The modern homeschooling movement is over thirty years old. Thousands of families across the country know the benefits and blessing of home education. While some families homeschool their children from the beginning, others are drawn to home education after struggling in the public school system.
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My student did not struggle with being “behind” in public school. She was frustrated by being held to the lowest common denominator. In fact, in the first grade, I was told that she needed to read with less expression and enthusiasm, and that she “needed” to point at each word as she read. This kid was reading chapter books. It would have been ridiculous to slow her down in that manner. Around March of that year, she began asking to be homeschooled, and gave me a list of reasons. All were valid (I worked in the room right next to hers and popped in enough to know she wasn’t exaggerating). We’re in our fourth year of homeschooling now and she can go as deep as she wants when something captivates her (nine months studying China in the second grade, for example). She has plenty of time to explore all her interests, and enjoys all of her subjects. In fact, she’s currently doing math for fun.Cheryl C.
From grade one through the middle of grade seven, my oldest went from private to public school, experiencing difficulty with each one. Grades were horrible, he was bullied, and the teachers belittled him. He could not focus on the teaching material as he was too concerned about who might attack him next. We were asked by school officials to withdraw him from traditional school, and were told to try homeschooling. Upon leaving the traditional school environment, we put him through numerous tests to determine a diagnosis of extreme anxiety. We had to take the remainder of grade seven at a very low key at home in order to calm his anxiety. In eighth grade, he began Classical Conversations. The first semester was a little rocky, but he blossomed in the second semester. He is now a freshman and is learning by leaps and bounds. In the two short years he has been homeschooled, he has taken and excelled in Latin, logic, read over fifty novels, etc. His growth has been astronomical!
Our younger son has experienced much the same in regard to private and public school. He is currently doing quite well in a Montessori school, but he will age out this year. His temperament is not suited to traditional school. He has severe depression, and has difficulty with emotions. Testing for him has indicated that he needs to learn differently. Since we have seen dramatic transformations in our older son as well in his friends in the same program, we are beginning our younger son in the Classical Conversations program in the fall. While we cannot be sure yet if this will be the right program for him, I know that there are plenty of alternative curricula for the homeschool environment in which I know he will succeed.
There have been incredible benefits for our family in the homeschool environment. First and foremost, I am always on top of what my kids should be doing, if they are slacking off, or if they need help. We can schedule field trips at a moments notice, either by ourselves or with other homeschool parents. The homeschool community is quite supportive, giving helpful hints, curriculum opinions, etc. My boys do not have to concern themselves with bullies, teachers’ inappropriate remarks, or any of other many problems at traditional schools.
My only regret is that we did not start homeschooling sooner. My oldest tries to talk about coursework with his friends who remain in public schools, but his friends are often confused. They don’t understand the terms my son has learned in economics, nor can they talk knowledgeably about politics, government, and history. I’m so sorry for those children who remain in the traditional school environment… I’m concerned for their future.Phyllis S.
Our son struggled in public school (third grade) with common core math. After trying to reach out to his teacher, the PTO representative, and principal, we finally transferred to homeschooling. Other homeschool parents pointed us to multiple resources for our third grader. We had a plan and materials in place when we transferred him from public school to private school at home.
That was two and a half years ago. We are about to complete fifth grade with him and he has flourished under homeschooling. Subjects this year for fifth grade include history, Bible, Greek roots, 6th grade math, science, Institute for Excellence in Writing, grammar, reading, spelling, cursive writing, Maria’s Words (SAT vocabulary words), Spanish 1, Etiquette Factory, and piano. He participates in homeschool band (trumpet), homeschool 4H club, and Awanas.
We have taken him to science related workshops this year in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Virginia (Patrick Henry College). He has applied to and been accepted to a STEM summer camp and a microscope course in June in Kentucky. He has been to the State Capitol twice for programs there, plus the Indiana Government center for Teenpact where he was senator for a day in a program that teaches students how a bill becomes law. He wrote a bill and had it assigned to committee for amendments. There are many programs and opportunities available to homeschool students in the state of Indiana and our son has flourished with all of these opportunities to learn.Cheryl H.
I was homeschooled my whole life, and I have actually never attended public school. I graduated from high school in December, 2015. For my family and me, homeschooling has been more than just school; it’s been a lifestyle, and it’s allowed us to learn so many other things besides schoolwork. Also, even though my parents put a strong emphasis on academics and doing our best, it was even more important to them to teach character along with academics. I am so thankful that I was homeschooled, and I believe being homeschooled has prepared me for the future better than any other type of schooling would have.Ashley W.
My child is supposed to enter kindergarten this fall. Currently he tests at the late first grade/early second grade level; reading level 3 books and comprehending them, accurately adding/subtracting seven digit numbers, following 5-6 step directions, writing his own notes to people, etc. I called to find out about placement testing, and they would not be able to accommodate him according to his ability in class. I pulled him before he even was enrolled.
When I first learned of home education in the late 1980’s, I thought it was the weirdest thing of which I had ever heard. Why would anyone want to stay home with her children all day? My oldest was strong-willed, and I couldn’t wait to send my kids to school.
Providentially, the Lord had a friend give me the book by Mel & Norma Gabler entitled, What Are They Teaching Our Children? It was a real eye opener. I thought to myself, “NO WAY are they teaching that to MY children!”
Another friend was going to hear Gregg Harris present a Basic Homeschool Workshop in Springfield, OH, and I went along ONLY to keep her company. As I listened to him speak, the Lord changed my heart about homeschooling as I came to understand more about it. I went from someone who was anti-homeschool to serving on the Board of Directors for Indiana Association of Home Educators many years later. Doesn’t the Lord have a sense of humor? I am sure He was laughing the day I went to the seminar.
