Why Homeschool?

Why Homeschool?

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The answer is different for every family that you ask. For us, dealing with Juvenile Arthritis was making it more and more difficult to successfully participate in traditional school. Between doctor’s appointments, flares and illness (along with catching every single thing that was going around at school while on immunosuppressive medications) and the travel to out-of-state doctors, my kids were starting to spend more time out of school than they were actually IN school.

I knew it was time for a change.

As wonderful as our public school had been, there were more issues here than following a 504 or IEP plan. Modifying work was not enough to help them keep up, and the in again out again schedule was causing resentment with their peers who were all complying with the full work and attendance schedule. Beyond that, even when the kids were present, they had missed so much that socially they were “out of the loop.”  They didn’t get the inside jokes, and couldn’t commiserate with their friends over that horrible test, or impossible lab assignment. Despite everyone’s efforts, it just didn’t work anymore.

So we decided to homeschool.

It was not a decision we took lightly, but it is a decision that many families, especially those with chronically ill children eventually consider.

The options available to homeschool are endless. It can be overwhelming! My first stop was talking to other JA parents who had already taken the plunge. No need to reinvent the wheel! From there, I researched the programs that had been mentioned with the highest level of satisfaction. Not all of them met our needs. Eventually, we knew we wanted to transition back into traditional school, so I wanted to be careful to select a program that would parallel the information being taught in our school district, so that the transition back would be relatively seamless.

Eventually, we settled on K12. My younger son took on a few independent study courses as well as a few through the virtual school called Icademy. My older son, beginning High School, enrolled exclusively in Icademy, so that he would remain NCAA eligible, and earn credits that are accepted through most any high school. Al though there are many great programs out there, we selected K12 since it is also the same program that many states use for their public school’s hospital homebound or enrichment programs. Many states even have an option where you can obtain the curriculum tuition-free, through your public school.

Although K12 does make it fairly easy, with great online tools, resources, progress reports, etc, it is still a big commitment for the entire family. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, and it does require quite a bit of discipline to stay on track. Even with certified teachers available for skype and live class connect sessions, I have found myself needing to get my own refresher courses in algebra and grammar! Even with virtual school (like we chose, as opposed to “traditional” homeschool where parents are the teachers) I have found myself “teaching” far more that I did while the kids were in public or private schools. It’s definitely not for the faint hearted.

Like everything in life, homeschooling has been a give and take. For as many areas that it is harder (more parental teaching, more discipline, and less social opportunities) it has made it easier in others (more flexibility, less overall stress, and more unique learning opportunities.) My kids were tech savvy before, but now they are whizzes! They are learning better time management, similar to the schedules that one would keep in college, at a very early age. Deadlines are less static, but still there, so we can attend our doctors appointments or travel without the stress of missing one day of school. We are allowed to work up to 4 weeks ahead, or from two weeks behind. For us, for now, this has been perfect.

My advice to families- any family, not just those with JA, is to take a hard look at your children’s education. If something is not working, for any reason, try to figure out why. Are you forcing the current setup just because its comfortable or familiar? If you aren’t able to make it meet your needs, then it may be time to change. Don’t give in to pressure from others to follow a certain path because they think that is what is right for your family, and don’t forget, what works now may not work later. My kids have been in private schools, in public school and homeschooled. Just because homeschool was perfect for us this year, doesn’t guarantee that it will be right for us next year! Just because you transition back to traditional school from homeschool doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever!

While I am not advocating “school hopping” from year to year, I do think that its important to be honest with ourselves about what our children need, and re-evaluate from time to time, even if it is not the most popular path. If it isn’t working, change it!  Everyone will be happier in the long run.

If you have any questions about homeschooling or our journey, please let me know, I’m happy to share. The experiences I have described are our own, and this was not a sponsored post for K12 or K12 Icademy. If you have any thoughts on homeschooling vs traditional schooling, I would love to hear them as well!

 

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Comments:

  1. I think you guys really made the right decision for you. I work in the schools a lot and kids that are pulled out for extra help often end up still missing a lot. Being pulled out for doctor appointments and such is just as tough. I’m glad it is working so well for you.

    Thank you for linking up at Rock-A-Bye Parents Sunday Parenting Pointers linky party! I hope you come and link up with us again tomorrow.
    Elizabeth (Rock-A-Bye Parents) recently posted…Giveaway Link-Up: February 1, 2014My Profile

  2. I admire those who homeschool. I do a bit of homeschooling but ultimately just make sure that the work is accomplished with more understanding and a bit more research and work.

