Today I’m joined by homeschooler Ali Cross, who has graciously agreed to share some of her journey with us.
Ali, thanks for being here. Can you tell us how you arrived at your decision to homeschool?
I’d always been interested in homeschooling, but when my twin boys were almost five, they hated spending time together, and where one was super smart and loved to learn, the other found his place by being the exact opposite of his brother. So I decided they couldn’t probably learn at home and that they needed some time away from each other. However, when they were being advanced from grade two to three, I listened to Charlie’s teacher tell me all the ways in which he was behind and yet they were still moving him up to the next grade. I realized something wasn’t right there. One son was getting into trouble for talking (because he was done with his work, was bored, and wanted to “help” the other students) and Charlie was getting advanced even though he didn’t have his building blocks. I knew it, and Charlie knew it too.
Children do know when they’re being put in situations that aren’t right for them. They’re very perceptive. Now, when it came time to decide on the curriculum you wanted to use, how did you go about it?
I chose the program we use because I didn’t want to ruin my kids and this program is a school-at-home option, not traditional homeschooling. So we get the freedom we need and flexibility to go at the speed each child needs, while making sure that they are staying up to par on their achievements. Actually, our school requires 80% or more mastery of each lesson, so in fact they are working at a much higher level than in the public schools.
That sounds great – I like the combination of moving at their own speed plus making sure they understand the material. Have your friends and relatives been supportive of your choice?
Relatives have only been supportive. However, friends, particularly neighbor friends, had a harder time with it. I think they took it as a judgment on them, like I thought the local school was fine for their kids but not for mine. Or that they were bad parents for not doing this amazing thing I was willing to do for my kids. I don’t hear those sorts of negative comments anymore, but there’s still this feeling among most of my neighbor friends that they don’t really want to talk to me about school. They don’t want to hear that it’s going fantastic or that I love or that my kids love it. They’d rather just ignore that I’m doing anything different.
Sometimes we do have to avoid certain topics with our friends, and that’s a shame when it happens. It sounds like you’re handling it as positively as you can.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today, Ali! We appreciate it a lot.