Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School : Virtual Schooling

Guest Post By Heather Birdwell

virtual schooling


Well starting the 22nd, I am diving head first into home schooling. Let me back up a bit because my children who are school age are 8 and almost 7 years old. People ask how I got to where I am so I think that is what I plan to talk about in this blog.
With my daughter, I counted down the days until she was old enough to start school. I was ready to have her out of my hair. I put her in preschool where my friend put her children. After preschool and pre-K ... Adella started Kindergarten in a public school. We really loved her teacher and her school. She was WAY behind in reading but did great every where else ... well except her attitude and behavior. She came home with "green notes" all the time and in all actuality, that didn't change for the next two years either. We really worked on her reading and finally had her read to her brother for practice. I didn't think she was getting what she needed really though as she continued to struggle with her scholastics and was more intent on talking. I worked a lot with her at home but she would sit at her desk here and do as she was told. I started to wonder throughout the school last year whether or not she would do better being at home being taught by me.
With my son, I taught him preschool at home. I wasn't ready for him to be old enough to leave the house for school. I bawled when I took him to his first day of Kindergarten. He was torn between being happy about going to go to school with his sister and bummed that I wasn't his teacher anymore. We were torn about even putting him into public school for Kindergarten since it is optional. We went ahead and put him in though because we went with the flow.

So that brings us up to last year. Throughout the year, I felt prompted I should really be home schooling. My husband and I prayed and discussed the possibility of this "calling" from God and what it meant. I was, honestly, overwhelmed with the concept of being my kids' teacher. I had problems with the fact I really felt like I was being TOLD to home school and knowing that my daughter and I rarely see eye to eye. By Easter, we had come to the decision not to home school and just battle through. My daughter was seeing the social worker at the school regularly but still having a lot of problems. My son was going with the flow at school but was awfully bored. They both would do work sheets at home as a side enrichment. Then finally came the BIG push for home schooling ... again. I delivered my youngest daughter in August and while I was in labor (I HAD sent a note to the school saying my water had broke so the kids' grandparents were getting them from school), I received phone calls regarding my eldest. What in the world?! WHO calls a woman in labor?!?!?! Oh, and it was about inappropriate note passing. Is that not something they handle in school anymore? Does she not see the social worker who could talk to her about it? In any case, what in the WORLD did they think I could do about it while I am giving birth to a child! My husband and I dealt with the situation, which was not nearly as bad as we originally led to believe, and then re-discussed home school. I prayed and prayed about what I was supposed to do as I was still getting promptings.

Suddenly I started getting emails about virtual public schools and different activities. They were all free of charge and some extremely fun places so I decided to look into it. I was amazed. Adella resisted at first but quickly warmed up to the concept when she saw all the curriculum. It quickly came down to whether I was going to enroll them in K12 program or Maize Virtual Prep which uses Calvert Curriculum. After talking to several people and more prayers, I decided on Calvert because it is mostly text book and it was also what most of my friends either used or wished they had the money to use. We have been to many events and when the curriculum came, my children immediately wanted to get started. I think that was the confirmation I needed that this really was the right path. Sure, my kids are still TECHNICALLY in public school but I feel better using this method as I am not a teacher and don't even have a degree from college. I just don't feel qualified yet to do this on my own. I didn't have to really ponder about what books to chose and where to get them. When we get stuck, we have a certified teacher there to help us out. While I am not sure how long I will stay with Maize Virtual, I do know that I am following God's promptings and it is already starting to pay off. As far as what I say when other people say to me about "hurting them" by home schooling ... I simply tell them that I pray DAILY that I do right by my children and I follow the Lord's commandments for me. Each family is different and I firmly believe that what is right for my children, is for me, their mother and their provider, to teach them and guide them.

~My name is Heather and I am a mom of 3 children. I am a full time stay at home mom, but I like to call myself a chef, an accountant, a secretary, a maid, a chauffer, and a teacher. I am the world to my children and they are the world to me. I am far from perfect but striving to be what the Lord wants from me.

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