Friday, October 16, 2009

Hi everyone! My name is Danielle Wolfe and I am a Buyer for Discount School Supply. I am lucky enough to buy for several categories: Math, Science, Manipulatives, Blocks, Legos, Puzzles and Inspirational.

When my son was in middle school, I decided to home-school him. This was a very difficult decision. People home-school for many different reasons. My son had lost focus and I felt that working one-on-one with him would help him to realize the importance of his schoolwork. This was a somewhat controversial decision at that time as I was very involved in his school and in PTA.

I was lucky enough to find a state-run program that allowed me to home-school, but also to meet all applicable educational standards. I wanted to be sure that my son would be able to reenter school at any time and would have all the necessary credits. In this program, we met once a week with a teacher who would supervise Matthew’s progress and ensure his success. Matthew also played team sports and maintained his school relationships to continue his social growth.

Matthew received boxes of textbooks and other materials from the state, but I really wanted him to have the best experience possible. I searched for projects and equipment all over the internet. I purchased an amazing microscope with lots of blank slides. We studied tide pools and rivers, taking samples and examining the results.

We followed a routine everyday. Matthew always completed his state curriculum in daily increments, just as if he were still in a classroom. But because I had the time to devote to just one student, we built science projects, studied Shakespeare, played Geography Jeopardy for hours, learned Spanish, made creative treats in the kitchen and, best of all, we travelled.

My husband travelled all over the country as part of his job and we went with him. Instead of just reading about American History, we walked all over Boston and Philadelphia, visiting the places mentioned in his textbook. We love horse-drawn carriages and most major cities have them to hire. Riding in the sunshine, listening to a well informed guide and allowing my child to interact with history was an experience that I feel has changed him as a student and as a person.

My son’s education has always been extremely important to me, and I thought that home schooling would be beneficial to him, but I had no idea how it would benefit me. I had always been involved in Matthew’s school, but our relationship blossomed during our time together. The adolescent years can be difficult, but we spent so much time together, it was impossible for him to withdraw.

My son is now a Senior in high school. We placed him in a private school when he was a Freshman. One of the reasons we chose this particular school was its open attitude to our home-schooling experience. I am proud to say that when Matthew left public school, he tested at an average level. When he was tested for admittance into his new school, his test scores had improved so dramatically that the counselor rechecked his scores.

We have the additional benefit of communication. Throughout high school, Matthew has always been open to talking with us. Let’s be honest-- he is still a teenage boy. I do get the occasional grunt as an answer, which I then need to interpret. But I know that I made the right decision to home-school because the foundation for our communication is there.

I know that there are parents out there who have struggled with this decision. I also know that it can be a controversial one. I would love to hear your stories and would be happy to answer any questions about my experience. My experience is also one reason why I really enjoy working in a company that creates products to support the education of young children – whether those products are in the hands of teachers or of parents.

1 comment:

  1. g the article, and more importantly, your personal experience mindfully using our emotions as data about our inner state and knowing when it’s better to de-escalate by taking a time out are great tools. Appreciate you reading and sharing your story since I can certainly relate and I think others can to