It’s July, both my kids are currently at camp – with other humans. The 2020-21 school year is over and it’s time to start thinking about the future. What will school look like for my family during the 2021-22 school year? Will we even continue to homeschool now that in person education is a possibility?
I went to public school when I was a kid and both of my kids attended public school up until the spring of 2020 when the world fell apart. My boys were in 5th and 7th grade at the time. Online school was challenging for everyone, but my oldest really couldn’t handle it. He’d never been a very good student, and figuring out how to make sure he attended six online classes a day was more than I could handle while also figuring out how to work from home. So my oldest shifted to homeschool in April of 2020.
My youngest son finished up 5th grade online, but spent more time playing video games than actually attending online classes. I assumed pretty much every 5th grader on the planet was in the same boat, and didn’t stress about it. But when faced with an entire year of online school, I opted to homeschool both of my kids for their 6th and 8th grade years.
Homeschool went far better than I could have ever predicted. Both of my kids learned a ton, and juggling homeschool while working from home was actually easier for this single mom than juggling homework/extra curriculars while working in an office. When this school year ended, I sat down with each of my boys to discuss what they want to do in the future. Their answers were different, so we’re doing different things moving forward.
My youngest son is a “traditional learner”. It actually took me quite a while to figure out what curriculum style works best for him. Turns out, it’s very traditional textbooks. Also, my youngest son is an extrovert. He has spent a lot of time playing video games online with friends this year, but he definitely misses seeing friends in person. While he learned a lot this past year, and enjoyed homeschool more than online school, he has opted to return to public school for 7th grade. I’m very supportive of this choice and think this past year at home has given him a great foundation to build upon when he goes back to public school for middle school.
The citation is different for my oldest son, because my children are very different learners. My oldest is not a “traditional learner” at all. He’s very smart, but also very stubborn. He was on an individualized education plan while in public school, and still struggled. Homeschool is working though. He’s learning a lot and having more control over what/when he learns has greatly improved his attitude and mental health.
I don’t think my oldest son is ready for public high school, and he doesn’t either. Sending him back to public school would only be setting him up for failure. But continuing to homeschool during high school can set him up for success during his adult life. So that is what we are doing. During the 2021-22 school year (and likely for the next four years), I’ll be homeschooling a high schooler, and sending my youngest child to public middle school.
I’m grateful for this past year we all had at home together. It was hard, but we learned a lot too. Not only about math and history, but also about ourselves. One of the things we learned was that it’s okay to learn in different ways. It’s okay for my youngest to be excited about returning to public school, and it’s equally okay for my oldest to hide in his bedroom with a giant stack of books and learn that way.
And what about me? I’m still a single mom with two crazy boys. Last week, my boss told me that I’m going to continue working from home full-time indefinitely. The only kid I’m still homeschooling does best when I step back and let him teach himself, so I’m not sure how much I’ll have to say in this blog. I have read 90 books in the past 6 months though. I think beginning next week, I’m going to turn this blog into more of a book review sight. I’ll probably include a mix of both what I’ve been reading and what my boys are reading. Especially my soon to be high schooler, who likes to read almost as much as I do.