Have you ever had a bad homeschooling year, one so stressful that you wonder why you’re still doing this? We have. In fact, we had one last year. Now as the next school year quickly approaches, I’m left thinking, “Now what?”
When my husband and I first decided to homeschool, we agreed that it would be on a year-to-year basis. Each spring, we would re-evaluate our homeschooling, our boys’ progress, and our family’s needs. We’re entering our fourth year in about two weeks. That’s not a decision that came lightly this year.
After our first two years, the homeschooling decision was relatively easy. This year’s decision was much, muchmore difficult. Our older son experiences extreme anxiety. Unfortunately, it often causes him to act out or avoid his work. As the year progressed, we began to consider that it might be time for him to return to public school. The near-daily fighting about him getting his work done was taking a toll on all of us.
Throughout the last several months, we tried to get him to become more independent and to take control of his anxiety. I’m proud to say that he stepped up. We recognize that he still needs support to manage his anxiety, but we also want him to start taking the lead on that. We want him to recognize his anxiety and utilize coping skills he’s learned when his anxiety hits.
Like each homeschooling family, we had to make an individualized decision. In our case, we agreed that my son needs to be held accountable to someone during the day other than just me. We met with the Assistant Principal at our zoned school, discussed part-time options, and looked at other alternatives in our community.
In the end, we decided to continue homeschooling…but with some major adjustments. For one thing, he will be doing one additional class virtually. He has already done some online classes before, but this time he will be doing his hardest online. We’re trying to take me out of the equation on that particular class.
Math has always been a relatively easy subject for him. But it has also triggered his anxiety and OCD since third grade. This year, he will be taking geometry online, responsible to another teacher. He will be responsible for managing his anxiety about the class, and I will take on a supportive backseat role rather than driving our path. We’ve also signed up for additional, ongoing activities with our co-op.
You see, homeschooling is constantly a challenge, for all of us. I’ve come to believe it should be. If we get complacent, we’re missing out. More importantly, our children are missing out.
The decision to homeschool is a difficult one for many families. And trying to determine what works best for one child or another may not always yield the same results. As long as we continue to do what we believe is right for our children and our families, our homeschooling will be successful.
We’d love to hear from you. What challenges are you facing as you prepare for your next homeschooling year?