The Accidental Homeschooler

January seems to be when many accidental homeschoolers are born. Maybe it was a bad few months in public school that led parents who never thought of homeschooling to give it a try.

Never thought about homeschooling being an accident? It can be, definitely. We never had any intention of homeschooling. I was a social butterfly in school and honestly enjoyed it. My husband, not so much, but even so never thought about homeschooling. Kids…well…they just went to school. It’s how it’s always been.

Two months into my oldest’s 1st grade year, we were done. He had changed. His whole personality. He went from loving school and being excited to go every morning, to asking every. single. day. if he had to go. Crying and trying to convince us in every way he could think of why he didn’t need to go that day. Neither of us were getting along with the teacher (which admittedly wasn’t ALL her fault), and there were several issues. One Friday afternoon in October, I walked angrily into the school office and threatened to pull him out if something wasn’t done. Well, imagine my shock when they called my bluff and said “okey dokey, sign here.” They handed me his withdrawal form.

Wait. What? That’s it? Crap.

We spent the weekend talking and talking and talking (and talking!) about options, only to discover that there really weren’t any options for us. Most of the private schools in our rural area were too expensive, and any schools that were affordable were so far away, it wasn’t feasible for us to get him there.

And voila. That was the moment we became accidental homeschoolers.

We discovered that family was mostly supportive of the homeschooling thing, so that following Monday morning was our first official homeschool day. We decided that we were just going to finish out 1st grade, and would probably put him back in school in 2nd grade. We finished 1st grade (albeit barely, lol) and thought well…that wasn’t so bad. Let’s see if we can homeschool 2nd grade. Turns out, we could.

Fast forward through a couple of years of struggling to find our groove, and a curriculum that fit not only their needs as students, but my needs as a busy and often far-too-scattered-to-lesson-plan parent.

That 1st grader is now an 11th grader. And yep, he’s still a homeschooler. My youngest, who is currently in the 6th grade, has never set foot in a public school. We ask each of them, every year, if this is the year they want to see what public school is like, but every year, the answer is the same. Nope, we’re good, thanks.

While homeschooling isn’t the right choice for every family, it was the best decision this family ever made. I’ll never say it’s always been easy, or always been fun. There have been arguments. There have been frustrated tears. But the happy moments, and the memories we’ve made and the relationship we developed as a family–those things have far outweighed everything else. 🙂

So now it’s your turn. Were you accidental homeschoolers? Share your story with me in the comments below!

image via Time4Learning

image via Time4Learning

Help for Busy Homeschoolers

This time of year is always crazy busy for us. We have family spread out and we do a lot of traveling to visit everyone. There are more activities with our homeschool group, and there are more things to see and do around us; Christmas lights, holiday parades, shopping, etc.

So it’s now, when I need the most help as far as quick homeschool ideas. Things I can find for them to work on, that I don’t have to put a lot of planning into.  I rely, not surprisingly, on the Internet for this help. Typically, I like to formally “break” for the month of December, but I don’t want the boys to do nothing, so we focus on holiday specific stuff.

The boys love learning about winter holidays other than the one we celebrate. Lapbooking or little unit studies are a great way to do this. They can make holiday specific recipes, learn and document about the history of the holiday (for my older one, this documentation could be written or drawn, but for the younger one, this is mostly drawn) and more.

Since spelling and reading are areas we rarely take a break from, they will also work on holiday spelling lists and go through some book reviews to find holiday related activities/books.

Share with me! What are some of your resources for homeschool help…holiday specific or not. 🙂