I would not call myself a natural born home-schooler. After more than 8 years at home with three young children, feeding, weaning, potty training, ups and downs with pre and post natal depression not to mention a huge house renovation we lived onsite for in the middle of it all, I now like to enjoy myself from day to day. I happily treat myself to a manicure and/or a facial in the middle of the day and I’m not above a boozy lunch with girlfriends. I take long walks and I do a circuit training class once a week after dropping all three kids off at school and preschool. Basically, I’m living the life of frickin’ Riley… for two more weeks. Come January I will be home-schooling my oldest Joseph in preparation for his move to middle school in September. Gulp. The lower school he attends has done all they can for my guy but he’s dyslexic and he needs more. I’m sure I could find lots of people to be angry at or blame but there is no point. I am lucky enough to be in a position to step in. So that is what I’m doing. The decision to take this on started as a barely audible whisper in my head… psst psst ‘home-school Megan’. I quickly dismissed it as lunacy. Not for me. Home-school was for religious people. What about his friends? ‘Socialization’ is the buzz word when searching for reasons why not to home-school. But the smallest bit of research quickly dissolves these excuses. Yes, home-school is an option for people of faith but what interests me is that it’s ALL faiths. It’s more multicultural than most schools. I also found there are people just like me making this choice. I even found a ‘feminist home-school’ blog. Right up my alley. Socialization isn’t an issue as Joseph does better anyway when his social life and school don’t collide. He feels embarrassed all the time at school as he knows he’s behind. He’s much happier on playdates or at the weekends doing football, rugby and swimming with his mates. There are no maths lessons at the end of these events. He’s free to JUST socialize. There are also so many home-school groups its mind boggling. Joseph makes friends very easily. Socialising isn’t a problem. The word was getting louder in mind. Home-School. The biggest turning point has been hiring a specialist dyslexia tutor. He comes for one hour every week and teaches Joseph in a language he understands. It’s amazing to watch, Joseph is taught in a way that is personal to him, the penny drops and his confidence soars. It’s such a simple formula that I couldn’t keep myself from asking ‘what if he was taught like this all the time?’ This is when the whisper turned into a full on scream complete with a couple of wake up slaps across the head. HOME-SCHOOL! OK already! I’ll do it. Jeez. I haven’t entered this lightly though. My husband and I toured other schools including the State run Middle School he is due to start in the Autumn. We looked at it twice, once with Joseph and once without. It’s a good school with some passionate teaching going on. We liked it. But it’s big. If there is any hope of Joseph being ready for that school we need to intervene. We also looked at a private school that we loved. It’s certainly a contender but for now it’s still not as personalized as what he’ll get with me at home. Plus, I’m cheaper. No comments from the peanut gallery please. The tricky bit is that we are only doing this for Joseph. That is where the need is for now. My daughter Milly will stay where she is and my youngest Lucas is due to start school in September. He WILL go to school. I need him to go. Aside from my selfish need, that first year at school is magic. They play all day and make wonderful friends. Joseph and Milly loved it and I want Lucas to have the same experience. He’s also a different animal then the other two. I could send that child to school on Mars and he’d be fine. But Milly, well, I’m not sure. She’s sensitive and she’s already a bit jealous before we’ve even started. In the words of one of my mother’s good friends who home-schooled her two children, I will need to ‘find a way of making school special for Milly’. This is probably going to be my biggest challenge. I’m nervous and excited and getting used to people looking at me like I have two heads when I tell them what I’m planning on doing. Although, it has to be said that most people are amazingly supportive. To the critics, yes, it’s possible I am crazy. But I don’t think so. I’m only committing to six months for now. It’s a small step which I know is well within my capability. I’m following my gut. It’s never failed me before.
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