Bullying To Homeschooling Our Two Kids On One Income- 1 of 2 Part Series

Homeschooling

Homeschooling Days

My name is Nicole and I live in Calgary, Alberta and have homeschooled my two boys, ages 14 and 10, for 2 years now. Homeschooling was our oldest child’s idea due to bullying and other peer issues at his elementary school. They were in the public system before that and it was a huge nightmare for us. Homeschooling has been a huge blessing and stress relief for our entire family.

Why We Chose To Homeschool and  the process

Our oldest was dealing with major bullying issues in elementary school and it actually landed him in hospital for a week. During this time he had talked about homeschooling but didn’t think we would be able to do it because my husband and I worked full-time  We explained to him that if he thought it would help him and relieve some stresses, we would look into it. It must have been meant to be because of the way things lined up.  He had mentioned this on a Thursday. The following Wednesday we went to an Open House for the Centre for learning at Home. The next day we went to an Open House at CHER where we can buy all of our supplies and extra curriculum. It was supposed to end at 9 pm but we got a tap on the shoulders at 10:30 pm saying we should let the ladies go home. That is how engrossed we were in this resource store. We actually had our now facilitator sitting with us on the floor going through everything. The next day we sent in our application and within a week we received a letter stating “See you next year!”

We then explained to both of our boys, who both have ADHD that we were going to start homeschooling the following year as this all happened with about a month left in their current year. My kids were very excited and the stress was gone off their shoulders right away. Our youngest wasn’t sure he liked the idea at the time, but since we started he enjoys it a lot. We just had to get them through the last month and we could then work on enjoying a fun summer together. Needless to say, I quit my fulltime job to do this and haven’t looked back.

I can say it hasn’t been all roses as there is some stresses being the one overlooking the work they do and keeping them on task. It has been all worth it to see them so relieved and happy that they have no distractions and get their work completed in a more efficient way than they did when they were in public school. Not only that, but their marks have jumped between 30 and 40% since we started homeschooling. Their marks were low before as they were constantly being picked on and the schools wouldn’t do anything but “talk about it” which did nothing. Even the schools police liaison officer was involved in some of the problems and it still did nothing.

Homeschool Schedule

Homeschool Schedule- Double Click to see full version

Typical Day in Homeschooling

Our typical day starts on our own schedule, sometimes starting as late as 10am. We are usually done around 2:30 to 3pm and take a break when we feel we need it. We do what is called blended online schooling. What this means is that we have our core courses such as Math, LA, Science and Socials, online with a teacher in a virtual classroom that is called E-Live. We also have a main program called First Class where all daily communication is as well as lessons posted by the teachers. The other subjects such as Physical Education, Health and any options (i.e. art, mechanics, etc.) we do on our own. We are given a weekly schedule by the teacher outlining what it is that needs to be done and what work needs to be handed in. There is also work that we grade ourselves at home. As a result of schooling this way, the boys still get a report card and still receive the credits they need towards graduating.

Facilitator

Our facilitator comes to our house every couple of months to check on progress, answer any questions I may have or questions the boys have. She will also give suggestions on how to approach things that are being of difficulty for the boys. The boys love that they have more of an interaction to be included in how their day is spent and what activities we work on instead of going by a timetable at regular school. If the boys have any questions about the work that is being done they can get in touch with their online teacher throughout the day via phone, email or even instant messaging through the main program that is used.

It took us a while to get used to the computer programs that are used and after a month or two it got a bit easier. The boys got the hang of it faster than I did. If at any time we have a problem with a program, we have the Centre’s tech department available at all times via phone or email.

Excursions

There are tons of field trips that are available to us and we can choose to go or not go as they are not mandatory requirements. This is how the kids gain the social aspect of homeschooling so we try to go to as many as possible. If we choose to put our children in any type of activity such as art classes, swimming lessons, music lessons, etc., we can do so.

As we are the ones that are “schooling” the kids, we get funding based on the percentage of the learning outcomes we follow for the grade year. The reason being is that we are the school so we get the funding. If the child was in public school, the public school receives the funding to buy what is needed. We just need to keep our receipts and submit them. These receipts can include computers, printers, lessons, sports, etc. We are then paid once a month for our expenses submitted.

Homeschooling has been a huge eye-opener for all of us as we weren’t sure what exactly it entailed, how long the days would be, how holidays worked, etc. It has all worked itself out since we started and we have come to realize that this is something we should have done a long time ago both for our boys sake as well as ours.

