Since her first child began learning her letters and colors well before Pre-K, Patty Smith knew she wanted to homeschool, and her family would not approve.
“I felt good about it, but always nervous that my family would push back and talk about us behind our backs,” the mom of two said. “I didn’t want that uncomfortableness. I was always the people pleaser.”
A few turns in their educational journey gave them an opportunity to try homeschooling. She shares her story as part of our runnin series “How We Homeschool.”
Patty’s Homeschool Story
I knew before sending our daughter to kindergarten that I wanted to homeschool. But when people asked me why, I didn’t have an answer I was confident would stop all the judgy questions.
My daughter is super social. So I wasn’t worried about how she would fit in. She has some allergies and asthma, but otherwise she’s healthy and active. She loved school from the first. We became involved with the school and had a good time. All was well.
Then, in the last few months of 3rd grade, we had to move for my husband’s job. We didn’t want to stick her in a new school at the end of the academic year so we decided we’d continue her education at home until the fall. Her teacher gave us some resources, pointed out where she needed more math help and wished us luck.
Opportunity to Homeschool
We had a blast. She finished up her schoolwork in a few weeks and passed the assessment test that the teacher recommended so she would be prepared for 4th grade. She wanted to keep going over the summer, so we did. That was two years ago.
We started out using the full online curriculum Time4Learning. Then we added in Singapore Math for my 5th grader and Evan-Moore Daily Science and Scholastic Grammar for our 3rd grader who was struggling.
Our family was not supportive. They thought we were keeping her from school against her will and she’d grow up to be stunted socially. We heard less-than-kind language, like “weirdo,” “freak,” and thought it was sad that we were keeping her out of school. Funny they kept using the word “keeping.” But homeschool was limitless in the opportunities for learning and for socializing. It was like a new world opened up, bigger and brighter than school ever felt.
My husband wasn’t onboard, either. Until he saw her tackling 5th grade math problems well before her peers! She had been weak in reading and comprehension, grammar, and I was nervous about how to teach her. That is also not my strong point. We found an online spelling and grammar course that was $20 a month, so really affordable.
What They Learned
I still don’t know the best answer for those who ask us why we homeschool. We know we are giving our daughter a better education tailored to her needs than she can get in school. The homeschool community is large and active where we live so she has more social outlets than she did at school.
We have more time with our family and the new baby. I’m not sure if I’ll homeschool our youngest. It will depend on the child, the school district where we end up and the opportunities that will be best for him.
Bottomline – Don’t be afraid and stand strong in your homeschool decision