The short answer? Kind of.
Recently we put out a #realtalktuesday on our YouTube channel about what our kids are feeling about our RV lifestyle right now. I think it's safe to say the older kids are ready for some friends and some space. Ethan, our 8 year old, says he's ready to go back to school. But I think there is more to it than what's on the surface.
Every conversation about public school ends up being about people. It isn't the academics or sports or schedule or extracurricular activities that he misses. It's people. He's a lot like me in that regard. He misses the recesses where he gets to play with buddies and the lunch table where other kids his age talk about their day and the struggle of being 8. If he was getting all of that out of home school he would be 100% on board. He loves that his school days are short and that he has some control over what he learns about. He likes not having a strict schedule and being able to start and finish when he pleases. (Although he's maybe not so keen on motivating himself to get it done sometimes!)
My older 10 year old, Aaron, pretty much never expresses a desire to go back to school. At most, he sometimes misses riding the school bus as that was his favorite part of the day. I suspect because that was the most independence he had. I mean, leave the house and walk to the bus stop, board the bus by himself, sit with kids from the neighborhood and then get off the bus and head to class. When asked if he misses public school, he will answer quickly with a “no.” He does not want to go back.
Our youngest, Chloe who is 5, started Kindergarten this year. She has never been to public school but she did attend preschool twice a week for one school year. She loved it. What's not to love? Crafts, friends, songs, snacks. We aren't sure how she will feel in a few years but for now, she is getting all of that at home. Except for the friend front. She gets confused sometimes about her grade and sometimes asks me when she will get to go to school like her cousin. She knows she's in Kindergarten but it looks much different than any Kindergarten she has witnessed so sometimes she acts like she isn't in school at all. Probably because it doesn't really feel like it and I'm ok with that.
So where does that leave us? Probably continuing our home school adventure for a while! If we were stationary we would look for co-ops to help with the friend situation and to help them socialize. Please don't misunderstand though – our kids DO socialize. They are some of the most social kids I know. They will talk to anyone and play with kids of all ages. We take them to church and enroll them in programs when we can on the road. But they don't often get to stay in touch with the friends they make. We are looking into ways to help this.
If you are jumping into home school or road school, be encouraged. Change is often hard but the benefits far outweigh the struggles. Our kids have learned so much more than public school could teach them. They are learning all kinds of real life lessons, critical thinking and problem solving, history, geography, and science – all hands on. And of course, they are learning their ABCs and 123s, multiplication tables, equivalent fractions, reading, writing, nouns and pronouns. When the boys were in public school they would come home with homework or reading assignments. Guess how often we had time to actually sit down and do it with them? Or WANT to sit down and do it with them? Not many.
Now I can see them learning new things. Sometimes I can see the wheels turning and that ah ha moment happening. I know exactly what my kids know and don't. What they are filling their heads with. And what isn't important for them to know yet or at all.
Is our schooling perfect? Nope. Not even close. I have days I wish they would just go back to school so I can have a break. I get frustrated and so do they. Sometimes we give up and try again the next day. Some days we have to squeeze multiple days into one just to sort of keep on track. All in all, I'm so glad we started. That we gave this a try. I have a feeling public school might be a thing of the past for our family. And that is extremely freeing.