Homeschool Taboo? Q & A

Since I’ve written my first article about deciding to homeschool, I’ve gotten a lot of questions while out in public from people who’ve read the article and from people that I or my son mentions it to in regular conversation. I’ve grappled internally with some of the questions, so I’ve decided to answer some of the more popular ones here.

A question I get asked a lot is “How is homeschool going?”

Answer:

Well, for one it’s summer, and we are both on break! Lol! But even before the schools went on summer break, I hesitated to answer this question. It felt like pressure. I literally withdrew my son at the end of April with only one month of school left. We weren’t “doing” anything. I felt like I would be judged for that. I felt like I was judged for that. Maybe it was just my own lingering insecurity about it.

But then I wondered why the hell I even cared what anyone thought. My child went to school all year. By the time May rolls around, no one is at school because they want to be- teachers included. So yeah, no school work for the last month of “school.” Hopefully everyone’s ok with that. If not, I am!

Next questions. . .

Question: So what/how are you teaching him?

I’m teaching him whatever I want and whatever he wants to learn! And sometimes he’s teaching himself. And sometimes he’s learning without “teaching.” Like when he was three and learned that Walmart was Walmart before he could read because he paid attention.

I’m teaching him the same way I taught him the alphabet and how to count. The same way I taught him his name and how to write it. I’m teaching him the same way I taught him baby sign language when he couldn’t talk. The same way I taught him to look both ways before he crosses a street, but not to cross a street without a grownup.

I’m teaching him the same way I taught him to potty. The same way I taught him to brush his teeth and bathe. I’m teaching him the same way I taught him to iron his clothes. The same way I’m teaching him to drive.

I am his first and best teacher.

Question: What curriculum are you using?

Answer:

We’re not using a curriculum. In the beginning, I felt shameful about this answer, too. I made the decision in confidence, because I know what is best for my child. But I felt like we would be looked at as a delinquent family. I have gotten a couple of weird looks about it, but guess what? I got over that, too. I don’t know if or when we will use a curriculum. It won’t be soon, as far as I know. I have other plans. When we are come off of our break, we will focus on reading and identity/self-discovery. There is no curriculum for how I want to teach it. The foundations of this may take six months or the entire year. I am okay with slowing down to speed up.

Question: How will you know if he’s on par?

Answer:

With whom? Allowing children learn at their own pace is a huge reason for homeshooling, whether your child struggles or is advanced. What I do know is that lots (most that I know or have read about) of homeschooled children matriculate early. Being “on par” is not one of our concerns or focus.

Question: What about socialization?

Answer:

Your children aren’t socializing at school. If they are, you’re probably getting calls or notes sent home. They are not allowed to talk in class except to answer questions or when they work in groups. They are not really allowed to talk in line when changing classes or going to lunch. Teachers take up precious minutes of eating time to get students to be quiet before they proceed to the cafeteria.

If your child, like mine, is getting bullied, he or she is not learning socialization skills. They are likely trying desperately to find coping skills that work.

My son is an only child and the oldest grandchild who spent the majority of time during his formative years with family, which means 98% adults. It’s why when he did start talking, his vocabulary was advanced. And even before he could talk, his comprehension was always well beyond his ages and stages.

He also has friends and activities he does outside of school. I promise you homeschooled children are not hermits.

Question: What are your hours? How do you have enough time to teach him?

Answer:

If you’re asking whether I have set hours for my child to sit down and look at books all day, the answer is no. School is not from 8 – 3. That method wasn’t working for him.

Question: What about when it’s time to graduate?

Answer:

We’re not there yet. I have a lot to learn. I don’t know everything, but we’re committed to the process. What I do know is that homeschooled children successfully graduate every year, and that a lot of the child prodigies you read about in the media are homeschooled children.

Question: Have you thought about private school, charter school, or Montessori?

Answer:

He’s gone to two different charter schools. I liked different things about each. However, homeschool is not a last resort for us. It is a first choice. In fact, public school was a last resort. If I’d realized years ago that homeschool really was a viable choice, I never would have sent my son. I thought putting him in school was something I “had” to do. Homeschool is first choice for us.

Question: Are you going to put him back in school later?

Answer:

No. See previous answer.

There is a world of options and support out there for parents who want to homeschool. It’s not right or wrong or good or bad to homeschool or to put your children in regular school. Decide what works for your family and when. Maybe you want to homeschool and can’t right now. Make a plan for it and stick to it. Whether two-parent or single-parent household, talk to your children about it, and involve them in the process. If you’ve just been curious about homeschooling and puzzled about how it works or why people do it, I hope I’ve been able to shed some light.

If this post has helped you in any way, please share it with others you think it would benefit. Leave a comment to let me know how it helped. If you have more questions, hit the contact button. I do reply to comments and emails.

