In the summer of 2014 we made the decision to pull our kids from the private school they were attending. It was obvious that the little rigorous school on a farm was no longer the right fit for our family. My kids experienced anxiety and were internalizing messages about not measuring up that made me uncomfortable and brought out the mama bear in me. While I had no idea what we were going to do, I knew we needed to do something different.
The kids were significantly ahead of their peers academically, so I worried about how they would do in the public schools. On our island, all of the students move from elementary school to a school with just 5th and 6th graders before attending middle-school. While potentially an ideal time to transition because everyone is new, I heard this experience can be especially difficult socially on kids - a potential Lord of the Flies scenario for my sensitive son who was used to a class of six kids in a school of 40. I just knew that the learning environment would be even more chaotic for him, and socially it would likely fuel that anxiety that was taking root. I also feared that he would be bored, and couldn't bear watching the spark that comes from the joy of learning diminish any further.
That summer I finished my MBA with the intention of finding work that was meaningful. We decided to take the plunge into homeschooling for the year and see how it goes. While homeschooling has challenged me in ways I never imagined and made me think deeply about what it takes to develop leaders of the future, it was definitely the right decision for our family. I won't lie to you and say the transition was easy or that we never think about doing something else. But my kids are happier than they've ever been and I can't imagine returning to a broken educational system and risking for one second that spark of joy being extinguished.