Homeschooling has been a huge blessing to our family. There is so much that could be shared, but I will focus on only one aspect. I never enjoyed math in high school and never took a math class past Algebra II. My son excelled in math and science. He received an SAT score that was high enough that he did not have to take college math. After he graduated from his college with honors, he passed the four CPA exams. He developed a new interest in finance. He was accepted into grad school with a scholarship, but has decided not to attend and to study on his own for the three Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams which he passed.
Some people think that they must be experts to teach a subject. Our family is proof that is not the case. It just takes love, commitment, and perseverance to educate your child.Anonymous
As a public school student for all of my education who also graduated from a state college with a degree in Secondary Education Language Arts, I never had any intentions of homeschooling. When my oldest son was very young, we decided I would work a job that allowed me to be home with him. When he was four, he went to a private preschool for a few hours, three days a week. It was a great time of learning and growth for him. By the end of the year, he has reading simple chapter books. At the time, we were considering kindergarten options and I was pregnant with our third son. Our assigned school was a fine school in a small community. We went for kindergarten round-up, registered our son, and sent him for his first week. Nothing terrible happened; I do believe he would have been fine had he continued there. I’m not aiming for fine with my children though. At the time, my son was working through first grade Scott Foresman math books and reading chapter books. I could not justify the hours spent at school when we were also having to do more work at home. We didn’t want him to be stagnant for a year so, we decided to pull him out and homeschool for the remainder of the year. My son also has a fine motor skills delay because of dysgraphia. We knew we could focus on writing and working through his fine motor delay.
As first grade came around, I was still going to be staying home with our 2nd and 3rd sons. Our oldest son had flourished. He was in love with science, and reading upper elementary and middle school science texts. Placing him in a traditional classroom where he would be reviewing for the majority of the year and get very little science instruction seemed cruel. With that, we decided to continue for another year. Then we would re-evaluate.
The re-evaluation never happened. In the last few years we have moved, remodeled a home, had another baby, and continued on with homeschooling. Our oldest son is finishing fourth grade this year, our second child is finishing second grade. We have a preschool student, and a toddler. In January I started thinking about sending our oldest to our assigned school next year. Fifth grade is the first year of middle school. If we are going to place him in school, now is an opportune time to do that when several elementary schools are moving into middle school at the same time. We visited our assigned school, a nearby school we could transfer to, and a local private faith based school. We also decided to have standardized testing administered to our two oldest. They both took the Iowa basic skills test for their grade level. My oldest also took the Cognitive Abilities Test.
For a time we were strongly leaning toward sending our son, and possibly our second as well. We researched every option quite thoroughly. It was a roller coaster. We finally decided we would send them to our assigned school because we would be able to submit their test scores for consideration in the gifted and talented program.
Then our test scores arrived. Our oldest, who was in March of his fourth grade year, scored a composite score of 96th percentile and an overall grade equivalency of 7.9. Our second son who was in March of his second grade year earned a composite score of 99th percentile and a grade equivalency of 5.3. We now had decisions to make. Obviously what we had been doing was working. Our children were learning and flourishing. They performed well on this test that evaluated them on skills I may or may not have covered in our curriculum. I do not use a traditional curriculum; I use a Charlotte Mason curriculum where we read many wonderful books about history and science then discuss them or write narrations. We do traditional math curriculum and both are a grade level ahead. As we prayed, evaluated, and discussed with each other and our friends in the community (including teachers at the schools we considered) we were convicted all over again that homeschooling was still the best course for our family at that time.
We have wonderful school options that weren’t available to us four years ago. Our assigned school for fifth grade is arguably one of the best middle schools in the state with high test scores, an incredible arts program, and a gifted and talented program. It isn’t that I don’t think my children could succeed or possibly even flourish. However, I know that in fifth grade my son who is most gifted in science and language will not be able to study Botany and Anatomy in depth. He would cover general science much of which he has already covered. He would not be able to study Greek and Latin roots and take Spanish. Here at home, I am able and blessed to be able to consider what each child needs to develop his weaknesses while charging ahead with his strengths and interests. For my second son we can focus on reading comprehension and his math skills, while he also has time to focus on piano and guitar. The question for us is – what is best for our boys? Which option will grow them in their strengths, gird up their weaknesses, and help them mature into the young men they are becoming? Right now that is still homeschooling. It isn’t an arrogant choice, an easy choice, or even the fun choice many days, but for us, for right now, it is the best choice.
I do not believe that test scores are necessary for homeschooling students. I wanted them though. We were re-evaluating, and for us it was a good measuring stick to utilize. Many homeschoolers never take standardized tests until the PSAT, SAT, or ACT and they do incredibly well. With home education you know whether or not your student understands the concepts you are covering. I know if my son understands the fraction lesson. If he doesn’t we try again, until he does. I didn’t need test scores to know if my child had learned our curriculum. I wanted to see the percentiles and know how I was doing.
Lastly, we are part of a large local homeschool support group in addition to the support of IAHE. Our support group offers monthly field trips for families, monthly meetings offering encouragement and instruction, as well as mentors to help navigate the homeschool journey. Just this week we have taken a field trip to McAlpine Locks and Dam, met with another homeschool family at a park, and visited a local candy store to watch how they make their traditional candies they’ve been selling for over 100 years. Last night was our monthly support group meeting. We had a speaker who taught us about college admissions, testing, transcripts, dual credit courses, and high school curriculum requirements. She has had 3 children enter college on full scholarship based on test scores, transcripts, reference letters and essays. The homeschool community is closely knit and supportive. We brainstorm ideas when our children need remediation. We help each other teach lessons. We research curriculum choices for each other. We form support groups, clubs, co-ops, and cottage schools. I have been blessed on this journey by the homeschool community more than I ever thought possible. The women I met at my first support group meeting where I walked in scared to death because I had just pulled my son out of the system I knew are now my best friends, my encouragers, and my accountability partners. This is homeschooling.Meagan L.
My son was in public school for kindergarten. He had a good teacher but he really suffered in the institutional environment. It got worse when he started first grade; we only lasted two weeks. He had been fine over the summer and I knew that I could no longer send him back to an environment where he was truly suffering. No one there could do anything about it or cared at all that he was suffering.
