It's true — we quit homeschooling. It's back to school next week and both my kids will be going to school. In this post, I'll share why we decided to quit homeschooling.
I'll also share how we are dealing with the very real challenges of establishing back-to-school routines, including how to get kids to bed at night and how to get them to bathe and brush their teeth (these are challenges in our household). Thanks to Tom's of Maine® for sponsoring this post and supporting my blog.
This post is sponsored by Tom's of Maine® and all opinions are my own.
Why We Quit Homeschooling
Before I tell you the story of what happened, I will start by saying… this is not a post about why everyone should quit homeschooling. I still support homeschooling as the best choice for many, many families. It just ended up not being right for us. And I think we are all going to be a lot happier.
I homeschooled my daughter Kate until she was in 2nd grade… and then we decided to put her in a private Montessori elementary school. We did that for two reasons… (1) She was an only child at that time (that was before our son was born) and just wasn't getting enough social interaction and (2) The blog network I had started had grown a lot and my husband and I were working all the time. I just didn't have the time to spend homeschooling.
Montessori ended up being a great thing for Kate… until it wasn't. Two years later she really started having a hard time. She started begging me to homeschool her. This was after Ollie was born and my blog network had crashed. I thought to myself, maybe this is my opportunity to do what I've always wanted to do… homeschool my kids.
But sometimes God has other plans…
How Hearing Loss Led to Social Anxiety
It's a long story but we found out this year that my daughter Kate (age 11) has congenital hearing loss. The audiologist told us this type of hearing loss is (a) genetic and not caused by anything we did or anything environmental and (b) it doesn't show up until just before or around puberty. That's why we didn't know she had a hearing problem… when she was tested for it when she was a baby, it didn't show up.
Looking back, this explains why Kate became so unhappy in school. She didn't know she was having trouble hearing. You see, she hears fine one on one, but she has trouble hearing in groups. So the way this manifested was Kate started becoming more and more uncomfortable in class. She just thought she was shy (which she never had been before).
The audiologist also told us that it's very common for children with hearing loss to experience social anxiety.
Why School is Best for Our Situation
After we discovered Kate had hearing loss and got her hearing aids, we realized it is really important for her to be around other kids in a classroom setting. It was so easy for her to isolate at home… and that's not what's best for her.
We found a private school that is a good fit for us, with smaller classrooms so Kate can adjust easier.
I'm very grateful that things have worked out the way they have — and we are excited about back to school! I realized it doesn't make me a “bad” mom if I don't homeschool… and I'm excited about the new blog I'm launching… (update coming soon!)
Making the Transition Back to School: Setting Up Routines
One of the biggest challenges we face as former homeschoolers as we transition to go back to school… is how to establish routines. If you've ever homeschooled, you know you don't have a lot of routines. Bedtimes are flexible, wakeup times are flexible, what you do each day is flexible.
Heck, that's true for summertime, too! Even if you're not a homeschooler, getting back into school routines in the fall can be tough for families.
Here are some things we are doing to create stronger routines to help support our transition back to school.
Shut the Wifi Off at Night
One of the biggest challenges we are facing with back to school is getting the kids to bed early so they can wake up in the morning. My husband and I are both entrepreneurs and we both work from home, so we have flexible schedules, too.
Kate has to be at school starting next week at 7:55 am and Ollie has to be at preschool by 8:30 am. Since we are all are used to staying up late… the idea of getting up this early is a real challenge for our family.
One thing I am doing to prepare is shutting down the Wifi at a specific time every night.
Did you know you can turn off your wifi to specific devices (*cough* the kids iPads) at automated times every day? Yes, you can set it to specific devices! That means you can set it so the internet on your 5-year-old's iPad shuts off at 7 pm, and your 15-year-old's iPhone gets shut off at 10 pm. Automatically, ya'll!
Yeah, the cable company does NOT make this easy… You have to be a complete nerd 🤓 to figure it out. But I finally did… For the first time in a decade, we're going to able to get everyone to sleep by 10 pm.
If you want to know how to do it, it's different depending on which cable company you use. Many cable companies have parental controls you can access online. Contact your cable company or internet provider and they will walk you through it.
Plan Your School Year Calendar
As homeschoolers, we never had to plan for the school year… since we had so much flexibility. If we wanted to take a trip or go camping in April or October, we just picked up and did it.
I am using Google calendar to plan the entire year and we are going to be booking trips ahead when they have long weekends or whole weeks off. Because Kate is going to a Christian school, we get an entire MONTH off at Christmas — woo hoo! I'm planning a family trip to New York for Thanksgiving to see the Macy's Day Parade… and maybe a trip to Hawaii for Christmas.
I'll also be planning dentist and doctor appointments on her days off… to be honest, I'm kind of looking forward to more routine.
Set Up Personal Care Routines and Times
I have set up tooth brushing stations and bathing times for both of the kids. I got Kate special shampoo and conditioner and her own deodorant… and I got 3-year-old Ollie his own toothpaste, as well as a cup and toothbrush.
We have been using Tom's of Maine naturally-based fluoride-free toothpaste for over a decade now. I headed over to Sprouts Farmers Market, which is where I shop a lot of the time, to pick up some more to stock in our bathroom cabinets.
Tom's of Maine® also just sent us a box of toothpaste and deodorant.
I love Tom's of Maine toothpaste because I only buy fluoride-free toothpaste for our family. The kids deodorants have no aluminum and no parabens or artificial fragrances.
I also love that by choosing Tom's of Maine®, I'm supporting the Kids in Need Foundation. Tom's of Maine® has partnered with them to send over 10,000 backpacks to children in need to help them start their school year off right.
Thanks, Tom's of Maine® for supporting Kids in Need and for supporting my blog!
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