It’s Our First Day of Homeschool!

Today is our first day of homeschool!

I started entertaining the idea at the beginning of the year when my frustration with the public school system reached an all-time high. But I’m not a stay-at-home-mama yet, so I had serious doubts about being able to homeschool and work. It felt impossible, and I thought I’d be judged harshly for doing things a certain way. By whom, I’m not sure. I’m being very transparent right now. It was just an irrational fear, and I’ll be the first to tell you that most of our fears are irrational.

I knew I had to do something though, so I made a Facebook post to get feedback from my network. As expected, my Facebook peeps came through. I got everything from “I wish I could!” to I do/did it, but not while working” to “Try private school or a different school district.” I even received offers for consultations. And while all were meant to be helpful and taken as such, my heart began sliding into despair as I read through the comments. What I wanted to know was “Is it possible? Can I homeschool while being a working mom?”

Wait.

Scratch that. Let me rephrase.

I needed to know, to be told, that I could do it. That someone else had done it, no matter how hard it was. My spirit needed that. I could take it from there.

I joined a local homeschool group on Facebook that someone had suggested. Then I listened to this podcast. It changed my whole perspective and validated everything I’d been thinking and feeling regarding homeschooling and my son’s education. Suddenly, I knew I could do it. I knew it was the best thing to do. And I determined that we would begin homeschooling in the upcoming school year. I began researching homeschooling methods, unschooling, curriculums, etc. I joined a bunch of homeschool groups so I could begin friending other homeschooling families and stay in the know.

I’m going to be honest here. I work. During the day. Outside of my home. I own a small business, and it pays the bills. I’m also a single parent. I will have to be strategic about how I manage my time and take on clients. I don’t know how I would do this if I had a regular 9-5, but knowing myself, I would make a plan and a way. My son’s education and life are that important. That brings me to why I decided to homeschool in the first place.

Academics

Quite simply, traditional schools are ill-equipped to meet my son’s academic needs. It took me awhile to realize this. Growing up, I excelled in school because the environment and the methods were conducive to my learning style. I had pretty good memory recall. My grandmother used to say I had the memory of an elephant. I was a great test taker. I loved to read and write, and that’s how I learned. School was a breeze for me! It was reading, writing, and test taking. Straight As and honor roll! Great! I was always praised for this, as though it was something I’d done. I used to say, “All I did was study. Anyone can be ‘smart’ if they study.” And while that is true, I never realized that traditional ways of teaching and study methods catered to my style of learning. . . .until my son came along. My son is very intelligent. But he learns differently. Even with wraparound services, which I feel were poorly executed and maintained, it wasn’t good enough. I don’t entirely blame the school. the whole system is flawed. Teachers and students are casualties of that system.

Bullying

The bullying problem was out of control, and seemingly out of my control. My son has been bullied for three years straight, and despite encouraging him to tell me and his teachers so that we can make it stop, what he’s learned is that no one can make it stop. As a parent, it’s such a bad feeling to not be able to protect your child. What’s worse is experiencing an erosion of trust between you and your child due to your seeming inability to protect him. That alone is worth homeschooling.

Identity & Control

There’s very little cultural representation and zero reinforcement of self-identity. My son told me that there are no brown people in his history lessons. Imagine going through six hours of study everyday and never seeing yourself represented, while also being teased about your hair (even by kids who look like you, which is a whole other issue).

Not to mention, public schools guard children like dogs against their own parents. I never was sure if they were guarding the children or the classrooms. I’ve never been comfortable with that.

When I realized how stressful it was for me to advocate for my son’s education and safety, I began to question why I was even waiting to withdraw him. Yesterday, I kept my son home and sent a withdrawal email to his principal and a few other key staff. His principal responded in acknowledgement and simultaneously put a crack in my heart. Somewhere deep down I was hoping that I’d have to check in with the school verbally to verify that the withdrawal email was received.

Just a month ago, I’d sent an email to the principal and attached two voice clips of a conversation I’d secretly recorded between my son and me, regarding the bully situation at his school. I knew my son wouldn’t have been so open if he’d known he was being recorded. In the email, I also included details of an incident of bullying that he’d told me happened that very same day and expressed my concern for his safety. I ended requesting a scheduled appointment. I have not received a response to that email.

A week or so after the email, I went up to the school and asked the administrator to have the principal call me at his earliest convenience to schedule an appointment. I never received a phone call. So to receive a response to the withdrawal email within hours. . . .deeply saddened and disappointed me. It also reaffirmed that I made the right decision.

Welcome home, Son.

12 Personal Goals For 2019 and How I Established Them

Do you ever get tired of setting the same goals year after year, only to let them taper off somewhere between months three and five?