I tried to work it out with the school. I did not expect to homeschool. We made many suggestions (reasonable ones based on my own 7 years of experience as a public school teacher, and on my mom’s 20+ years of experience). The principal told me that the school could not meet the needs of a highly intelligent child. He told me many other things, but that alone was enough for me. I don’t agree with it, but if that’s what the principal tells me, I’m going to take it at face value.
The worst part is that while my son is advanced in many areas, the one area where he struggles is in spelling, and the school had decided that they would no longer teach spelling (beyond using “word walls,” which are not designed to teach spelling and are not known to be effective). Imagine a six year old child who reads and comprehends at a sixth grade level, talks about particle physics and reads reference books on stuff like mushrooms, but can’t spell a three letter word, and you’ll understand the disparity in his abilities. The principal told me that the reason they weren’t bothering with spelling is because #1, it’s not on the ISTEP, and #2, kids can just use spellcheck.Lisa Y.
I pulled my third grade and first grade children out mid-year. Here are some of the reasons why:
- I realized how little control/power I had as a parent or my child had as a student. Even our beloved teachers had very little power against BIG education (big education money), high stakes testing, the Teacher’s Union, politically correct/anti-God indoctrination. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea. We were in a “good” school, “good” neighborhood and still, no say-so, no voice.
- Fundraising. The schools still want your time & energy towards raising money, even if it’s “free” public school. And, by the way, still had to pay fees that were close to $300 for both kids… per year.
- Time. The kids were on the bus by 7 am, home by 2:30, and then an hour of homework in first and third grade!! After homework, the kids were free to play before we ate supper then headed off to outside activities or church. Bedtime was early to be able to make the 7a.m. bus. Dad would get to spend very little time with the kids.
- Indoctrination. As a believers in Jesus Christ, public school curriculum often conflicted with our family values & beliefs. Theories such as evolution, or global warming/climate change were being taught as fact/ “the right answer”. Weekly, time was spent explaining and unwinding what they were taught by authoritative teachers.
- We want our children to have a strong faith…that takes time & intention. We want them to know the Bible but also experience God’s presence every day, cultivating a relationship with Jesus. It’s beyond Wednesday night youth group or Sunday School.
- Learning opportunities! World History in chronological order, living books with time to read them, Latin, traditional (old school) math, field trips… lots & lots of real, hands on experiences, and so much more!
- Able to avoid high stakes, high anxiety testing.
- Family togetherness. We LOVE all the time we get to spend together! And we especially love snuggling on the couch while we dig into a good book.
- Character development. What Charlotte Mason describes as “laying down the rails”, by homeschooling we are able to nurture good life habits & skills and work on loving each other better. Those things take time and we have the whole day. Being away from the public schools has kept their ears from hearing and hearts from absorbing as much filth. Yep.
- Safety. It was after Sandy Hook that we pulled them. I am not a fearful person but for all the reasons mentioned above plus the real possibility of NO ONE BEING ABLE TO STOP A GUNMAN if they came into the kids school, a “safe zone”, we knew that there was no one more qualified to safeguard our kids than we were.
Homeschool has been the biggest surprise and biggest blessing of my life. I didn’t seek it…but it found me. I never even imagined it…but it has become a vivid example of God’s goodness that is “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).Marta K.
We began our homeschool journey when our oldest was in third grade, our second child was starting first grade, and our third was a preschooler. We were having difficulties with our elementary school and could not afford private school tuition. At that time, I only knew one other lady who had homeschooled before and her situation was different than ours because her adoptive boys had special needs. When we decided to try homeschooling, we thought we would send our children to public school again for middle school and high school. We went from taking it one year at a time to it becoming a lifestyle for our family.
Through homeschooling our relationships with each other and with God have grown tremendously. We have been stretched spiritually, mentally, and physically. Our family has grown in number too! We started homeschooling as a family of five and now we are a family of eight plus two sons-in-law and one step grandson. Homeschooling has brought many great friendships for our family and allowed us flexibility in the times when life has thrown some devastating circumstances at our family. Indiana has been a great place for us to live and homeschool. We appreciate the current freedom we have to choose the curriculum and style of learning that best fits each of our children’s individual needs.Evelyn P
My daughter was in public school from K-5. We made the decision to homeschool this year, for 6th grade. Although she was making mostly B’s in public school, she constantly brought home work that she didn’t understand and I also observed that most of the school day was “busy work” while the teacher spent time with small groups. I was even told by her that the teachers just basically walked them through work so they would get a good grade. In my opinion, this was not giving her a good education. After homeschooling, I realized she didn’t even know division, fractions, or basic math concepts for her age, and didn’t retain anything from the last few years. After homeschooling, we have finally been able to get her moving forward and understanding math concepts, learning and retaining history and science. She now embraces learning, wants to dive deeper in subjects, and sees a purpose to what she is doing. I am so glad we have had this opportunity, as I fear in public school she would never have been able to work at her full capacity and would have continued to be confused and frustrated to the point of giving up. Working one on one with my child is the only choice we have for a great education for her. She also has autism, and had a 504 plan, but it wasn’t being followed and probably contributed to some problems. Now we are free to take a break, explore a subject in a different way, etc.Nikki A
Thought I would post this for anyone who is thinking maybe they should home school, but having doubts. One year ago this month we made the huge decision to home school. M. was on the verge of failing first grade, after barely scraping by in Kindergarten. She felt dumb because she couldn’t do what they wanted her to do (Common Core was still in effect in Indiana for both those years). We were both in tears every night with homework. I was having 1-2 meetings a month with her teacher discussing what we were doing at home to help, and what more we could possibly do. We were spending about three hours a night doing work, in addition to her full day of school. There were discussions of testing for a learning disability if she didn’t start picking it up. I was scared to pull her out of school. Was I equipped for this? What if it made her further behind? We made this choice, not knowing the outcome. Today, my technically second grade daughter does third & fourth grade science. She reads a bit above her grade average. She excels in social studies and science, and she is average at language arts, and she is a bit lacking in math, but we’re working on it. 🙂
The beauty is that we CAN work on it. We go at her pace, and we let her comprehension lead us, rather than worrying about the fact that “she has to know this information,” and be tested on it, and be at the same level as her peers. This is my child, and I was scared, but it turned out that God gave me the instincts to know what was right for the child He placed in my care. Home schooling is not for everyone. I never get a “break,” I have to worry about when and how we will do lessons, doing lessons amid running a home and taking care of two toddlers, the list goes on. But my child is learning, and happy, and that makes it more than worth it! Because she was a “struggling” reader at school, after seeing me only working with her a few hours a day, my husband was concerned she was going to fall more behind. We turned his mind around when I told her to pick a book and read it to her Dad. This was something she could not have done two months before, and would have cried at just the thought of reading a whole book. Never feel like because you aren’t doing what people traditionally feel like school needs to be, that you aren’t doing what’s right for your child!Michelle B.
