According to the National Home Education Research Institute, an estimated 220,000 African-American children are currently being homeschooled. In thinking about this number I would say it would be much higher especially in Illinois. As a busy parent of four, I often got the question, why homeschool? I reminisce on the intimate connections I made with my child, discovering their learning styles, seeing progress, witnessing their “a-ha” moments when they finally get a concept and remembering, it my child, my choice.
What was I thinking? I was not ready for this full responsibility. These thoughts zoomed in and out of my mind constantly. This was my mindset when I finally decided to take a leap of faith and homeschool my children. Why am I doing this? It was the close of the 6th grade year when my oldest son, then 12, came home from school complaining about his teacher's strict rules in the classroom. He is and still to this day is a kinesthetic learner. Always busy and wanting to touch everything with his hands. I have endured many “projects” created at the hand of my son. His learning style was not in alignment with scripted schedules or timed testing. This was a battle we had all for years and it only got worse as the years progressed. The school's administration was heavy on discipline, discipline and more discipline. It seemed as if the school's policy of discipline had a higher priority than its academic excellence. I was exhausted from constantly visiting the school, talking with deans, principals and walking away defeated. The school's culture was heavy on discipline and missed the academic component that I felt my child needed and could not cater to his style of learning. This had begun to take a toll on my son and our entire family.
As I would be the primary educator, we had some major decision to make. We sought out advice from friends who homeschooled and did lots of research on the topic. My oldest son was about to enter 7th grade which is a “very critical” grade in the traditional school setting. This made me pause but I pressed on and decided this is my child and my choice and we began our homeschool journey. I would have a 7th grader, a 2nd grader, a Kindergartner, and a 3yr old. I was not certain how I was going to do it all, but I knew I needed to pull my son out of the environment that was not conducive to his overall well-being. I must say it was challenging but rewarding beyond belief.
Although homeschooling can be intimidating there are so many resources available to help homeschoolers succeed. Here are some tips and lessons I learned along the way.
Know Your State Laws
Homeschooling is legal throughout the United States and each state is free to create it own legal structure.
Attend Conferences and Workshops
This is an extremely helpful networks to get educated about compliance, laws, practicals and ideas.
Join Local Support Groups
This is a great way to find friendships, socialization, teaching resources, and support.
Enjoy the Journey
This is a very private journey for you and your child, remember to have fun, be creative and use the freedom to do some exploratory education. You are molding a scholar and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
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Sheenita Robinson, Life-long learner, Author, Blogger, Mother of4, Speaker and Educator