As my children have grown over these past few years, I have periodically debated home schooling them. I would read blog posts and books written by homeschoolers and be envious. I wanted that time with my children, but figured they would never agree. I never really took it seriously. I knew homeschooling was a great option for a lot of families. It was just a dream, right? Like that 5 bedroom house with the pool and plenty of bathrooms that I dream about? I had already put my kids in preschool, once you start, you can’t stop..right?? Especially if they like it. We bought this house because it’s in a great school district. Why home school when the public schools in town are good? I never really even brought it up in a serious conversation with my husband..until recently.

Along with the COVID-19 Pandemic in March of 2020, came distance learning. Our teachers worked their bottoms off and did the very best they could. I totally understand that. They went from thinking this was going to be a 2-3 week adventure to it being the “new normal.” My son was in 2nd grade, my daughter finishing her last year of nursery school. Not only did my son’s teacher have to teach her class all the necessary lessons from her dining room while helping her own children, but she also had to give a class full of second graders a few lessons and tips on internet etiquette. She had to explain that WHEN YOU TYPE LIKE THIS IT MEANS YOU ARE YELLING!! She had to explain that although you are excited that you got a trampoline, you don’t need 3 lines, yes lines, of exclamation points to do so. My darling son who accidentally submitted his math test without finishing it and proceeded to send his teacher 3 messages that said “HELLPPP ME PLEEZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Once I explained that it is pretty much the internet equivalent of jumping up and down in your class room and yelling “HELP” he deleted them. Of course that just deleted on the class feed, the teacher still sees them. So she called the house to check on him and make sure everything was okay. Talk about embarrassing! On the one hand, I was mortified, but I was also really impressed that she took the time out of her busy day to check up on him. He is a smart kid with ADHD. He flew through his work at home without the distractions of a classroom full of his peers. He mentioned a few times how he liked doing school work at home better because it was easier to focus and he could move around whenever he wanted. He was done in 30-40 minutes every day then bored for the rest of the day.

My daughter was finishing up her last few months of preschool. Her teacher is the best. She held daily Zoom calls with the class. They had circle time, went on scavenger hunts and caught up with each other. God Bless her.. 15 preschoolers on a video chat making faces at each other and talking at the same time was overwhelming for me and I wasn’t the one talking to them. I was just on the other side of the kitchen loading my dishwasher. She even managed to teach them all a new song for their virtual graduation. One day, my daughter sat in her chair with tears streaming down her cheeks during the call. My phone rang about 2 minutes after the call ended. Her teacher called to check up on her. My daughter was worried about missing graduation, never hugging her preschool teacher again and a bunch of other stuff. Her teacher got back on Zoom with her and went over every fear she had, they talked it out and her smile returned. Did I mention, the teacher barely getting paid and has 3 of her own kids to worry about? That woman will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Our decision to home school did not come because we were unsatisfied with their education. We have been lucky to have great teachers to guide our children. We realized through our virtual learning adventures that we could go so much further with our children if they didn’t have to wait for their peers. We could go down the rabbit hole of curiosity and adventure. My daughter could get the extra attention she needs and my son could take on even bigger challenges. The kids were a little apprehensive at first, but as we explained that there is a difference between Quarantine Schooling and Home Schooling. Home schooling just means we don’t learn in a school. We can learn in the backyard, the kitchen table, under a shady tree at the park. We can take school on the road and explore different places. Once it is safe to travel, we can go to places that relate to what we are learning. I told them if we are learning about the Declaration of Independence we can go to Philadelphia and check out where it all took place. Then my son asked if we could check out the Parthenon in Greece when we learn about ancient Greece. This child clearly has no clue how much an adventure like that would cost. Even though I would absolutely love to go on said adventure, that will not be happening anytime soon. Maybe we should add budgeting to our curriculum!

Will we continue on for the long haul? I don’t know. We are taking it year by year. We will be home schooling for the 2020-2021 school year, after that we will revisit the plan. It will all depend on how I feel about it, they feel about it, etc.

We are looking forward to venturing into this new world together. I have a million things I want to try, but I’m trying to take a step back and see how the first week or so goes first.