I have a son, now 16, who was enrolled in public school from K-2nd. He was also diagnosed with Autism. I decided to pull him out of public school after fighting way too many battles to get him the services he needed and by law they could provide.
The first year was rough and rocky, but since then he has FLOURISHED and continues to learn skills plus academics beyond what was projected. I had to fit my teaching to HIS learning style which the public school was UNWILLING to do at that time.
He has also been able to show me his interests, and we use those to help him learn other subjects and skills. I often get comments from many friends, family, and fellow church members about how well he is doing and how far he has come.
Public school was a social nightmare for my son. Sensory overload with the added extra of being bullied as well. He was not being provided a free APPROPRIATE public education.
My other son, now 18, went to public school from K-5th. He was also bullied. He struggled some to adjust the first year I had him home, as most kids do, but it got easier and he found subjects he liked and pursued on his own as he got older. He struggled with math in public school and instead of helping him, they passed him anyway, despite him not knowing the information. He would go whole grading periods with not doing school work and NO communication was sent home to me; no emails either. The teachers had all my contact info. So there was no excuse for it. Both of my boys were unhappy students and now they are happier and much more well adjusted young men, with goals and dreams. The public school atmosphere was KILLING those goals and dreams.
Behaviorally, public school was a negative influence on both of my boys. Academically, they were short changed, just in different ways. My older son, now runs his own lawn care business and works full time for a local golf course. My other son is still home schooled and is doing well. I also homeschool their three younger siblings and they are doing quite well, but they all learn at their own pace. I provide the environment, resources, structure, and instruction. As their parent, I know what is best for my children.Lori C.
I began homeschooling this school year, and I was in for a shock many times. Before I pulled them out of public school, we had a family meeting and discussed curriculum, structure, and educational goals. My daughter’s goal is to be college ready, and my son’s goal is to know what he needs to know to be an educated adult and enter the workforce. I talked to several parents who also homeschool and I was prepared, as were my kids who were juniors in high school. I began with an aptitude exam to figure out what they really knew. My daughter had been passed in geometry, and was clueless. She had to go back and review algebra and retake geometry. Now she is learning what she said she “couldn’t” because she receives help with understanding. My son had been failing geometry – but passed the exam. I was confused. Their abilities were not reflected by what is on paper from school. Turns out my son is a fast learner, and was bored doing repetitious work, so he didn’t put forth effort. He whizzed through geometry, doing ten lessons a day, and is already finished. Point is this – as parents and homeschoolers we can tailor their education for their abilities, life goals, and the way they learn. My son uses Switched on Schoolhouse because he likes computer work, and my daughter is using textbooks by Stobaugh because she needs more one on one teaching.Valerie R.
Our daughter was in the public school system through the sixth grade. In the fall of that year she began to come home crying from school several days of the week. She was the youngest in her class, and yet she was also at the top of her class. This was creating an unhealthy relationship between her and her peers resulting in teasing and bullying. In our small, rural district there wasn’t anything academically challenging for her. When we started to hear about the behavior problems going on in our local middle school we knew there was no way we would ever let our daughter go there the following year. After a great deal of research and prayer we made the decision to homeschool. Fifteen years later and it’s the best decision we ever made!T. B. (SE Indiana)
We have a daughter who was deaf for the first year of her life and was significantly delayed. When we moved to Indiana, we were told she could only get therapy in a school system and if she was part of the preschool program. We signed her up with the biggest hopes. For a child who could speak only three words at three years old, she was given 20 minutes of speech a week with another child. Her occupational and physical therapy were with the entire class another 20 minutes each week. We tried very hard to communicate with the therapists to learn how we could work with her at home. We attempted every week for three months to contact her therapists by writing letters and emails, making phone calls and requesting a meeting. We never, even once, saw or heard from the occupational therapist. The speech therapist talked to me twice, but would give no suggestions–as if I were too stupid to help my child (I have a Masters in Education). The physical therapist did give good suggestions once or twice. Overall we saw no progress in the areas she was deficient, instead she came home with worse behaviors, ticks, and random fits.
At my request, we had another IEP meeting to find out why she was getting so little help. The response was, “she will be in functional class for the rest of her life anyway, we cannot give her more”. They had already given up on her! We pulled her out, got her therapy through the hospital and local university and worked with her at home. She is now progressing well and even catching up to her age. We were told later by a retired special education teacher in the area that the schools have changed their philosophies. They want to keep children in the special education classes because that is how they get their money. There is no benefit in improving children’s abilities. Made me heart sick! And thankful to be done with it!Julia T.
