Why we have decided to homeschool

If you follow me on Social Media you would have seen this announcement already but if you have missed it, we have decided to home school from January next year. For now it will just be Jack and Kiara, with Emma following the year after next. It may seem like a sudden decision as I haven’t spoken much about wanting to do this and I did make the final decision sitting next to the swimming pool waiting for Cameron to swim one Saturday morning. But this has been something I have been considering for a while. Why we decided to homeschool | HarassedMom

The timing now feels right.

Cameron is 16 years old, I have been dealing with teachers and schools for 14 years. We have moved the kids around more than I would have liked and so I have dealt with teachers in both the private and public schooling systems. My mother is a teacher, my aunt is a principal, I am very well aware of the challenges that teachers are faced with. I have tried to give the system the benefit of the doubt, I have gotten involved in all the schools we have been at in an attempt to be a part of the solution but I have reached my breaking point. 

The reasons we decided to move our kids is complex, there is no one reason but rather a culmination of reasons and incidents that have led us here. Everyone has their own reasons for making the decisions they do for their family, these are ours.

The system is flawed. I am so hesitant to say our education system is terrible or useless or all the other things that people just throw at it but I have to admit it is flawed, deeply flawed. It doesn’t cater for children who don’t fit the mould. It doesn’t just not cater for them, it actively tries to eradicate them from the system entirely. (Ok possible that is slightly dramatic but only slightly.) I have a child who fits the mould and he has done really well within in the boundaries and confines. I I have more children who do not fit the mould, they are not functioning well. In fact they falling behind because the “system” doesn’t know what to do with them. As a parent, I am tired of fighting this fight and coming off second best. 

Our children are not learning enough of the right stuff. Yes they are being taught how to read and right but what are they actually learning? Are they learning how to be contributing adults in society? Are the learning what to do when they leave school? Are they taught about anything other than what the curriculum says? What happens when a child questions and the answer isn’t in the book? I personally feel there is a big gap in what they are actually learning.

Teachers seem tired. We have had some amazing teachers over the years, Emma currently has one of the best teachers any of my kids have had and I grateful every single day that Emma was placed with her. We have also had some not so amazing teachers and it is these teachers that have, unfortunately, left a mark on all of us. When I speak to teachers they seem tired, they seem to have given up and they seem to have lost their spark. I get it, it’s not easy. The system changes often, the workload increases, I get it. But unfortunately the job of a teacher is vital to the success of a nation. I cannot accept a teacher taking there thick, horrible red pen and writing all over my seven year old’s book “You need to try harder” when the child is still learning how to write. I cannot accept teachers telling me to have my child tested because they think she is stupid. I cannot accept teachers telling a whole grade of children to take Maths Lit because it is easier. I have tried fighting back, standing up for my kids but I now have another option and I am taking it because the teachers we are dealing with seem tired and they seem to have given up a little. 

We are too busy, all the time. Yes having 4 kids means life is busy but we are too busy unnecessarily and it adds pressure and stress to all of us. We spend afternoons rushing from this school event to that school event and we must wear this to this one and that to that one. I don’t think we need all of it. My kids can still do all the sports and activities they want to without the constant chaos and rushing all the time.

My kids are anxious. There is so much stress placed on getting it right, wearing the right thing, bringing the right thing on the right day that my kids are little balls of anxiety. It is not how life is supposed to be, not when you are still so little. Learning isn’t supposed to be something that adds stress to your life is it?

School fees are a killer. This is one of the lesser reasons because we knew going into having a large family this was a thing. I don’t mind paying the fees but then I want to get what I am paying for. I don’t want to still have to convince you to teach my kid properly when I am paying premium rates. 

I am tired. I have spent a lot of energy on teachers over the years. Yes, of course this is part of my role as mother. I need to always advocate for my kids and I always will but I am tired of fighting about the same things over and over again. I am tired of sitting in teacher meetings listening to all the reasons why they can’t teach my kid properly. I have had a meeting with a teacher who spent 35 minutes talking to me and had no idea who my child was, even though I repeatedly said his name and he trained the soccer team he was in. 

The kids seem pretty excited to start this new adventure and I am terrified but also looking forward to being an active part of this journey with them.

I would love to hear from all the homeschooling moms out there!! I know there are more of you than I though and have connected with some of you already. 

I just want to add a disclaimer how for all the teachers – I am referring to the teachers we have had to deal with. I understand there are good teachers who are doing amazing thing. I want to also reiterate that I understand that your job is not easy, the challenges are real but for me the bigger challenge is a nation of children who have been through a schooling system but remain uneducated. 
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25 Comments

  1. 25 September, 2018 / 4:22 pm

    We exited the system in April, and our experience has been similar. We pushed ourselves as far as we could for as long as my son could manage.

    • Laura-Kim
      Author
      26 September, 2018 / 10:04 am

      This is the thing – we have tried. It is not working for US so we need to make a plan.

  2. 25 September, 2018 / 10:41 pm

    Makes a LOT of sense, and honestly might have done something similar if we had stayed. Are you going with a set program, like from the British International Distance College, or just doing it your own way? Curious how you find it. I assume you have ideas/plans for socializing and still having time to breathe and all that?

    The education in SA was one of the main reasons we emigrated. Not that education is perfect in Arizona, not by a long shot, but the schools are pretty damn great and reliable, and the money we save by not needing to send her to private school, we can spend on traveling the world and enriching her learning with awesome experiences. But I need her to be in some form of school just so that I can still get the things done that I need to each day.

