This post begins an exclusive series following Loralee Chaote as she dives into homeschooling for the first time.
Last week we attended parent/teacher conferences for our 6th grader. It is his first year attending the HUGE middle school in our area.
The news about our son was not good.
In fact, it could not have been much worse.
I am not blaming the teachers. (Well, I AM blaming them that my son could be failing everything but homework and that I did not receive a SINGLE PHONE CALL alerting me to the problem. THAT I can say, "FAIL" with). My son has a huge, huge problem with attention (yes, we are addressing that, as well). He is not hyper, nor rebellious nor a behavioral problem, he just has a VERY hard time staying on track about everything. NO teacher can give him the attention and focus that his father and I feel he desperately needs right now.
We have struggled with his education for a very long time. Schooling has always been a huge struggle. We have tried everything we can think of -- charter school, tutoring, talking to teachers and administration, public traditional school, me volunteering, enrichment courses and after-school homework clubs, etc. We are finally at the end of the line.
So ... I put out a plea for advice from blog readers about homeschooling.
We’re going for it.
As soon as possible.
If it goes as scheduled, we will be homeschooling Christopher on Monday morning.
Seems very fast, right?
Yes and no.
We have been playing around with this as an option for years. I started being exposed to alternative forms of education when I took a leap and put my eldest into the valley’s first charter school in 1st grade. I found myself paying rapt attention when she decided to homeschool a few years ago and read her posts about it often. Since the middle school here is so huge, we have ALWAYS considered homeschool for these years (with a return in high school). And so, I have been turning it over and over like a rusty hamster wheel in the back of my head for a long, long time. You have to understand how many people we know and that are family that have done this.
We have a lot of support.
My mother was a teacher for 35 years.
My mother-in-law has been a music and orchestra teacher forever.
My sister-in-law homeschools all her children and has for several years.
I could go on, but those are the main sources of support I will be drawing on.
We want to do K-12, but I am not sure there is an open district.
We want to work with a district if possible, but if it isn’t, we have all the curriculum available to us. (Which is an enormous blessing due to amazing in-laws).
It is not going to be a picnic, and I will have to simply be better. Better at patience, better at time management, better at organization, better as a blogger, better at efficiency and better as a mother.
My kid is worth it, though.
I’d do anything for him.
And looking at all my responsibilities and after many, many conversations and hours looking at it, I feel a whole lot better about things and being able to make it work.
Some big helps: My mother-in-law retired from her position as orchestra teacher at my kid’s former charter school, so she has offered to take Christopher two days a week to cover things like music and so that I can work and focus on Butterlump. She is the most proficient woman in the world and knows as well as we do that Christophee needs help. It is a huge help in the equation.
We are signing him up for a swim team at our gym for his physical education (or something similar), and he is going to attend orchestra at the charter school next door in the afternoons.
Jonathan works from home, so he will have set time with him. HE IS IN CHARGE OF ALL SCIENCE AND MATH. (Hi, remember me? Girl with a 29 on the ACT and a 13 in math?) Everything else, I am good with handling.
My sister-in-law has offered to coordinate field trips and such with us. There is a strong homeschooling force in our valley, and I plan on utilizing it.
My mom will help me as much as she can, and I know she has forgotten more about organizing things and being efficient than I EVER possessed -- since both my parents are super tidy, hardworking and great at time management and things like remembering to get your oil checked before your car engine blows up on you, although sometimes I suspect they just saw some poor, wayward, chaotic redheaded women in 1970s pajama pants making theatrical and over-emotional gestures to a sign that said, “Hey, want a baby? I have one!” in a Safeway parking lot, took pity and brought me home with them because EFF ALL if I can figure out how I came from those two.*)
(It was a compliment to my parents, people.)
So, really, I have so much help and resources available to me.
Heck, I HAVE THE UNENDING KNOWLEDGE AND PATIENCE OF THE INTERNETS! (Ironically, Ree was sitting next to me when Jonathan texted me asking what I thought about homeschooling, and she totally gave me a big thumbs up. Nice vote of confidence, that.)
So, really, what more do I need? ;)
I’m actually very excited about this.
NERVOUS AS ALL GET OUT, but excited.
Mainly, I want my child to feel better about himself, education and learning.
And I am very hopeful that we can make this happen for him.
Wish me luck.
*I probably shouldn’t teach him that run-on sentences are cool, right?