I graduated from homeschooling in 2011, having never spent a single day in a public or private school. Before I was even born, my mother knew that she wanted to homeschool her own kids someday. When I was school age, my parents decided to use a very structured curriculum and take it one year at a time. Over the years, we used a variety of curricula and methods and participated in various activities and classes through our homeschool support group and community of homeschool friends. I loved being homeschooled and never regretted the decision my parents made. I could never imagine sitting behind a desk for so many hours. I was always amazed at how late my public school friends got home and how much homework they had to do since I was usually done by early afternoon. This left plenty of time to learn other skills, like music, and to read lots of wonderful books.
After high school, I earned a B.A in Music through an online program in two and a half years. It was during my time in online classes that I began to realize what an incredible gift I had been given. It was extremely obvious who had been homeschooled and who had not by the kind of work that was submitted; although I realize this might not be the case in every situation. Our public school counterparts often submitted careless, tardy work, while those who had been homeschooled usually went above and beyond our professor’s expectations. I never once struggled with meeting college expectations even if it did stretch and grow me. Although there were some things that I had not been taught to do in high school, my being homeschooled gave me the ability to learn independently which was a tremendous help.
After college, I continued to realize how this ability to learn on my own and having a good work ethic helped in so many other ways, including at my job and the volunteer work I have done. I would not be the person that I am today if my parents had not homeschooled me or if they had not had the freedom to choose how they would educate me, including what materials to use.Aliesha W.
When my son was in kindergarten, he did not like to do paperwork. The teacher called me and said she had decided to not make him do his work, so when he would see the other children doing their work, he would want to do his. I asked her not to do that. I told her that wouldn’t work on him. She did it anyway. It didn’t work for him, but because of that we had hours at home doing the work he was supposed to be doing in school. I decided since I was doing all the work with him anyway, I would homeschool the rest of kindergarten.
We started sending my oldest son to preschool at our church’s school. They expressed concerns for him and required that we have him tested. We did and he was just below the lines of being officially diagnosed with anything. The next year, they still required testing, same thing. Kindergarten they then insisted that we get him on some medication just like the other boys in his class for ADHD. We complied and got him on Ritalin for the last 2 months of that school year. He lost 5 pounds (and he is already a skinny kid) and couldn’t go to sleep at night. As soon as kindergarten was over, we stopped the medicine. I had researched other alternatives to drugs and found the Miriam Bender Institute. This was more physical in improving his attention than taking medication.
First grade, we didn’t have him on medication. My daughter was then in the pre-kindergarten program. My son did fine until a month or so into school. One day as his teacher put him in the van, the teacher asked me what medications he was on. When I replied none, the next day I was informed that we needed a parent-teacher conference. The conference consisted of his kindergarten teacher, first grade teacher, principal, and special education teacher. They emphatically said we needed to have our son on medication and it was no different than taking an allergy pill.
We felt a call to homeschool him. We had thought of it before but didn’t want to be one of those people. We had a very biased view of homeschooling. We were then realizing that we had no control over what was going to happen to our son if we left him in school. We were also seeking help through Miriam Bender which we wanted to see if it worked. We withdrew him at the end of the first semester but used the books from school to homeschool him for second semester. We left our daughter in pre-k. We didn’t know after the second semester if we were going to continue homeschooling, but began to notice that we did enjoy homeschooling. We also liked the freedom of being able to school, take vacations, and use the curriculum which best suits our child’s needs. Every year, we discuss if we are going to continue to homeschool or not. Every year, we do. We have been for 9 years now. There have been some challenges but there have also been so many rewards. We never dreamed in a million years that we would be one of those people–homeschoolers–but here we are.Lori B.
I am an African American, single mother who homeschools. It has been a long journey for us, but God has had mercy on us! I thank God for the honor of homeschooling. I have always valued knowledge and education growing up because of my intelligent mother. She returned back to college and received a bachelor in engineering, with a 4.0 grade point average, and received an award for being the first African American woman with this type of accomplishment. She raised us by herself and placed very high standards for me in education. However, homeschool was a foreign word to me because no one in my family had ever homeschooled their kids.
In 2012, after much prayer, God led me to an area I was unfamiliar with… homeschooling. My oldest had been diagnosed with ADHD and I was receiving phone calls and letters from the daycare and eventually elementary school almost every single day. He had been put on medication and it went from bad to worse! It became so bad it halted me from completing my college education. I had to stop everything in my life and get to the root of all of this because my child needed help! In elementary he was always in trouble for being too hyper. His impulsiveness led to many days in the principal office. The last straw was when he was suspended from school for no reason. He was blamed for something that he didn’t do. He tried to defend his cause in a respectful manner, but it feel on deaf ears because he was always in trouble in times past. It was discovered that he was telling the truth. I only received an apology with an unexcused absence.
His grades were awful. He only received an A in gym because that was his favorite class! We had numerous meetings with the school to set up an IEP plan for him. Nothing was working. I was tired and stressed at this point. My son was outside the class more than inside learning because he was always in trouble. I discovered an alternative to traditional school and that was K12… so I thought. At this point, I said in my heart, that I am his mom and want the best for him. I was at the school on a weekly basis and observing the overcrowding in his classroom. He couldn’t receive the one on one attention he needed. His teacher pointed out that she noticed he did well when he received one on one attention, but that was impossible with a class of close to 30 students.
I researched the information on K12. It seemed good at first, but after asking numerous questions it was like traditional school away from home. Somehow I had discovered the difference between that and homeschooling and it was a better choice for us.
I was nervous about the unknown because my mom is an educator now in the public school and I knew only one African American family and I didn’t find out she homeschooled until I was making the decision to homeschool. God placed her in my life at the needed time because she is a single mom as well. My son’s behavioral therapist was a homeschooling mom. I had several incidents where the LORD confirmed his approval.
I spent hours and hours researching about homeschooling and didn’t know where to start. God led me to IAHE page. It was through them that I found the homeschool co-op that we now have attended since we have started homeschooling. We love homeschooling! My son went from hating to read and reading below level to being a strong bookworm and finishing multiple chapter books in a few days’ time. His favorite subjects are science ,math, world culture, and sports. He has came a long way! Praise The God of Heaven! His teachers from our co-op have come to me on several occasions telling me they have seen a huge difference in him. They said he went from a stinker to an angel!!! I could go on for another hour about how homeschooling has been a blessing for this African American family!Cyrial J.
