My name is Vicky and I am a homeschooling mom of 3 lively kiddos: E is 7, L is 11, and C is 12. This is our fourth year and I finally feel like we're finding a rhythm. We currently use an online program through a local Virtual Academy.
So, why have we chosen to homeschool? My daughters, L & C, used to attend our local public school. C did fine and never had any academic problems. L, on the other hand, had a couple of issues. She had a slight speech impediment. Her first grade teacher had her placed in speech therapy twice per week. Now, no one can tell she had any problem. The larger issue wasn't discovered until second grade: L hadn't learned to read at the same rate as her classmates and had been left behind.
I need to make perfectly clear that L had been read to as a small child, been surrounded by books her whole life, and was asked to read to us as she got older. But she fooled us by "reading" her favorite book, Green Eggs and Ham, every night.
I was understandably upset and felt like I had failed as a parent. After all, who is a child's first teacher? Parents are. We teach them how to feed themselves, to speak, to crawl, to walk, and tons of other things. So how had I messed this up?!
My husband and I discussed removing the girls from school, but we didn't know how homeschooling worked. When I found the online program, we decided to try it out. L was placed in a special reading program to find the gaps in her learning and fill them in. She blossomed nearly overnight because she could finally take the time she needed to understand. She is reading at her grade level now. And while she doesn't yet enjoy reading, we are searching for something that will spark her interest.
Do we spend our days stuck inside, glued to our books and computers? Hardly. There are days when we do buckle down (We are schooling after all.). But learning doesn’t have to be boring or just done indoors. Our family is involved in our county 4H in Photography, Foods, Visual Arts, and Health. We get together with other homeschooling families regularly. This past week alone, we have been to two field trips, soccer practice, and three 4-H related activities. While we may not enjoy every subject or activity, learning should be fun and a lifetime pursuit.
My favorite perk of Homeschooling is our flexible schedule. We can take our learning on the road. Learning opportunities pop up in everyday life and can happen anywhere: the grocery store, grandma’s house, or the backyard. We also take our family vacations in the slower seasons and turn them into learning experiences. Sure, we have been to the theme parks, but we have also been to the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore. Which trips do the kids remember the most? Not the visits to the Mouse Kingdom. This year, they had more fun at the Petroglyph National Park in Albuquerque than they did on the Vegas Strip.
What do the kids like most about Homeschooling? C likes to sleep in and read whenever she wants to. L likes staying in her jammies if she doesn’t feel like getting dressed. E likes to play with his legos when he has a break.
All three of the kids are thriving because they can take time to learn at their own pace. We have the opportunity to find what works for them and change when we need to. We have time to go on field trips and meet new people. We volunteer as a family. The kids are learning and growing into the adults I can’t wait to see. This is where we are supposed to be.