Thursday, May 24, 2012

Homeschooling

First, some adorable pictures of Cole and Emmett while we were playing with some school friends of Cole's today (don't know where Dean was when these pictures were, but oh well! Thanks to my friend Alanna who took them!).

My little boo-boo:
And Cole with some of his buddies:
I'm a little sad that Cole's school is ending tomorrow because he loves it so much and has made some great friends. I've been thinking a lot about his year and what next year is going to look like. Honestly, I've been more consumed with Dean's next year because this year (while it's gotten better) hasn't been my favorite for a number of reasons. But even though Cole rocked his screening "test" at Kindergarten registration and his teacher and Bob and I all agree to send him on to Kindergarten, I've had some lingering doubts.

In a series of events that feels only like something that God could keep putting in front of my face, the idea of homeschooling has come up again and again. I won't bore you with all the details of how it came together. As I started thinking about next year, I realized so much that I want to change. For Cole, probably eventually for my other boys, and homeschooling seems to be able to answer many of those concerns.

I know for some, this is coming out of left field, mostly because when you mention homeschooling to a lot of people, you get some interesting looks. :) And I don't even want to get into how much I've been told that homeschooling these days is just not what you probably think it is.

Here are some of the reasons I'm interested in homeschooling:

*When I was a kid, I was really ahead in math and on grade level for other subjects. I got pulled out for math because of this and then was in and out of the gifted program depending on whether I felt like being in it. In homeschooling, you can be all of these things without a problem. You teach to your kid's specific strengths and weaknesses.

*Cole is allergic to peanuts. While I can't shelter him from everything (and we definitely don't), it will be easier in the long-run to manage his allergies (and later, Dean's food situation with PWS) if we're HS.

*I used to be a teacher. I know how to teach. While this is obviously not a requirement for HS, I have to believe it will help. The biggest challenge for that for me will be being organized enough. I know I can do it. Also, I loved teaching other people's kids... how much more exciting would it be to see my own kids "get it?"

*There are so many resources out there for homeschoolers now. From co-ops to be with other kids to lots of curriculum to email groups and support groups for moms, there's a lot. I know that I'm not alone, which helps.

*I was teased a lot in school. A LOT. I don't want to shelter our kids from that because people just aren't always going to be nice, but I feel like this is an easier situation to manage and move on from in a HS environment.

*With Cole's elementary school, he'd be gone from 9 to 4 every day. That's 7 hours. I don't want that. Don't get me wrong, I need a break from him (and the others) sometimes, but the idea of him being gone for 35 hours a week is not something I'm happy about. :(

*HS would give our family more flexibility to work around Bob's changing schedule (8 weeks out of 12, he has one of his "weekend" days off on Friday or Monday) and maximize family time. This is important for Cole in particular because he craves Daddy time badly, and I think it would be hard for them to have so many weeks where they only see Bob for the better part of one day a week. Also, we could work around Dean's therapy appointments, family vacations, and the rest of it. This is hugely appealing.

These are the top reasons, and there are others. I think you can see where I'm coming from. If you can't, that's too bad. lol The plan for now is to send the boys through preschool and then start HS in Kindergarten. It's a good time to make the break because they've gotten started in their school careers and are going to have to get used to a new school and new friends anyway.

So, there it is. I'll keep you posted. You know when you've been having some sort of a conflict inside about an impending situation and then you make a different decision and feel a ton of peace in your heart when you make that decision? That's what's happening here. Feels very similar to the peace we've had when deciding to get married, have another kid, buy a house, the biggies. It feels like something that God has had in mind and then just now decided to make it all come together for me. Cole and I have had an interesting relationship since he was born, and just thinking about homeschooling him changed my entire perspective on our relationship. It just feels so right. I'm excited.

7 comments:

Elizabeth Phillips said...

My sister homeschools all 8 of hers. There are tons of resources here in Richmond. Let me know if you ever want to pick her brain. I also have tons of friends at our church who homeschool, so I can also put you in contact with peeps from there in the area.
I feel like every family is called to different things in terms of education. I always assumed we'd send our kids to private school, mainly because that is what I went to. But now we are certain that public school is what will be best for our family for diversity's sake.
Just please don't ever wear a denim jumper. Please.

Ali Foley Shenk said...

I can absolutely promise there will be no denim jumpers involved. :)

Barbara said...

Ali,
I applaud your idea to home-school the boys. It might be good to learn about how different moms & dads do it before you jump in...How about talking with other home schoolers about the ups and downs of it? But I do think you have good instincts. I will pray for you & this decision....

Ali Foley Shenk said...

Barbara,
I've actually talked with a bunch of moms already about how they do it, pros/cons, what it can look like, legal stuff, curriculum - you name it! I even joined some homeschooling email groups and websites to learn more about it. I wouldn't jump in without asking tons of questions first!
Ali :)

Esther Scott said...

You'll do a great job! We should talk, since I'm thinking of doing it too! I'll be home at the beginning of next week. I'll call you.

Dora said...

I just want to say "Good for you!" I don't necessarily mean your decision to home school, but for taking the time to evaluate what's right for your children and family and then acting on it.

I'm sure you'll continue to evaluate what's best for each of your boys and adjust their schooling situation to meet their needs.

Good luck to you on this exiting challenge.

Janet Gulley said...

I am all for whatever is best for each child/family. I have several friends who home schooled for the entire school career, others who just felt they needed to connect with their kids so they home schooled each for a year at different years. One on one at just the right time for each... We were all set one year to take a year with Kayla and Noah but alas, it is what I wanted, not God. I see it as a possibility for AJ down the road though.