My daughter went to kindergarten in the local public school. When I sent her, her birthday was right at the cut off date for starting that year. She turned five one month before starting school. They said she had trouble following 3-step instructions and trouble with reading comprehension and math. They set her up in speech therapy and Title 1 services with an IEP. They insisted that she be held back in kindergarten instead of going on to first. The 2nd year of kindergarten, the teacher she had said she continued to have trouble with math, reading comprehension, and writing; and speech therapy continued as did the Title 1 services & IEP. This school year for first grade, we transferred to traditional homeschool using Abeka curriculum. Her math skills, reading, writing, etc. drastically improved within 1-2 months of starting homeschooling. She is now reading at a 2nd grade level and has no issues with reading comprehension.Bobbi M.
My daughter attended C. Elementary from third to fifth grade and always received high marks in all of her classes. Grades were not the issue for us; she had a nervous tummy, and was suffering from bad anxiety. Due to state mandates they were scheduled so tightly that bathroom breaks were hard to come by. One teacher in particular frequently refused to allow her to go when she needed to go. I sent a hand written note to this teacher explaining the situation, yet nothing changed. She actually accused my daughter of faking it to get out of the lesson in front of the entire class. It eventually escalated to a phone call one afternoon. Apparently, despite her urgent request, my daughter was forced to soil herself. It doesn’t take much to imagine the embarrassment she endured as a fourth grader in that situation.
When I arrived at the school not only did they refuse to let me take her home, they blamed the whole situation on me for not clearly communicating her issues. Apparently I was expected to subject my daughter to an array of medical tests and get documentation from a doctor in order to qualify for some red tape program so my daughter could have the basic human right to be treated with dignity and respect (I apologize for the rambling; I am usually more concise, but this whole situation still angers me). After many conversations with my daughter, we figured out were the anxiety was coming from. In an assembly the principal told a bunch of elementary students that they needed to do well on the ISTEP so their teachers could keep their jobs. She broke out into tears worried about how a certain teacher she adored would be able to feed her kids if she did poorly on a test!! Can you imagine? I of course went straight to the superintendent, and was chastised for going out of “the chain of command”. And of course they denied the whole thing, even though several other students corroborated my daughter’s version of the story.
These incidents, combined with many others, caused myself and a large handful of other moms to get together and start documenting and sharing things that were happening to our children. We were prepared to present all of this to the school board. Two days before the school board meeting I was in the parent pick up line, in the school parking lot when the school safety officer knocked on my window and asked me to pull out of line. With no cause given, he ran my license and registration in front of the entire parent population and in front of the children. Needless to say, after seeing what happened to me, all of the other parents refused to testify. One week after we made the decision to pull my daughter out of public school, her stomach issues were completely gone and they have not returned since. The health and well being of our children, as well as the morals of those that teach them, is just as important as their academic standings in my opinion.
Without the restrictions of the public school system my daughter has been able to progress from sixth grade math and literature to eighth and ninth grade level work in just one year. She is flourishing and happy and healthy and actually enjoys learning again. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.Anonymous
Four years ago, during the middle of the year during my oldest’s year in fourth grade, I took a leap and decided to homeschool. My daughter was struggling in math, grammar, and handwriting. I found that a big reason was lack of instruction the previous year. As a parent who cares about their child’s education, I struggled against the third grade teacher who was far too lax. I was constantly asking why she wasn’t bringing home papers or homework. When I asked he said, “Oh, she’s fine!” I never could understand why fine meant Bs, mostly Cs and an occasional D. We had to play catch up for a bit due to this teacher’s negligence. My daughter starts ninth grade soon. She may always be an only slightly above average student, but the path she was put on in public school certainly would have meant failure. She has moments, but she works through issues and always knows she can get help. I now also teach my two younger boys who surprise me all the time with what they soak up and remember. We are truly blessed!Alicia R.
My oldest daughter loved public school and really excelled in that environment. However, we felt that we missed the best part of her day everyday. By the time she got home, we had homework, dinner and then brief family time before it was time to start the whole thing over again. We started homeschooling four years ago and though it has not always been easy, we are convinced this was the best decision for our family. We love to work with our four kids at their level on topics in which they are interested. We have a solid basis in Scripture and we feel that we are all learning together. We have the highest regard for teachers but know that even the best teachers have severe limitations on how much time they can spend with each student and on each topic before they have to move on. We are so grateful for the freedom we have here in this country and in this state to do what is best for our family.John & Laura M.
My daughter was academically ahead when she started kindergarten in the public school system. After about a month they talked us into moving her to 1st grade. She still felt unchallenged and the promise of putting her in advanced placement classes was never fulfilled. It turned out to be a disaster on many levels. By February she was shutting down both academically and socially. Her DIBELS scores actually declined even though she read at a 3rd grade level. We began homeschooling the next year and are currently finishing up our 3rd year. Not only is she steadily advancing in every academic subject, but she has made more friends and participates in more activities than ever before.Rebecca B.
I taught in a private Christian school for years using a “boxed” curriculum, which I ordered for our homeschool, of course. I really struggled with the idea of homeschooling not being “school at home”. It took time and wise counsel from seasoned homeschool moms to get me to loosen up and stop treating my home like a mini school. After many years of homeschooling and three graduates, I still panic sometimes if we don’t “finish” the curriculum book or we try a more relaxed method for a certain subject.Michelle B.
Our oldest daughter attended public school K-2, as I was tutoring four days a week from 3-9pm. I almost never saw her because she had homework nearly every night in second grade. Our bright, bubbly, social girl had become withdrawn and wasn’t making the best grades. The one-size-fits-all education pattern wasn’t working. We had already decided to homeschool our second child, so we decided to bring home our oldest as well. It wasn’t until much later, when our oldest was homeschooling, that we learned the gym teacher used to pick on her. Let’s just say it’s a GOOD thing that information was pretty old by that point in time.
