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  • The Sharp Spot

Hey, I can be practical too...

To homeschool or not to homeschool, that is the question. Or maybe one of the questions.

We all can get to a point where we wonder if what we are doing with our children is the ‘right’ thing. The past month or so, I’ve had conversations with other moms along this line. We all wonder and worry to some degree. I think we worry more about the unknown and homeschool falls in this category. We might know school isn’t quite working for our children but to try something completely foreign is too risky. We might be chancing their future success. Maybe.

But maybe you already are doing that by taking no action.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, be sure you have actively chosen. I sometimes wonder if we won’t find our way back to school. If we do, I know we will have now made the choice instead of just doing what’s always been done.

For those of you that are looking to the future and considering homeschool, I’ve tried to think about what I wish I would have done differently. Life changes are a lot to think about. And while I tend to live in a world where I live by love, find the blessings in spite of the situation, and make decisions by gut instinct alone, I can be practical too. I thought I would offer some practical advice to those of you that are ready to take the leap.

  1. Talk with your child/children about homeschool.

While we had spoken of homeschooling together (my husband and I) we did not involve our children in the conversation until the very end. We did this for many reasons and if I had known we were going to leave sooner than planned, I would have talked with them more.

My kids were not prepared for this transition. My oldest is 12 so has been in a school setting for many years. The longer we have been in the system, the harder it is to remove ourselves from the hidden mindsets school created.

No matter the age of your kids, talk with them about this possibility. Listen to their fears and concerns. We did this some but not enough. Maybe it would not have mattered but in hindsight, it seems like it would have helped.

It’s a big decision.

I would have taken more time listening to their concerns and fears. I would have told them this decision is being made out of love and not fear. That if we were fearful, we would continue to stay because this was the safe choice. I would have written their thoughts down and referred back to it to see if they were still feeling that way now months later.

You still make the decision but they hopefully feel heard. I wouldn’t have decided differently; I just wonder if we would be in an easier place if I had taken more time on the front end.

  1. Fill out the homeschool paperwork.

This may seem intimidating but you can do it! Our district required a one page letter of intent; this was a very easy form (children's names, birthdates, assigned school); the child’s birth certificate, a parent’s high school diploma or GED, and immunization records.

That’s it.

It took me longer to dig up my high school diploma than to submit or fill these things out! They didn’t want my college degree or my master’s degree, just my diploma. 😉

If you are looking to homeschool, your traditional education is not going to assist you with this process! Anyone can do this no matter how much education you have. You have chosen this route to get away from this mindset. Use the diploma the school system gave you to move your family onto a new path.

  1. Deschool and get away. Just have fun!

If you have been in the traditional system like we were, it has been difficult to deschool. We didn’t choose homeschool to replicate school at home. So there is no guide for us to follow.

We have been so conditioned to what learning looks like. My picture of learning for over thirty years has been a classroom setting with lots of sitting and listening, reading and writing. It can be hard to realize the freedom and potential of homeschooling. This opportunity requires imagination and creativity to create something different.

No matter how much I try to remove myself from school, it keeps finding me! Two months into our homeschool journey, we had a house fire. This fire distracted me and required me to do things I have never done. I was in the midst of a homeschooling struggle and now was faced with a family trauma.

We lived in a hotel for one month. During this time, we did nothing that would look like school. That doesn’t mean we didn’t learn, love, or live.

We colored, ate out a lot, attended happy hour three nights a week and played board games or cards. We swam every day, sometimes multiple times. We slept in, enjoyed continental breakfast together, argued about whose turn it was to take the dog out, took naps, watched a lot of TV and movies, and played a lot of video games (the boys, not me).

We did this for one month. A WHOLE month. No school-like things.

Honestly, I could not get myself to do much else. I was tired: physically and emotionally exhausted. I did not sleep well at night; our kids took turns sleeping in our beds. I did not sleep through the night one time in thirty days. (We still are not sleeping awesome but better and it’s been much longer now.)

I cried. A lot.

I continued to manage my business while Josh continued to work his fulltime job.

We survived.

We were not worrying about what our homeschool looked like. We could not think about this. We just had to try and move forward anyway we could.

It has taken us another month to settle into a rental. We finally have most of our clothing, furniture for every room, and a sense of normal coming back. Boxes keep arriving with more items to put together (Josh is still baffled as to where they keep coming from or why we would need such things! 😂)

These months would be considered ‘wasted’ in a traditional system. There would be no value placed on any of the life lessons my children had to go through. No discussion about what was happening in their lives. They would continue to ‘fall behind’ in the eyes of the system.

We are not behind. We are right where we are supposed to be.

We will take up the hard work of reading, writing, and math now again. Because now we can. We are ready.

And we will carry with us the lessons of love and relationships this has taught us. That when we need rest, we take the time to truly rest our bodies and souls. We ask for help when we need it, even when it is so, so hard. We vulnerably put our faith in people and watch them show up for us.

These past couple months have been crucial to our homeschooling journey.

There will always be more to do but focusing on these simple things will keep you focused on what’s important.

  1. Talk with your kids.

  2. Fill out the paperwork.

  3. Deschool by prioritizing your family’s needs and having fun above traditional learning.

Walk away with your head held high. Decide to have fun and live a life you truly want. No more living it around a school schedule!

This journey is difficult because it requires you to figure out your own shit and make more decisions than you ever have in your life! No one telling you what to do (fuck off school!) Just you to stand on your own and decide what is best for you and your family. You have chosen.

You can do it.

Even when you think you can’t.

You can.

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