Why We Homeschool
Homeschooling… Everyone seems to have an opinion, and they don’t always want to know why we homeschool.
“What about socialization?”
“Are you a teacher? No? Then what makes you qualified to teach?”
“Oh I could never do that…”
When you mention homeschooling, it seems everyone has there own opinion. Sometimes the negativity can be extremely stressful for new homeschooling families. But at the end of the day, your family’s personal “Why” is all that matters.
Here I’m going to share our personal reasons for homeschooling. However remember, they are just that, our reasons. These might not be your reasons, and that’s OK. We might share some reasons, and other ones I mention are not important to you. The reason I’m sharing this is just to give my perspective. I always love hearing why others homeschool!
Why We Homeschool Video
Safety for us is the number one reason we homeschool. While the majority of the staff in the schools want what’s best for the children attending, there is always a few bad apples that slip through the cracks. My newsfeed often shows people we trust, caught on camera mistreating the children they are to be protecting.
One mother wrote in her memoir All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism, about her daughter being abused on the school bus. This crime was discovered, but many special needs children are abused daily and their abusers are never caught.
Safety comes in different forms. Sometimes there is just a lack of staffing or funding. Or they want to do the wait and see method before they assign your child an Educational Assistant.
We were told that before my son would have a one on one EA, they wanted us to send him to school for a week and see how he made out. Our son at the time was a flight risk. He had no sense of danger. We also had our preschool team informing them this was a bad idea.
I asked them, what they would do to help insurance my son’s safety. In turn I was told there was no way for them to guarantee his safety. Of course there is no way to guarantee safety, he can and has been hurt in my care too. He’s a child, and I realize that. But a well thought up plan to help keep him safe is what I was looking for, and sadly was never offers.
At this point my husband and I drove home, and we knew what we had to do. We began to plan to homeschool our son.
The “Sign” We Had Made The Right Decision:
One evening, less then a week into our first year homeschooling, I was laying in bed about to fall asleep, when my husband walked into the room clearly upset. He asked me if I had heard about the little boy with autism in Saskatchewan? I told him I hadn’t.
According to the news, a 5 year old little boy had wandered away from the school, and drowned in a local pond.
My heart wept for that family, not only as a mother. But because I knew that could have just has easily been my son. My husband and I realized at that point we had made the right decision.
The family is currently suing over this accident, and I hope this will bring some awareness on the importance of keeping the community safer for children living with autism. However this poor little boys is no longer here with us.
Quality Of His Education
Zakari is very bright, and always has been. He’s been reading since a young age, and loves to learn about plants, planets, animals, and geography. Sadly his learning style does not mesh with how children are taught in the school system.
Because he cannot conform to this type of learning, he would likely be just managed at school, instead of actually learning. He would be treated like he was not capable. When you are treated like you can’t do it, you eventually start to believe you can’t.
People are often shocked when they find out all the stuff Zakari is able to do in the right environment. If I keep his lessons fast, fun and engaging, we can sit at his desk for 30 minutes and bang out three subjects.
Zakari also doesn’t do well in crowded and loud areas. So there is no way he could learn in a classroom with a bunch of other 7 year olds. He would shut down.
By choosing to educate him at home, we can tailor his learning to his needs 100%. He does not need to conform to the curriculum the school is using for the other 29+ students. He also has a quiet and calm environment to work in.
Children with ADHD often need lots of opportunity to move. While schools are getting better a recognizing this, it can be hard to get busy kids like my son enough time to move.
At home, we can spend the whole morning outside being activate. Its amazing how a morning at the splash pad can help a child focus more in the afternoon. Or if the weather does not allow, inside playing in the play area, on the monkey bars and jungle gym.
Then when it is time to work, I can watch him carefully. When I see he needs it, we can stop what we are doing and have another movement break. This allows him to come back to the desk ready to work, and we did not disturb 29+ students in the process.
While schools do have access to their own support team, like speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc, the system is very taxed. Sadly kids are getting minimal services, if any at all. So sending my son to school for these types of services just isn’t a solid plan.
IAHP (The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential)
During our first year of homeschooling, we teamed up with the IAHP. The staff came together and created a specific program from us to run with Zakari. This program was very intense and there is no way we could have run the same type of program with such intensity if Z was attending school.
