Once the decision has been made and the anxiety level has become manageable it’s time to make some really important decisions. There are endless options and endless opinions and a quick Google Search can be very overwhelming. I decided to take the advice of a Mom I respect. She has brilliant children, all home schooled, and she’s sane. Check. Check. Check! She is using Home Life Academy and it has a lot of benefits. First, you are covered by what’s called a church umbrella, which basically means that you don’t have to worry about bringing your children in for standard testing, you don’t have to worry about the truancy board chasing you, and you have the right to choose your own curriculum. On top of that, it’s affordable and the people are wonderful and very helpful. As a Christian family, this option sounded great. I made a list of questions and I called. They answered them all. Yes, all two pages without the slightest hint of irritation at my ignorance to the whole process. They had such confidence that I could do it, back when I was still so afraid of failure they believed in me. I was glad someone did. I signed him up. Within two weeks his records had been transferred. They sent me a letter that states that we home school and has saved us money on many supplies, lesson plans and even field trips. We were ready.
During that two weeks we searched through all of the curriculums out there. We read parent and student reviews. We shopped around and around and around. Finally we settled on A Beka. I absolutely love this curriculum and so does T!
I do have a confession. When the box arrived with what looked like a hundred books, I almost fell apart. No way could I do this. It was too much! It looked so complicated. Here I was determined to be the best teacher my son had ever had and then all these books. They mocked me. They shook my confidence. They gave me nightmares. I closed the giant box that first day and prayed for the peace and strength I would need to have the courage to open it again. After a sleepless night, me and my coffee sucked it up. The books came out, the cellophane was removed, they turned into organized stacks. BIG organized stacks arranged by subject. “Oh dear!’ I went for a second cup of coffee. Then I got to work. My relief was huge! Yes, there was a lot of material and I needed every bit of it, but they had every last lesson spelled out line by line, day by day. The questions I needed to ask with the answers. What order I would need each book in. Places to record attendance and grades. It was all there for me in tiny baby steps. I realized two things then; this could be done and it was going to be a lot more work than I expected. But I was in, all in. After four hours of homework every night robbing my son of his freedom and so many tears, extra work seemed the smallest of sacrifices.
We had a Last Day of Public School Celebration. We took his back pack loaded right up to that final day with loads of home work and we took it out to the fire pit. He tore it up, he laughed and loved every last shred! We lit it up and those flames were like fireworks! We made a video of it and sent it to his Papaw. We jumped up and down. It was a moment worth celebrating. He had been struggling so long, had fallen so hard under the pressure of trying to keep up with the others, he had lost his temper, he had lost his confidence, he had cried, he had been humiliated but it ended here. It ended now. We were moving on and whatever came, it had to be better than what we were leaving behind. We ordered more pizza and let out a sigh of relief. That was the best pizza ever.