I am supposed to be the “Intentional Mommy” but I came to be a homeschooler quite by accident.
In my “pre-mommy” days, I was a teacher. In a classroom. At a school. I grew up in public schools, attended a state university and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Not exactly the expected path for a homeschooling mom, though much more common these days.
When we adopted 3, we began to talk about how we would handle his education. We knew we wanted me to stay home, especially while he was young and at least until our youngest child was in school full time. Since we have planned (and still plan) to adopt again, I didn’t know how long that would be. Because of my teaching experience in a Christian school, and my research on the trends of public schools, we agreed the IDEAL education would be in a Christian school from preschool through graduation, then Christian based college. However, that was a very difficult financial proposition.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average private school tuition is $6600 per year. It is less for elementary and more for secondary. In our area, I have researched how much a year of Kindergarten would be in a private Christian school. I found several ranging from $3000 to over $10,000 per year. For kindergarten!! As a one income family, this was not a viable option!
When we began to hear about the newest public school initiative (Common Core Standards – to learn more read this and anything from this site), we knew public school wasn’t for us. (I am not saying it’s not for EVERYONE, just not for us!)
So, no public school, can’t afford Christian school…. that leaves homeschooling. But, I was one who always said I would NEVER homeschool! I always admired those who did and would fight for their right to do so, but it.is.not.for.me.
So, we did the easy thing and didn’t make a decision! 3 ended up making the decision for us! When he was 2, he wanted to learn things. He would ask question after question after question. What letter is that? What color is that? and on and on. Things most 3 or 4 year olds start asking, he was asking as a 2 year old. So I began to play educational games and use coloring pages, walks in the neighborhood, and so on to teach him things. I am a teacher, after all, so it was all very natural and organic. No curriculum, no plans, just day in and day out learning.
By the time he was 3, he started asking to learn how to read. I know how to teach children to read and had lots of experience with it in my 1st grade classroom, but those students were 6-7 years old and the curriculum was handed to me. He was only THREE for crying out loud! Then, we got a diagnosis that changed everything.
Our son was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. I will write more about this in a later post, but as a child that seeks as much physical input as possible, we knew we could not enroll him in a preschool. He jumped up and down all.the.time. He would play cars on the floor and every 30 seconds or so he would stand up, jump up and down repeatedly, then sit back down and play. Then, 30 seconds later, repeat this again and again. He also had NO sense of personal space. So he would hug or kiss other children, whether they wanted him to or not, or hit (but not in anger) or push (while playing) or talk to them with his nose 3 centimeters from theirs. Knowing the way schools work, he would be labeled and seen as THAT child. You know the one. The one who runs around like a crazy child while everyone else is sitting down and coloring. The one who sits on top of another child in the reading corner instead of next to them. The one who always makes noise no.matter.what because he truly couldn’t help it. This would not be a good situation.
No, no preschool for my boy. So I began to read and research and, well, overthink everything. I didn’t even notice all that he’d learned from such a laid back, easy approach when he was 2. Nope. I NEEDED a lesson plan and a curriculum and goals. Or, at least I thought did. Then I found Raising Rockstars Preschool by http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.com. It was set up in a structured, weekly plan with everything I needed to feel prepared, but was very age appropriate and FUN. I used her workbox type system and it worked perfectly for us. Best of all, it is FREE! I taught, he learned, and it was a perfect fit.
The I-can-never-homeschool feeling I’d always had was gone. I WAS homeschooling, though unofficially. I began to pray and talk to my husband and we agreed that THIS was the ideal situation. Homeschooling. And I LOVE it. So does 3. It’s a perfect fit for our family. Even if you never thought you would or could homeschool, I challenge you to think about all the homework you’ve assisted with, things you’ve taught your toddler and realize that you are already, at least partially, homeschooling. No, it isn’t for every family. But, you might be like me, and not realize that it really is.