Monday, January 7, 2013

On The Subject Of Homeschooling...

People often ask me why I chose to homeschool my two children.  We aren't living on a farm or super religious or anything of the sort.  I was encouraged by a teacher, when I got frustrated with my son's old charter school, which did not have the patience or the proper training to handle my then 8 year old.
     My son frequently got in trouble for doing things that enraged his teacher, such as correcting her, sitting under the desk to do his work and losing is homework (which he did EVERY night) in his desk or backpack. During a parent-teacher conference, she told me my child was irresponsible and had behavioral issues and suggested that I have him tested for ADD.  She went to the principal and asked to have him removed from her class.  So we did, and skipped him to the 4th grade.
     In Mrs. C's class he was able to do the work (under the desk with a teacher that was more lenient), fact check the teacher as long as he had proof to back it up, and who took his homework assignments after school when I handed them in.  She was a saint.  One day after school so came to me with a concern.  While the 4th grade suited my child academically, he was not fitting in socially.  He would only talk to the teacher and staff that he felt comfortable with, and would read the ocean life encyclopedia during recess.  She suggested alternative schooling (great ANOTHER school, we had changed twice already...)  Then she asked if I had ever thought of homeschooling him.  She thought it would be a great solution for a child that was bright but socially uncomfortable.
     I went home and cried. Then I got on the internet and started researching homeschooling. OMG there were soooo many techniques, theories and debates for and against.  I talked to my husband (who was reluctant)and eventually we decided on homeschooling.  I found a great program online called K12.com, it was expensive, so much so that it nearly deterred me.  Then I realized that they offered an online public school option as well.  FOR FREE!!! 
     I had an interview over the phone with an advisor and was set up to meet with a teacher.  The teacher was great and listened to my concerns about my child, and he was tested for placement. Within 2 weeks all of our paperwork was done and we had received all of the curriculum, art supplies, science stuff and a computer!  This program is great because it comes with teachers guides that help you every step of the way, and outstanding teacher support. We stuck with the program for 3 years.
     Long story short we found out shortly afterwards that my son was on the Autism Spectrum and was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was 9.  My son is now 12 and we are now homeschooling independently, which far better suits our needs.  Homeschooling was the best thing I could have ever done for him. It took awhile, but he is becoming more social as time goes on.  And I'm proud to report that although he does correct me, he no longer does his work under his desk....at least not everyday....