Let me start off with this: I have wanted to home-school Kitt from day one. Before pre-K, I went to the local K-12 Academy and sat through orientation. I read the packet, scoured the internet and sat at the starting line waiting for the school year to begin so I could impart my knowledge to my offspring in my own way.
Life is funny sometimes.
I started gathering my resources a few months before the end of the preceding year. As I sat at my desk preparing paperwork and setting up a planner, Kitt sat at the window each afternoon watching the kids come off the school bus. She ran to the window in fascination, and her joyful anticipation grew. She talked for days about going on the big yellow bus, making friends, and having so much fun.
I had a decision to make… but I didn’t do it alone.
We had a family meeting. I presented the pros and cons to my daughter for and against going to school. In the end, she was adamant. She wanted to go to school with all the other children. Since my daughter is super social, and I exist firmly in the introvert camp, I caved and enrolled her in school.
Watching her get on the bus the first day of pre-K brought me to tears for more reasons than just ‘my baby is growing up’. All my beautiful plans of mommy-daughter time and a tailored education drifted away behind her as they drove away. Every year, and every time school stressed her out, I asked her if she wanted to come home for schooling. Every time, she adamantly chose school over home.
Fast forward to sixth grade.
Kitt had many friends, she consistently made A’s and B’s, and her teachers couldn’t say enough good things about her. But her attitude turned hostile, and her manners and demeanor became cringe-worthy. We argued about silly things, and she started to withdraw from family (though thankfully, not her friends).
One day, she came home in tears. Despite her stellar grades, she told me she felt stupid. Her friends were better than her at everything from taking tests, to art, to sports. She wanted to go to sleep and never wake up rather than go back to school the next day. (Yes, she is in therapy to work on these feelings.)
It broke my heart, but hardened my resolve.
I pulled her out of school the next day, but I didn’t make this choice alone. We had another family meeting and voted unanimously to give homeschooling a try. Unlike the first time, I didn’t have a plan. There wasn’t a neat curriculum sitting in my desk drawer waiting for the right moment. For the first week, I winged it while I got myself organized to do this thing.
Although this decision resulted in a stressful scramble as I tried to do all the right things, I also felt a sense of relief. Finally, I will know the answer to ‘what did you learn today?’. I won’t be in the dark about how well a subject has been presented, or what elements of the story were glossed over or left out.
Now I’m in the loop, and I hope I’m here to stay!