The decision to homeschool is personal. It’s not something to be convinced of apart from personal conviction. For us, homeschooling was a necessary and loving act to our preteen daughter. This post isn’t an argument meant to convince anyone of anything. Its intended purpose is to share our experience and to explain why we made what has been viewed as a radical decision in such a dramatic way.
We don’t feel like we owe anyone an explanation but I do feel like it’s good practice to be transparent and open about what and why I do whatever I decide to do. I believe people’s experiences can help to put things into perspective for others. I hope that this post serves someone in that way.
Why didn’t we start out homeschooling? To be honest I didn’t have the ability or desire in the beginning. I was a single mom working full time while taking online classes. I was resigned to it being me and her for a really long time and that I had to do whatever I had to to make sure I cared for her well. I could not wait until she was old enough to go to school so that I could dump the daycare bill. Once she entered kindergarten I felt a sincere relief. Financially and mentally.
She was already a brilliant student before starting school and I felt good about her being taught in a structured classroom. I knew that she would excel in her education and I had all faith in the teachers to lead her through. Erik and I started seriously dating in the spring of 2011 and talked about what we saw in the future concerning homeschooling. I was honest and told him I’d didn’t think I’d be fit to do it and wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it. And that I also thought that Amirah was too much of an extrovert to be a good candidate for homeschooling. Fortunately, it wasn’t a deal breaker and we proceeded with life.
This was not a decision made without thoughtful prayerful consideration. My desire to homeschool began to emerge last summer after we moved from the city to the suburbs. Our school district changed and the new zoned school was not going to happen. Not to disparage the entire school but there were certain elements that we thought of as a disadvantage. But after talking with the principle, she was permitted to stay on as an out of zone student.
Of course, we were all thrilled. But after spending the summer anticipating teaching at home it was less of a win for me. I couldn’t quite explain. I knew that she was in a great school. She had tons of friends; excellent grades. I just kept thinking about the what-ifs of teaching her at home. The door was open in my heart I felt but it wasn’t absolutely necessary so there was no need to pursue it.
Middle school started to prove more than a challenge to the fundamental values we’ve set for our children. Making the decision to pull her from school was primarily for her spiritual well being. We have a great kid. She loves God and people. She respects her parents and adores her baby brother. But just like all of us, there are aspects of who she is that make it difficult to withstand particular temptations. We began to notice a decline in her grades and her ethics began to slip more easily. These things made the choice clear for us.
Our initial reason was sufficient but we were able to compile a comprehensive list of reasons why we should proceed with withdrawal.