• Jeni Kelsch

Homeschool, private school, public school...oh my!

Updated: Feb 26, 2018

There is nothing like options to make choosing hard...


I remember one of the first times I thought of homeschooling my children. I was standing in a check out line at a store having a sale. My oldest son, then four, was waiting patiently beside me. Being a Mom, I had a sense he was beside me as he should be, so I had permission to ignore him completely. The checkout lady was more of a grandmotherly type and had been paying attention to my son. She interrupted my daydreaming to ask me, apparently not for the first time, just exactly how old my son was. Unbeknownst to me my son had been reading the sign posted at the cash register, “Red Dot Sale”. I proudly told her he was four (proud I knew his age, not that he was reading).

I knew my son had taught himself to read, but I didn’t know HOW he had done it so I tried not to brag about it. People always wanted to know more; what method I used, how long it took. I didn’t have a method and I didn’t realize he was doing it competently until the check out, so it was sort of a family secret.

The checkout lady’s next question really stumped me though, she asked, “What is he going to do in Kindergarten now?” I had no idea.

At the time all this was happening I had had a fairly eventful couple of years. My husband and I had relocated out of the fast paced big city into a smaller town, we had moved into an old fixer upper of a house, and I had delivered my second son at home. I think it was that birth at home that had opened me up to the possibilities that just maybe what we always do is not always what is the best thing to do. I had hated giving birth in a hospital. I didn’t even know the woman that delivered my oldest son. My husband spent a couple sleepless nights in a chair beside me, my son was awakened constantly for vitals, as was I. It was miserable. Even so, when the midwives I met in our new town mentioned that they now had permission to deliver at home, I thought, “How nice for someone.” Yet, through the course of events, I ended up being their very first homebirther. My second son was born in front of a fire on a cold winter night, his blankets were warmed on the grate and that first night my husband, my son and I got to snuggle into bed in our own house and sleep the entire night away. It was way, way, way, way better than the hospital. Despite not having institutional medical care from birth my son thrived from the moment he came into the world. I think the experience of not following the normal path and having such a positive result released me to evaluate all the big moments in childhood from a new perspective. School has a similar history, children have been taught by their parents since the dawn of time, and since I had been taught to read and write and do math, I figured I could probably teach my child to do the same. When it came time to sign my oldest up for school, I just didn’t. My homeschooling experience was born.

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