Most parents want the best for their kids. But many just have no idea that there is so much more available to them when it comes to primary education. I wish I had known about the options when my oldest, Joshua was struggling through school or the same with my 2nd, Olivia. At least we found out in time that she could make the decision to come home halfway through 9th grade. It made such a difference for her, I can only guess at how much better she would have done up to that point had she been home.
She made the decision because of several factors. Her history teacher was passing on her crazy fears and showing wildly inappropriate videos. Her science teacher was on a huge power trip and honestly delighted in seeing kids struggle.
My daughter is very creative, so she was not keeping up with a lot of the more cerebral subjects. Not that she wasn’t smart enough, in fact she’s very smart, she just needed to be in the right frame of mind to do well. That’s not conducive to the pace a teacher with 25-30 kids needs to stay on to get everything done. So her self-esteem was taking a big hit because she was not keeping up.
The reason at home schooling was even on the radar was that my son, Tanner had missed the cutoff for public school by a week. He had been reading since he was 4 and was very bright, so waiting another year seemed crazy. We reasoned that he would be the kid getting in trouble because he was bored. So I started to research other options.
There are 3 types of schooling to do at home.
Homeschool, where parents are the teachers and choose the curriculum and what to teach themselves. For us, we felt it was not a good choice as it felt like way too much work. We additionally felt we were not cut out to know what to teach.
Unschooling, where you follow whatever the passion is that your child is excited about at the moment. This just felt way to loose for us and again, we felt that we would be unsure as to what to teach.
And then there’s Virtual School. There are public and private versions. There’s very little difference, but some states or regions don’t have the public version available, so they choose the private program. The public version is free and the private school is tuition based.
We like virtual school because it gives us flexibility and structure. This is the first year (high school) that Tanner hasn’t gotten a big shipment of books, art supplies, science and math supplies. Most everything in high school is online except for the novels he reads for English.
For years though, it was so exciting to open the big box of books and supplies. Here’s a Facebook post and video that Kevin put up in July, 2013 when we still lived outside of Atlanta. Tanner goes through all his supplies and shares some of his feelings about virtual school.