I want to share a bit about our family’s homeschool journey. (It is a success story. Long, but I promise it is worth it.) We began homeschooling when my oldest was reading at 3. How we came to the homeschool decision is a story for another day. I originally began using Charlotte Mason principles, but as she approached school age I moved to a more traditional school model. My oldest thrived at first. My second oldest did not. We joined a distance charter school and my second began to hate learning. I discovered Leadership Education principles and began trying to implement them. The charter school wasn’t a good match with the Leadership Education principles. I eventually pulled the children from that experience, but not until after some educational damage had been done.
The Homeschool Journey is Not a Straight Line
We stopped all formal teaching with my second oldest and went back to core. She did no formal math for two years. Math games and natural math that showed up in life were the only math experiences during that time. We continued to read aloud as a family. I taught some of the rudimentary reading skills to my second daughter. She couldn’t really read at age nine. She didn’t finish her first chapter book on her own until she was eleven. Fortunately, I had a fabulous group of friends who supported me in my efforts that I could call and talk with. I spent many hours wondering if I was ruining my child, all the while presenting opportunities for learning and growth. I continued offering opportunities, fed her mind with good stories, and taught skills when she was motivated.
A year ago, at 15 my daughter said she didn’t like to read at all. This past summer, she admitted that it was the task of reading that felt burdensome, she loved the stories of reading and the knowledge she gained. She decided to start TJEd High in September, after viewing the introductory video. The first week she decided to try the hardest track, which meant reading 2 books a week. I was anxious. She has done the hardest track since. She found motivation in the reading competition, and read, discussed, and annotated books. My daughter is on fire with her learning and is setting huge goals that are outside of her reading experiences also. She loved Euclid and finally understands what math is all about.
But That Doesn’t Mean You Are Failing
She won the reading competition and received a gorgeous book as the prize. But I thought it was important to share that this is the same child who I spent hours wondering if she would ever read, and days feeling sad that I couldn’t do more. Trust the process. Inspire them. Pursue your own education. Read together.
In the news recently, there has been a call from some to have more government oversight for homeschooling. And I know that a few people will read about this part of our homeschool journey and judge. They will think they could have done better. But I know that my daughter is bringing her ship safely to shore filled with riches, and not bearing the scars from being forced to learn in lockstep with others.