  3. If the educational system in my country would allow it I would definitely opt for homeschooling. I found a variety of disturbing behaviours and educational methods are quite the norm nowadays. I hate to be forced to educate my daughter in these kind of schools, I am planning to offer her a proper education in a private school, even if that means lots of money involved.

  4. I feel like when I was growing up being home schooled wasn’t a good thing. Now there are so many resources for home schooling it’s amazing! Thanks for sharing!
    Cara @ Craftdictator recently posted…Valentine’s Hoop Art DisplayMy Profile

  5. I think it’s super wise for families to evaluate each year, individually. When people feel like they have to commit to homeschooling (or not) forever it shuts off a whole world of options and what works for a boy in 4th grade may not be the same thing that works for him when he’s a young man in high school!
    Elizabeth recently posted…The Perfect Combination of Lazy & Hippie! – Little Bean SproutMy Profile

  6. I agree that comfort or familiarity can sometimes lead to staying in a situation that may not be the best one to be in. That is true with anything including school!! This was a nice post to read!! Thank you for sharing it at Super Sunday Sync.
    Rosey recently posted…Super Sunday Sync #71My Profile

  7. I have wanted to homeschool my son since the beginning but my spouce is against. Public school is not working for us and I have looked a K12. Thank you for sharing your experiences so I can pass them along to my hubby.
    Mindie recently posted…Valentine’s Day Love BugsMy Profile

    • Mindie, depending on where you are located, K12 can possibly be free through your public school. There are also programs that homeschoolers are usually allowed to access through the public school (or even the Y) in order to allow more socialization or for “special” classes like art or band. Since our schedule is wonky due to doctors appointments, that is less of a possibility for us, but may be the perfect blend to satisfy both you and your hubby. If you (or he) have questions, feel free to ask! There are also a number of open groups on facebook that are for K12 families, that I am sure would be a great place to get more firsthand info.

  8. i just think it’s also a good thing cos’ these days, the public schools are teaching a LOT of things that kids don’t or shouldn’t need….good for you to be homeschooling!
    andi recently posted…DiscountMagazines.Com $5 Sale – LAST Day!My Profile

    • Andi, you are not alone in that opinion! I have heard that often in the homeschooling community. For us it was more a scheduling and pressure issue, but there are just as many other great reasons to choose homeschooling based on your families needs or value system.

  9. I had no idea kids could have arthritis. I am in my late 40’s and have a lot of arthritis in my hands and lower back. I could not imagine a child with it. I am going to following all your social medias. I look forward to reading more.

    Blessings Always,
    Diane Roark
    http://www.recipesforourdailybread.com
    I have a blog hop at 7:00pm on Wed. and 9:00 pm on Friday nights. Please stop by and link up sometimes.

    • Diane, thank you for coming by, and learning more about JA! Unlike the arthritis we usually get as adults, Juvenile Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, and can affect many different systems in the body. It is becoming increasingly more common. Current estimates are 1 out of every 250 children! Thank you for the follow(s) I look forward to getting to know you better, and will try to stop by your blog hops too!

  10. I can imagine homeschooling being the best option for your family. It interests me very much also. Most of all because I would like to teach my son in Finnish. Maybe one day. Good luck with your homeschooling!
    Joanna Sormunen recently posted…Moral lawMy Profile

    • Our reasons for homeschooling are heavily influenced by our situation resulting from JA, but many other families that I know have other reasons that are equally as important to their families, from flexible schedules for athletes and actors, to religious reasons, or like you, because you would like to teach you children in your native language! Programs for homeschool are just as varied as the reasons why we choose to do so, and the decision is not one size fits all! I wish you luck if you choose to try, and I’m here if you have any questions about how we do it!

  11. We homeschool as well. Ezra was so sick when Azilee was supposed to start Kindergarten and I was almost due with baby #3. She would have missed too much school with out constant road trips back & forth to Duke and hospital stays so we choose to Homeschool. Thankfully it was something I had been interested in when she was a younger child so I was already open to the idea. Its worked out really well for us so far. Its the main focus of my blog & youtube page.

    • My second was in traditional school while my older son was in hospital homebound. When we started traveling so far for doctors appointments, it became evident that I couldn’t keep one child in public school and the other out of it. It has been a great experience on many levels, but we would like to get back to bricks and mortar next year since they will both be in high school. As our situation changes, we will re-evaluate our choices, and try to take the route that best serves our needs. I think it always helps to have an open mind, like you did!

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