Stories from New Homeschoolers: Why We Opted for School at Home

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Stories from New Homeschoolers: Why We Opted for School at Home

In the Sonlight Connections group (membership for anyone with a free account on sonlight.com) and the Teacher Connection group (membership offered to qualified new Sonlighters), we asked brand new, unexpected homeschoolers about their choice to school at home with Sonlight this school year. While every parent or grandparent who answered had a unique story, there were some common themes repeated over and over.

If you, too, are a surprised 2020 homeschooler, their reasons may resonate with you. Those of you who are long-time experienced homeschoolers may smile to see that a lot of the same reasons to homeschool during the year of Covid-19 are the same reasons to homeschool without a pandemic.

[Some responses have been shortened for brevity and lightly edited.]

Saddened by the Requirements of In-Person School

"Homeschooling was always something I was interested in doing. I started looking at Sonlight back when my daughter was tiny, but then she started [public] school and loved it! We have been blessed with the greatest public school teachers! Until now, public school was the best option for our kids

"This fall ... [p]ublic school would feel anything but normal to them.... Keeping them home and getting to explore America History with them sounded so much more exciting! I feel so blessed with this unexpected year at home with them! And who knows? We may keep going!"

Megan C.

"Pre-pandemic we found a preschool after visiting a dozen preschools that my son loved. But after seeing kids eating and doing art work at tables alone, I decided we’d stay home, read good books, and explore the outdoors."

Brittney N.

"I've always wanted to homeschool, but [it] wasn’t in the cards because both my husband and I had to work full time. But since my job is now at home, I researched the options to see if we could do it while still working full time. I needed something that was already scheduled for me. Sonlight fit my needs and has been a blessing to us so far. The last straw for me was seeing the requirements that my child would be required to not only wear a mask all day at school but also on the entire bus ride."

Amy R.

Unhappy with Online School

"My husband was wanting [to homeschool] since my children were babies, but I held back. I didn’t want to fail them, to have the responsibility of their education rest on my shoulders. While we love our neighborhood school, we knew [our children] would be miserable doing schooling at home online. COVID-19 was our little nudge. The nudge encouraging us to do what I was fearful of, and Sonlight helped foster and equip me to take on the task. We are loving it, my children are thriving, and we are so blessed to have found Sonlight."

Kortney A.

"I teach 2nd grade in a public school. I never thought homeschooling would be in the cards for my family! But after reviewing the virtual option our district was offering, I knew that my daughter would not be getting a quality education this year. Add to that the possibility of inconsistent in-person/online instruction, and I knew that a stable program with high quality instruction was the right choice for us this year.

"We are on week 4 and are already loving the way the literature and history are intertwined! Plus homeschooling has given us the freedom to take field trips to some of the places she’s reading about it! Our year has started off great!"

Wendy G.

"My husband and I both work, and our girls (now 2nd and 4th grade) have been in public school since kindergarten. When schools closed due to Covid, I quickly decided public school distant learning wasn't going to work for us. I disliked the Google classroom and felt that, in spite of their teachers' best efforts, our girls didn't make much progress last spring.

"Ultimately I chose Sonlight because of the good reviews, its prepared schedules/guides, and the ability to use the same history and science programs for children close in age. Today was our first day. Although homeschool wasn't originally in our plans, I believe this change is going to benefit our family and I'm excited for this year of learning with our girls."

Esther M.

"We are raising our five year old grandson. He was to start kindergarten this fall, and I was going to be retiring. When Covid numbers in our community ticked up in June, I became concerned about what school would look like for him. In early August, our school district still hadn’t decided. I felt doing any part of his kindergarten year virtually was not a good fit for him. Homeschooling seemed like the best answer. When I found Sonlight, it seemed like the perfect answer."

Joanne K.

"My husband is a teacher in the same district our kids would have been attending. He has to be on campus, on Zoom, all day for virtual learning. We didn’t want our kids sitting in front of the screens all day, every day. They would come to hate school that way.

"Plus, I have fibromyalgia and can’t always function at regular times of the day, so we needed the flexibility of homeschooling. We’re one week in and averaging one tearful breakdown a day, but it’s getting better. The kids love it and ask to do the reading each day. I like the simplicity of it once I’ve pulled all the lessons together from the IGs for the week (I’m a teacher, too, so I love not having to plan lessons every day!). So far, we’re all really happy with Sonlight and can’t wait to see what’s coming for the rest of the year!"

Lindsey C.

The Consistency of Homeschooling

"Uncertainty, consistency, and stability are the reasons we chose to homeschool our kindergarten and pre-k children this year. I couldn't handle not knowing how the year in person would go, and felt safest staying home anyway. We also didn't want our daughter sitting in front of a computer screen for hours per day, either. We decided that by keeping them home with us we could provide the most stable, consistent, safe environment for them. And by choosing Sonlight, I can work with both kids together for a lot of our school time, rather than trying to keep our little guy occupied separately while working with our daughter."

