‘Twas the night before the first night of homeschool and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, save for a very nervous mother.

After over a year of my son struggling in school, after over a year of him being miserable every day and crying going onto the bus, I had finally made the decision to try homeschooling. I was exhausted from the constant phone calls, emails, and texts from school personnel. I couldn’t imagine how exhausted my son must have been from the real challenge of sitting still and staying focused for such long periods throughout the day, not to mention the actual learning taking place which was tiring enough! He was only in first grade, and he barely made it through each school day. It broke my heart. Finally, I decided to get over all my fears about becoming his teacher as well as his mother, and I sent in the paperwork to our school superintendent stating that I would be withdrawing him after Thanksgiving break. There was no going back.

I had spent a few months toying with the idea of homeschooling, trying to figure out the logistics of what it would entail for both my son and I; I am a single, working mom so it would require some major adjustments to both of our schedules. I had thought about what I was looking for in curriculum and what I would like him to learn. But taking the final plunge was admittedly terrifying. No one in my family had been homeschooled, in fact, some of my family were teachers. Some had mistaken notions like homeschoolers not being socialized and missing out on important educational opportunities. I had to spend over an hour being lambasted by school officials for my decision. I wish I could say that it was a sunny, rainbow-filled path that was easy for us both but it was not. However, I found peace knowing that I was doing exactly what my son needs at this moment in time. He needs me to advocate for him. He needed more freedom in his day and in his school curriculum than any traditional public school could provide. So, yes, everything was new and frightening but my son reminded me daily that I was making his life “so much better, Mom!

‘Twas the night before homeschool, and as I tucked my son into bed he leaned in to hug me and said the words I never thought I would hear: “I can’t wait for school tomorrow!”

And when he woke up the next morning, he ran out of bed and excitedly shouted “Is it time to learn yet??”

By the first morning of homeschool, I wasn’t so nervous anymore.

Melanie Ollett is a mom of one joyful little boy whom she adopted from foster care in 2018. She lives on Long Island with her son, dog, and two cats who all insist on sleeping in her bed more nights than she really prefers. Melanie is the solo pastor of a United Methodist church in the New York Annual Conference and loves working back home close to where she grew up near friends and family to help support her crazy schedule.

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