Now, in our tenth year homeschooling, the oldest daughter has had the time to hone talents that will allow her to pursue a business of her own upon her graduation, just a few weeks away.
Other benefits include: allowing the children time to get the sleep their growing bodies need, accelerating or slowing down concepts as my child needs (particularly with math), homeschooling at grandpa’s house – where we can still accomplish our schoolwork, but also help him in ways he is no longer able to do work for himself, working at grandma’s business and learning first-hand how a business runs, taking a vacation in the off-season and enjoying not being at the mercy of the public school calendar and the crowd, actually having family time in the evening because we DON’T have several hours of homework… the list is endless.
One of the best things, which we couldn’t have expected until this stage where we are about to launch a child into the world, is seeing how our children have grown, developed, and matured, and having been able to participate in a variety of activities with truly exceptional young people without the pettiness, bullying, peer pressure, and drama that is so prolific in the public school system.Amy C.
I have had the unique opportunity in my life to teach in many different settings. I began teaching private music lesson when I was in the eighth grade and by the time I was a senior I was cadet teaching beginning band. I spent four years teaching at an Amish Parochial School where I taught four grades all in the same class. This taught me volumes about time management! After that I taught in the public school system. There was pressure there to teach more to the state test. Merit pay was first being discussed and teachers were going to be assessed by their students performance on these test. Since I went from teaching four grades to just one, I knew how to set up my classroom to hopefully reach more students.
Now, we homeschool and I have to admit, it is the most rewarding form of education for us. Even though I served on writing and curriculum teams, it’s nice to have total control over the curriculum I teach. I love that I have the freedom to put God first in my children’s education. When in the public school, I could only share my faith when asked by my students.
Homeschooling gives me the freedom to push my children to reach for the stars. It gives them the opportunity to learn through real life experiences. None of us know what the future will bring, but I hope I have and will continue to equip them, with God’s grace, with the tools to succeed in what every life holds for them.Stacy H
I have a B.S. in Elementary Education and have actually taught in a public school. I remember first hearing about homeschooling and thinking, “Those people are weird!” Leaving the classroom and schooling my children at home was not as hard for me as it was for some as I taught in the 7th & 8th grade Honors Program and was always bucking the system. I wrote my own unit studies and there was a lot of cooperative learning in my class. We participated in Future Problem Solving and went to state one year. We also did Independent Study and had an Independent Study Fair every year. I received an award my first year thanks to ISF. I drove my principal crazy because I taught outside the box, but the kids would come back to me and ask me to teach at their next level because they weren’t learning anything. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was getting great preparation for homeschooling.Debbie W.
I got interested in home education because my three best students at Ball State University were homechool graduates. Later on, when we adopted our 15-year-old daughter, she was not doing well academically, but after graduating homeschool, she was accepted to and then graduated from Butler University.Jay W.
My wife and I were concerned about my son’s grades in math. He went from an A to an F and the principal told me they were not going to change back to having one teacher for each class. My son has ADHD and he was in 3rd grade when the school’s principal decided changing teachers like they do in 6th grade was the appropriate thing to do.
At about the same time, my daughter was in 2nd grade. Her teacher informed us that she could not read but her reading comprehension was good. When I questioned the absurdity of this statement the teacher came clean and said that the class size was too big and they didn’t have time to teach her one on one. When they would read to her she comprehended what she heard.
My wife and I pulled our children from public school. Although we didn’t know how to home school, we knew that public school had failed our children and we wanted better. My daughter learned to read within 3 months. We then started her in a 3rd grade curriculum. Since that decision, we haven’t looked back. I think the important thing to look at is not if homeschooled children can integrate into public school at the same grade, because how we teach a subject at home isn’t the same as in public school. We cover all the information when our children are ready for it. Public school left us disappointed despite all the slogan, “No child left behind.” My children were falling through the cracks. In public school they spent eight hour days sitting at desk being taught how to take tests. When they came home they would have 3-5 hours of homework. This robs them of any childhood. We will not put our children back into a broken public school system.Jason C
There is very little I would trade for the fact I was raise strictly homeschooled and cottage schooled. I didn’t spend a day in public education. What was afforded me through home education was time to pursue interest and talents. Once my schooling was completed for the day I was able to take up HEFTY doses of electives and vocational training in seamstress work and music. I graduated, having completed enough credits, then got married shortly after. I was able to go on to help other schools with plays, props, productions, and church dramas. This wasn’t something I did professionally, as I was starting my family.
Now, 15+ years later I am still using strengths that were developed because of the education I crammed into my high school home education. I work as a teacher in a cooperative school, teaching sewing. I work also as a seamstress, designer, and sewing machinist. This all stems from the fact that my education in high school was tailored to fit who I was and how I best operated. I hope this for my own children: that home education is still not only legal but supported, that my children be able to grow to be unique individuals that will bless this country, and make stable, interesting adults.Jennifer A.
I was homeschooled (grades K-12) through the 80’s and mid-90’s, a time when few people considered schooling at home to be a valid option. I graduated from high school in 1996 and continued my education at a 4-year university. In 2000, I graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Elementary Education. I went on to become an elementary school teacher in the public school system. While I enjoyed many aspects of the classroom, I quickly discovered there were too many cracks that could not be filled with one person in a classroom of 20+ students. Parental involvement and 1-on-1 tutoring became the two most valued aspects of a student’s academic growth. After the birth of my daughter, I began working part time in the Title I program at a local public school, and I also tutored at Sylvan Learning Center and other tutoring facilities. I loved seeing the improvement the students could make with individualized plans and positive interaction. When it came time to decide whether or not my own daughter would go to public, private, or homeschool, we decided to homeschool her to ensure she would have a solid foundation. We also began schooling our second daughter, beginning in preschool. Now they are completing their 6th grade and 3rd grade years, respectively.
