More Than Just An Academic Choice

The countdown to summer has begun here!! Less than 20 school days, and I have some decisions to make. I need to decide if we are going to continue homeschooling or who is going back to school. When we moved from Tampa to St Pete this past December I did some quick research on the schools we were zoned for, and unfortunately, I did not find too much good. I decided just to enroll Ben, Tierney, and Garrett into Connections Academy for the remainder of the school year. Glenn has been with Connections Academy for 2 years now, so I was fully familiar with the curriculum and what would be required of the kids and myself as their learning coach. I figured this way I would have time to really research schools and get their applications filled out, and all other information together with plenty of time. I have done as much as I can as far as the next year goes, but there is a good chance they might not get into one of the magnet schools we are waiting for. They are each on wait lists–wait lists that they might be on well into the next school year.

Coloring contest for kindergarten.

Coloring contest for kindergarten.

Garrett started kindergarten this year and had enjoyed the time at Ballast Point Elementary. He was not much for the homework, but he liked the interaction and recognition for doing good from his teacher. Tierney also loves school. She is the social butterfly of the group. Seems as though the girls are more social than the boys in our household. She has made some really awesome friends, and I have made some great relationships with schools and teachers through each of the kids. Those things we would not have done through a virtual school alone. But do I want them to miss out on that aspect of school for family time? Homeschool for us has become more than just an academic choice. It has turned into us being able to spend more family time together. It has allowed us to travel more and do things more on our own time. While the kids each have schedules to adhere to and work they have to complete, we are able to wander around town, or the state for that matter, more on weekdays. We are able to go places more often because others are in school and at work. It just makes it easier as a larger family to do things during those times.

Outdoor learning adventures.

Outdoor learning adventures.

I go back and forth with all of this because I also realize they are only going to be kids for a short period of time. They have all been in regular public schools before so it’s not like I don’t what it’s like to not have all of them around, all the time. I know I will get plenty of free time once they are older and on their own. So as the countdown to summer and all that fun starts so does the realization that time is running out. The summer months will fly by as quickly as the rest of this year has. Do I, or we, really want to give that up right now? Do we all want to go back to cramming in more on the weekends? Do we want to continue to spoil ourselves with doing things our way?

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48 Responses to More Than Just An Academic Choice

  1. Jessica May 16, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    I think about it all the time. My kids are currently in school, but I will homeschool them at any point if I don’t feel like public school is good for them for any reason.

  2. Amber B May 16, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    I think my children would have lots of fun here!

  3. Kendra Frampton May 16, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    I have lots of friends that home school for the same reasons!

  4. Bella Vida Letty May 16, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    I home schooled for two years and it was the best experience for our family. I agree with your points.

    • Bernadette May 20, 2014 at 8:08 am #

      It really has been nice for our family to get out and do more. It is just nicer and we all enjoy things more when there are less crowds.

  5. Cyndi May 16, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    I don’t envy the decision you are faced with. While my daughter goes to public school we have friends who home school. We are very lucky that we are in a fantastic public school. But I do miss spending my days with my daughter and having the freedom to travel. Good luck with your decision!

  6. stacey May 16, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    I’ve heard some great things about Connections Academy {I see the commercial all the time} I hope it works out for you guys!

    • Bernadette May 20, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

      Thanks…I’m sure we will figure it out 🙂

  7. Grace May 16, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    I understand the decision is a hard one. I have thought about homeschooling several times. I just do not like the way the school system in this country is headed. I worry about what my kids are really getting out of it.

  8. Paula Parker May 16, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Have a great summer. Everything in life is a balance.

    • Bernadette May 20, 2014 at 8:09 am #

      If that ain´t the truth!

  9. Christi at SexyMoxieMama May 16, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    This is great. We are contemplating homeschooling our 7th grader next year. Is Connections Academy available Nationwide or just in your area?

    • Bernadette May 23, 2014 at 7:46 am #

      My oldest is in 7th this year. He started the homeshcool option back during the end of 4th grade. He loves it! Connections is just about everywhere.

  10. Alison May 16, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    I have considered Homeschooling, but it’s really not an option for me. Not only do I not have a foggy clue what I’m doing lol, I’d have to quit, or reduce hours at my “day” job and financially that’s just not an option either. I have some issues occasionally with the public schools, but we live in a small rural community and I must say that in comparison to some of the bigger schools in other cities nearby, we are very fortunate to have a great group of teachers for our kids so I’m pretty comfortable at this point.

