Archive | Homeschooling Stories

So I can take my life for granted . . .

*Submitted and written by Melissa Robb*

Many, possibly even most, times the phrase, “taken for granted”, is used in a negative way.  I like to use it in a positive way.  When I can take something for granted it shows, in my mind, that the situation is a very secure one, one I can rely upon.

There are many people in the past who have NOT taken their rights for granted.  Many of those people have spent a lot of their time, energy (and sometimes their lives) fighting for those things that I can take for granted now.  Those who fought the American Revolution, those who worked to change child labor laws, those who wouldn’t rest until women had the vote, and so many more… so many.

At this time in my life, there are two groups of people who come directly to mind when I think of things that I take for granted in my current daily life.

Feminists: this is a huge one for me.  I have been very conscious, for quite a long time that I do not have to fight for equality with males.  Women chose to oppose their husbands, chose to risk remarks from their female friends, and were made to feel like less.  I don’t have to read books about my rights as a female.  I don’t have to listen to feminists explain to me what life could be like.  I don’t have to take less pay because I’m not the man of the house.  I don’t have to focus on the fact that I am a female, just like I don’t focus on the fact that I am a person with blue eyes or a person who is right-handed.  I can take it for granted that I am simply a person, who happens to be female.  To those who planted the seed and those who marched in DC, to all the women who fought for their equalities within the confines of their own homes, thank you.

Homeschoolers of the 70s and 80s:  thank you, thank you.  You paved the way for my life today.  You hid inside the house for years, keeping your children away from prying eyes.  You wrote your own curriculum.  You stuck to your beliefs that your children belonged at home.  I have endless choices in curriculum.  My child has options of many workshops, classes offered from a variety of places.  We don’t have to close our curtains during the day.  We go out into the world without a shred of fear.   We live in a country where most people have least heard of homeschooling, even if they don’t know much about it.  The image of denim jumper moms and socially awkward kids are almost completely a thing of the past.  I thank every parent who chose homeschooling and every child who lived that life.  You have all made our right to homeschool something that we take for granted on a daily basis.  Thank you for paving the way.

I appreciate all I have in my life.  There are so many people have made and who continue to make me, here and now, possible (including my husband who leaves the house 5 days a week to earn a paycheck, which enables my chosen role as a SAHM – something I do not take for granted!!).   I pause, occasionally, to think, to breath and sometimes to audibly say, thank you, but mostly, I take you all for granted.   I am safe enough to do so.

Homeschool Mom.

***Submitted by ENRICHri’s Vice President Beth Daley:

I’m awoken abruptly by the roar of an engine and a strobe light illuminating my bedroom.  The sky is still dark as I glance at the clock.  5:49 a.m.  The high school bus groaned down the road with the teenage girls who live across the street aboard.

I let my head fall back into my pillow and close my eyes.  Five years ago, my infant son and I would be on the road with that bus.  He would be all geared up for daycare and I would be downing my coffee in a travel mug.  The heat would be seeping through the car vents and the headlights would be lighting the way.  I pulled up the covers.

Soon, I hear the pitter-patter of feet making their way down to the living room.  Giggles and chatter begin to fill the house.   My sons are ready to start the day.  My daughter is singing to herself in her crib.  Stretching, I slip on my sweatshirt and head to the kitchen.  I turn on the coffee maker and heat the pan.  Here come the good morning hugs and kisses.  Here come the stories about last nights dreams.

All of my pajama clad babies are now playing together in the morning light in the kitchen as their pancakes begin to bubble on the stovetop.  My mind again flashes back as I take a peek the clock.  6:52 a.m.  Five years ago, my son would have been in his classroom and I would have been in mine, greeting students for the day.

Pancakes are flipped onto plates oozing with blueberries.  My five year old pours milk for himself and his brother.  The morning news in playing softly on the radio as I sit with my children at the kitchen table.  Their smiles covered in pancakes topped with milk mustaches.  I have my cinnamon sprinkled coffee in a warm Mickey mug.  We have a busy day ahead but for now, I am in the moment soaking it all in.

My five year old climbs on my lap to finish his breakfast.  I joke he is my Labrador, he is bigger than he realizes but will snuggle with me anytime.  Instead of sitting behind my classroom desk with my students settling in for the day, I am home settling with my loves for the day.

It has been an interesting transition for me.  This is the first year I did not have the back to school jitters, even though I left my classroom five years ago.  Today is the first day of public school for so many children.  If my family had chosen the more conventional route, we would be waiting for that school bus now, 7:30 a.m..  Today, I hug my kindergartener, my first born, tight as we wrap up breakfast and talk about the tilt of the Earth’s axis.

Happy first day of kindergarten my son.  I am so honored to be here with you for it.

Deciding to Homeschool.

Like any change in life the first step is a decision.

For me homeschool was always a thought  tucked away in a journal page, carelessly written while I sat next to my first napping toddler. I sent that toddler into the public school system for kindergarten. It was only a half day, and I told him everyday if he hated it we could homeschool. Kindergarten was a success for us so I got the coolest non toxic backpack I could find and sent him into his first day of  First grade as a full day kid.


By the end of first grade it was clear that the public school was not going to be our thing. I did not want to be at the mercy of the teacher roulette wheel. Every year hoping we had one who was not burnt out, or better suited to be a DMV clerk. My son was bored with the work, and being reprimanded for not using a planner. Recess was missing, and so was that joy I expected to see on his face when I would pick him up after school.


So we decided.

After that the waves of doubt, fear, and confusion that seem to be normal came.

I googled “homeschool in RI” ENRICHri  came up with info on a homeschool 101 meeting. I signed up and set off to the Seekonk library to meet other people considering homeschool as an education option. After the two hours ended I  was less afraid than I had been before stepping into the doors of the Seekonk library.

I joined ENRICHri that same night I left the Homeschool 101. I was going to live this lifestyle, and I had no desire to do it alone.

The scariest part for me was in the paperwork. Rhode Island seemed to be rigid, and all over the place,leaving each city or town district to deal with their homeschoolers. When I had let my sons school know we were going to homeschool for second grade they handed me a packet of papers stating I MUST send it filled out to the district. Maybe they did think it was a thing I MUST do, but I learned from other homeschoolers in my district that it was an unnecessary step in the process, and that comradery was priceless.

Then came the curriculum choices which can be overwhelming. Every homeschooler who has been doing it for a while seems to say the same thing. Whatever you start with will change by mid year, and do not spend a ton of money on your curriculum. I myself did not listen to the latter suggestion, and was smiling at myself mid year when that expensive choice got boxed up and moved off the shelf. When I got into a rut with our work I started looking for homeschool books. I stumbled across a Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer and with the guidelines in the book I was able to create a rhythm that worked for us.

On this journey I am often reminded of q quote by Iian Thoms; “Everything has changed yet, I am more me than I have ever been.” Living a homeschool lifestyle is worth breaking down the walls of fear and doubt, and lucky for us Rhode Island is brimming with folks doing it together.