Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Considering the Homeschooling Alternative

I've always been attracted to homeschooling and always thought that I would homeschool my kids. But when my twin boys were learning their ABC's and learning to how to read, their distinct differences really through me for a loop and I didn't feel up to the challenge.

Xander learned from me, and everything was great. He learned his ABC's quickly and grasped the concept of reading right away.

However, Charlie fought me at every turn. And worse, he seemed to take the low road when compared with Xander. The more Xan mastered something, the more Charlie pulled away from that subject or skill and went the complete opposite. He refused to learn from me, and his mantra became "I can't."

Oh how I came to hate those two little words!

On top of it all, the boys were developing a strong dislike for one another and I worried about their relationship in the years to come. They were each others only brother--I felt they needed to be friends, they needed to be each other's support, love and encouragement in their lifetime.

So, I did what I might have said I would never, ever do. I put my guys into preschool.


And you know? It was the best thing I ever did.

They only went for the second semester of one year and I put them into a developmentally challenged preschool as the 'typically developing peers'. This gave them the opportunity to feel really great about their own skills, but also to develop some compassion and empathy for others. Oh, and they were in separate classes!

By the end of the school year my guys liked each other again and there was harmony once more in my home.

But my experiences trying to teach Charlie had made me doubt myself and I was afraid to try again, so I sent them to public school (we have an awesome school right across the street from my house) which is where they have stayed for the last few years.

Through it all, I have always told the boys that one day, I might homeschool them. And surprise, surprise, they came to me toward the end of the school year this year and said they wanted to be homeschooled!

I know! Imagine my amazement! Happily I took them up on it. Little did they know I had already been taking some steps toward the same end, but our public school has such awesome teachers in grade three, I thought my homework and research would be put into use for the next year. I had no idea my guys would request to homeschooled so soon.

While researching homeschooling in Utah, I found the K12 site and entered my boys into their enrollment lottery. They lost. All this was before the boys' big announcement so I thought it was just as well. Amazingly, shortly after they told me they wanted to be homeschooled, I was notified that two spots had opened up for them and the boys had been accepted into K12's Utah Virtual Academy.

So that's where we are today! My boys are almost eight years old and will be going into grade three in the Fall. Well, August 26th, actually, as that's when school starts with the UTVA. I have made one small adjustment, and that is that I have chosen to transfer to the Washington County Online School rather than the UTVA because I have found some wonderful people to work with at that school and I feel more comfortable with the chain of communication. It's a small change though and really impacts little in terms of the type of school experience we expect to have.

I have started this blog in an effort to document our K12 adventure for your interest and for my sanity. I really find it helps me to write things down--always preferring to sort my problems out through the written word than in any other way.

If you're a K12 mom or a homeschooling mom, or any kind of mom, feel free to post your comments or questions. We can learn and grow together!