Whether you celebrate a new year on January 1st or are part of the growing trend of people who celebrate your new year on your birthday, if you’re like most people, you have “New Year resolutions” or goals that fall into one of the following categories: health & fitness goals, money goals, professional goals, or personal development goals.

Setting goals is the fun part, yes? In the beginning, you’re pumped up, your energy is high, you’ve given yourself a clean slate, and you’re ready to dive in head first. You start off doing great! You’re doing about 75% – 80% of the work. And then. . . .

Gif taken from tenor.com

So what happened? Two things: Your goals weren’t specific enough, and/or there was no end in sight. These are the two most important aspects of goal-setting. Keeping this in mind, I set twelve goals and gave myself roughly 30 days to focus on each.

Personal development has been the major theme in my life over the past year, and I wanted to continue down that path in 2019. I’m going to share with you some goals that I set for myself, and I hope that this will inspire you to use this method to set and accomplish some of your own. Here goes. . .

Getting Organized

goal setting 2019
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

I started the year off with organization. I wanted to organize my home, school schedule, my time, get clear on my goals, and establish general order in my life and home. Getting organized was the foundation of 2019 and set the stage for me to do everything else I want to do. It was the most freeing thing. I threw out tons of stuff! I have a system in my household. Disorganization and lack of structure will be the death (or terminal illness) of anything you try to accomplish. Later, I will blog about the specific steps that I took and how they have helped me thus far.

Research Homeschool

how to set realistic goals
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

This is a personal goal that I set because I knew I wanted to homeschool my son, but I didn’t know where to start. The whole idea seemed daunting. I’d actually asked my Facebook friends a few months ago and gotten a little help there, but I knew I needed to arm myself with knowledge and resources to feel completely comfortable. Being the procrastinator that I am (because school doesn’t end til May, right?), I needed focused time explore the idea and all of our options. My goal was to join groups, make homeschool family friends, and familiarize myself with Texas laws around homeschooling. I will also have a post up on that topic soon, so if you are interested in homeschooling, make sure to subscribe via the little black box on the right so that you can be notified when it posts.

Learn Couponing

couponing for beginners
Photo taken from thenextweb.com

Couponing is something I’ve been interested in and curious about for quite some time. I’m all about saving money! The goal was to go to YouTube University (isn’t YouTube great?!) and find a live class or two, then immediately put into practice what I learned. That was my March goal. I’m gonna be honest here. March was such a crazy month, I didn’t get to touch it. However, I am not beating myself up. Maybe I can squeeze in a little bit here and there over the coming months, but I’m not stressing about it. Each month the focus is the goal for that month. I won’t be derailed by being too judgy of my own shortcomings. If you or someone you know teaches couponing, or if you know of any resources that may be helpful, please reach out via the contact button and let me know so that I can share with other readers.

Improve Communication

nonverbal communication practice
Photo by Jairo David Arboleda from Pexels

This one may go against popular opinion. I’ve never liked the RBF (resting bitch face) for several reasons, one of them being that it reflects or dictates your mood. It can repel people who might otherwise be drawn to you for one reason or another, and while that may be the goal some (or for most people some of the time), I don’t generally want to be a people repellent.

Negative people are drawn to negative people, and pleasant people are drawn to pleasant people. I want to bring and attract light wherever I go.

So. . . .I invented my own term- the Resting Pleasant Face. Thirty days of conscious awareness of how I present myself in public and at home. If you know anything about the show America’s Next Top Model, you know what I mean when I say I’ve been practicing my smize. The lady in the picture above is a perfect example of smizing and Resting Pleasant Face.

Remembering to make eye contact with, smile at, and say “hello” to everyone who comes within 5 ft of me, because I love getting people out of their own heads, and most people appreciate it. I also want to practice intentionally speaking kindly to others and keeping my tone neutral even when I’m frustrated. This article explains something I’ve realized for quite some time now.

No Complaining

how to remain positive in the midst of turmoil
Photo taken from allforwomen.co.za

Gratitude is a trendy topic and practice right now, but that’s not what this goal is about. Have you ever caught yourself putting a “but” before your gratitude? Like needing to list everything that is wrong with life before conceding that things could be worse? That is not true gratitude. My goal with this is to practice nipping complaining in the “but.” I will practice remaining silent if and when I cannot think of anything positive to say.

Accepting Support

receiving support in completing your goals
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

One of my long-time struggles that somehow became more of a struggle as a single mom is accepting support. The strong Black woman syndrome is real! After going through a really tough time a few years ago, I’ve gotten better at accepting support from people. However, I still struggle with asking. Why? I don’t know, and I’ve been exploring that. For thirty days this summer, I’m challenging myself to be consciously cognizant of opportunities to ask for and receive help when I need it and to challenge what a “need” looks like. If you’re reading this, whoever you are, I would love it if you embarked on this challenge with me.

