This is the story of how we started homeschooling. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. This is one of my 52 Stories.
I stood in the front office of an unfamiliar elementary/middle school, shaking my head in disbelief as my husband’s request to speak with the vice principal was coolly denied. I tenderly took my six-year old son by his hand and followed the robotic staff member to a first grade classroom. A quick hug and one backwards glance was all I could manage. I barely made it to the car before tears were freely falling. This was not what I had envisioned for my son’s Kindergarten year. You see, in Arizona, with his late birthday, he had an extra blissful year home with me, but here in Ontario, Canada, he was too old for Kindergarten, at the ripe old age of 6!
He will be just fine, I told myself. I will be just fine. This is just the way things are. And for the first month the novelty of going to school with his big sisters and a Batman backpack was enough to boost his confidence and ease my fears somewhat. He quickly made friends in his class and he liked his teacher. However, things were not perfect. For one thing, he was considered “behind” his peers from the get-go. He was still learning letter recognition and sounds, while his classmates were already writing and reading. The school expected us to catch him up, but he came home exhausted from six long hours of formal schooling and simply shut down. His first report card was full of D’s! And although I was putting on a brave front, I was depressed. This was the first time in fifteen years that I had no children home with me during the day. This just didn’t feel right.
By the fourth month, my son was protesting every single school morning as I pushed and prodded him to get dressed, eat something and walk to school. I started bribing him with anything I could think of. He clung to me in the school yard and I literally had to push him inside the school door when the bell rang. One day at recess, he ran away from the school in the direction of home. Only his big sister, Darcie, saw him and chased him down. She brought him back and because the incident scared her so much, the office reluctantly phoned me acting as if it was no big deal. But that was a big red flag to me. My baby was unhappy and this was not working. Learning should be fun!
I had one homeschooling friend in the neighborhood. She encouraged me to take Marcus out of school and end our misery. She told me, “Kindergarten is not rocket science!” I don’t know why I’d never considered homeschooling before, but it was truly a breath of fresh air and we have never looked back. As soon as I pulled him out of public school (much to the vice principal’s vocal dismay), my son flourished in ways he never did in school. He was my carefree, happy boy again, and with the pressure off, he was reading within three months. We unschooled because that just felt natural. Our favorite activities were exploring nature, visiting the library where he loved the non-fiction section and simply reading together.
That was eight years ago! Next week I’ll be posting a “day in the life” where I share a homeschool day with you. Thanks for reading.