Our experience, completely positive.

This Soul Sister has never been one to do things the easy way, it’s my lot in life to make things as hard on myself as possible, but then many times to my surprise, it works out to be the best thing I could have done.

A few years ago my husband was offered a position in the states which was too good to turn down. We talked it over and over until we decided that it was in everyone’s best interest to take the position which would last for 4 years or possibly longer. The kids were excited to move to the states and all of us thought it would be a wonderful experience. Lot’s of tears were shed as we said goodbye to family and friends and headed off to New York, our home for the next few years.

We found ourselves in the city, no friends, family and 2 kids that needed to be educated. Off to the school in the area we were living in and when I stepped into the halls for registration I was shocked by the behaviour of the students who were so disrespectful as we headed down the hall toward the registrar office. Pushing, shoving, filthy language, clothing best suited for a brothel let alone a school. Kids appearing to be no more than 10 years old kissing and pawing at each other, WHERE were were the teachers?

We registered our 7 year old and our 11 year old that day and with much trepidation I left them in the care of the principal. After a week of agony, my worst fears were realized, one of my children, a very sweet girl of 7 was shoved down and stomped on leading to a cut forehead and a broken finger. That was it. I told my husband, private school or I was going to home school my kids. Checking the cost of a private education the cost was prohibitive so home schooling it was.

I was met with the most disheartening comments from the teachers on how I was ruining my children’s chances for success, and I thought to myself, if this is how you are successful by putting up with the insolence of misbehaving children who have no limits or discipline, then sign me up and get me out of this nightmare. I was not going to subject my kids to a war zone each day. My other child, a boy, 11 years old was offered drugs, and entrance into a gang all in one week of being in school.

It’s not like we were living in a horrible area, we were in Manhattan, supposedly an area with top schools, and if these are top schools, I really have no words, what would a bad school be?

Off to learn about home schooling, I had known a few parents that home schooled in the UK. They had taken that path for their kids and loved the freedom but our schools in the UK were good, so I never saw a need. We live in an area called St. Albans, and primary school is excellent. Like most people I had reservations about home schooling. What about the social aspect? What about lessons I did not understand, after all, it was years since I had been in school and would I remember how to construct sentences properly. could I remember grammar, verbs, tenses, prepositions, what about science projects, what about, what about, what about? I contacted the home school network and found nirvana, the syllabus included the most odd things I thought, everything they did was a lesson, from baking a cake, using measurements to double or half a recipe, to learn fractions, to learn the math to figure out the time it would take to cook or bake half or double that recipe. Practical math, something that could be applied every day. I was in and on board 100% !!!

Other home school parents helped set up my school and gave me the resources needed to purchase all the materials I would need. Lessons on computer’s, group lessons with other home school students, play time, sports, gymnastics for the social and physical needs, it was amazing. The children were respectful, learned at their own pace and I was never at a loss for how to teach. Each book or computer program was easy to learn and I was able to teach my children each day using exciting and productive lessons. We spent only 1/2 day on lessons and the rest of the day were field trips or reading, or hobbies. I was even able to take a part time job because my schedule and my kids, the hours were ours to set.

The social contacts were weekly, trips to museums, labs, planetarium learning about architecture, art, every subject was at hand, and it was all visual, my kids loved every moment. Science experiments, lectures from medical centers, it was all available to us. One parent owned an auto repair shop and taught mechanics, one mother quilting and sewing, which also was a math class in reality because of all the measuring and geometry to figure angles for sewing, and even comprehension of the pattern. For religious training, we found a church group who were supportive and always included our kids in activities.

Testing came and frankly, I was scared. As a home school, your children must keep up with the same curriculum as the public schools. We entered testing with a lot of anxiety, but when the results came back, the results were shocking. Both my kids excelled in all subjects, the 7 year old was reading at a 7th grade level, the 11 year old was sailing along moving past his grade level using computer programs, and tested at 9th grade level in all subjects, there were no limits to the learning they could do. The computer programs did not let them move forward unless a skill was mastered. Unlike public or primary schools, even in the UK, if a child was lost on a step they needed to move past it, or be left behind. Not so with the syllabus used in home schooling. The computer is the judge, and when it say’s you are ready, you are ready. If they get stuck there are teachers who can tutor, it’s all available to the students in the network organisation.

The years passed and my son, turned 14 and began taking college courses, my daughter now aged 10 was taking all advanced placement courses with ease and moved up one grade skipping ahead.

Both kids had friends, activities, and the home school network became our extended family. We were sad to leave 4 years into this experience, but continued when we got back to the UK. My son continued with college courses online and now is taking courses to be an engineer. My daughter, has found a calling to be a nurse and will be taking advanced courses to attain that goal.

I am a huge advocate for home schooling, it’s a wonderful way to get to know your children which is a bonus rather than letting someone else teach them their values rather than your own. My children are well adjusted, and heading toward bright futures. We could not be happier to have made that decision. Every day is a new lesson of some sort, watching birds, looking them up and learning about them, simple things we do every day are a lesson into becoming productive citizens of the world. Last week we were in search of an ant hill to do an experiment on ant colony’s from a post we saw on You Tube. We go to the British Museum monthly to view all the displays and now they are learning about Egyptian art in the museum. Don’t be afraid 0f this, you choose the time and place of lessons, even evenings if you have a full time job. You can do it, it’s possible with a little help from the networks out there of which there are many. Both parents can teach, your options are limitless.

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