There’s no place like home…school!
For those of you that don’t know me, I have two children. My oldest is almost seventeen years old, which seriously blows my mind because it really does feel like just yesterday that I gave birth to her. My youngest is almost six and she is my mini-me. The jury is out, if that’s a good thing or not. She cracks me up on a daily basis so my vote is a resounding, yes! I’m not exactly sure where the time went but I do know this, if I could go back and do it all over again, I would change only one thing. I would have never put my oldest daughter in public school and would have homeschooled her. That’s the path I’m taking with my youngest daughter and it has been the best, most rewarding decision of my life.
I never pictured myself doing something else other than public school for my kids because that’s what I grew up experiencing. I’m a Hammonton High School class of 2001 graduate. When I look back on my childhood, I have many fond memories of being in school but if I’m being honest, all those fun memories had to do with the social aspect of it. Field Day, various plays, Christmas, Valentine’s and Easter parties were among some of my favorites. I also enjoyed gym (sometimes), art, lunch and the various after school activities I found myself participating in.
I always thought that public school was a right of passage and it wasn’t until I had my youngest that my thought process completely changed. I knew I wanted to homeschool her because the school experience I had is far, far gone. It’s no secret of what’s happening in schools today and quite honestly it makes me sick. Let’s be real: the parties aren’t the same, the curriculum isn’t the same and most (not all) of the teachers are more concerned with the woke agenda then reading, writing and arithmetic. Call me whatever you want, I will remain unfazed, but there are certain things I refuse to allow my children, especially my youngest to be exposed to.
I’m not going to go into all the reasons why, but what I will say is, if you are reading this and understand what I’m saying, without me saying it, you most likely understand from where I’m coming. If you are a teacher and are finding yourself feeling triggered by what I’m saying, you, quite frankly are part of the problem.
The decision to homeschool was an easy one for my husband and me to make. What’s interesting is that as soon as I announced that I was in fact going to teach her myself, I’ve heard the same question over and over again. “But how will she make friends?” It’s in fact the first question I’m asked when I meet someone new that finds out she is homeschooled. That in itself solidified my decision. Public school is looked at as a social gathering and not for education.
The great thing about homeschooling, other than me getting to spend so much more time with her than I would if she was in school five days a week, is because it’s one on one. We go at her pace and her ability level. She is technically in Kindergarten but doing second grade work. If she was in public school, this simply would not be happening. Another fun aspect is the amount of activities she gets to be involved in. My little one participates in gymnastics, t-ball, soccer, she is in two different art programs, parkour class, ballet/tap, volleyball, swim lessons twice a week and she is part of an amazing Co-Op that meets weekly. We are members of the zoo, science museum and my favorite, the symphony which we visit frequently during regular public school hours. Her schedule is so full of wonderful activities that keep her busy, happy and healthy. Most of her days are filled with outside learning and playing. Florida is an amazing state to homeschool because there are so many resources to tap into. I made some really great friends and our kids are all on the same path.
The absolute best part about all of it is that the home educators group I’m a part of plans not only field day but graduation for both kindergarten and seniors. They even host an amazing prom. We actually attended field day for the first time last year and we had a blast. It was so fun to actually be a part of it and watch her having such a fun time with her friends. In two months, I’ll get to watch her participate in the kindergarten graduation ceremony which I’m really looking forward to. The best part is she gets to pick out the color of her graduation cap and gown. Both of my girls chose hot pink. My oldest is homeschooled as well and is graduating this year, a year earlier than she would have. She will be a high school graduate at only 16 years old!
I understand that not everyone wants to homeschool their child and that’s completely fine. I’m not here to try to convince anyone to make the switch. I will however, say this, if you have been considering it, it’s so worth it. My little is currently learning to read and every time she gets a word right, her face lights up. Knowing that I’m the one teaching her makes my heart so full. My advice is to look into what resources are available to you and find out if there are any homeschool groups or Co-Ops that you can join. It might feel overwhelming at first, but once you find your community, you’ll feel right at home!
Kasi DeStefano was a long time resident of Hammonton. She now resides in Fernandina Beach, Florida with her husband, two girls and dog, Pepper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.