Becky S.

"Homeschool is the one thing I swore I was not cut out for. As an artist, I was sure my free spirited, somewhat disorganized ways would not translate well into educating my children. It wasn't until the pandemic happened and virtual learning pushed us out of school that I started seriously thinking about homeschool.

"As I helped my three children through virtual learning, I realized I loved having them home and working with them and just maybe I was being called to this. The more restrictions the school put in place for the year, the more I realized that educating them at home could be the most consistent and normal education they could get this year. It was scary to fill out the paperwork to pull them out of public school, but now we are in our third week of homeschool. It has already started to turn the hearts of my children towards me and I towards them. We have read great books and are really glad we choose this rout or rather that God pushed us in this direction."

Leli H.

"Stability. We love our private school and were wholehearted set on going back. But the ups and downs of state mandates and confusion made us question if we needed to be part of this. Plus the cost for attending private school and moving to a remote learning classroom did not make sense to us financially. We chose to possibly sacrifice our spots going forward at the school so we could have the freedom to learn without constant screens and virtual classrooms or questions of dealing with pandemic confusion. We took the plunge. I have a sign hanging up in my homeschool room: 'It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.'"

Jaime B.

The Flexibility of Homeschooling

"I am a single mom who never thought I'd be able to homeschool my son. My son has asked over the years if he could be homeschooled, and I've always said 'No, because I have to work to support us.'

"Since my son has been in the 1st grade, he has always gone to morning care and afterschool care. So he was at school for basically 11-12 hours a day. I felt horrible, but there was no other way.

"Now with COVID, I've realized homeschooling could actually work. Depending on how much my son enjoys this year, I may continue at least through middle school (he's a 6th grader) and reevaluate for high school. We are 5 weeks in to HBL F, and I am seeing the amount of flexibility we have with life and with work. I no longer have to rush to meet that 6 pm pickup deadline."

Andrea H.

I've always said that I would homeschool in a heartbeat if the Lord made it crystal clear. Throughout the summer we were still on the traditional school train as school was going to be opening up for 1st and 2nd grade in our area and that's what grades are "big kids" are in. Well, on August 6th (24 hours before our kiddos headed "back to school") is when the Lord made it clear. The straw for me was finding out that we were going to need to pack a big zip lock bag of items for the kids to play with on the playground (chalk, cars, dolls) since they would not be able to play n the playground due to the new restrictions. That did not sit well with me and the Lord opened my eyes to the fact that I am daily out in our gorgeous backyard kicking the ball with our 2 year old … living a life of FREEDOM … and I wanted the same flexibility, freedom, and year of JOY for our 6 and 8 year old as well!! We are thrilled with our decision and thank the Lord every day for making it clear.

Whitney N.

Special Needs Kids Thrive with School at Home

"My son is gifted and has mild autism. We have struggled through public school the past 2 years, not academically, but emotionally and socially. When Covid-19 hit, we continued to do school with a daily routine but used materials we had at home that I knew were on his level.

"I saw his anxiety and stress decrease dramatically as he was at home. The tone of our whole home became more relaxed, and we are able to enjoy more activities and do therapies that are needed. We have seen so much growth and joy return to our son as we have been at home learning. As schools pushed off decision making, I knew I had to have consistency for my son (and daughter entering K), so I dove in and started making a plan. We are on our 3rd week of Sonlight and love all of the literature-based learning."

Rachel B.

"I had been considering homeschooling for years, but my husband wasn’t on board. Our son has begged to be homeschooled for years, too. This season we are in forced us to make a choice and my husband finally got on board with homeschooling. Our 6th grader said this is the best school year he’s ever had, and he’s got zero anxiety! We love it!

Amy J.
CoraJane

"Our daughter, CoraJane, has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (aka Brittle Bone Disease), and is high risk for COVID as a result. We actually pulled her out of public school the Friday before the public school closed for the rest of the year. For the first 6 weeks, the school was not able to provide any learning, so we started doing our own thing pretty much right away. We took the opportunity to start her on a reading program designed specifically for dyslexic students that the school had not been able to provide. We immediately noted the growth in her reading skills, due partly to the program and partly due to the one-on-one time.

"The school finally began offering virtual learning, and it was so stressful, unnecessarily long, and not a good way to learn for our daughter. While we continued to do the virtual, we also added our own curriculum, just pieced together. We continued to work on math and reading over the summer, and can't believe how much progress she made! Although our school did reopen, we just couldn't send her with her risk. I joined a bunch of homeschool groups, and Sonlight just kept coming up. I checked it out, and it just really spoke to me.

"I thought maybe I was crazy considering a literature-based curriculum for a dyslexic, but I figured if I was willing to do a lot of reading aloud, we could pull it off. We are currently doing Science and HBL A and loving it. We are always done in less than 2 hours. No stress, and it's enjoyable for both of us."

Angela S.

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