I pulled my son out of public school
As my son showed signs of being unable to emotionally cope with the bullying in his elementary school and lack of support from the staff, I pulled him out of public school. Terrified by all of the myths about home-schooling and the children that come from home-schooling, I had to plug forward for the sake of my baby.
The myths can terrify any parent who is not a teacher. This is understandable but don't give up hope or write off home-schooling as an option for your child. The benefits I will offer will shine a new light no the subject.
Terrified of messing up my child's education, chances for college, loss of social interaction, the list goes on forever. I began researching everything immediately because the decision was made in one day. I had no time to prepare.
Everyone I talked to had nothing nice to say about home-schooling
They kept reinforcing my fears asking how I could do this to my son, stating that he would be socially affected and that he would grow fears out of never being around peers.
I didn't care what they were saying. Come hell or high water I was determined. My son, at the age of 6 was suicidal due to the bullying he endured in combination with his only fellow student he was friends with being struck and killed by a semi-truck.
Another day in that school and it could have been my son next to be lost to the world, and what an amazing loss it would have been. I was living on the west coast of the U.S and the states there are unlike the east coast where I was born and raised. It truly is a different world.
My son thanked me with tears in his eyes for not making him go back
This was in 2002, a lot has become easier in home-schooling options than it was back then. The school would not provide teaching material and every other year I had to attend a review and he had to be tested by a certified teacher to ensure he was reaching milestones that I had to pay for out of pocket.
The testing would take 2-3 hours at $80 an hour plus travel time. Mind you, I also had to buy all of his material and write up a daily class schedule in detail. I was lost and felt I had made the wrong decision until my son thanked me with tears in his eyes for not making him go back.
I set off on the internet in search of places I could get teaching material and lesson planning. Though it's not available now, Yahoo.com had a wonderful group section that I found many home-schooling families that were more than willing to help you get started and answer any questions I had, plus they had an entire section dedicated to not letting the public school bully you into giving up. After all fewer students mean less funding for the school.
I found the information I was looking for, a full class schedule and materials to help my son succeed, and to my surprise, he would learn much more than the public kids would learn. I had control over the extra-curricular classes he could attend and how much time we would spend on subjects that interested him.
His love of every subject we encountered was overwhelming
When we started my son could not tell you the letters of the alphabet and was not able to sign his name. He had an IEP for reading which he no longer had access to, but to my pleasurable surprise, the school wasn't fitting the bill, but I was. By the end of his first-year home-schooling, he not only knew his alphabet but was reading chapter books, not Jane and Dick books, no The Littles, The Borrowers, etc.
The more my child home-schooled the quicker he was learning and his love of every subject we encountered was overwhelming. We spent extra time on assignments that he wanted to learn more about and I would tailor his learning experience to the best way he could understand it. Remember, I only had an Associate's Degree and it was in art.
Don't laugh, we actually used the art stuff a lot in our learning, he loved any type of craft since he could sit on his own in a chair. Many of our projects were making signs, doing billboard reports, etc. He quickly outgrew the Yahoo version of home-schooling teaching material and it was time to upgrade so he could learn as fast as he now wanted.
From the first day of home-school, we did fun and practical things throughout the day. Ex. We had tea and toast every afternoon, he assisted in preparing his lunch, we would manage his allowance and set goals for savings, and we also went outside rain or snow to walk two miles a day to cover his energy release needs, I suppose it was also physical education.
During our walks, we would pick naturally growing fruits along our trail and look up ways to eat or prepare them the next day or explore bugs or animals we came across on our journey. His interests grew beyond any child at that age.
I was blown away by everything he was achieving
He spoke well above his peers, understood at a higher grade level, and was learning life skills that they don't even teach seniors in high school. Why? Because I bit the bullet and home-schooled him.
By year 2 we were learning Italian and Latin, can you believe it? My now 7-year-old son was learning Latin, and doing well. He got so good that by year three he was still taking Latin and Italian but added Spanish as well because about 50% of the population where we lived were Spanish speaking people.
I was blown away by everything he was achieving, he had advanced past the public schools' expectations for sure and even by my own. I'm his mom and I believed he could do anything I just didn't believe he could do it so fast.
This child of mine was growing more determined, mature, social (despite what everyone suggested would happen), and my baby was no longer being bullied. He was confident enough and mature enough to realize bullies only hate you because they are unhappy themselves. Some adults never come to this realization.
What an amazing realization at only 7-years-old. As he went through his books much faster than expected we began utilizing the library for all school materials. It didn't matter that they only allowed them out for 3 weeks before needing to be renewed, he rarely needed that amount of time. I also began buying books on topics he was really interested in at resale stores and old book stores. This was also an excellent way for him to read many classic books as well.
The added bonus was now he was taking books out for himself as well. He became such a lover of books the library knew him by name and offered suggestions on new books he could read. He went through their children and young adult section in no time because even on summer breaks he had two or three books out from the library.
There are valuable resources at the national public library as well and your city townships can connect you to your local libraries.
Did you also know that your child is legally allowed to participate without charge in any school activity?
With a smile on my face, I quickly realized the school's intention was to scare me into keeping him there, not only did they get the funding for him being a student but they received additional funding for him having an IEP. I began telling everyone who had children all of the amazing accomplishments my son had over the past two years and I managed to encourage several families to transfer out of public school back home.
Since you are working at home with your child you can do it day or evening depending on your schedule.
You have complete control over what and how your child learns. This means enforcing your moral codes as well. I found several home-school parents included history on their religion as well in their lessons and made connections to the religious beliefs and what was being taught in school.
Unless you go to a religious school and pay outrageous tuition, you would never find that in a public school. I have two other children both older than my son and they LOVED school so it is not right for everyone but my son had no problems with making friends and quickly he was no longer bullied.
Did you also know that your child is legally allowed to participate without charge in any school activity, sports, plays, music lessons, etc.? The public schools rarely told parents that back then, I'm not sure if that has changed. At least parents who want to keep their children in their homes to learn have more options than I did.
You can now get on sites like PAcyber
and your child will receive all of their lessons from the public school district they live in on the computer and even have live lessons on video. Of course, this specific website is for Pennsylvania students where I now live, but most school districts have their own websites for lessons and materials if the school district doesn't the state does.
Home-schooling Truth Vs. Myth
The myths are there to scare you, plain and simple. The value your child will receive from this opportunity is unexplainable. My son was a completely different child in 1 year. 1 year! He was learning more advanced material than his peers and loving it. We were in "school" 9 hours a day while my girls were only gone from getting on the bus until getting home for 7.5 hours.
The best thing was, he didn't mind one bit. When school work was done he went outside and played with his friends, which he was able to make after starting home-school. He even joined track much to his amazement he beat the school district record for the long-distance run.
I could not vouch for SAT or ACT scores because he never took them, he went straight into training to be a wildlife-firefighter on the west coast. He is very successful now at only 24 years old and his success rate is only growing each year, all while having a book in hand or listening to one from his headphones which he even does at work.
Can you imagine the freedom your child will feel and the security you will feel knowing everything I've just said? And to add comfort to every parent out there, home-schooling is guaranteed to keep your child safe.
If you are considering this option and have any doubts about your abilities or "ruining" your child's life, throw them to the curb and jump in full force. You won't regret it.