The Freedom to Choose Homeschool

I knew my ultimate goal was to homeschool, I wanted my kids home with me. 

There are years when my children didn’t know me or know my warm embrace. You see, we have children who were adopted into our family. I wanted to make up for those lost years and create a secure attachment and environment where the children could count on our consistency and love. That’s one of the main reasons my husband and I chose to homeschool. We had made this decision before we had even met our kids.

We met our children on April 22, 2012 and were welcomed into the parenting world with wide open arms. We were now entrusted with the privilege of caring for an eight-year-old boy named Jonathan, a five-year-old girl named Jazmine, a thirteen-month-old girl named Christina, and a seventeen day old baby boy named Kyle.

We knew it was next-to-impossible to homeschool while our children were still in foster care. We hadn’t even asked, we just assumed we couldn’t (at least at first). We made it through the last couple of months of Jonathan’s second grade year without any major issues. Then we had the summer to work with Jazmine who was preparing to enter Kindergarten that fall.

We faced what seemed like insurmountable educational delays with Jazmine who didn’t know how to count to five, identify basic colors, sing her ABC’s, or even name common shapes. That summer we spent so much time trying to get her as ready as we could. Yet I still sat nervous the night before school started wondering what was going to happen to this little girl who wasn’t equipped for the year ahead of her.

We struggled much of the 2012-2013 school year. 

Jonathan faced peer pressure in the classroom and struggled emotionally to understand what was going on with the case and where he would spend his forever. Jazmine was so overwhelmed at attempting to do schoolwork that she started to just give up and act out. That was easier for her. Therefore, almost daily she was sent out of her classroom for various disruptions, she was sent home early several times throughout the year, and she was even suspended for her out-of-control behavior towards the end of the school year.

We felt lost in a sea of phone calls and sad faces on behavior charts. Early that spring I started asking our social worker if we could homeschool the children the following year because the case was starting to move towards adoption. She consulted her supervisor, but the answer was no. After Jazmine’s suspension I asked for permission to only homeschool her. The answer was still no.

We started talking about holding Jazmine back a grade so she could try to catch up educationally, the worker agreed that was probably best. Yet our local school system didn’t allow students to repeat grades until after the third grade. We didn’t know what to do, and we didn’t have the freedom to choose what was best, in our minds.

We decided to find something that would at least work short-term. We asked permission to send the kids to a private school. This way Jazmine could repeat and catch-up educationally, and Jonathan might find better peer influences and would get a fresh start. Finally, we got a yes!

By the time this decision was made most private schools in our area were already filled for the following year. Praise the Lord though, after much searching we found a school about thirty minutes away that had room for both of the children and wouldn’t stretch our budget too much.

I experienced a greater amount of peace in 2013 when school started, yet I still wanted my kids home. We began the year knowing that we would probably adopt the children before 2014 came and praying for guidance about what to do as we continued into the new year. Would we keep the kids in their private school? Would we withdraw them at Christmas break? Would we bring them home right after adoption day?

Early on into the new school year we realized that Jonathan was not up-to-par with his peers. He had simply been pushed along through his years in public school without truly understanding what we was being taught. He struggled greatly educationally in the private school. So much so that we had to remove him from any extra-curricular activities to focus on school work. We were working most evenings on homework from the time he came home until bed. Jazmine was doing great educationally at the new school and finally starting to learn more, yet she felt like an outsider in a class that realized something was different about her. She started struggling socially in this new school environment,

As November entered and October left us the kids were both starting to dislike school. In their minds, school was a place to struggle.

When November 22, 2013 came around and we had the blessing of adopting our children, we knew they needed to be home. 

This decision wasn’t just because we wanted them home, we felt like they truly needed to be home. Jonathan struggled socially in public school, but then struggled educationally in private school. Jazmine struggled educationally in public school, then socially in private school.

We wanted an environment where they could both thrive wholly. 

And finally, we had the freedom to choose.

We withdrew them from their private school the day that we legally became their parents. It has been the best place for them to learn and grow and feel unconditional love.