Homeschooling on One Income

Financially we weren’t sure if we would be able to handle doing this with one income, but you learn to change and adapt your spending habits to make it work in order to have your children succeed. It may mean eating out less or not going to that movie this week, but to see the grades improve and the stress relief on everyone’s faces has been well worth it.

Depending on the province you live it can determine how homeschooling is done. We were fortunate that we found the Centre as they have been extremely helpful and a very positive influence for our family. We did have the chance to go through our local school board but we did notice that there weren’t as many options with it as we do now.

If you are thinking of looking into homeschooling your children, don’t hesitate as we believe that it has been a very positive outcome for our boys as well as us. We didn’t realize just how much we remembered from school so we can help the boys. Make homeschooling fun for your kids and it will be a fun experience for everyone.

Guest Post: Nicole is a stay at home mom to two boys ages 14, Brandon, and 10, Ryan.We live in Calgary, Alberta and have for the last 12 years. We have been homeschooling for 2 years now after being in the public system.

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Comments

  1. Nice post Nicole! So sorry to hear about your son. Bullying is horrible, but to end up in the hospital is another thing entirely. We actually homeschool our children as well. Our oldest is just over five and we started with her about 18 months ago. With the way her birthday falls se would not even be in kindergarten for another year. She’s reading now and many other areas she is really taking off. Our desire is to be able to homeschool them through middle school and send them to public high school. It does require sacrifices, but when it comes to your kids it’s entirely worth it.

    • Way to go to your daughter for her reading at such a young age! I totally agree about it being worth it. After all, as parents we would do anything for our kids if it meant they succeeded in life!

  2. Thank you for the peek into homeschooling Nicole, I am always curious as I am considering this if I have a family, mainly for the ease of relocation. And because being French, the distance learning program is free :). I think kids can learn a great deal at home, with crafts, preparing recipes, learning about prices at the supermarket… and be more ready to face life. There is another trend called unschooling which is about letting the kid learn by himself what he wants to learn which looks quite interesting too.

    • Sounds a lot like the traditional homeschooling back in the day. You got to choose what to learn and how much of a particular subject/issue you focused on. There are still some parents that choose this route and their children do very well for themselves and even achieve fantastic marks in University.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story Nicole. I have thought about homeschooling when we have kids.I know a number of families who have done it. Having been bullied my entire child hood I can definitely vouch for not having your child it that kind of environment. Thanks for breaking it all down. You definitely gave me something to think more about.

    • I myself was bullied as well. When my oldest mentioned he wanted to do it, I didn’t hesitate as I know he was very serious about it. Plus I knew he only would mention something like that if he wasn’t at the end of his rope so to speak.

  4. Christine Weadick says:

    Thanks for the great article on home schooling in AB. I’m in ON and had looked into it back in the nasty Harris government days, we had that 2 week protest that didn’t impress me much.At that time I had two kids in high school(grades 9 and 11) and one in grade 4. The grade 4 teachers bent over backwards for me with stuff to do at home during the walk out. The high school teachers how-ever……….. That union was the most militant of the lot and had told their members to not send work home or to help parents in any way. The curriculum at the time was the one the NDP brought in and it was crap. I was able to get course profiles from the board office for the oldest but there was nothing for my daughter in grade 9 as that was under the Common Curriculum from the NDP, so there was nothing written down at the office. I managed to BS my way through things but when the kids went back to school I went to the high school to get copys of those profiles just so I wouldn’t be caught short if they walked out again.I was sent to the head of the guidance Dept, OMG you would have thought I was asking for the moon!!!!! We went round and round over just why I dared to ask for this information….for 10 minutes of Why do you want this……..Because I want to know what my kids are learning…..But why do you want to know…….and round we go…. After that I went to the teachers and there was no problem. As the government (not NDP!) brought out new curriculum documents I got copies of those babies all free. I also bought a copy of the education act. I have kept up with the available information on home schooling. If my kids were still in the system these days I would be home schooling.

    • It’s surprising the number of people that are homeschooling now. Quite a few comments have been within our group get-together’s stating that their facilitator has more students than the previous year. Ours in particular has almost double I believe.

  5. Wow home schooling has sure come a long way since I was in school! My god children are home schooled and I have no doubt that they get more individual attention and learn more than children who go to public school. Thanks for sharing this unique insight into the world of home schooling.

  6. I have always wondered how home schooling works, thanks for sharing your story with us. It is something I would like to consider with my own child as I feel the education system in Australia is close to that of a third world country where they do not even teach you the basics.

