It’s the first day of school for our county, but there is no first day of school picture for Maggie. That won’t happen until Monday, and it will look very different.
After much prayer, discussion, seeking of wise counsel, meetings, coffee dates, conversations, tears, “what-ifs” and more, the House of Hills has decided to homeschool.
The HOH Academy is born. (Yes, Maggie created the logo.)
Now, as you pick up the coffee cup you’ve just dropped on the floor, let me try to answer all the questions.
What are you doing? How are you doing it? Aren’t you working?
- Yes, I am still working full-time. I am blessed to have an office super close to the house and flexible hours. We see it working the way my summer hours do. I get stuff done in the early hours before anyone arises. In fact, I can get more done between 5am and 7am then I can in four hours at the actual office. (Can I get an amen?) I will go into the office for part of the day. She’s totally capable of taking care of this herself. I’m just facilitating.
- We will be doing our county’s online education system. We are so blessed to live in a county where they actually have all the classes (even the advanced ones) available for her to do online. She’s still considered a student of the county. Her teachers just communicate with her via the county’s online system rather then in an actual classroom. We’re not confident on how it completely works as everything pretty much just went live yesterday. And, we’re obviously still learning. For those that live in our county, think of it as “snow days.” All the assignments go up on the system with deadlines. My understanding is that she’ll have her work given to her on a weekly basis by Sunday night and have to turn it in by Friday night. I’ve already seen some of what she has to accomplish for next week, and it looks pretty cool.
- Yes, I know there are TONS of different homeschooling models that she would love. Believe me, I’ve researched. We think this is best for the HOH because it gives her the flexibility she’s craving but allows her to slide back into the public school setting with ease when she’s ready.
AKA: Did something happen? Is everything okay? You swore you never would homeschool – so what is up?
- Maggie begged us for over a year. Seriously. She has been asking since the sixth grade to homeschooled. It might even have started in the fifth grade. She finally made enough great arguments that we started to listen. She’s willing to take on the responsibility for it and is excited for the independence.
- Maggie is not wired to sit in a desk all day. I honestly don’t think any kid is, but for my little kinesthetic learner, it’s almost painful. Ironically, the first few weeks of middle school, she took a quiz in study skills class to determine what type of learning she was, and she was off the charts kinesthetic. I could have told you that without a test. I’ve known that since she was little. The middle school learning environment is not set up for kinesthetic learners. It’s just not. Yes, there is movement between classes, but when the actual learning is going on (which is when she needs to move), they are to sit and face the board or teacher. She even had one teacher that fussed at her for doodling. Kinesthetic learners have to move. The only “safe” way to move in that environment is to doodle. It actually helps them learn to be moving something. (Please note that not only am I a mom of a child with a different learning style than my own – so I’ve researched it – I also have an education degree and they taught us this stuff.) By being at home, Maggie will be allowed to move all she wants. And, I’m pretty sure as much learning will be done standing at the kitchen counter where she can bounce around on her feet as will be done at her new desk.
- Maggie discovered how much wasted time there is at school. My girl may not have my learning style, but she is similar to me in some ways. She and I share the “can we just get this done and move on to the next thing” ideal when doing something we know we have to do. She has other things she would like to do with her time, but knows the education part is necessary. By pulling her out of a brick and mortar school, we anticipate shortening her school day by several hours. This will allow for more time to practice what she really loves and wants to spend her life doing – singing, dancing, acting. We’ve already moved several lessons to during the day, and because we won’t have to rush around after school (which ends SO LATE), are looking into different opportunities. When your daughter tells you she feels like God has made her to do a certain thing, you want to help her attain that goal.
- There are health issues to consider. Maggie was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome last year. She’s not shy about it, so I can share. It has changed our lives here at the HOH. She is on a restricted diet, and that’s easier to do at home. She missed over thirty days of school last year for illness. That’s a lot. There are just some days that she needs to have easier access to the restroom and good toilet paper. (I have Crohn’s Disease, and she has IBS. Good toilet paper is very important to the HOH.) She can still learn on those days. She just needs to feel comfortable in her surroundings. Home is much more comfortable.
What about her socialization?
- Have you met her? Have you met me? We like people. She’s got plenty of friends and plenty of activities. We’ve had conversations about having to work harder at friendships now, and she’s listened. Given the amount of texting that was going on last night with people swapping first day of school outfits, I think we’re okay right now.
- Being home during the day means she can babysit during the day. Maggie is looking forward to adding the role of babysitter to her life. We have a few friends that are thinking of using her during the day for different things, and she’s going to be actively seeking more employment. That’s a whole different kind of socialization.
- Are kids today ever really disconnected from one another? There are some upsides to modern technology. She won’t be isolated as long as nobody is grounded from their smart phone. In addition, from what I understand, there will be group discussions via her online classes. She may even make some new friends that are in the county.
So, that’s why there’s not first day of school picture today. But, there will be one on Monday, because that’s when her school starts.
We’re going into this year with open hands and allowing God to lead us where He wants us. This is where we feel He wants us to be right now. It could change next year, next semester, next week. We don’t know. But, today, this is what we’re doing.
Maggie gets two more days of summer.