Dear Homeschooling Families,
I want to lift you up and let you know that whatever season of life you are currently experiencing, you will see it through and come out stronger on the other side. We are all constantly juggling changes in our lives. Challenges such as a death in the family, illness, divorce, mental health issues, financial difficulties, relocating, job modifications, the birth of a baby, are life-changing events that families face.
Every year, (more the past couple of years because of the pandemic) I have panicked homeschooling mamas reach out to me when it is nearing their annual evaluations. I often receive messages such as:
Kimberlee, we didn't do as much school as I wanted this year because (insert life event.)
We are a mess with our schooling. Our school year doesn't look anything like I had planned because (insert life event) happened.
Kimberlee, (insert life event) happened in our family and we have barely been getting by and I am afraid for our annual evaluation.
My best advice is to breathe…breathe…breathe…
We choose to homeschool to have the freedom not offered in a traditional school setting. In the state of Florida, the statute states we do not need to cover any specific subject matter. Nor do we have required educational hours and days. The curricular choices are completely up to each individual family. In fact, the current homeschool statute in place was championed by homeschoolers, Craig and Brenda Dickenson. Their work resulted in protection for homeschoolers including the right to create a personalized educational map for children that can be ever changing. When speaking with Brenda Dickenson about why she and her husband added the portfolio requirement to the statute, she stated,
The portfolio requirement in the statute was drafted for accountability as well as a safeguard for the state not to add any further regulation to the home education law. It provides just enough accountability without being burdensome to maintain freedom for parents to home educate their child their own way.
On a personal note, the past year has been difficult with the loss of two of my uncles within three weeks of each other. My clients and their families are like family to me. Over ten of my clients have lost parents, spouses, and even a child. As a fellow homeschooling parent, I can tell you my daughter’s portfolio is slim this year. But I have all the pieces required by the statute, and she has shown progression. That is what matters. Remember progression is not based on a traditional school setting year.
My Sophia has experienced and discovered so much about life this year. She has learned to appreciate the value of our time here on Earth. She has learned about the process of grieving as well as how people grieve differently. Sophia gained knowledge about how to book a last-minute flight, packing under stress, and what extreme turbulence in an airplane feels like. She experienced a viewing and funeral where hundreds of people honored her uncle Randy’s life. She helped take care of her elderly Nana and had the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with her cousins. Sophia traveled to Alabama and was able to go to the hospital to say goodbye to a second uncle. She participated in prayer and singing hymns around her uncle’s hospital bed and witnessed him try to take a breath each time we started singing a new hymn. Sophia learned about medical terms and medical care such as life support. She saw how amazing the nurses and doctors were in caring for her Uncle Larry as well as the family. This year Sophia’s portfolio might not be chock full of math worksheets, book studies, or science projects but she has learned more than any other year we have homeschooled.
My dear homeschooling families, education is more than academics. Education also happens through first-hand life experiences. Whatever season you are in right now, adapt your school year to best function for your family. Allow yourself grace during seasons of stress. Love on those babies of all ages and remember to breathe… breathe… breathe…
Florida Homeschool Evaluations & Testing