The Home-School Choice

First day of school photo

One of the decisions causing my metal paralysis over the summer was whether or not we should keep Eldest at home for school this year. 

Oh, man. Even typing that sentence brings up the anxiety a little bit.

Don’t get me wrong. We love the home-schooling concept. Last year, we pulled Youngest out of 5th grade at public school so I could work with her at home. There were no “what ifs” – no hesitations. We just knew she would learn better at home, so we did it.

But Eldest, she’s a different kid. She attended one of the option schools in our district – the Academy of Arts & Communication (ACMA). You know, kind of like “Fame.” As “Drama Queeny” as she is – she never felt like she fit in. I asked her to sing and dance on tables during lunch, pleaded with her to dye her hair purple, even offered to pierce her nose. My introverted, conservative, naive teenager wanted none of the above.

Eldest is smart. We have no issue with her academic accomplishments. We want her to be happy, but we also want her to stretch herself. She’s begged to be home-schooled for 4 years. We’ve always put her off, assuming it was because she can be such a homebody. 

The fact is, she digs hanging out with her friends from theater and church. She often has sleepovers and parties with these kids. Does it really matter that her social group doesn’t derive from school? I had a tough time accepting that. 

Since admission is by lottery and/or audition, once you leave ACMA, it’s not likely you’ll get back if you change your mind. Eldest didn’t care. She wanted to learn at home with her sister. I’m the one who cared. And I struggled.

We made the very-tough-for-me decision to let her try the education at home thing. When it came down to it – we’d rather she try this during her 8th grade year rather than high school. She enrolled with Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA) K-12 program; the curriculum is part of the public school system and outside teachers keep her accountable in her studies. She has a list of lessons to complete each day, most concepts taught online. It seems to be the perfect fit for her. She has a list to check off, a teacher to please, and she does everything in her own time. Which for her – is diligently getting to work first thing in the morning so she has the rest of the day for other activities.

Youngest wanted to try ORVA for her 6th grade year, so we’ve also enrolled her. It’s a far cry from my own developed curriculum last year. Whatever motivation Sister has to get up and at ‘em each day is lost on our 11-year-old. She moves through the day a bit…slower. And that will take some getting used to for me. It bothers her none. She loves getting online for instruction and class communication chat rooms do not hinder the social butterfly she is.

Did we make the right decision for our daughters? Maybe. Maybe not. Part of my mental healing is to remember “I made the best choice I could with the information I had at the time.” 

It’s become a mantra.

With this mantra I gradually let the anxiety go, concentrating once more on daily life, serving others, and focusing upward.

Hangin’ with the soldiers on Mackinac Island
Oh, and did I mention? We love to travel. Seeing sights without the school holiday vacation crowds is just one more perk to home-schooling.


  1. Teri Huff says

    Andee, I am amazed at the love your girls have for each other! My girls can't even be in the same room without a serious fight erupting! I'm in awe!

  2. says

    Oh, Teri…they love, but they can argue with the best of them. I think because we travel so much, they've had to become each other's best friend. Although, they probably wouldn't admit that. 🙂

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