Families have been homeschooling since the dawn of time. The reasons we do so now are varied yet we are all under the same umbrella of home educating our children. Over the years the trends change and homeschool group notice an influx at certain times of the year or during education regulation or curriculum changes, such as the Common Core issues in New York that are still playing out as of January 2014.

During times such as the Common Core debate at the moment, the homeschool community gets an influx of what is known as the “Emergency Homeschooler.” This family is generally is some sort of crisis and turns to homeschool as a last resort. Basically this family had every intentions of public or private school and never expected that it would not work out. The reason could be bullying, severely falling behind academically, behaviorally, special needs, the push from schools to medicate, or some other unexpected reason which pushes a family into homeschooling. Interestingly enough, I have found that Emergency Homeschoolers turn out to be some of the communities biggest home education proponents.

Some parents have always planned to homeschool, including those who decided before even having children. These parents have researched the topic and feel it would be the best fit. They may have their approach or their curriculum all worked out and many have become intimate with the homeschool regulations of their state in order ensure their ducks are all in a row.

Down the middle of the road are families that considered homeschooling as an option and ended up there for any of a variety of reasons. Some families homeschool some of their children and the siblings going to public or private school. Some homeschool with the intention it will be a short lived action because they are moving, the teacher this year did not get along with their child or other reasons.

As you can see by now, there’s a variety of reasons parents homeschool their children and there are a variety of ways to approach homeschooling.

My name is Linda and I am homeschooling for kindergarten this year, and will continue for first grade.  I have a son with an anxiety disorder and food allergies. My son, Kevin, does not have a learning delay, only issues with behavior.

Kevin has progressed with one on one education. It is excellent for kids who can learn but need a curriculum that will work with their pace. In school there is so much pressure for the teacher to finish lesson plans on time, and move forward. Homeschooling is great for kids with special diets, and do not fit in a typical box.

We do have tutors that are certified teachers, not everyone needs to hire help but it works in our situation.  I also have after school programs and I am very aware of how important peer socialization is for kevin. Kevin is an only child so library workshops, gym with music class and meet ups with homeschool groups are very important for us.

When I was pregnant I read an article in Mothering Magazine called “Free At Last” by Daniel Greenberg. The article talked about Sudbury Valley School and how children were free to find their own interests and pursue their passion. Eventually they all learn to read and write because society dictates it necessary if you want to correspond with the world. This idea spoke to me at such a deep level I pursed a plan to get my son into such a school, if not the original.

Fast forward a few years, his experience there was completely wonderful, but we had to move back to New York where there was no such such school in the area. I then pursued the option to start one and opposition was great. Eventually I found LIGHT and realized homeschooling was my next option.

My reason was that my son was active, very active and I felt that sitting at a desk would only cause frustration for him and his teacher. I also felt that he was not ready to learn in a “linear” way that school pedagogy dictated and that my kinetic learner really needed hands on, worldly, and lots of social breaks to learn most efficiently.

Don’t get me wrong, I never disliked school as I myself found it a wonderful respite from a rough and stressful household. I was a linear thinking. I soaked up all my information from reading books and listening to the teacher. Not everyone needs or responds well to that kind of learning and the few that do sometimes are burnt by the false emulation of life in a school atmosphere. When you go to work, they don’t regulate you to the “40 year olds” cubicles why should school do the same? Abilities and desire to learn should be how classes are broken down and children need to go at their own pace. This works best in a Sudbury Vally Model school or in a homeschooling environment.

Our homeschool years have been wildly successful and we have become close as a family because of it. My son soaks in his formal education now and doesn’t resent his new learning environment because he had a chance to grow his core and like the person he has become.