So most of you know that I homeschool my three boys. (okay, if you didn't already know, you probably figured it out from the first sentence!) I didn't always want to do that.
When we lived in Portland, Oregon I sort of home schooled. My kids were young and I didn't really know what I was doing. Mickey had pretty much taught himself to read by the time he was five so I didn't have to do much in that arena. We used various little workbooks for the first grade (Mickey) and kindergarten (Brendan). Sean was too young. They did okay, but it was a challenge to do it in a small apartment with a toddler wanting to "see" what his brothers were doing.
We moved to Spokane in 2003 and after talking with a friend I enrolled Mick and Bren in a local public school that this friend was very involved in. She had good things to say about the teachers and staff. Mickey was in second grade and Brendan was in first grade. I volunteered in each of their classrooms and was able to get to know their teachers fairly well. They went there for 3 years and Sean went for kindergarten. I'd say they had a pretty good experience overall.
During this time, however, Mike and I started to have some concerns, especially after Mickey came home from school one day when he was in fourth grade very worried he had done poorly on a test. Upon questioning him we realized that it wasn't a test but a survey he had taken. And it was all about alcohol use in the home, including questions about how much alcohol he, as a 9 year old, consumed in a week.
Now Mike had always wanted me to home school the boys and I was balking at it. I was kind of enjoying some kid-free time and the boys were doing okay. With Sean going into the first grade I'd have a nice chunk of time to myself with all sorts of opportunities in front of me. Maybe I'd volunteer somewhere. But God had other ideas. All summer long I kept resisting homeschooling. Nope, not gonna do it.
Then towards the end of August I gave in. Yes, Lord. I'll home school my boys. Now what? Um, I have no idea!
So I got three giganto workbooks from Barnes and Noble that had a year's worth of worksheets on the four major subjects. I'd been given a history book that would work for the two older boys. Guess I was set. We did okay and I'm sure the boys learned something despite my fears that I was going to mess up their education forever.
Then a friend mentioned she was doing her homeschooling through Washington Virtual Academy. It didn't cost anything and they sent you all the curriculum you would need. So we jumped through all the hoops and did that for the next school year. It was a good experience but way too structured for my liking. A good thing came out of it, however. Confidence. I could do this.
So for the third year of homeschooling I got the boys enrolled up at MEPP, which is the home school program through the Mead school district. The boys went to school one day a week where they were able to interact with other home school kids and I got the support I needed. There was money allotted for curriculum. We did well. And we've been up there ever since.
I have now made it through my first year of homeschooling a high school student. I know how to make a transcript and I know what things he has to do in order to graduate. Now I'm ready to get going on my second highschooler. Yikes!
Throughout this process I've learned a lot about myself and my boys. I've endured a six hour math test (which really only took about 10 minutes with the rest of the time taken up with doodling, whining and complaining) made a big mess with my kids with clay (but we had fun doing it) and found a great curriculum for Algebra that doesn't involve me having to remember the little bit of Algebra I once knew in the days of old.
When we're done with this I may end up with a firefighter, a chef and whatever Sean decides he wants to be. And it will have been worth all the work and worry I went through.