tendencies that would surely be labeled ADHD in the school setting. Having weaned myself off Ritalin at the age of 11 (without my mother's permission, and I waited a year to tell her. the fact that she never noticed a difference in my behaviour speaks volumes about either her, my diagnosis, or both), I was determined not to go down the medication road with any "ADHD" kids of my own. Keeping any kids in danger of that label seemed like the best course to me.
In the nine years since, I have refined my methods as I go. A few years ago we signed up with a virtual charter, which has been a godsend, paying for all our secular curriculum (our only religious subject in ecclesiastical Greek) and swim and dance lessons. I've discovered curricula that I love only to have kids out grow it. Next year will be a new experience in that both Matthew and Liv will be doing part of their coursework online. This will be the first year I'm not teaching everything and while I know it's the right thing to do, it feels strange.
And of course, I have seen my kids surpass me, which is the best reward.
I will never claim homeschooling is for everyone. I will admit there have been many many times I have wanted to give up and send some kid or other to school just so they would stop bugging the shit out of me. (yes, homeschooling parents feel that way). But yesterday, on the eve of the last day of my 9th year of homeschooling, I had a dream that my youngest child had gone to school part way through this, his third grade year. In the dream, I felt there was no going back and I would* have* to send him back to school next year. The sadness this thought gave me made me realise, that yes, we're still on the right path for us.