Home Articles Homeschooling on a whim

Homeschooling on a whim

As my husband and I sat on the couch one evening I blurted out ‘I think we should homeschool’ and I think it even shocked me a little bit. My husband sat quietly for a moment, contemplating his words carefully. He was probably looking at my unwashed, disheveled hair, dark circles under my eyes, spit up on my shirt, and looking worse for wear while bouncing a fussy 3-month-old. 

I would have never guessed I’d be ‘that’ mom. But after a rough 18 months of pandemic public schooling, we decided to make a family change. We felt our 8-year-old was getting lost in the school system and wasn’t being challenged enough. He’d come home sad and was not motivated to go back to school. His grades and comprehension were excellent, but he wasn’t happy. We did our best to provide more work at home and he tested into the gifted program, but he was still stifled in school. He was bored, his creativity squashed, and we felt that there weren’t any advancement opportunities for him. 

After a few weeks of this, combined with COVID concerns, and weekly illnesses that would bring the entire house down, we decided enough was enough. Our family researched our options, spoke to other families who homeschooled, weighed the pros and cons, and ultimately withdrew our son from public school a few weeks after school started. 

Since we have two other younger boys and both my husband and I work full-time (I work from home) it made more sense to use a program with an accredited curriculum. We chose Abeka and love the platforms and curriculum they offer. We’re also able to supplement his learning and make every day experiences a part of his education. He has discovered he loves to cook so he actively helps make all our meals and grocery shop! 

We created a ‘learning center’ in his room but sometimes he works from the kitchen table with me, and we do our work together. He loves to tell me about some of the interesting material he’s covering in his lessons and we do a lot of research on topics he’s curious about! Other times I find him working outside or even under my bed (why do kids love that?). He loves the freedom to take breaks, have a snack, and mix up his schedule to suit his mood that particular day. If you ask him, he mostly just likes that he can eat whatever he wants for lunch and eat more intuitively (i.e. eat when he’s hungry). We also love that this allows us to have more spontaneous day trips without being absent from school. He’s even able to take his laptop and spend a week with his grandparents.  

We’ve completed our 2nd quarter and have plenty to figure out still, but our child is happier and thriving academically (and isn’t getting sick as often!). We were worried about his social needs but there are a lot of homeschool hubs in our area plus designated homeschool events at local venues. He’s also involved in city sports programs where he makes friends. 

In full transparency, we have rough days where I think about whether it would be easier to send him back to school. We deal with issues like lack of focus, organization, and my son and I often butt heads (teachers do not get enough credit!). There are days where I struggle to be a mom AND a teacher, juggle the household responsibilities, help with projects, work full-time, and be the support my kids need all while I’m lacking in sleep and self-care. With a 3-year-old at home it’s also difficult to explain why his big brother can’t be bothered some parts of the day. It took us 3 solid months to get into a routine where I feel more comfortable with homeschooling, so I recommend you give yourself just as long—especially if you have toddlers and babies at home who also demand attention. 

If you have some great homeschool tips, I’d love to hear them! Email publisher@rakmagazine.com

Homeschooling Resources that we enjoy!

  • Abeka: Comprehensive, biblically-based curriculum, textbooks, teaching aids and more for Preschool–Grade 12, with a proven spiral learning approach. abeka.com
  • Highlights Magazine: A monthly magazine that inspire children to use their creativity and imagination; develops reading, thinking and reasoning skills; and teaches respect, kindness and sensitivity. highlightskids.com
  • The Week Junior: A magazine that inspires ages 8-14 to discuss the news of the week with their parents, teachers and friends. theweekjunior.com
  • stARTem: Integrating art into STEM through STEAM curriculum and subscription boxes. startem.org
  • Outschool: Over 140,000 interactive online classes and camps for kids ages 3-18. outschool.com
  • KiwiCo Boxes: Fun and enriching science and art projects, delivered to your home. kiwico.com
  • Khan Academy: A nonprofit that provides a free education for anyone, anywhere. khanacademy.org
  • Raddish Kids: A monthly cooking club for kids, where culinary fun is delivered to your doorstep. raddishkids.com
  • Adventure Academy: A fully immersive virtual universe for kids with access to educational activities in math, language arts, science, social studies and much more. adventureacademy.com
  • Arizona Families for Home Education: A statewide non-profit 501(c)(3) educational, religious and charitable corporation that serves the needs and protects the rights of Arizona’s homeschooling families. afhe.org
  • Amazon Kids+: Unlimited access to kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games on compatible Fire, FireTV, Android, iOS and Kindle devices. amazon.com/ftu/home
  • The Preschool Box: Monthly preschool activities that encourage learning, reading and creativity in children ages 3-5. Lil Readers: Monthly books, activities and themed crafts that encourage reading and comprehension in children ages 5-7. thepreschoolbox.com

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