Briefly here is our story......
Where we lived in Indiana, homeschooling was very popular. But since both boys were enrolled in special needs preschools, we decided to allow Joey to continue into public school for kindergarten. We talked about homeschooling, but I had all these preconceived notions that were fed to me by the wrong resources. In hindsight, I really wish we would have started while we were in Indiana!!
We moved to Ohio at the end of Joey's first year of Kindergarten, and we saw that he was not emotionally or socially ready to move into first grade. We decided to enroll him into kindergarten again. We talked about homeschooling him then, but felt pressure to put him into school. Since homeschooling was not a popular choice where we were at in Ohio.
It was very rough. I was balancing Brayden in a special needs preschool, and a very disruptive and emotional Joey in kindergarten in a separate town. Poor Lydia I think was getting the short end of the stick, even though she was only a year old and the only one at home during the day.
We really liked Joey's teacher. She tried so hard with him, both kindergarten teachers did. I am grateful for all they did. But the loud classroom environment was difficult for Joey. His anxiety issues were emerging, and being disruptive and having outbursts was his way of dealing with it. The outbursts were constant. I volunteered at the school a lot, since I felt like I was there constantly.
At one point I was in the school more than I was at home. Or he was at home more than in school. I was picking him up within an hour of him getting there. We started talking about homeschooling again, but the pressure was there to leave him in school. It was a hard two years, and then he was sent to another school because there was not the type of special education department that Joey needed in our district. Even though the teacher was absolutely awesome, the 2 hour bus ride a day was too much for Joey. He was not getting better, and I was advised by the acting superintendent that homeschooling may be a positive option to try with Joey. So we chose to pull him.
Through all of this, poor Brayden was suffering in his education. He seemed ok in kindergarten and 1st grade, but 2nd grade was bad. He had a full-time aide, and started suffering manic episodes. His aide was not doing her job, and we were scared at times for his safety. I was not getting anywhere with the administration, and so we fulled Brayden also.
During this time, Lydia has started regular preschool with a wonderful teacher. So here I am with a 4th baby, homeschooling two special needs boys and helping Lydia too. I sought out all the wrong websites and thought I was doing what was right. In hindsight, I would have changed a few more things. I know I exposed them to a lot of topics, but I think I should have had a more Charlotte Mason approach with the boys. I wish I would have used Before Five in a Row with the boys, and Five in a Row.
But through this all, we were floundering with manic episodes, med changes, mood swings, early anxiety disorders, and so many other problems including speech delays and learning disabilities. I learned from very early on to just leave the life ring around my neck to try and prevent myself from drowning.
When it came time for Lydia to start school, we sent her. Loved her teacher, but had issues with the attendance officer and Joe's traveling. So we pulled her, and bam homeschooling 3 kids now. Caty was in the special needs preschool by then to help with her severe speech delay.
By the time it was her turn to start kindergarten, we skipped public school altogether. It just didn't make sense. We were all in for the homeschooling long haul. It's going to remain that way...for the long haul. We were traveling by this point and I had found a way to balance traveling and homeschooling.
Now we have Joey a couple years from graduation, and Brayden is too. Homeschooling high school with special needs has been a daunting challenge for me. The public school teacher education is in me....but it doesn't work for them. Lydia is in middle school, and Caty is in elementary. We are continually changing the way we do things, as the kid's needs also change.
We will continue to homeschool the boys since I know that they will never fit into a square box of a normal classroom. Lydia and Caty we are keeping an open mind. Neither has any interest in going to public school. But as Lydia gets older, she may need extra classes if she decides on veterinary services as a career. Caty is the same since she wants a culinary career.
We have had an interesting road that led us to homeschooling (and believe me not all the details and frustrations are even listed...lol). It's not all blog photos and roses. There's tears (from all of us) and frustrations. But we have had some awesome experiences both in the classroom and in our travels. I am grateful to get to see our kids grow.
The only change I look back as something I wished I had done different is, I would have never sent them to a public school in the first place. The outside pressure to just send them to school was great, and we caved too quickly. I think back of how much drama and frustration and heartache we may have avoided had we never entered the public school setting. I also would not have gotten to meet some pretty great teachers, but still wonder...what if?
I saw this hilarious meme the other day....
Why do you homeschool? Was it by choice? Were you not given another option? I would love to hear your story! Do you plan to continue homeschooling?
Linking up with other Moms at Homeschool Review Crew....