My Path to Home Schooling by Teresa Robeson

The paths that different families take to homeschooling are varied and unique. Even within a single family, the decision to home school each child can be drastically dissimilar, as was the case with us.

Our older son was precocious. He knew the alphabet around the age of one and was reading by two.  

One time when Son1 was about three years old, while watching my husband garden, a strange worm wriggled out of the soil. My husband wondered aloud what it could be. Our son replied that it was a wire worm. Hubby naturally thought he was making it up and so, as adults do, nodded indulgently and said, “Oh, is that right?” After returning to the house, hubby looked it up in the “The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insects and Disease Control” book and sure enough, that’s what it was.  

Son1 had been perusing the book and we assumed he was only looking at the pictures but he was actually reading the text.                              

By the time kindergarten rolled around, he was reading proficiently and counting up to 100, doing simple adding and subtracting. We figured that he would be incredibly bored with kindergarten and decided to keep him home for the year, putting him in grade one after that. We didn’t want to skip him up to grade one at that point since, in maturity, he was more like his kindergarten peers.

My younger son, on the other hand, was at the opposite end of the spectrum. He had language delay and exhibited symptoms on the autism spectrum (he has since been tested and is determined to be not autistic though he has a learning disability). He attended a public school speech preschool program and blossomed under their tutelage, but he had sensory integration issues that made him highly sensitive to noise and chaos. Since most kindergarten classes are the epitome of noise and chaos, we decided that the best option for him was to not send him to kindergarten, but to home school him until he outgrew his aversions and to take him to occupational and speech therapy on our own.

When each of them arrived at the stage where we thought they could happily integrate into the school system–around grade two for Son1 and fifth grade for Son2–we gave them the option every year of going to public school or continuing to home school. They always chose to continue with homeschooling.

Thanks to a wonderful, large, and diverse home school support group in our town, we were able to have the kids participate in group activities–everything from music to art to language lessons–in addition to doing lessons at home on our own. The support group, by holding parties and playgroups as well as the more academic offerings, also ensured that the kids interacted with other children in multi-age gatherings rather than just a narrow subset of their same age peers.

We’re nearing the end of homeschooling. A few years ago, Son1 won a National Merit Scholarship and entered university with nearly perfect SAT scores. He is currently in his junior year and plans to go to graduate school. Son2 is finishing up the twelfth grade and plans to take a gap year to assess his interests.

We have been pleased with our homeschooling journey. It’s not an educational path suited to everyone but it worked out for us and we’re happy we could provide it for our children, both with their own special needs. 

Teresa’s family has been homeschooling since 2000. This is their last year of home-learning and she’ll have more free time to write, do art, knit, make soap, bake, and can jams and jellies in the future. She can be found online at teresarobeson.com

 

 

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9 thoughts on “My Path to Home Schooling by Teresa Robeson

  1. Teresa, Thank you so much for posting about this. I wouldn’t have the patience to home school, but I can truly understand why families choose that path. My son is extremely sensitive to loud noises. He wears ear muffs at school when it just gets to be too much for him. We just started OT. Did that help your son? If you have any suggestions re this, I’d love to hear your thoughts. (Email or PM me.) Thanks! xoxo

    • Hi Robin! OT definitely helped my son though maybe not for the noise aspect. There is a book that you might already know called “The Out-of-Sync Child” by Carol Stock Kranowitz that was very helpful to us when he was young. It has suggestions for diagnosis and treatment as well as strategies for coping at home and school. If you don’t have this book already, I am happy to mail you my copy since we don’t need it anymore (and it’s in great condition). 🙂 XO

  2. Hi Teresa,
    I have never home schooled but in retrospect I think my son would have benefited from it. He is very intelligent but always seemed to get bullied or picked on by other kids in both elementary and middle school. He was also bored in school and fidgeted a lot. He was young for his grade which didn’t help but I felt keeping him back a year would have been a mistake as well. At the time (he is 34 now) I didn’t even think about homeschooling as an option. He tested at a 150 IQ in the first grade and then we moved to a different state and different school district which is where some of his issues started. It wasn’t until 4th grade that I got a happy report from a teacher conference! He has grown up to be a wonderful man and is happily employed in the computer field but I wish I had considered home schooling as an option.

    I enjoyed looking at your artwork. I too am an artist and love to do sharpie sketches with no under drawing! It really makes you look carefully at your subject/subject matter and I find those sketches are also more fluid and have a sense of movement/life. Kudos to you for your many years of homeschooling!

    • Joanne, thanks so much for your sweet comment! Sounds like we have kindred artistic spirits. 🙂

      I am so glad to hear it all turned out well for your son! It must have broken your heart when he was picked on at school. Children can be awfully mean sometimes especially to those who are different. Your son must be brilliant and it is wonderful that he triumphed over his bad school experience. Homeschooling was not common at all 30 years ago (it probably was illegal in some states back then, too). Even 20 years ago, it was not as easy to find help and resources. Nowadays, it is so mainstream…thank goodness for an educational option for kids who need it!

      Thank you for sharing your story with me!

    • It’s been a pleasure Teresa. These homeschooling posts seem to have really resonated with readers. I am glad you’ve been able to answer questions and concerns and it is a joy to hear about how you were able to help your sons be their “best selves” with home schooling. xo

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