ABA(Applied Behavior Analysis)
When Grade 1 came along, we had to make a difficult decision. Prior to working with the IAHP, Zakari had done two years of home based ABA(Applied Behavior Analysis). When we completed the Preschool ABA program we postponed entry to the school age program to pursue working with the IAHP. However we found out the 2018/19 school year would be the last year the government would fund this program.
So we took a break from the IAHP and did school age ABA as homeschoolers. I believe the homeschool model of this program was a much better fit for our family instead of the school based program. We were not at the mercy of the school division. We decided which parts of the program to implement and which we don’t feel is a good fit. That being said, I’m still not sure doing ABA over the Doman Method was the wisest choice.
This year in Grade 2 we are changing up our therapy plan yet again. After careful consideration, we decided not to go back to working with IAHP. Instead we will be teaming up with Doman International. I explain more about that in the following video a few months ago. If you missed it, check it out below. But while we could do a version of this program while Zakari attended public school, it would be greatly limited. So when making a big financial decision to work with Doman International, I feel that keeping Zakari home is the best way to get the most bang for our buck.
Homeschooling also allows us to work more closely with our Chiropractor. Right now Zakari is going two time a week. We are able to do several of our appointments during the day when it is less busy in the office.
Over the years we have been working with herbalists and naturopaths. Many times supplements are required to be taken over the course of a day. But homeschooling we are able to follow the recommended schedule, instead of falling at the mercy of the school schedule.
I am also able to watch how each supplement or herb affects him. I then know what is working and what isn’t. Allowing me to tweak things more easily.
Personalized Teaching Methods
The beautiful thing about homeschooling is the way I am able to customize my son’s education.
Writing is difficult for Zakari. However seeing as he is my only student I can accommodate him. We are able to work tirelessly on proper letter formation. My experienced with my eldest son, our public schools do not enforce proper letter formation, leading to bad writing habits.
However when it comes to other subjects, we try to find curriculum that requires little to no writing. When it comes to Science, Social Studies, and history, I want him to be able to focus on learning those subject, not worrying about having to write out the answers.
Heavy literacy based
One way we teach most of our subjects is by using a literature based approach. By using books I hope I am cultivating a love of reading. I hope that I am also teaching Zakari that books are the way to feed his thirst for knowledge.
We tend to lean towards living books and historical fiction. This allows us to branch off and dig deeper into the subject.
Support fine motor skills
While we make sure we are supporting Zakari’s strengths, we are also have to work on his weaknesses. He never has to worry about being made fun of by classmates because he needs an adult standing over him to use a pencil. He can just practice and not feel ashamed because he might be behind.
I am able to buy manipulatives that support his fine motor skills. for example:
Kid O A to Z Magnatab: We can switch it up and make working on letter formation more fun. Zakari loves making the small metal balls rise, and going over them with his fingers to pop them back out. We encourage him to pop them down in the proper formation, so he is getting a sort of Montessori style learning experience. We also own the a to z – Lower Case , and the Learn Your Numbers Magnatab. Do know that the number board is MUCH smaller then the alphabet boards. I was a little surprise when it arrived.
We use many other manipulatives to work on fine motor skills. Stay tune for an upcoming post where I start our favourite ones!
Interest Led Learning
I truly believe that interest based learning is the best way to get through to kids. Of course you want to expose children to as many ideas as possible. However when I find something that peaks Zakari’s interest, I am able to pull the break, and we can dive right in.
For example this past school year, we read the book Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille. Zakari and I were both fascinated with Louis Braille’s life, so we took out every book on the man from the library and learned more about him. Had Zakari been in public school, he would have never been able to dig that deep into a personal interest.
Homeschooling is not the best choice for every child. However if you feel called to homeschool your child, please pursue it! Just because you work, does not mean homeschooling is not an option. Many homeschool parents work full time and are still able to homeschool. Even single parents have made it happen.
I truly believe the best teacher for a child is a loving parents. Even if your child is in school, if a parent takes an active role in their education, that child will ALWAYS do better.
It can look different in each home, for example
- full on “afterschooling”,
- teaching your child to read
- helping a child with their science fair projects,
- reading every night before bed,
- teaching them how to maintain a car
- helping them study for a test
- teaching them the lost art of cursive writing
For me, homeschooling has been the most rewarding part of parenting my youngest son. We bond over books. I’m the first to see him grasp a concept and I get to celebrate with him.
If you homeschool, what is your “WHY”? If you don’t homeschool what do you with your child to help futher their education?
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