  11. April May 16, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    I have 3 children. Of the older 2, one only went to 1st grade in PS and the other went 1-3rd grade. The youngest, due to circumstances, went k-4 but is now finishing 6th grade in homeschool. I have never regretted the freedom and the growing room you give your children and give yourself as a parent that homeschool creates for a family.
    I know each family is different and I too have relied on the public school systems when we needed them. I don’t consider it to be spoiling yourself when you do it your way. They are your children, you are building the family you want. It’s our right as parents to set our days and educate and bask in the luxury of freedom rigid school systems if we want. 🙂
    You’ll never know your children the way you get to know them schooling at home.
    Those are my humble thoughts.
    Here’s my wrap up on our school year-

  12. Bola May 16, 2014 at 11:41 am #


    Looks like you are having a blast with your homeschooling adventure. Savor the times with your kids. The days can be quite long but the years are extremely short!

  13. Jamie May 16, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    The pictures made me feel at peace – I love that. Having fun with family is so important, no matter for how long you spend it together!! Love the post. Tweeted!

    • Bernadette May 20, 2014 at 8:10 am #

      Thanks! And thanks for sharing!

  14. Kay M. May 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    If I thought that I had what it takes to homeschool my children, I would do it. I would do it simply for the reasons you just described. The freedom to be able to get right in the middle of a lesson by visiting where it happened, would make the lesson so much more real.

  15. aimeed23 May 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    I hear you 100%! Our girls are in public school. I don’t think I would have the patience to teach them myself… besides the standard homework help BUT we have found ourselves removing them a few days from school to go on mini trips. I do hate the fact that we have to be careful of this for fear of getting into trouble by the state. My girls make good grades and rarely miss school.. knock on wood.. if they struggled I would not do this.. BUT I totally hear you about ‘they won;t be little forever’… Gotta enjoy life.

  16. Paris May 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Thank you for the link to the Connections Academy it’s something that I am going to check out for my daughter!

  17. Erinn S May 16, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    I will need to check out the Connections academy-sounds like a way to balance some teaching and find ways to kpep them social

  18. Rose Powell May 16, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Choosing what’s best for our children is challenging, we have to learn to put out personal feelings and emotions aside and do what’s best for their overall growth, health & wellness as far as education is concerned. I wish you the best in determining what best for your children.

  19. Yona Williams May 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    I wonder how I would have liked being home-schooled when I was younger. How I am now, I probably would have loved it once I was in middle school, and then return to public school in high school. I could have done without middle school. Anyways, I think it all depends on the temperament and effort of both child and the home-schooling parent to make it work.

    On a side note, I cannot wait for the summertime to get here. I crave the longer days.

  20. Natalie May 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    I was homeschooled as a kid for like 1 year.. I don’t know, homeschool then is a lot different than it is these days.. there’s so many more choices… I snagged that Connections Academy link for my friend, she has been giving it a lot of thought as well.

  21. tara pittman May 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    I lift my hat to people who homeschool as it is awesome. I dont think I would do right by my kids if I did.

  22. Sam May 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    I love connections academy! They are a great choice

  23. Joanna Sormunen May 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    You make me wish it was possible to homeschool my son. I loved to wonder around with him when he was smaller.

  24. Helena May 16, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    I think you’re doing a great job balancing public school vs. home. I do think that kids need some socialization, but not as much as they need the cementing bond of the family. It is the family that carries us through and gives us our enduring values and sense of caring and it ripples out into the community. Good job mama!

  25. Triplezmom May 16, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    I would love to homeschool, honestly. But our local schools are amazing and my kids love going to school. So I look forward to summer too. I don’t know what I’d do in your position. Though I will admit that sometimes we take them out of school on a weekday to do something fun, like go to a museum or an event.

  26. Rene May 16, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    It sounds like you are doing your research and weighing your options careful. It will work out.

  27. MoxiesGroovyMom May 16, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    i can imagine it’s tough to decide between homeschooling and not, after experiencing both. I can also understand wanting to spend quality time with your children to expose them to things they probably wouldn’t get at public school. It’s a tough decision. Update us on what you choose.

  28. LaDonna Dennis May 16, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    Wow that’s a big decision! I home schooled my youngest and for us it was the best decision. My two older went to public schools and for them that was the best decision. I wish you the best of luck. Kids seem to thrive either way. 🙂

  29. Karen @ From the Garden Table May 16, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    It definitely is a tough choice. Both of my children attend public school, but I often think about how great it would be to be able to visit places of educational interest on our timing instead of trying to find snippets of time on weekends, Good luck with your decision!