I am grateful for the years I had as a homeschooled student, where I was able to learn at my own pace in my unique way. I developed my interests and was able to think creatively as an individual student. I discovered when I went on to the university that I had a strong sense of time management and study skills that helped me achieve my academic goals. My personal goal-setting helped me in my time as a public school teacher, as did organization and time management. Currently, my time as a student at home is helping me as I teach my own children and attempt to instill in them the same love of learning that I have, and as I encourage them to develop important skills that will help them throughout the rest of their lives.Katie J.
I had always thought about teaching my children. Not only had I wanted to become a teacher, but a mother as well, and home education just fits.
My husband and I want to teach our children what they not only need to know to graduate, but to succeed in life after home. After a few years of struggles with my oldest at a young age, trying a public preschool, and looking into public kindergarten, we felt best teaching him at home. In the public system, the teacher told me, they wanted him reading before he was out of kindergarten. My son struggles with that, so we waited. I’m so glad we did! We took baby steps teaching him, not just sight words, but phonics and the fundamentals that he would need even after learning to read, and he loves it now! At the beginning, when we had tried to do it “society’s way,” there were so many tears and frustrations; it was a miserable time for all of us. By teaching at home, we get to guide them into responsible adults; not just with a full education, but a well rounded knowledge of how to survive. I never have to worry about their social skills; they are polite in public, ask strangers if they need help, hold open doors, and all that is learned by watching. I am so glad we are able to homeschool. It’s the best decision we keep making year after year.Monica B.
From 2013-2014 my oldest son attended public school. At his parent/teacher conference she was so impressed, and said he was learning fast and was doing things some of the other children could not do. Fast forward 3 months, I made a phone call to his teacher because it was a new semester and I hadn’t seen his homework folder since the week before Thanksgiving. She had no idea, even though parents have to sign off and the teacher checks the work, that he hadn’t been doing his homework. I had no idea what to work on with him, so he fell a half year behind.
At this point I found out she had been putting him at the “time out table” because other students distracted him and he couldn’t complete his work. So my 5 year old, who already dealt with self esteem issues, was made to feel like he wasn’t good enough. In the phone call she suggested taking him to the doctor and get him medication. I told her I would rather hold him back first and and get him tested. I filled out the paperwork to retain him. That was the plan, until my husband got a promotion and we moved three hours away.
Originally I had looked into k12 online school but it didn’t fit our family. So I made the big decision, the best decision I ever made for our family, and I began homeschooling in July 2014. I restarted kindergarten with my oldest and halfway through the year we were able to start first grade with the PACE’s from A.C.E. Since then I have had him tested at Riley Children’s Hospital and with the local school. He does not have ADD or ADHD. He has anxiety, a reading disability that he is overcoming, and he also was diagnosed with b/d confusion.
My son does not need medication like his previous teacher had suggested. He needed a loving environment where he could thrive in his learning and not feel like he’s being compared to all the other students. My son would just be completing 1st grade in public school because of his reading. That’s where they have him on his IEP with the local school for speech therapy. I consult with the special education department once a month since he does have the reading disability, and they suggested resources that are good for him. However, I had already found my own similar to what the school uses for reading. It did upset me though when I mentioned he was in second grade not first, because they said they would keep it as first on the paperwork if he went back to public school. I mentioned I homeschool most of the year and he’s catching up. They were worried about if he was in 3rd grade next year in a public school that he wouldn’t do well on ISTEP. I was angry that their concern wasn’t my son but ISTEP. Instead of ending first grade he is finishing up the first half of his second grade curriculum with straight A’s in the four subjects. He’s doing so wonderfully!!! I couldn’t be prouder of the progress he has made.
My second son is getting ready to finish his kindergarten curriculum. He’s also doing great. Homeschooling allows me to adjust our schedule so my oldest two can visit with their dad three hours away. It allows us to be able to sleep in on Mondays after we make trips for my husband to go visit with my step son who is in the hospital battling leukemia for the second time. Thankfully, we had already made the decision to homeschool when he was diagnosed the first time. It allows us to make doctors appointments and not have to worry about missing school.
There are so many things I can do with my children that I wouldn’t be able to do if they were in school. I even get in extra school days. We now have a year membership to COSI, the science museum in Ohio, for when my husband is at the hospital with my step son. The kids love science, and they love learning about nature too. I have noticed my little three year old sees his big brothers doing their school work and he wants to do his school work too. I have him working on learning colors and counting and he loves it. Not only are my children doing well, they also love being homeschooled. They love the homeschool group and the field trips we do. One of the other homeschool kids is even on the soccer team with two of my younger children. I’m thankful for the right that we have to be able to homeschool our children. I get more precious moments with them and watch them learn and grow.Ashley F.
My son attended public school K-6. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome Disorder just before he started second grade. The school, especially the principal, was open to doing all they could to ensure my son’s success.
When he started Jr/Sr High, the school, especially the assistant principal, wanted to challenge him more. They did not follow his IEP. She said that I underestimated him. My son began to suffer meltdown after meltdown, and shutdown after shutdown. He became very discouraged, and didn’t trust his special education teacher that was with him since second grade anymore. He felt that he didn’t have a safe place to go at school to calm himself. The school piled on consequences and even assigned him to detention. The school denied my request for an aide and a study-buddy. They wouldn’t test him to see why he was shutting down. They said that he was insubordinate.
It all came to a head on March 31, 2015. My son fled from school. Thank the Lord that he made it home safely. I wonder sometimes if they were just trying to get rid of him. They didn’t even call to check up on him. We gave him, and myself, time to get over the trauma, then slowly introduced homeschool. We are wrapping up our first year of homeschool soon. He is doing very well now.
We did have him tested and he was diagnosed with CAPD. He has the auditory processing speed of a 5-yr old, and the fluid reasoning greater than a first year college student. No wonder he was having meltdowns!Michelle Q.