Thinking About Homeschooling?

Homeschooling
My kids sent in their representatives today. Some days it takes a lot of convincing that academia is a worthy pursuit!

Discovering the Hybrid Homeschool

I never imagined I’d be homeschooling my two boys, currently in 3rd and 2nd grade.  After college, I taught elementary school for a little while and I just couldn’t hang.  I didn’t have the patience or understanding to manage a classroom of kids that didn’t want to be there.  I had master disruptors in my classes and I didn’t have the skills or time to outwit them.  I had figured teaching isn’t for everyone and decided to navigate the business world instead.

Fast forward over 10 years later, a career in Business Administration recently transitions into a stay-at-home mom position (once we discover the cost and struggle of juggling two kids in daycare that always home sick) and here I am with two amazing children, my eldest about to start kindergarten.  

We move to San Diego from Los Angeles right before the beginning of the school year.  We are living in an apartment while we house hunt and we are nowhere near finding a neighborhood and school district to call our own. 

I attempt to enroll my son in the school down the street, but after discovering he wouldn’t be allowed to enroll in the next school year, should we decide to move out of the district, I decide that it’s not the best option.

School starts in two weeks and I’m at a loss.  

An old friend who had been living in San Diego for quite some time invites us over for an afternoon of swimming with some friends.  While I’m the type of person that can’t seem to be social when I have a major issue looming over my head, since I’m in a new city, I try stepping out of my comfort zone.  

I’m so glad I did.    

My friend’s children are in 3rd and 5th grade and she has them enrolled in this amazing Charter School that offers a hybrid program in which children can have the option of enrolling in classes on campus two days a week or choosing a full-time at-home program with curriculum and support.  “What a dream, the best of both worlds.” I think.  I could potentially dip my toes in homeschooling and should it not work out, at least my son wouldn’t be fully invested in his class experiences as much as he would, had he been enrolled in a full-time traditional school.  If only it wasn’t 30 miles away from our target neighborhoods.  

That’s when the magic moment happened.  

Another mom overhearing our conversation mentions that the Charter School’s original campus is located close to where we are searching.  It wasn’t one of our target neighborhoods, but it was close! 

I immediately schedule a school visit and it is truly a heartwarming experience.  This school is like no other.  The campus is quaint, comprised of several buildings that houses small classrooms and the outdoor space encompasses a mini-swimming pool, 2 playgrounds, a basketball court and a grass field.  Lunch room tables are situated just outside of the classrooms that are surrounded by gardens.  

We are put on the waitlist for enrollment in the 2-day a week program and are set to start the 5-day a week at-home curriculum.  This program comes with the option of enrolling in Electives during the week, so I’m able to sign my son up for on-campus classes once a week.

Visiting the school opens my eyes to the surrounding neighborhood which is an amazing combination of what both my husband and I have been hoping for.  We start adding this area to our home search criteria and amazingly enough, a couple months later we find a home we’d never imagined we’d have the opportunity of owning.

I feel extremely lucky to have been able to find such an amazing school for my kids.  I feel supported and inspired.  While homeschooling has not been the easiest of roads to travel on, it’s helped us develop really strong bonds.  I’ve learned so much about my kids and together we’ve grown in so many ways.   While I’ve second guessed myself almost every step of the way in the beginning years, I can safely say we are finding our rhythm these days.  We are discovering what works for us individually and also as a family unit.  Learning has become a gift and we are grateful explorers.  

It’s taken me some time, but I’ve stopped sweating the small stuff.  Instead, I’m keeping my eyes focused on the big picture, so that we can keep our days balanced with a healthy dose of nose-to-the-grind academia and creative exploration.  

I personally have to take a deep dive into meditation and emotional intelligence in order to find the patience and understanding to maintain my small classroom of kids that tend to not want to be there.  They are indeed my little master disruptors and with a lot of practice and planning, I’m finally learning how to outwit them.

 

Janet Coco is the creator of Storytime with Annie & Rocco, a social emotional learning video series for kids.