Monday, August 12, 2013

A New Adventure!

 This past June I celebrated with my nephew, Nathan, as he reached the milestone of finishing elementary school.  I drove down for his big day and had lunch with his family.  I also brought him this balloon as a way of indicating both my pride and my wish for him to continue on with his education.

Although it was an exciting day I couldn't help but feel a bit of underlying worry. 

It is the local custom to finish elementary school in the fifth grade where my nephew went to school; not the sixth grade as I am accustomed to.

My nephew has always been able to keep up with or exceed the educational expectations of any classroom, but his social issues often create some real trouble that even the best teacher struggles to deal with.

I have continued to wonder over the summer how Nathan would do with the big transition to middle school- with all it's new responsibilities of having to move from one class to another all day, keeping organized with the proper supplies for each class, navigating each day as one of the youngest yet tallest and biggest kids in the school.

Although I know that my nephew will eventually be perfectly capable of dealing with all of this I haven't been able to keep from worrying.

Then one day last week I got a most interesting phone call.  It was my nephew's Dad, telling me that he wanted my opinion on something.  He was considering homeschooling for Nathan.  He had many of my same concerns, especially about the transitions into this next school year.

Wow, my mind was reeling.  I have to admit that I have many times believed that Nathan would benefit greatly from homeschooling, even before my worries about the transition to middle school.  I have actually believed in, participated in helping with some subjects for our neighborhood kids who are home schooled, and loved the homeschooling idea for a very long time.  I grew up with close friends who were home schooled and came to the public school for band classes and sports. 

I also know that homeschooling is not for everyone.

Although my secret heart's desire has been for my nephew to be home schooled for quite a while now, I have also faced up to the idea that asking his Dad to do that is asking a whole lot, as he is a single parent. 

True enough, Nathan lives with his grandmother as well as his father and yet I have just never been able to justify asking them to do this for Nathan.

Turns out his Dad is more than willing to be as creative as he possibly can to help out with home schooling and Nathans grandmother is also more than willing to participate.  I have also signed on to take Nathan for a couple of weeks at a time just as I do during holidays now.  I will be doing it more often and helping out with his schooling process when I do.  Hopefully, that will help to keep Nathan & his Dad as close as they are now, without too much over exposure and frustration creeping in!

We have all agreed to try this for one year and see where it goes, knowing that often the first year of home schooling is the toughest. 

Nathan will stay in his local after school program for social interaction and his grandmother will take him to that on most afternoons. 

I am excited to be joining the home school movement and I will let you know how it's going!


  1. Good news. I applaud you for taking such an interest in Nathan's life and being willing to be an active part in his success. I guess the biggest danger I see is becoming too much of a friend and not the one in charge. I am sure you will know how to deal with that and will make Nathan aware of your expectations and let him know that even when you aren't there you will be following his progress. Our principal once told us, "They can respect you now, and like you later." I will be looking forward to reading about the great things to come in this new endeavor. Take care.

    1. I do have a background working with kids as a preschool teacher, day care aid and nanny for 17 years. All of my kids say I was tough, but fair. They knew what the expectations were.
      Nathan already has a habit of checking in with me to talk about school issues so we will be strengthening that habit for sure.
      I feel like this will be good for all of us.

  2. Sounds like a winner. I'm all for home schooling if it isn't a burden on the parents. It is a good thing they get to mingle with peers once in a while but there seem to be too much bullying going on now too. Good thing you are doing.

    1. I think it will be a fun challenge. I like the idea of having a bunch of family involved and showing a kid that we all care and that his future matters. It seems like a great idea to avoid the unnecessary issues with his behaviors in the classroom. I am curious to see if he excels more with his school subjects without all the distractions.

  3. That is excellent news, Jasmine. I didn't know that there was an after school program for kids who are home schooled... love this, because kids need social interaction! It sounds like this is the best of both worlds for Nathan and his dad is wonderful for taking it on (as are you, of course). I hope he flourishes in this environment. And, as you say, should he decide that he wants to return to public school, he will likely do better when he is older.

    1. The after school program isn't specifically for home schoolers, but is something that Nathan has been participating in as an opportunity to get help with homework and interact with other kids more as he does have so many social issues. He can continue even if we do home school.
      We're taking this as a one year endevour for now and we'll see where it goes, but we are all very excited to give it a try!

  4. The only thing I've always had a problem with regarding home-schooling is that children are not always exposed to other children and the whole interaction with others, social skills, introvert vs extrovert worries, come over me. But it seems as though you guys have that covered. Good for Nathan! This will be an exciting for him and for all of you as well. Good luck!:)

  5. So exciting! It sounds like you are all approaching this in a very thought out and responsible manner. Can't wait for updates to hear how the year is progressing.

  6. What an awesome dad, grandmother, and aunt! This year will most definitely be an adjustment and very different, but I know you all will be giving your nephew an amazing opportunity to grow and learn in a comfortable and supportive environment. That is HUGE in a child's ability to develop and grow positively.

    The first year is usually the hardest, especially after being in public school. If everyone takes it slow and goes at the pace that works best for where he is at, he will do wonderful, and you all will have quite an adventure this year as well.

    One thing I tell new homeschoolers is to remember, this is HOMEschooling, not school at home. It does not have to be just like at traditional school.

    How exciting! I wish your nephew the best!
    And if you ever have any questions about homeschooling, I'm here!

    1. Thank You! I am certainly inspired by all the great things I have seen you do with home schooling. :)

  7. I used to be concerned about homeschooling because of the socialization. Now I am concerned about public school because of the socialization. With family support, it all works out.


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