    • I have to agree with you Glen. I was so surprised when I realized that the school system doesn’t even teach the children to hand-write anymore. I believe this is something that is important because as an adult we are constantly signing our name to something. Needless to say, this is something we do over and above our learning schedule.
      Teaching manners is gone out the window as well. I know that should start at home but following through should happen in the public system, which it doesn’t.

  7. Our eldest boy is just about to head off to school and I’ve often considered home schooling. I just think that schools have gotten a lot worse since I went, but then I suppose everyone says that. Hope it all works out for you.

  8. I’m sorry to hear about your son being bullied. I think homeschooling can be great if done correctly. A child can really excel if they are given one on one time. Plus they can focus on the areas they are most interested in.
    My only concern with homeschooling is socialization. Although that can be remedied by homeschooling group events.

    • The homeschooling field trips they arrange are so much fun as well as educational.
      We have gone to places like the Space Museum, Military Museum, Corn Maze, just to name a few.
      The boys have even been introduced to live theater this past Christmas. They didn’t stop talking about it for at least 2 weeks!

  9. kimateyesonthedollar says:

    That’s wonderful that you found what works for your kid’s. Adolescence is such a difficult time. It’s impossible to learn if you are in fear at school all day. I do find that my daughter seems to do more and be less whiny for any person on earth besides me. Do you have this problem and how do you deal with it?

    • Yes, that does happen. I always remind my son that it’s not just me he has to report to. He also has to report to his online teachers. He knows that I will not be as easy on him as the teachers will be. I also try to remind him that this will all benefit him in the end because he will have more opportunities with a better education as opposed to slacking off and not listening. We have learned he listens to someone with authority, ie doctor, dentist, etc., more than he does to us. I believe it is all a part of them trying to figure out who they are.
      In giving these reminders he has slowly taken it upon himself to accept more responsibility with his schooling. He still puts up a fight sometimes. I don’t think that will change until he truly gets that he benefits from this.
      I hope that helps and answers your question.

  10. I’m so glad that you found something that worked for your family! Congratulations! I find home schooling very interesting as one of my friends is a big proponent of it. I never thought about how the internet could assist in home schooling. I’m sure that there are a lot more resources now than there were 10 or 20 years ago. I’m looking forward to reading part two!

    • It’s amazing the resources that are provided to us through the homeschooling the I had no idea existed. It has been a real eye opener for sure.

  11. the farmgirl files says:

    Nicole I have homeschooled my eight children. I was a pioneer of it here in Ontario as my eldest is now 28. I homeschooled because of the behaviour of the children in the school system. It was never the teachers or curriculum that made me decided to do this. One can just go into any school ground these days and hear the language spoken by even young children. My elder children were in the school system and complained about how long it took for the teachers to calm the kids down to teach. I volunteered at the schools and felt this was all wrong. My hats go off to all teachers that need to deal with all types of family issues and situations. So I pulled my children out. At the time there was little out there but Religious programs from the states. Nothing Canadian. Now we are blessed with so much. For Ontario persons, there is free high school on-line ( VLC or AMDAC) where the students do their school work, with live classes, assignments due weekly and exams. The advantage to these courses verses doing your own is they come out with an Ontario Transaction for further higher educational purposes. No GMT required to get into University. I have been with VLC for high school since they began. Wonderful program, great teachers. For public school I have used ILC through TVO. Although it is costy, a teacher marks the work so you know how your child is doing in comparison to the Ontario curriculum. However I have used many texts that work for the child to better their interests. My eldest speaks five languages. Four of my children have a University education, the remains are still in a homeschool environment.One in College on-line.

    • The program we use is a religious based one, however, we don’t follow the religious side of things as it is not mandatory. We can if we choose to. It’s nice to have that option should the boys choose to possibly include that later in their education later down the line.

  12. Great guest post. I’m curious what the cost range is for home schooling. Obviously, your child’s health, well-being, and the cost/benefit are key considerations.

    • The main cost we were concerned with was the start-up cost which was making sure we had a computer, printer, headset with microphone for each child. We also had to have the typical supplies like paper, binders, pens, etc. ready as well.
      Having said that, we get reimbursed these based on the percentage of the provincial learning outcomes we follow. For example, this year we have approximately $2,500 to spend on things needed for the boys of which can include sports, and music lessons because we are following 90% of the learning outcomes.
      It is treated like expenses within a company you work for and we just submit our receipts and are paid these monies back.
      Hope this answers your questions and helps.

