Why we homeschool

How our son’s year in kindergarten inspired us to give homeschool a try.

My husband Derek and I decided homeschooling was right for our son, Connor, after he completed kindergarten in a public school. As a side note, we also tried it with my stepdaughter for a year, and that was that. So, our family is proof that not every kid will flourish in the homeschool environment. But some do.

I’ll point out that Connor went through a lot before kindergarten. The year before he started school, I suffered a ruptured ovarian cyst that caused severe internal bleeding. And he was in the middle of the chaos, which included finding me sprawled out on the bedroom floor, looking rather dead.

Due to the urgent circumstances, Connor was in a state of sustained terror until a family member could retrieve him from the hospital. I still shudder to think of what he went through, though he says he has few memories of that night.

I needed surgery and was limited in what I could do for weeks. Along with Derek, Connor was active in my caretaking and recovery. But he was also a little clingier after we all made it through that together. They both were, for that matter.

Connor goes to kindergarten

When Connor went to kindergarten, he initially loved seeing his classmates. He’d gone to gym classes with kids his age but didn’t go to preschool, so he appreciated the chance to be with friends.

Still, the fun wore off by each afternoon. Even though he only went to kindergarten for a few hours daily, he missed us by the end of most days at the beginning of the school year.

The teacher had a light system — red was trouble, yellow was a caution, and green was a good day. Then, there were blue and purple lights for days that went exceptionally well.

Within his first week, Connor started bringing home yellow lights.

Yellow light anxiety

Little Connor explains his yellow lights

Derek and I both have lifelong anxiety, and we recognized the early signs. I was the same kid as Connor, and I still remember missing my family in kindergarten. I also stared out the window and daydreamed a lot. But I never got in trouble for it, even if I let it distract me.

My kindergarten teacher comforted me more than once, kneeling down to talk to me about how the other kids probably missed their families, too, even if they didn’t express it like I did. I wondered how my school experience would have changed if she had punished me for my anxious behavior.

Either way, our little guy got a few not-so-good marks in his first two weeks of kindergarten because he missed us and looked out the window, which we confirmed in talking to his teacher. She stressed that school anxiety was normal and not a big deal when they first start.

At home, we emphasized the importance of listening to his teacher and staying checked in, even if he was sad, but we didn’t treat it like trouble. We knew he needed time to adjust.

So, we met the yellow lights with extra encouragement, and September went much better.

Assessment stress

Other little things cropped up as the year went on. For instance, he came home sad and told us he was the only reader in class who didn’t level up.

We spoke to his teacher and she said he lacked reading comprehension because he couldn’t answer questions about pictures when tested. At the same time, he could describe images in books just fine at home.

That made us wonder if he was a) confused by the questions while being assessed or b) just nervous because he was being asked.

It wasn’t a big deal to his teacher because it was just kindergarten, which is how we saw it at first. The assessments were meant to provide marks for improvement throughout the year and their school careers. It wasn’t something for 6-year-old kids to stress too much about.

But try telling that to an anxious kindergartner.

Eventually, he was carrying a lot of stress about his performance and was having frequent night terrors. He liked seeing his classmates but would too often come home with a complaint about what he didn’t do right, even if he got a green light.

We could see the anxiety developing each day before he would leave for school, though he remained determined to keep trying.

His teacher always had beautiful things to say about him when we talked. She had a complicated job, and we didn’t expect more from her than she gave him. And he did learn a lot.

But the most important note from the year was that he developed a negative sense of himself and his intelligence. And that’s when we were like, “It’s just kindergarten.

Homeschool happiness

It was no one’s fault. But we felt there was no reason for Connor to come out of his first year so beaten up. We knew we wanted to put a hard stop to the train he was on, and the answer was taking on his education ourselves.

So, we rearranged schedules and started homeschooling him in first grade. It was a fortuitous blessing in our life that we already had a routine when the pandemic started.

Now, he’s starting fifth grade, and he’s still happy and performing well in homeschool. And a critical factor in our success is that he has always wanted to complete his work and do well.

When we talked about homeschooling for fifth grade, he said he wanted to do it one more year. My heart hurts a little, knowing I’ll give up my days with him and likely never get them back like I have them now.

In the end, the most important note I can share with other parents who might be considering it is that I’ll never regret all the time homeschooling him has allowed us.


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  1. Casey

    You likely know this but Nora flourished in Kindergarten. She’s out social little butterfly amf people pleaser but she is still torn every evening. She wants to go but she wants to stay. “Should I stay or should I go now”. 😊 with the pandemic she has yet to complete a full school year IN school. March of her Kindergarten year she was suddenly schooling from home. Luckily she had a great foundation and March-May was simple pick your own activities. First grade was more structured and she still got to see her teacher each week a few other kids that chose virtual. We tried second grade back in person and quickly realized the district was doing enough for us to be comfortable with her in class. The district used a third party online program (Edgenuity) that we were pleased with. She finished second grade with all A’s. This year she went back and is doing great. We were fortunate enough to have the ability to make those choices. We had the knowledge to teach her and the child care that enabled us to still work while she was home. Brenton on the other hand… I don’t think we would have had the same results.
    ❤️ you guys!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. katierookwriter

      I know Nora is lil’ miss social, and I was like that. But I also would cry because I’d sit and picture my grandma in her living room watching ‘Days of Our Lives’ and want to go home. Connor eventually stopped looking out the window and was happy to be with other kids. He liked his teacher, too. He just took it so hard when he “underperformed,” which really wasn’t that often. I don’t remember having any knowledge of my performance in kindergarten, except I mixed blue and green up on a worksheet once and felt so stupid I still remember it. But you could see the stress on Connor, especially if he’d had a rough night. With everything else he’d been through, we just thought it was worth a try to keep him home. Having a background in education and the schedule to do it was good fortune for us, too. We thought it would be for a year or two when we first started, but with the pandemic’s impact on schools and a few other things to consider, we figure we’ll hang in a while longer.

      ❤️ you back! Hope you and the family are doing well this school year!


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