Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why We Started to Homeschool

Tom and I got married in 1984. Just a few weeks before, Christopher had been diagnosed as "Hyperactive" by the Child Study Center in Ft. Worth. I didn't want to put him on drugs if I didn't have to- so the Center said 'some people' have had success with the Feingold Diet. Basically, that is eliminating ALL artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives from your diet. We gave it a try, and had amazing success. It should certainly be easier to follow the diet these days- but back then, finding anything that didn't have at least one of the three no-noes was difficult!

Time came to enroll Chris in Kindergarten (1985?). The local public school asked me plenty of questions, one of which was "Is your child hyperactive?". I said he was great now that we had him on this diet. The school said we would have to have him on drugs before he would be accepted as a student. They said it wasn't "fair" to the teacher or the other students to have a disruptive kid in the classroom. I argued that Chris was NOT disruptive any more. He just needed to stick to his diet- which he understood- and I would supply his food.

The school still balked. What if a teacher gave him a treat and it set him off? (What if he had been diabetic and needed a special diet... or allergic to peanuts... or, or, or?) They stood firm in their refusal- it was "best for everyone" if Chris were medicated.

Tom and I talked it over. I decided to teach him at home for the year, and we would re-evaluate next year. After all, it was Kindergarten, how hard could it be? I had never even HEARD of anyone home schooling at that point. After talking to several people I knew who had kids in K-3rd grades, I listed the skills I expected Chris to learn. I bought supplies and workbooks, and filled in the gaps with my own ideas.

Bill Joe was just over four years old, and would butt in- prompting Chris at every turn. A few days of that- I just duplicated all of the materials I had for Chris. Bill was obviously ready to start school- why wait until next year? So both boys started out together in our homeschool.

Somewhere that first year, we learned that we were not the ONLY people who were taking back the control of their children's education. There was actually a Homeschool "movement" out there. We attended a seminar, collected information on various curricula and the rest became our history.

One of the first smack-myself-on-the-forehead moments came when we were going to bake a cake together. I had all our cake baking supplies laid out on the table, when nature called. (I was pregnant and had someone sitting on my bladder) Before going, I instructed the boys to carefully grease the cake pan- all along the sides and bottom.

This is where I learned one must be VERY, VERY specific when dealing with young children.

They greased the pan liberally. All over. Inside AND out. They did an extra nice job on the bottom of the pan. They even took turns.
(Mommy was so proud.)

Our Adventures in Learning began.

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