I’ve always believed in responding to the needs of each individual child, each year — not wholly picking homeschool or public school as THE right way. So this year as I looked at our school year and assessed the needs of the family, including mine, I came up with a plan to do a homeschooling hybrid.
I wanted to keep what we loved and what worked well for us with homeschooling last year, and I wanted to get rid of some of the areas of conflict, tension, or neglect.
So here is our homeschooling hybrid plan for the 2015 – 2016 school year (or for today at least):
ELLE: Elle is an 8th grader and I am sending her back to Jr. High on a modified schedule. I wanted her to ease back in to the public school system before high school so she would have time to adjust and adapt before grades really count. I didn’t want shell shock in the 9th grade. For now, Elle will be missing 1st and 2nd periods because it is super important to me that she gets enough sleep and that we don’ t have a rushed, stressed morning. With this later start, she has time to make her bed, clean her room, read her scriptures, and eat a healthy breakfast. Furthermore, she can still participate in Mom’s Meeting and read aloud with the other kids. I am willing to drive her to school so she can have a good start to her day, and we can still have a little bit of family time.
To miss two periods, Elle must opt out of a couple of classes. She will not be taking P.E (she dances 10 hours a week already), literature (we do read aloud at home and she reads at night), and keyboarding (she can type well and is in yearbook this year which will continue to develop her keyboarding skills). She will be taking Math, Science, English, US History and Yearbook at the Jr. High. I think that is plenty of information for one day.
CREW: Crew is my 5th grader, and I am keeping him home all day. I taught 5th grade for 5 years so I’ve (sorta) got this. Also, he is involved in competitive sports year round, so he is gone virtually every night at practice and Saturdays at games. With the peer influences at night, he still needs home’s grounding influence during the day. He still needs to grow roots.
Another reason I want him home is because he is “too cool for school” in an unexpected way. He is a quarterback on his football team, starting pitching on his baseball team, and high scorer on his basketball team. He doesn’t need to go to school and possibly be top dog there too. Keeping him home, cleaning toilets, making lunch for the family, walking the neighbor’s dog, reading to his brother, teaching math to his sister, and snuggling by his mom during read aloud, keeps him less aware of any potential social status or ranking. It keeps his focus away from being cool. He ain’t the big man on campus at home.
CROFT: Croft is my 3rd grader and I am keeping her home too, but for different reasons. First, she has sleep issues. Although she goes to bed with everyone else, she could sleep in until 10:00 or 11:00 am if I let her. Her catching a bus at 8:15 am would wreak havoc on our mornings. Keeping her home helps her to get the sleep that she needs and maintains peace in our home. I do make her get out of bed at 8:00 am, but that is different than being dressed, fed and ready to go by 8:00 am. She can ease into her morning when she is home.
Croft also needs extra help in spelling and math. She would be behind others if she went to school, but at home she can work at her own understanding and level and speed and not feel pressure or inadequate. I can reteach and reexplain until she gets it, or we can table the information until she is developmentally ready for the concept. We are trying another math program this year to see if it fits her way of learning better. Homeschooling allows us to make these adjustments.
Another reason I want Croft to be home is because I want her to get more attention. She is often overlooked. At home she can be seen and heard and remembered.
LOCKE: I am sending Locke, my youngest, to kindergarten. He got into a dual immersion Spanish program which I think will be good for him. This is a kid that could do a 50 piece puzzle at age 2, knew all the states and capitals at age 4, and now is already asking about multiplication. I am hoping the Spanish part will keep him challenged and give his busy mind something else to process.
But with all his academic prowess, Locke lacks some social skills and appropriateness. I believe a more formal school setting can help him learn to share, take turns, wait to speak, negotiate, listen, etc. He needs to know that other people besides mom and dad have rules and expectations.
It helps that Kindergarten is only half day. I wouldn’t want him gone any longer at this young age. The few hours he will be gone, will free up time for me to really focus with my middle children, especially Croft.
So that is our homeschooling hybrid plan as of today. I might have a different plan tomorrow, but for now I am happy that I have allowed myself choice, and that I have considered my children’s needs in our educational plan. I hope I have chosen right.