  30. Jodi Flaherty May 16, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    you will make the best decision for your family & it sounds like you have some phenomenal resources available!

  31. Jackie Houston May 16, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    My oldest is 2 and I’ve already started thinking about wether or not we will be doing home schooling and I’m back and forth on it all the time! I love the idea of spending more time together as a family because it goes by so quickly!

  32. Meredith Elizabeth May 17, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    Wow, I wouldn’t want to do much with 5 kids! I’d be overwhelmed! I’m already losing it with 3 kids and 3 dogs and one other kid is living with grandma! In my fantasy version of myself, I’d love all my kids together and another baby to be close in age with my youngest. But, for now- I’m good. =) That is THE question of the summer, isn’t it.

  33. Shirley ~Light Love Hope May 17, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    I have a friend that is also using the Connections Academy for her son. He was bullied in public school and has anxiety issues, so this was the better choice for them. I’ve heard good things about them, too. My oldest daughter was in a public school until she was in the 5th grade. At the end of the school year, we knew that we could not continue with this school as the middle school she would be going into for sixth grade wasn’t the best from all of the stuff we had heard. We transferred her over to a Christian school where she has been ever since. When my youngest daughter was old enough for school, she joined her sister at the Christian school. We have been extremely happy with our choices! Have fun this summer and know that whatever choice you make will be the right one for your family!

    • Bernadette May 17, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      There are better schools around here but because we moved over the Winter break I wasn’t able to just register the kids anywhere unfortunately. The middle schools just about everywhere don’t seem to be too good anymore. I think that in itself is horrible because honestly, I think that’s where most kids need to most guidance in learning about themselves and what direction they want to go in. The boys (in 6th and 7th grade this year) did have to go into the middle school we are zoned for a few weeks ago for state testing and they both came out saying how nasty the kids were to each other and the teachers. We might just end up staying with homeschool and Connections until I can get them into something better, whether it is in the fall or during the actual school year.
      THANKS! 🙂

  34. Rosey May 17, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    I would love the aspect of being able to travel more with homeschool. For us though, we know public school is our best choice. It’s different for everyone, and maybe even every child.

  35. Jenn @comebackmomma May 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    So many challenging choices when it comes to educating our children. My daughter has dyslexia and we decided to send her to a private school. In the end, I’m sure you’ll do what is right for your kids.

  36. Rachel hirst May 17, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    I think Homeschool is a very good idea, Takes loads of dedication from parents. My son really dislikes school and this has really bothered me, If it gets any worse I will seriously think about Home schooling him.

  37. Laura (Lauras Little House Tips) May 17, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    What a decision. My girls are grown and I am thankful. To be honest I am not sure what way I would turn if I had it to do over again. I love you said your daughters a social butterfly not all schools are awful but I will say it really does take so much family time away. I remember thinking when mine were in soccer, plays and volunteering that I missed them. I look back now that they are grown and see how it enriched their lives and made them who they are today but I also feel the emptiness in my heart. Best of luck in your decisions.

  38. Gwendolyn M May 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    I homeschool my daughter and at first it was because I was not happy with the schooling options around here. I have quickly realized the benefits it has provided my family by allowing us more flexibility with our schedule and family situations. My husband and our are both disabled so it has been nice to be able to put things on hold and deal with them and pick them back up. Also I can pack up her school work and send it to grandmas when she goes to spend the nights. Praying for your decision.

  39. Jen May 18, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    Home school verses public school is such a hard decision! I personally think public school is good for kids because it prepares them for the ” real” world with real work schedules as well as all of the socializing/problem solving that takes place as well as having them face and conquer uncomfortable situations or things they don’t want to do. Its a very tough, personal decision though.

  40. Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM May 18, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    After I started homeschooling, I believe I wouldn’t have it any other way anymore. I believe that as parents, as moms, we must ponder and consciously choose what works for us, and like you illustrated, that changes from time to time. If there is a right way, it’s that way that works best. Happy Summer!

  41. agatapokutycka May 19, 2014 at 7:14 am #

    It is a hard choice but only you can make it as you know best what will be the right way to proceed when it comes to your kids.

  42. Nicole Trailer May 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    Balance is the important part! I couldn’t homeschool but if you can and think its best for your child then go for it! #Newsletter