This boy and I just completed our first full year of homeschool.
To say I was terrified I was screwing him up the day I randomly walked into school and pulled him out is an understatement. I emailed the superintendent with 3 months left of 6th grade, drove to the school that day, and handed them a letter… having no plan or idea what I was doing. All I knew at that moment was something had to change, and I felt it had to be now.
I was scared and had no idea what I was doing… but my goodness… his happiness, confidence, and self love has quadrupled in the last year. Along with his Latin skills obviously.
I am so thankful for trusting my gut. I’m thankful God put me in a position where I was working from home and able to make that decision on the spur of the moment. I’m grateful I was led to an amazing co-op with such amazing families and a wonderful group of kids he has quickly bonded with.
I love that even though I heard multiple people say, “Aren’t you concerned he needs more socialization or will become anti-social?”, I can smile seeing how much MORE social and confident he is because of homeschooling. I enjoy the fact that though I also hear concerns of him getting behind, I know we are able to spend more time on the areas he didn’t quite grasp in school (even though he got A’s and was able to memorize it for the test), add in on other things that are important (like reasoning, logic, mindset, and faith), and just focus on learning in a much less stressful situation. An environment without all the social anxiety and bullying that took away from his ability to enjoy school. In fact, when I picked him up from his coop today, he said, “I had a lot of fun doing school this year. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed school like this.”
I am also pleased that he’s learning what it’s like to be around a group of kids, all different, that just accept each other and get along. A group full of athletes, book worms, kids that are great fact memorizers, kids that hate reading or love reading, or excel in math or struggle in math, girls, boys… it doesn’t matter, because they all get along and support each other as equals. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, and I love when I sit in or peek in that they are always helping each other out. The focus doesn’t have to be on fitting in, avoiding the bullies, being the best athlete or smartest kid, stressing about what table is going to let you eat lunch with them. All that stress is gone.
Last night before he went to bed, he was starting to have anxiety about his Latin test today. I told him, “Why does it matter what your grade is on your Latin test? Your mom grades it!” He said he didn’t want to look stupid in front of his friends. So I asked him, “Are the friends at your co-op friends that care how good you do on your tests?” He said no. I said, “Are they the kind of friends that care what your hair looks like if you forget to wear your hat one day?” He said no. I asked, “Do these friends judge you or judge each other for what you wear, or do they put each other down, or do they care if you act silly?” He said no…and smiled. It’s hard to get him out of the public school mindset, but it’s neat to see him recognize how amazing it is to find a group like this.
The year leading up to me pulling him out of public school was full of stress, anxiety, worry, and a sense of having no idea what to do. All I knew was that an 10/11 year old shouldn’t hate their life, shouldn’t feel hate towards other kids and school, shouldn’t think God hates them, and shouldn’t mention too many times they want to end their life. Most of all, I knew a child that age shouldn’t think so lowly of themselves and have constant negative self talk. It was a direction in his mindset I felt needed shifted drastically, and that’s when I made a pretty rash decision.
Sometimes it feels like we’re drowning in the stress of life, sometimes as parents we feel lost and like we have no idea what we are doing, but I think if we listen to our gut and what God is leading us to do, the plan is lit up one step at a time.
In fact, sometimes it is only one step. Sometimes you find you are walking into a school, handing them a letter, and walking out with your child… having no idea how to homeschool or if it is the right decision…. having no idea how to pick a curriculum, structure a homeschool day, or if this would even help the situation you were struggling with.
So you just trust and take that first step even if the other steps are still dark and unclear. But then another step is lit up. And then another step. And by the time you have walked a good length down the path, you look back and realize how beautifully God orchestrated that journey.