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Drop Out

August 24, 2016 - Stacey Sacco
The Sacco family is officially a homeschool drop out. Both of the boys will be going to a local private school tomorrow. It was never my intention to homeschool my kids all the way until graduation. I assumed at some vague point in the future, all four kids would be attending a brick-and-mortar school. We have been taking it a year at a time in making our decision.

Since we haven’t moved, I assumed I would still be homeschooling this year. My disappointment in the local public schools is what prompted my decision in the first place. However, over the last year, I have become just as disillusioned with our homeschooling lifestyle.

For the last six months, Matthias has consistently asked to attend school. And to prove his point, he has made homeschooling as difficult as he can. He refuses to do work, intentionally takes two hours to complete 15 minutes of work, is nasty to his siblings, and belligerently interrupts whenever I try to do any activities for his kindergarten aged brother. Add this to the other stressors our family currently is under and we have been miserable.

This prompted my decision to at least look at a near-by private school. Originally I was just looking for somewhere for Matthias. The more we researched, the better it got. We found a school we like, with small but not too small class sizes. Financially, it worked better than we ever imagined. Everything fell into place and both boys are able to attend.

Just as with any large change, I was nervous to make a commitment to the decision. Am I giving up on the boys? Am I giving up on myself? What about all that freedom? What I found when I thought about it realistically was that this is the best move we could make.

Despite the fact that I have homeschooled for two years and know how it plays out in our family, I still have rose-colored visions of doing fun activities that don’t result in injured little people or broken property. I can see the kids being enthralled with topics of their choosing and becoming experts because they are passionate. None of this is what actually happened.

Our days were chaotic. Having kids in four different stages of development meant I was constantly pulled in four different directions. And let’s not even talk about cleaning, laundry, cooking, and self-care. We never had the chance to do all the “special things” I wanted to because my kids spent hours whining about doing ten math problems. We have all been miserable. While it doesn’t need to be a permanent decision, for this school year, my kids will be in a school building every day. And we are all looking forward to it. Matthias can’t wait to have the structure of a classroom that progresses from one subject to the next in a predictable way day in and day out. I think he is also excited about the fact that he won’t be the only ten-year-old in the building.

Justus is thrilled to have friends he will see each day. He wants to know their names and have continuity to their interaction. Now that he has seen his classroom, he wants to learn to read and write and unlock the secrets that everyone in the house enjoys.

Anelise and Iris are going to benefit by getting to do things that are appropriate for their age rather than having to behave during activities intended for older kids. We plan to be at the library’s story time every week!

As for me- I can’t wait to enjoy the time I spend with my kids again instead of feeling like I constantly have to be teaching them something and constantly failing. My anxiety-ridden mind insisted that they had never learned quite enough. I couldn’t separate real mom from teacher mom. We will still do plenty of reading, but because we want to. We’ll have homework to do, but it won’t be the only education source of the day.

I’m ready to give myself a break, let myself off the hook a bit. I have the opportunity to decide who to let into my kid’s lives still, and I’m now welcoming school. We’re ready to embrace a schedule and predictability. We are excited to be part of a school community. While there were benefits to homeschooling, we are welcoming this change with open arms. Tomorrow starts a new chapter for everyone!

 
 

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