top of page

Unlearning Traditional Education: Our Journey to Success...and Sanity

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

The Conversation


I have a love-hate relationship with blogging. I do. Mainly because of lack of time. However, I think I am a pretty good storyteller, speaker and writer. There are so many things that I want to share.....life experiences, that I really do believe would benefit others. And people often come to me for advice or ask questions about my life from travel to homeschooling. I prefer more intimate conversations though. So let's think of this entry as an intimate conversation.


 

The Decision to Homeschool: How it Started


When we decided to have my oldest son evaluated for ADHD, I wasn't sure what I wanted to come from the evaluation. I guess I was hoping for strategies because I didn't know what to do. As an educator, I knew what so-called behaviors of ADHD looked like in children. Throughout my career, I'd had many ADHD students. My husband and I talked about it alot. He's an educator too. We would joke about it ("That boy must have ADHD or something") mostly in regard to our son; usually when he seemed to be getting on our nerves. But his behaviors were affecting our family life, homeschooling as well as interactions outside of the home. A friend of mine suggested we look into testing since her daughter (who is his playmate) acted similarly and had been diagnosed. I didn't want to think about it being a possibility but I wanted to be successful at homeschooling.

When I first decided to homeschool, there were two main reasons for our decision.


Overall, public and private preschool did not work for him or us and we felt it was in his best interest to just teach him at home. He is a bright brown boy; definitely advanced for his age. Even his teachers agreed. But, he seemed to always get into trouble in school; mainly for impulsive behavior. As a preschool student he had already been in TWO "schools" (one public and one private). I had been teaching him “formally” since I decided to be a SAHM/WAHM in 2013. He was about 3 years old then. He knew all pre-k and k topics and skills before he went to traditional school. In Fall 2014, due to his late birthday he was not old enough to attend Kindergarten so I enrolled him in a private school nearby for Pre-K.


 


At Preschool 1:


Teacher: "L was calling out again today during the lesson."

Me: "Can you describe what was going on? What were you teaching?

Teacher: "The alphabet and sounds."

Me: "Well, he can read. I told you that.Maybe he was bored. I thought you had an aide that would be able to assist."


This happened EVERYDAY for the entire month of September. When I enrolled him, I told the enrollment counselor that I was a teacher and that he already knew a lot of the pre-k skills. I even met the teacher prior and discussed my concerns. She assured me that she had an aide who could pull him to work on other skills. Sometimes I really felt like they were picking on him; as he was the only little Black boy in his class. He was 1 of 8 Black kids in the whole school! I later found out, from the principal after I pulled him out, that "not all of the teachers were ready for a diverse set of students". WTH!?


 


At PreK 2 (our local public school):


Teacher: "L was rolling around on the carpet during most of the lesson today".

Me: "What was happening during that time? What were you teaching?"

Teacher: "Counting and numbers."

Me: "Well, he can count to 100, knows his numbers and he can add."

Teacher: "Well you know pre-k isn't mandatory and since he is very advanced for his age, I don't think he even needs to be here. We need to focus on the kids who aren't prepared for Kindergarten."

Me: "Excuse me. Public school Pre-k is free and accessible to all eligible children regardless of skill and ability. As a teacher, you should be looking for ways to differentiate."


At both schools, the teachers were either calling me or emailing me everyday or wanted to have long conversations about his day during dismissal/pickup. None wanted to have parent teacher conferences "because L is ahead and we need to talk to the parents of kids who really need help". We hadn't even gotten through an entire school year before I finally decided to pull him out in February 2015 and homeschool him. The schools were not meeting his needs academically or socially.