Life’s highway seldom follows a straight line. You can force the wheel away from the turns, but you’ll wind up in the ditch. If you ignore every exit ramp, you’ll inevitably run out of gas. And if you drive the same speed as everyone else … well, that’s just no fun, is it?
We recently made a decision to give homeschooling a try. Well, it’s public school … at home. We’re doing this with our 14 year old daughter Reagan, who was set to enter high school this year.
Reagan isn’t better than other kids … she’s just different, and there’s a basket of reasons that made this option attractive.
- She’s a socially introverted kid (no, really … she is) who learns better on her own than she does in group settings. Constant group work exhausts her, and public schools — for reasons I still do not understand — are increasingly obsessed with forcing group work.
- She’s an emotionally complicated kid, and the drama and ugliness that’s rampant in our youth (particularly female) culture truly brings her down.
- She’s an aspiring professional musician who needs flexibility in her schedule for studio sessions and potential travel.
- She had already decided that she wasn’t willing to commit to high school sports. This broke our hearts, but we agreed that music practice/performance would be a much better use of her time. JV and varsity sports are so demanding; she can still play in club leagues for fun without signing over her life.
- She truly learns better in her own space, where she can read and study, free from distraction.
- She’s not interested in wasting her time sitting in a school where too much of the day is devoted to discipline and crowd control; that just doesn’t seem productive, and it just makes her angry. The older I get, the more devoted I am to making the most of every moment, so her concerns about this definitely resonate with me.
Now, Scot and I aren’t the most organized people in the world, and our work hours make for a less-than-conventional schedule. When Reagan initially approached us about this, our immediate answer was “absolutely not.” I then remembered having the same homeschooling request of my parents when I was in 7th or 8th grade, and it wasn’t considered … not for a moment. They had their reasons, I’m sure, but having experienced the same feelings (at roughly the same age) as Reagan, I decided to not be so dismissive of her request.
I reached out to friends to gather homeschool advice and experiences, and that’s when someone sent me information about iUniversity Prep — a free, virtual academy offered through the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. We went to the informational seminar and were blown away with the vision these administrators had for this new, innovative style of learning. When we left, we knew this was the right path for Reagan.
- She’ll have access to teachers just like any other student.
- She’ll participate often in classroom settings via video conferencing.
- She’ll be held to the same academic standards as any other student in the district regarding attendance, grades, testing, etc.
- She’ll have — when it makes sense to do so — the opportunity to collaborate with other students (on the web, as well as in person).
- She’ll have the chance to accelerate her learning path and graduate early.
Our prayer is that this experience will go well, and that, when both our younger children reach high school (or possibly junior high), we can consider placing them in iUniversity Prep, as well. They might have personality types and learning styles that lend themselves more to group settings, but if that isn’t the case … we’re excited about having this option. We’re not concerned that our kids will be “socially awkward” — an often-voiced objection to homeschooling — since they are heavily integrated in church activities, and they have ample friendships outside of school.
Besides, they’ll be with us all the time, and everyone knows how normal we are. 🙂