Last year, we had a bad experience with a charter school and decided to home school our 2 older kids. We took the kids out of school in early April – and mid-year is hard to start a full program so we used an online home school for the remainder of the year. After investigating all of our options over the summer, we opted to enroll the kids in virtual school.
It’s been quite a huge shift, especially for me. If you are contemplating home schooling your kids, I thought I’d share some of what we’ve learned over the last 9 months of having our kids home full-time.
1. Who Can Help
Something that we are fortunate to have is family that live nearby. There are several times during the month where I have meetings or need to at an event. With our younger kids, I can drop them off at child care. Our older kids, it’s not that easy. We often drop them off at family members or they are old enough to not bother my husband if he is working at home.
With the flexible schedule, they can go hang out with Grandma for a few hours and just catch up that night. This is such a great perk to virtual schooling!
2. Be Prepared for Judgement
People will judge you no matter what you do with your kids, but be prepared that when uttering the words “homeschool” you are making yourself a target. Remember, whatever YOUR decision is for YOUR kids – is the right decision. It’s amazing how fast people are to judge, especially when they are not in your situation.
3. Family Bonding
Having our kids home has definitely created a great bond, not only between us and our older kids – but with our younger kids as well. The toddlers love having their siblings home. Yes, we are an imperfect functioning dysfunctional family, but aren’t most good families?
4. The Ability to Travel Whenever
This past year with the kids home, we have been able to travel and take some awesome vacations – all because the kids were home and schooling virtually.
Public school is such a booger about attendance. While the online charter that we attend is public, we are given a flexible schedule which is perfect for traveling during off seasons.
5. Developing Independence
While I am the kids’ learning coach, virtual school is really empowering them to take responsibility for their work and learning – way more than in any other school. The kids have a schedule and timeline of what needs to be done when.
We work to get good grades, as well as getting ahead of the schedule so that we can have more freedom with our schedule. In order for this to happen, the kids have to focus. It’s not always easy, they ARE kids – but I can definitely see maturity and growth.
6. Create Boundaries
With the kids around all the time, we have had to create boundaries. We are not pushy on schedules – other than their assigned time with their online teachers. While the toddlers nap, we have a enforced quiet time where the kids get off their computers and can read. I have adjusted my schedule to work primarily in the evenings to accommodate their schooling.
Like most people who hear the words “HOME SCHOOL” – I too feared the socialization aspect for my kids. I quickly learned that my kids socialize quite a bit without any effort. We are active at our church, have a life group, attend a kids’ bible study program and play sports.
The way their virtual school works, the kids are in class online – a minimum of 3 hours a week – sometimes up to 6 hours a week. They work online with their teacher and other classmates on learning activities.
A group in our neighborhood are starting a home school group, I am interested in getting them connected in that as well – but overall the socialization aspect is really non-existent.
Will we continue virtual school? I really don’t know. It’s not that we don’t like it, we are going to finish this year and have a heart-to-heart with the kids to get their honest views. We just want what is best for our kids’ education. This year – it’s virtual schooling.
I hope this helps you get a glimpse of things to consider when contemplating home schooling or virtual schooling your kids.