Originally I wanted to write a blog to explain what to do when you have decided to begin homeschooling your child, because they did not fit in public school system. I realized this could not possibly work because everyone’s story and reasons are different. So here is what I did and I hope it helps you, even if you are on the fence about whether to begin homeschooling or not.
1. First I finally saw the signs.
My son has ADHD and high functioning Autism. I got phone calls almost weekly from his teachers and daily reports telling me of his bad behaviour, how he disrupted the class, would not sit still, basically would not conform to what was expected from him from the public school system. This was a huge sign to me saying “get your kid out of there!” But I continued because school is just apart of childhood, right. I didnt want him to miss out on that.
The school was great, we tried a million different techniques on how to help him in class, a lot of coping techniques were put in place, yet everyday I would drive up to the school to the sound of my son begging me not to make him go….Yet another “get your kid out of there!” Sign.
Then we moved house, the new school was his breaking point. And mine. After two weeks my son trashed the classroom he was kept in by himself (luckily nobody was in there). He was placed in the room because he would not be quiet during library time. That was it, he had chewed his lips and finger nails to bits and was not sleeping properly. I knew, the day I got the phone call about what he had done, that he was trying to tell me he was done. Why am I doing this to my kid, we dont need the duel income, he hates it at school, he is not missing anything, this is not the right learning environment. Finally, I got my kid out of there and brought him home, something I wish I had done a lot sooner.
2. After I finally made the decision, I let my son ‘take a break!’
This is a very important part of the transition. First I explained to my son that he will not be going back to public school, he will be doing school at home with me. He played video games, hung out, made lots of perler bead creations and simply made himself at home. During this time of him adapting, I researched every curriculum the homeschool world had to offer, especially for a unique learner like my boy. I also took the time to see what he was interested in, because homeschooling is not just transfering the school environment into the home, it is learning at home,in a relaxed, at your own pace environment. I was going to use that to rekindle my boys love of learning.
3. I decided to change how we live not just how he was going to be schooled.
I decided that if homeschooling was our path then we was going to start at home. What I mean by this is chores and self care. Before I finished my work on his curriculum I implemented a plan on his daily routine, brush teeth twice a day, make his own bed, put away his own clothes, tidy up his toys before moving onto the next one, etc. By himself. I also implemented a reward chart to help promote this and to use later in his school work. This also boosted his confidence and gave him something he could achieve.
4. I took away things that hinder his learning.
This was everything from junk food and drinks to watching youtube kids. There are several reasons for this, junk food and ADHD kids do not mix. His high levels of energy after a bit of chocolate could not be worn of from thing like recess at school. A health diet also promoted healthy family living. I even have him help prepare his own meals and use recipes as apart of his education. Youtube kids was a lot harder, I was a parent that was happy to let my babies watch whatever they wanted after school because they had been there all day. I thought it was a kindness. It is not, those shows, some not all, are not the best when your child has the potential of accessing the TV all day, everyday. They can promote all kinds of bad behaviour and even what I call the “new toy addiction” with those surprise box opening videos. The only shows I let them watch now is from PBS or Noggin, that is because they are fun, wholesome and educational. They do not go over two hours a day and after making the break from addictive shows, I have now found my kids are actually not that bothered with TV anymore and would rather read or play.
5. Then I implemented our homeschooling curriculum.
I transformed my house in hogwarts because I love harry potter and if i was going to be taking part in this homeschooling adventure, i wanted the environment to be inspirational and fun. By this point my boy was ready to learn and I was ready to teach, so much so, I even began schooling his little sister with him instead of putting her in public school. I found a great mix of different online resources and curriculums to use and we really dived in and have never looked back. Some curriculums worked, some have not, the first year or two of homeschooling is always trial and error so don’t be to hard on yourself.
6. Finally I took a deep breath and soaked it all in.
It is so easy to get wrapped up with the overwhelming and daunting task of becoming a homeschooling family, as long as you stick with your instincts, focus on yourself and child’s needs, everything else just falls into place. Some weeks will be perfect, some will be a mess but overall remember this is a family adventure that you get to enjoy every minute of, so don’t forget to have fun with it!