gmhTODAY Summer 2022 - Page 38

A Look Into Aternative Education by Jullianne Ahlin

through Vine Academy , where Charlotte attends in person classes three days a week – English , Math , Science , History , and Art .

When asked if I would ever homeschool my daughter as she was entering Kindergarten , I replied “ Never .” Now 11 , along with her siblings who are six and four , we have almost completed our first year of learning together . While I still have moments where I question myself , homeschooling has been the best decision for our family .

Our oldest daughter , Charlotte , was in third grade when Covid hit ; On a Friday in 2020 , we sent her to school and by that afternoon we were told she wouldn ’ t be returning . Sadly enough , a year and a half later , we were all still isolated and dealing with this new way of learning .
As a former middle school teacher , I was confident I could teach my own , but I struggled with what this would look like and how it would pan out . I was fortunate to get advice and direction from friends who had homeschooled for years . We applied to the Charter Ocean Grove and were , at first , rejected ; demand was high due to Covid . With tears rolling down my face , we tried to figure out what was next and toured other academies . By mid-June Ocean Grove was accepting students from the waitlist and we were picked !
Homeschooling has many positive elements . We have a flexible schedule and we can learn where we want , whether it be in our designated school space , at the kitchen table , or even while jumping around to get the wiggles out . We can take vacations without missing learning days . We can learn outside the box , in nature , and through field trips . We are not bound by a traditional checklist and the need to do the same thing every day . In addition , we discovered a learning disability ( that was previously undiagnosed ) which has allowed us to get the proper help and resources for our child .
On a typical day , I get Charlotte settled first , then our youngest , Everly . The big kids and I tackle phonics , writing , reading , and math . We break for snacks and outdoor time . Most days we are done by lunch . A few days a week we incorporate science , history , art , Spanish , and / or music . After lunch , I focus one-on-one with Charlotte . Our goal ( each home day ) is to be done by 2 pm , but we may end up working until 4 ; on days when distractions / priorities occur , we can work as late as 7 , though those days are few and far between .
Teaching one child is much different than teaching 30 . On days when it ’ s just Connor and me , he gets my full attention . What would take an entire school day in a classroom doesn ’ t take us nearly as long . I can also back off when I see he is frustrated or overloaded ; Connor has a lot of energy and needs to incorporate movement and fidgeting into his learning , which I ’ ve added into his schooling . I have gained
I was anxious in the beginning of homeschooling . Charlotte was starting fifth grade , Connor , kindergarten , and I was their teacher . What was I thinking ? What helped me through this process was our incredibly kind educational specialist ( ES ), Jenny , our advisor through Ocean Grove . She guided me through the curriculum choosing process , calmed my nerves about what was expected , and answered any questions or concerns as they arose . I found more support
38 SUMMER 2022 gmhTODAY Magazine gmhtoday . com