Wow. 2020 has literally looked basically nothing like I expected it to. I never expected that this year we would be facing a worldwide pandemic, an economic recession, AND race riots and protesting all across the nation. I never expected that we would be selling our little suburban homestead and moving three hours south to a town I’d maybe been to once in my whole life (and had no intention of ever spending any significant amount of time in). And I sure had no idea I would decide to homeschool my oldest this year, because trust me, that was NEVER in the plans!
While I know the public school system has some major flaws, having been a public school teacher myself, I also know there’s a lot of good in it. And while handing over so much control of what my children are taught outside of the home is scary, I also know that by and large, most teachers work hard to be good at their job and are good people. All that to say, I’d never planned on homeschooling, even though I can also see the benefit in it.
I also will admit I had grand plans of what I was going to do once Raven was finally in school at least some of the day–it would allow me to put more focus and attention on my other two kids, as well as provide me some more, well, “Me” time, as both of my boys still take naps.
There were many factors that came into play with me deciding to take this unexpected step to homeschool this year, but the main ones are these:
1 ) Since we don’t actually know exactly where we’re moving TO yet and are staying for an indeterminate length of time with my mom and stepdad, I didn’t want to enroll my daughter in the local school there only to need to pull her out in a month or two in case we found our next house that soon.
2 ) Utah’s governor has mandated that all students going back to school in Utah this fall need to wear masks, and while I have my children wear masks on the rare occasion we go out among other people (like to our latest socially distanced church meeting), she has a hard time with it. She has told me many times how much she dislikes wearing it, she has a hard time getting it to stay on, and she doesn’t like how overheated it makes her feel. While she’s wonderful to do whatever she’d told, I also really didn’t want her first experience with school to be like this—I want her to really love the whole experience, and I think that this might make it harder for her to really buy into the whole “school” thing.
3 ) I am so fortunate in that I get to stay at home with my children, and it’s something I definitely don’t take for granted. I also recognize that many–probably the majority–of parents don’t have that same privilege or choice. I hope that by taking my daughter out of school, there will be one less student to worry about possibly infecting others and one less pupil in a classroom where physical distancing is so important.
When I presented the idea of homeschooling to Raven, I honestly expected a bit of pushback. I’ve tried teaching her more formally in the past, and it’s never gone over well. However, with two younger brothers who demand a lot of attention, one-on-one time with Mom is suddenly at a premium, and so when I told her about homeschooling, she actually was super excited about it. When I gave her the option to choose for herself and told her that she would be expected to follow the school’s guidelines and wear a mask throughout the school day if she chose to go that route, that pretty much sealed the deal for her.
However, as I started to look into homeschooling, I quickly realized that there was a whole world out there that I basically knew nothing about, that seemed incredibly overwhelming, and that could potentially cost a LOT of money. I plan to do a post later about some of the curriculum that I *think* I’ve decided on, but one of the first things I purchased was The Ultimate Homeschooling Bundle, which I was able to purchase early because I’m an affiliate. The bundle officially goes on sale to the public on Monday July 27th, and honestly—IT IS AMAZING, and it’s actually made me EXCITED to take on homeschooling this year (which I didn’t think I would ever say).
Before I purchased it, I was looking into buying a bunch of different resources and packets for various subjects, and I was a bit staggered when it looked like my plans were going to run us around $400-500. However, once I purchased the bundle (which costs just $29.50), I discovered that it included SO MUCH of what I’ll need that I hardly need to buy anything else! After looking through the resources in the bundle and starting to make a tentative plan for the year, I’m planning on just supplementing with a few low-cost resources, books, and hands-on activities (most of which are to help teach math), all of which should total about $150 for the whole year. Considering I’m starting from scratch, I’d say that’s pretty awesome. (In case you’re wondering, I am planning a post soon about what all went into our homeschooling “start-up kit,” so stay tuned for that soon.)
If you’re on the fence about homeschooling or have already decided or just want good parenting tips and strategies from an expert, Ultimate Bundles is offering a totally FREE webinar for all parents by Nicholeen Peck, who is the founder of Teaching Self-Government. If you’re interested in signing up for one of those free webinars–which will take place on Friday July 24th–you can reserve your spot by clicking HERE.
Now, if things happen to miraculously totally calm down and go back to some semblance of normal halfway through the school year, I’ll reassess and see what I decide at that point. But for now, this is our plan going forward, and I’ve gotta say, I’m more excited than I thought I would be by it!
What are your school plans for the year ahead? What are the options you’ve been offered in the year ahead?