    • Laura-Kim
      Author
      26 September, 2018 / 10:03 am

      Zoe – I have found picking a program rather overwhelming but I have one for Kiara and will probably start with the same one for Jack. I need a little bit of structure in the beginning.
      Yes there is a lot happening here for the younger kids specifically in terms of get togethers and stuff.

  3. 26 September, 2018 / 12:55 am

    You are going to do awesome with this. Everything new has its challenges but you’ll still do awesome. You got this

  4. 26 September, 2018 / 1:52 am

    This sounds amazing, Laura. Noah is only in Grade 00, but I’m already feeling a bit weary of the system, based on my personal experience at school (granted, that was over 14 years ago, but I remember the anxiety), what I’ve seen my 16 year old brothers go through, and from conversations I’ve had with friends who are teachers. Noah has gone to school for a total of three months this past year, and I decided to homeschool him for the rest of the time. He’s already miles ahead most of his friends his age, and I don’t think it’s because he’s necessarily more intelligent – it’s just that we’ve taken the time to cater to his individual needs and interests. When he asks about tornadoes and sand worms (what even IS that?!), we look up kid-friendly YouTube videos and try to answer all his questions, regardless of how difficult. He’s starting at a new school when we move to Greyton next month, and from the school tour we’ve done, I feel that it’ll be a good fit for his nature-loving, inquisitive little mind. But if I find that it’s not a good fit, I’ll definitely look into homeschooling for the foreseeable future. Thanks so much for sharing this post – and best of luck on this new adventure!

    • Laura-Kim
      Author
      26 September, 2018 / 10:05 am

      The school in grayton is probably small enough to be awesome and the whole environment there lends itself to fun and open learning

  5. 26 September, 2018 / 8:40 am

    Laura you are going to be great – and without a doubt it is the right decision for y9ou guys.

  6. Janet Perry
    26 September, 2018 / 9:14 am

    Homeschooling gives you wings and sets your family free.

    • Laura-Kim
      Author
      26 September, 2018 / 10:05 am

      What a great way of putting it <3

      • Janet Perry
        26 September, 2018 / 1:59 pm

        🙂

  7. 26 September, 2018 / 6:49 pm

    It sounds like you guys figured out what was right for you. That’s wonderful.

  8. 27 September, 2018 / 8:34 am

    Everything you say is so true. I’m terrified of entering the system next year. Will definitely keep an eye on your journey too.

  9. 27 September, 2018 / 12:23 pm

    This seems like a very brave thing to do – to take on the role of mommy and teacher. Then again, the two go very much hand-in-hand anyway if you think about it, isn’t it. It’s awesome you’re making this choice to do what is best for your family and what you believe is a better way forward for them. Let your kids thrive instead of being stinted!! 🙂 I wish your family all the best on this journey. I am sure you’ll all blossom in this chapter of your lives.

  10. 28 September, 2018 / 9:06 am

    Homeschooling has its own benefits . But It takes so much effort.

  11. Deborah
    28 September, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    Sounds so exciting. Cant wait to read the blogs about them as well! I feel your pain regarding teachers they do make all the difference in moulding the children. I also had negative experience with my daughter and a previous teacher that I had asked to assist as I saw her marks had dropped (clearly because of a concept introduced in maths) the response was have you thought to increase her medication-like really it was not a concentration problem but a concept not understood. W have since changed the teacher and the results have been great. I really don’t like how the kids are labelled when they have a learning disability or are put on medication in order to “fit in” to the mould

  12. 28 September, 2018 / 10:50 pm

    This is such a personal decision but what I dislike most regarding thinking about my babies one day going to school is the mould that they are all expected to fit into. We’ll have to get there and see what we consider best for them and their future.

  13. 29 September, 2018 / 12:10 am

    Awesome! Homeschooling is a wonderful option! We have done it since our eldest was in TK and though there are occasionally moments where you wonder if you could drop them off at the school door, overall it’s clearly been the best option for our family. Enjoy the wonderful journey!

  14. 30 September, 2018 / 5:26 am

    Wow. What a great decision. I’m envious of you.

  15. 30 September, 2018 / 3:14 pm

    My son doesn’t seem to fit the mould already and I’m wondering what’s going to happen when he starts real school. I’m sorry you’ve dealt with some bad situations with your kids.

  16. Shelby
    1 October, 2018 / 9:42 pm

    You are so brave to take on homeschooling! It does not look like an easy task. We too have had issues with the school system and that’s why we have kept our oldest in Montessori. I’m not looking forward to the day she ages out of the program (granted she does still have 6 more school years) and I have been thinking that we may have to look into homeschooling then. I can’t wait to read more about your journey!

  17. 3 October, 2018 / 9:26 am

    I have started thinking in that direction when I realised how much of the curriculum is being skimmed over a couple of weeks ago.

    All the best with the new adventure!

  18. 6 October, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    Haven’t visited your blog in a while but was wondering how you were doing. What a big step but I’m sure there was a lot leading up to it. It’s something I’ve always considered but I really like Nicky’s school and his teacher is amazing. But since he hasn’t really started his formal years yet it is too soon to judge. I’m hoping also keeping him back a year will give him extra time to grow his wings. But I think you know your kids so well and what is and isn’t working for them so good for you for taking this step, I’ll also be watching and seeing how you are doing!

  19. 25 October, 2018 / 8:38 pm

    How’s the home schooling going? Quite an undertaking.

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