Deciding to homeschool

How did we know when it was time to make the leap to homeschooling?

A young woman leaps over a chasm
Photo by Sammie Chaffin on Unsplash

Yesterday in a parenting discussion group, a parent asked people who are homeschooling their children how and when they reached the decision to homeschool. It's something that's been banging around in my mind a lot over the last couple of weeks, because I still remember, keenly and painfully, what we went through at the return from winter break during our daughter's kindergarten year. I haven't been able to shake the feeling that there are perhaps a lot of other parents out there who are in a similar position, and feeling alone.

Here is my response to that parent's post (unedited from my original comment; please pardon my slapdash writing):

We pulled our daughter to homeschool after the end of a very, very hard kindergarten year. In retrospect, things were particularly hard when school started back up after winter break and I wanted to pull her then, and didn’t, and I regret that. Our daughter was not yet diagnosed at that point (we were still on the waiting list for assessments); she was ultimately diagnosed with ADHD.

Somewhere I read someone saying that for folks in our shoes, it’s not really so much switching to homeschooling—you’re already homeschooling, and you’re just dropping the brick & mortar part that’s getting in the way. That was definitely true in our case; so many hours of our non-school time were spent trying to undo the damage of the day, while also trying to give her some time to do the learning she desperately wanted to be doing (but couldn’t at school).

She wanted to love school so much, and the school wanted to help her so much. Everyone involved did all they could do within the constraints of the system and its resources. She was on an IEP. But her sense of self was swiftly deteriorating. I’ll never shake that off. It was horrible. I can’t think of a deeper pain I’ve ever had than that year.

Once we switched to homeschooling, she was thriving, immediately. Night and day. Her ADHD-ness came into full bloom, where before under the strain she was in, she was so constantly in fight-freeze-or-flight that it was hard to see what she was actually dealing with. We were then able to get her diagnosed, and get her the appropriate supports and treatment.

We’ve been homeschooling for a few years now, and it’s heaven. It’s not easy, but it’s so much easier. The effort I’m putting in is no longer about trying to fix things, now it’s about building things.

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