Fighting to get B to school. Calls from school saying B was sick. Coming home with supposedly sick B only to have him bouncing off the walls. Complaints that school was easy and boring. The boy that once loved to learn was hating school.
Our Public School Experience
Truth be told I always wanted to homeschool B. When he was registered for kindergarten I was a single mother working full time outside the home. It just didn’t seem like a possibility. But by the time B started kindergarten I had lost my job, had my car repossessed, we moved, I ended up on disability and was struggling with my health. It didn’t help that I spent a total of four hours a day bussing back and forth to get B to and from the school that was near our old home. That first year was tough. Homeschooling was the furthest thing from my mind.
Even in kindergarten B was bored at school. He was in French immersion but that didn’t slow him down as we had hoped. I didn’t know what to do. I tried talking to his teacher but she dismissed me because, in her opinion, B was an average student. Due to my health I felt stuck. B would come home, say he learned nothing, didn’t get to do what he wanted to do and that he didn’t want to go back.
In grade one, B switched schools. Less of a commute, same problems getting him to school. That summer I had suffered a severe concussion. Despite this we got our first taste at homeschooling. There was a teacher’s strike going on. B was eager to get back to learning so I found curriculum for him to work on at home. But my headaches were unbearable and he eventually my doctor recommended B go to daycare while the strike continued.
The fighting to get B to school and complaining school was easy and boring continued through to the end of grade two. While B was in grade 2 I went back to school in hopes of starting a new career. But when I could not finish my program (freak second encounter with mono) and the intensity of the fights escalating I decided it was time for a change.
The Heart of the “Why”
Three years in public school had changed B. He no longer loved to read and learn and his complaining was no longer limited to school. Our relationship had suffered. Partly because I had become frustrated with the daily battle to get him ready and out the door and partly because I had been so focused on my health and figuring out a new career. So I asked B if he’d like to try homeschooling.
It’s important to note here that when I asked B about homeschooling, there were custody issues. The decision was not entirely up to me. If B wasn’t on board with homeschooling it wasn’t worth approaching his dad about it. Homeschooling wasn’t an easy sell on his dad but because B wanted to, he agreed to a trial year.
But B was on board. He had two simple reasons. One, B wanted more time with me. This was a big red flag for me. My son, who I thought I was spending enough time with, wanted more. Two, he wanted the freedom to learn about what he was interested in. Public school was boring because he wasn’t interested in what they were teaching. For him, the only point of school was to see his friends. Which he still does.
My reason was simply because I did not want B to fall through the cracks of the public school system. I knew he was only doing what was asked of him, no more, no less. Which is why teachers did not see his potential. Pulling him out and letting him run with what he was interested in while teaching him reading, writing and arithmetic, which he had to know, would be best for him.
Something to Consider
I’ll be honest, homeschooling is not for everyone. Some kids thrive in public school. B is not that type of kid. Public school was boring to him. It lacked the challenge he needed. B is also a very well behaved child with very few behavioural issues to deal with (we’ll get more into that in another post). Homeschooling is also not for every mom. Personally, I feel I can only handle teaching one, well-behaved kid. The moms who homeschool multiple kids amaze me! That said, I have chronic health issues that make it a real struggle to get lessons done some days. We have done lessons in my bed or with B at the computer in my room while I laid in bed. But it’s definitely changed both of us for the better.
I’ll get more into what we’ve tried, what worked, and what didn’t work along with more about our style of homeschooling in the near future. I wanted to share the “why” first. It’s important to understand that the biggest reason we homeschool is because B needed intellectual challenge that public school could not offer him. How we homeschool was shaped by this. I have been told by other homeschool moms that B is doing too much but when I scaled back, he wasn’t happy.
Remember, every kid is different! Just because B is only 8 right now, does not mean he should be limited to grade three curriculum. In some aspects, he’s a typical grade, three students, in others, not so much. Knowing yourself and knowing your kid will determine whether or not homeschooling is for you.