Consciously Feeling

setting goals using your love language
Photo by Edward Eyer from Pexels

One thing that I have been actively practicing is feeling my feelings. You should try it. Make it regular practice to be still and feel. . .everything from the inside out. However, the focus with this goal is to feel from the outside in. To use touch in communication with others (and myself) to comfort, when appropriate and with permission, of course. To love on myself, give myself massages, nurture my hair and skin. I will use touch to communicate with nature, stopping to feel the texture of flowers and other plants, bury my feet in the grass, take any opportunity to feel the wind in my face. We live in such a time of go go go, and I just want to take the focus off of the next thing and put it back where it belongs- in the present.

Confident Posturing

setting SMART goals with confidence
Photo by Godisable Jacob from Pexels

This goal will be a focus on how I walk. It may sound funny, but this is a thing. Hear me out. First of all, if you’re a woman and busty like me, you know where I’m going with this. I sometimes catch myself slouching a little, because these babies need breaks! Lol! However, if you’re person with low self-esteem or social anxiety, you may find yourself doing the same as a way of sort of shrinking yourself. Don’t do it. Come along with me. My intent with this goal is to own the space I move within. To let my presence be felt, not only by others but by me. To move slower, purposefully, and put folks on notice with my gait that I’m coming. If this resonates with you, reach out via that contact button and tell me you’re in. I’d love to include the experiences of others in the feedback post.

Laughing

make laughing often a goal
Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

We often hear (or read) that laughter is the best medicine, and it truly is. There’s nothing like a good laugh to take your mood from sour to lighthearted when you’re feeling pouty, discouraged, or worried. The goal here is to look for opportunities to laugh and not take life so seriously. I will give myself permission to laugh and not to hold onto anger, fear, or worry, recognizing that they give me no power. I also just want to be always enjoying life. On the flip side of that, I will be conscious of that annoying nervous chuckle I sometimes do and use my words and feelings to determine how I should respond to any given situation. I will find the humor in my mistakes and let them be medicine rather than poison.

Try A New Dish

new year new recipes
Photo by Dana Tentis from Pexels

Or perfect an old one, because most of the “You Should Do/Have This In Your 30s” lists mention having a signature dish. Not sure which I’ll do yet, as I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. I cook many things well, but I don’t think I have one dish that I can say, unequivocally, I’ve made it mine. I just thought this would be fun. If you’d like to see me try a new dish, send me your suggestions. I may choose one and blog about the experience!

Be Social

setting dating goals in 2019
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

As some of you may know, I am in school. The further I’ve gotten into my studies, the more I have cut back on social activities to focus on what’s important at the moment. I am on the homestretch, and I’m looking forward to regaining a social life!

You’re probably wondering what this picture has to do with being social. I’ll tell you. The focus and intent of this goal is twofold: 1. To regularly put myself in places to meet more guys while I’m out. 2. To come out of my introverted shell and be more open and inviting around said guys. I mean, I’m dating to be taken. How else is a girl supposed to be taken off the market? I’m all for being a little hard to get, but I want to make sure I’m not hard to approach.

Learning Makeup Techniques

easy makeup techniques for women who don't wear makeup
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

I’m not a “wake up and slay everyday” type of woman, but I do like wearing makeup from time to time. I had gotten pretty good at doing my own makeup at one time. However, it’s been at least two years since I’ve worn makeup, and I feel like the whole makeup game has changed! Like, where did all you regular people learn these apprentice mua techniques? I will need the whole thirty days just to be basic! YouTube University, here I come! I definitely want to take my going out look up a notch. If you’re reading this and can suggest some vloggers to watch, I would really appreciate it. FYI, natural looks like the one above are more my speed.

So these are the twelve personal goals I established for myself in 2019. I wanted them to be bite-sized, manageable, and attainable. It’s said that it takes 66 days to form a habit. I think 30 days is a good start, and the intent is to begin habit-stacking. I may or may not write a separate post on habit-stacking, but it’s basically building on your habits one at a time.

If you struggle with juggling and trying to maintain consistent actions toward all your goals at once, I encourage you to break them up into manageable parts that you can reasonably accomplish in a 30-day time frame. Be sure to switch up what you’re focusing on from month to month; otherwise, the work can and will still feel monotonous and you’ll become fatigued and discouraged. If this post helped you in any way or if you would like to join in one or a few of the 30-day goals, send me an email via the contact page and let’s talk! Be sure to subscribe for updates, as I’ll be writing about my experiences and takeaways from these each month.