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.

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