  13. AverageJoe says:

    Great guest post. I’m curious what the cost range is for home schooling. Obviously, your child’s health, well-being, and the cost/benefit are key considerations.

    • The cost we mainly had to worry about were things like a computer for each child, printer for each child as well as a headset with microphone for each of them. Having said that, depending on the amount of the provincial learning outcomes we follow, we can submit the receipts and be re-reimbursed for these expenses up to our maximum allowable (this year we are allowed approximately $2,500 for expenses including sports and music lessons).
      I hope this helps and answers your questions.

  14. mycanuckbuck says:

    Hey Nicole – fantastic post. I was bullied as well, and I know how hard it can be on a kid. Bravo to you for making the sacrifices to make your kids happy and healthy!

  15. Super interesting post as I have never known anything about home schooling. Do you also utilize home schooling web networks that are out there?

    • Yes we do! There are some fantastic networking opportunities both for the parents as well as the kids. Not surprisingly, a lot of them are on social network sites such as Facebook.
      The Centre did give us some other information about that as well and we get updated information throughout the year from them too.

  16. So sorry to hear that your son was bullied. How awful!

    Thank you for sharing your story; I am always interested to hear about homeschooling. Although my daughter is only 2, it is something I think about for the future. I look forward to Part 2!

  17. Great post. Do your kids partake in any group activities to socialize with kids their age? Boy scouts,sports or anything like that? I always loved school so it makes me sad that your kids were pushed to this limit. I wouldn’t think twice about homeschooling our kiddo if I had to.

    • They do! Plus the extra curricular activities that are setup by the Centre are great as well! Lots of sports teams they can play on without tryouts! It’s been great.

  18. Interesting. I didn’t realize that homeschooling was so structured. I think it’s great that you have so many online resources to aid in the process. Do you have plans to re-integrate your children back into the public school system at some point?

    • At this point, no we don’t. It might change down the road but it is working for us. Like the old saying goes, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Sounds silly I know, but in this case it is very true.

  19. Bullying is such a huge problem now days. I am sorry to hear your boys were subjected to that, and that no help was offered or effective.

    I have been homeschooling my daughter for about 7 years now. When she was younger we used an online curriculum, Time4Learning, and it was awesome. No she is in high school and Time4Learning ends at 8th grade, so we put together our own curriculum of sorts, but T4L did recommend a site called Let’s Homeschool High School as a resource. It has been a big help to me.

    Your program sounds a lot like Virtual school in the U.S. We tried it once and hated it. My daughter has learning challenges and they didn’t meet them very well at all. It does work for many though.

    It is good they provide field trips. We used to belong to a homeschool co-op and went on filed trips, took classes, participated in sports…with them.

    Best wishes to you and the boys!

    Joyfully,
    Jackie

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks Jackie!
      Do you mind me asking where you are located? I’ve never heard of that curriculum.
      Thankfully the learning challenges that my oldest has is being accommodated. If not, I don’t know what I would do.
      Best wishes to you as well!!

  20. Wendy L says:

    Thanks for sharing this great post Nicole! So sorry to hear that one of your son’s was being bullied. And glad that the approach to homeschooling your boys worked out perfectly for you. Do they have friends that they still hang out with after school and on the weekends?

    • Nicole says:

      Let’s just say that when public school is over for the day, my doorbell rings constantly. Someone is always looking for one if not both boys.
      It helps that we have a dog park behind our house and some of their friends have dogs so they get to go out and play with the dogs while “hanging out”.

  21. Thanks for the post! Unfortunately there will be “bullies” in all areas of life, at any age, but it can be especially difficult to deal with as a child.
    Bethany recently posted…Best Kindergarten Homeschool CurriculumMy Profile

  22. Savannah says:

    Thank you for posting this Nicole, I loved reading it. It encouraged me in considering homeschooling for our two children. Although they are both infants, we are trying to set a plan in motion now, so that we can properly prepare ourselves. Our major reason for considering homeschooling is due to the overwhelming lack of respect from faculty and fellow peers. Our modern society is questionable, to be polite. We believe that homeschooling may give our children the opportunity to experience more; ex, travel, hands-on learning and confidence, to learn at their own pace and in peace.

    • Thank you for reading a post at CBB and I’m glad Nicole was able to offer you some insight into homeschooling. Thanks for dropping by. Mr.CBB

  23. Thank you for sharing this through your blog!

  24. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Hey, You’re welcome mate!!! Have a great weekend. Mr.CBB

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