Who are we?
Hopefully by this point, you have read a little bit about me already and have an inkling on who I am. I’m the unofficial captain of this ship, just don’t go broadcasting that though. The roll call for our home is Daddy, Momma, Son, and Husky. But let me start from the beginning (bare with me).
I am sitting in Dr. Davis’ office, wondering why on Earth is he taking up my time with telling me how crappy my senior paper is. I ought to know as I did my senior paper literally the night before it was due. The conversation went to him asking me what did I want for my life. I believe this moment was the kick starter to my present day life. I remember telling him that I just simply want to be able to do for my son, without having to ask for permission to do so. This is when Davis told me about the freedom of teaching in higher education. I was hooked after hearing his story, and the work began that moment to try to copy his lifestyle.
So someone thought I was capable enough to run a college classroom. On that note, thanks Dr. Davis for your faith in me. I literally adored this job and had exactly what I wanted in life. My plan was to set up shop as a college history instructor as I thought this was the good life. Now, each time my son’s school would call about him “acting up” or him being sick, I could literally cancel class, easily rearrange my schedule, take off, bring my son to campus, and more. I felt that I was there for my son when I really needed to be. However….
There was a however….
I had the feeling that Josh wasn’t happy, wasn’t being treated fairly, and that each school we had him in, wasn’t catering to his brilliance that I knew existed in him. I felt his light dimming, and also felt helpless. These years were fulfilling for me professionally, but the parent in me was sad and frustrated. We blamed Joshua for some of the phone calls of him being a nuisance and we blamed the school for not being what we imagined.
Joshua gets kicked out of Pre-K!
Joshua was enrolled in a diverse school for his pre-K 4 school year. It was constant phone calls about him misbehaving, not napping, not sitting down. I would literally drop him off, go teach a class or two, drive back to that side of town to babysit and observe him for an hour or two, then go back to work for a few hours, then pick him up at the end of the day. This school was not a good fit, and when we went up there to confront the administration about Joshua being racially insulted by his classmate, we were put out, and not the little boy who said the racist things.
School No. 5
Joshua is starting kindergarten at his now fifth school. At this point, I feel like a loser that each year, he has to go through not knowing anybody. This year was a slightly better environment, but academically it sucked. I still get phone calls about his behavior, and I still have the freedom to go to his school at a moment’s notice. Joshua finishes the school year, without being kicked out, and we now head to Washington, D.C. for his first grade year.
I am no longer working at my beloved job, and now have the roll of stay at home mom and doctoral student still. I get to walk my son to school everyday and be home on a full-time basis. But….you guessed it….phone calls start up again. This is a year where I can remember stress creeping up more and more, as I am flying home monthly to finish school, dealing with Josh’s behavior, and suffering on the inside from missing my old job really bad. Confession. I actually dropped a couple of tears on the first day of school as I was no longer teaching there.
Joshua finishes his hellish first grade year and we go to spend our entire summer travelling, as by this time, Chris is working from home. NOTE: It is a norm in D.C. to have jobs that allow telecommuting.
Second grade starts in two weeks
Chris and I are in Mississippi at this moment, and talking about the long drive back to D.C., as it is time to go Back to School shopping. I can vividly remember getting “worked up” about second grade for Josh. Chris goes, “let’s just homeschool him.” We first heard about homeschooling from one of my former college teachers and we always flirted with the idea, but neither one of us wanted to leave our jobs at the time. I mean, I am trying to finish a Ph.D. here and get a dream job at Howard University. I remember asking Chris if he knew that meant he would be the breadwinner and he said that’s not an issue. So….we started homeschooling!
Does Joshua have behavior issues?
Short answer. No. The more I look back, the more I realize nothing was wrong with Joshua, and I feel remorse for blaming him during those years, as some of the times, we sided with the teacher. Joshua was just a typical kid who could not understand long hours and sitting down for hours. He was always brilliant and quick to understanding. His reading level was outstanding, he was a natural for understanding math, and ADORED being a class helper. What we understand now about him is that he is a little genius, who just doesn’t like to sit still. And to us, he didn’t deserved to be condemned for being a kid. Some old school thoughts are that you are suppose to “make” them sit down and believe us, we tried. Joshua is what he has always been, a teacher to me and Chris. Joshua is the reason why we largely live the way we do as he tests some of our antiquated notions of what parenting is and shows us a different way to do that is different from the norm.
Joshua starts his day by going to the park first in the mornings, riding his bike, playing basketball, climbing trees, chasing the dog at the dog park, and then comes home and knocks out his work. He is currently fourth grade and already is surpassing me in math and science. This process of homeschooling and parenting has transformed the whole house.
Chris and I both had to learn that the way we were parented, wasn’t going to fully work for Josh. We had to accept that that wasn’t such a bad thing. My mother was anti-homeschooling and thought I was doing the wrong thing whether we are in NYC, Chicago, Mississippi, those workbooks and library cards come with us. Joshua loves to explore different parks in different cities, grab my phone to hail an Uber, look on Yelp to find a new place to eat, swim in hotel pools, and still get his work in.
Is homeschooling easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes. You are totally charting uncharted territory in your family, so grandma and nobody else can give you tips. You have to YouTube, follow blogs, meet other parents, and go within yourself for this journey. My son is becoming increasingly smarter than me in some subjects, which is actually great because at the end of the day, that is what we want as parents. I tell Joshua often that I am glad to have the time with him that I have, as I could not imagine him being at school from 9 AM – 4 PM, 5 days a week, 9 months a year.
To end this long post, don’t be afraid to search out what you really want for your family. Start the research now and start planning for a feasible time to where you too, could do this journey. I know full-time working parents who homeschool, I know parents who are dumb as rocks who homeschool with the help of online public and private schools. Traditional school isn’t for everybody. It wasn’t for our son.
We made the decision to homeschool being scared and not having all of our ducks in a row. Find your reason for wanting to homeschool and start planning.