It’s about time for school to start again. Some students can’t wait to get back to school to meet up with friends and greet the challenges of the new year. Some students however dread the thought of going back to school, struggling in class, being bullied by others, or for many other reasons that make school a negative rather than positive experience. Traditional school is not for everyone.
Nothing less than Julliard or Harvard for my boys….or so I thought!
When my two boys were preschoolers, I had my mind set on Julliard and Harvard for them. I was prepared to give all the support and direction they needed to get there. Never in my wildest dreams did I think there was a chance that they wouldn’t graduate high school, but that’s what almost happened.
They were both energetic, smart, positive kids who struggled with school. One was bullied on a daily basis in elementary school, and later on became a bully himself in middle school, and the other struggled learning in the traditional classroom with 30 other students.
My oldest scored in the 98th percentile range on standardized test but received failing grades on his report cards. My youngest child’s teacher would tell me how far behind he was in reading, but he regularly read to me at home and did well.
Oh the struggle…
School was a struggle every day for both of them and for me too. I was at my wits end. And believe me, I was doing everything the books said that would result in successful students. I was involved with the PTA, fundraising, classroom volunteering, providing homework help and routines, and a host of other things that were recommended for parents to do to ensure their kids did well in school. Read more about our school experiences in a previous blog I wrote, “Is your child’s a good fit or a toxic environment?”
The Homeschool option
Two people came into my life that let me see outside the box. One was a friend that had a child the same age as my son. They were attending a summer music camp together and I became friends with his mother as we sat in the audience during rehearsals. She was a teacher by trade but had decided quit her job to stay at home and homeschool her kids.
I had always thought of homeschoolers as kind of weird people who shielded their kids from the real world. I really felt sorry for “those” kids. But this family seemed normal and the kids seemed happy. They were involved in all sorts of activities and seemed well rounded. It still didn’t occur to me that this could be a solution to my problems though.
Then when my youngest was cast in a community theater performance of the “Wizard of Oz,” I met another mom. Her daughter was cast as the Good Witch and was very talented. She was a homeschooled high school student. Her mom said that she was just too sensitive to go to high school and was often depressed because of bullying and they had decided that homeschool was the best option for her. Her daughter was bright, talented, engaged well with the other kids in theater cast, and she was happy.
It would be several more years of trying to fit my kids into the traditional school atmosphere where they were unhappy, making bad choices, and failing before I decided enough was enough. It was actually when I feared my oldest would be kicked out of school and not graduate that I took action. My back was up against the wall.
I pulled him out and enrolled him Clon Lara, a tuition based on line school out of Michigan. It was amazing that I remembered the name of this school from the conversation with the mother of the girl in the play but I did and I was glad because I knew nothing else about homeschooling options.
My friends thought I was crazy but I knew I had to do something to save my kid. He was going into 10th grade. I wish I could say it was smooth sailing, it wasn’t. He still did not want to do the work but he did. He was very smart so he was able to put in little effort and get the work done. We allowed him to try out for a competitive home school basketball team. He excelled on the team and gained a lot of confidence.
He had a girlfriend so he was still able to go to high school dances, events, and the prom. He was a part of youth group at church so he still had a social life. When he was at school he had chosen the wrong types of friends and there was constant peer pressure to make wrong choices. Once he was out of that environment, he was not making as many bad choices and started making good ones.
Things gradually improved, and he did receive his diploma. Without the homeschool option, I really don’t believe he would have completed high school and his life would be much different now.
Today, he is 29 years old and a father of three beautiful girls. He holds a responsible professional job and he surprises himself sometimes at how quick his mind is. I tease him that he has always been smart but just tried to suppress his intellect for years so that he could fit in with the wrong crowd.
My youngest also struggled. He could learn easily one to one but in a classroom of 30 he was lost. From the time he started 1st grade, we would work together on his homework. He would do the work but I was there to explain and guide. His grades were good and he felt good about himself. I was a stay at home parent and could afford to spend a lot of time with him. He was well behaved at school and often received citizenship awards.
Things went bad…
Things fell apart for him when my husband got sick and I had to go back to work when he entered 7th grade. I sat him down and talked to him about the great foundation we had built and how he would now need to take control of his homework on his own.
I really didn’t think this was going to be a problem because he was doing so well. But he was doing well because of all the support he had from me. I didn’t realize this. I thought that he could do it. He couldn’t. His grades started falling. He got behind. He started class clowning and picking the wrong types of friends. We argued all the time. I was overwhelmed with work and a sick husband and not enough money. After 9th grade, I pulled him out of school and decided to homeschool him as well.
Homeschool to the rescue
This time I chose K-12. I loved it. Not only was it tuition free but the curriculum was excellent. They sent us a desktop computer and all the books and materials by mail. By the time, I pulled him out of traditional school, he was not such a willing student either but I think he did like that we were spending time together again. I had changed my shift at work to an afternoon shift so that I could work with him during the day.
We sat down together at the computer and worked with the interactive programs together. I would read a page and then he would. I was shocked at first. My child almost seemed illiterate. He was skipping over words and saying the wrong words. He was completely behind in Math, missing many basic concepts. At first, I was pointing out his errors but learned very quickly that he would shut down when I did. So I shut up.
Soon he was getting his confidence back and all the holes and gaps were being filled in. Before long, he loved to show off his reading skills by reading aloud flawlessly. By the time he graduated, I felt confident that he had a good high school education. Again, as with my oldest, he would not have graduated had I left him in traditional high school.
Now my youngest holds a responsible job and has his eye on management. I have no doubt that he will be an excellent manager. He’s a smart, dependable, take charge sort of person. I’m so happy that Homeschooling was an option and that those two friends who homeschooled came across my path.
I’m so proud of both my boys. Life did not turn out the way I had originally planned but it’s good. They were the “school of hard knocks” kind of boys that did not appreciate my love of education until they were grown.
I wish I would have thought about homeschooling earlier. It would have saved a lot of pain and heartache. My boys both disagree. They tell me the adversity they encountered along the way made them the men they are today. I guess it’s true the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” They are both very thankful that I thought outside the box when they were in their rebellious years, and I am too!
I utilized Clon Lara and K-12 and found them both to be excellent choices and would recommend them to anyone. Homeschooling isn’t like it used to be where you had to develop your own curriculum and keep tedious records. You also don’t have to be college educated to homeschool your children. Your student will work with their on-line teachers. You have to make sure they do their work and offer support just like if they were in traditional school. So if your child is not doing well in school, definitely consider the homeschool option. Feel free to ask me any questions about our family’s homeschool experience below. ~Reggie
Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support is appreciated. ~Reggie
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