It’s official – we’re a homeschooling family! Well, technically I guess, we’re a “school at home” family, since we are enrolled in the Ohio Virtual Academy and not functioning as a “traditional” homeschool. Confused yet? Yeah, I was too. We’re new at this and I’m still learning all the correct jargon or homeschool-ese, if you will.
Our decision to homeschool has been a long time in the making and isn’t one we’ve taken lightly. A lot of research and prayer went in to this choice and I really feel like God has guided every step we’ve taken that led here. Jaidin went to a private, Christian school (a ministry of our church for 30+ years) beginning in pre-school. When that school closed at the end of her 1st grade year, we were devastated. Not only was it a fantastic school – but everyone there, from the administration to the janitorial staff was some someone we considered family. When I dropped Jaidin off at school every morning, I not only knew that she was receiving an excellent education, but that she was being cared for and loved like a family member. But alas – all good things must come to an end ( at least that’s how the saying goes), and at the end of 2009-2010 school year we had to make a decision about what her educational future would hold. We checked out our public school system, as well as several other Christian schools in the area and made a decision to send her to another local Christian school. We had a great experience there this past year, but it just never felt like home. She made friends, I connected with some of the other moms, and she had an amazing teacher, but we always just felt “out of step”. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t best.
At the end of this year, we had to decide what we wanted to do about 3rd grade. She had sailed through 2nd grade without much of a challenge, and dare I say, was bored much of the year. So when considering what we would do for 3rd grade, an excellent cirriculum was high on my priority list. I had been hearing advertisementa on the radio for the K12 Virtual Academies, but honestly, wasn’t sure if I was cut out to be a homeschool parent. Never the less, I began researching several homeschooling and school-at- home cirriculums and began to see how this could be a really good option for us. I am blessed to be able to work from home, but wasn’t sure how schooling at home would fit in to my work schedule. The K12 program really appealed to me not only because of the excellent, mastery-based courses, but because Jaidin would have an actual teacher. I am considered the “learning coach” and will be guiding her through both the hands on lessons and the online coursework, but there is a teacher assigned to us that we will be accountable to, and who will be the instructor. Very cool.
The best part of all of this is that Jaidin has been on board with this from the get go. It was actually at her prompting that we first attended a K 12 information session. When we left the meeting, she was so excited and said “That’s it – that’s what I want to do.” We talked a lot with her about the responsibility of being motivated each morning to get up and start school, the importance of being cooperative with me as her learning coach and what homeschooling would mean as far as social activities. She has continued to be enthusiastic and was beside her self with excitement when her cirriculum, school supplies and new computer equipment arrived on our doorstep. We opened everything tonight and she must have asked me 10 times “Can we start school this week?!?”
School actually starts on August 29th, and until then, I am furiously searching for ideas on how to decorate and organize our “school room”. Jaidin will be sharing my home office in the basement and I want to make sure her “area” is kid friendly and fun, so I’ve been bookmarking online sites with cool ideas and will be shopping for desks and all the other fun stuff soon.
I’ll keep you posted on how this new adventure goes. Stay tuned…