Beyond the Ditto…Why We Homeschool

The other day I wimped out and lazed my way through the topic of why we homeschool by basically just “ditto”-ing Pioneer Woman’s terrific post on the subject.  But today, I’m feeling a slight pinch more wordy and thought I would follow up with an actual post for those of you who just might be wondering.

I certainly didn’t start out as a slighty-tech-crazed, work-at-home, mom with a pseudo-unschooling bent.  Far from it.  That has all been a LONG and convoluted process.  In fact, as the child of two former classroom teachers I had nothing but chalkboard fantasies for my offspring.

I pictured myself attending PTA meetings (do they still HAVE those??), being a homeroom volunteer, and bringing cupcakes to all my kids friends on their birthdays (I KNOW they don’t still have that!!)  I was ready to embrace the 180 day routine – – lock, stock and barrel.  UNTIL…

The spring before Uber started kindergarten he began having tics – – just mild ones like sniffing too much and scrunching his shoulders up, and chewing on his shirt collar.  And then the day after his five year vaccinations (don’t get me started!!!!) the tics became suddenly violent, and were joined by dystonia and choreiform movements.  Suddenly our little guy was unable to eat by himself, walk in a straight line, or even talk intelligibly. 

Our pediatrician sent us to the state childrens hospital where Uber was diagnosed with “Sydenham’s Chorea,” an autoimmune disorder.  He was in the hospital for about five days, and then in occupational, speech, and physical therapy for a full two years after.  It left him permanently with both motor and vocal tics, and a later diagnosis of “Tourette Syndrome.” 

His kindergarten year was spent mostly in therapists office, so homeschooling was sort of a “given.”  But as I worked one on one with him – – despite all the incredible physical challenges he was having to overcome daily – – the kid was eating up knowledge as fast as I could dish it out. (like I said, this was long before my understanding of “interest-led learning, when I thought you still had to spoon-feed education to children).  By the end of what would have been his kindergarten year, he was reading on a fourth grade level, was doing second grade math, and writing full paragraphs. 

The next year, I was quite hesitant about sending my ticcing little brainiac back to a regular classroom.  I had to think long and hard about what we would do for first grade. You would think that I would have been completely convinced about homeschooling and its benefits by this time, but socialized education was in the very fiber of my upbringing and it was going to take some more convincing before I was ready to completely chuck my yellow bus fantasies…



9 Responses

  1. wow! I do not think I knew it all started with an autoimmune issue. I’m on the edge of my seat with the continued story. Uber is a wonderful young man with awesome parents!!!

  2. What a great mom you are, and what a lucky kid. So fun to read your journey and looking forward to the sequel. 🙂

  3. Oh sure, a cliffhangar, except for the knowing the ending part.

    James had some tics this year after starting a rx. The Dr. who prescribed it said, “Well, in a classroom at any time 30% of the kids will have tics.” And I’m supposed to let him keep taking your rx then?! Asshole.

  4. Oh sure…you end there??? Actually…its a nice cliffhanger!

    thanks for sharing your journey. I will be back to read the rest!

  5. What an amazing journey you guys are on. Can’t wait to hear more!


    They say there are two ways to keep people coming back to your blog.

    One is to end a post with a Cliffhanger.

  7. […] Beyond the Ditto…Why We Homeschool […]

  8. Oh don’t get me started on vaccines… I was also a victim of the more serious side effects (along with my brother)

    It’s interesting how people get started in homeschooling, this is definitly a more unique begining though!

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