The opportunity was there and I took a leap of faith to homeschool my eldest in second grade. It was not before much thought and consideration that I finally sent in our letter of intent to the school board office just days before the deadline. I hemmed and hawed all summer after having spent $500 on his tuition, books and curriculum at the National Catholic Homeschool Conference in June. I suppose I questioned whether or not I was making the right choice for our son.
My friends who have always homeschooled encouraged me by saying you basically already homeschool anyway so just do it.
The choice to homeschool would have been so much easier if I didn’t love his teachers, the school, and the administration. But those things were overshadowed by my cons of the large classrooms, idle time and discipline issues.
I attended 13 years of private Catholic schools and that option is financially available for us in Fredericksburg too, but in my heart I felt that me teaching him one-on-one was a better education for my child. I’ve always said the best gift I can give my children is a great education.
The tuition at a private school in Fredericksburg ranges from $5,420 to $20,685 a year per child. Additional fees to account for are activity, technology, PTO and transportation. There are school supplies, field trips, uniform costs and fundraisers too. As a homeschooling family, we also have to budget for school supplies, co-ops, performing arts classes and field trips. The curriculum I chose is fully accredited and includes religion, art, music and physical education coursework. So in addition to the $500 on the ‘must haves,’ I spent another $1,000 on fun stuff.
After completing the 2016-17 academic year and submitting his final grades, I can say I 100 percent made the right decision. My son excelled academically and socially. He bonded even more with his little brother. He participated in sports, book clubs, religious education classes, Trail Life, and went on dozens of field trips. For him, these activities would not have been possible if he were in a traditional school setting. As an added bonus, we found a great co-op where he learned Latin, recorder and drama, and found friends that have similar core family values.
“I get to go places with my mom and I get a lot of mommy time. Mommy teaches me best because she knows how I learn,” says James, age 8. “I don’t miss anything about public school because I have everything I need. I love mommy.”
Hearing that makes all the sacrifices worth it.
Homeschooling is not for every family or even every child in your family, but it was the right decision for James at this time in our lives. I am thankful I was able to provide this opportunity for him and look forward to watching his love for learning blossom in the years to come.
Nikki Ducas is a Fredericksburg mom teaching her two young sons financial responsibility with the less is more mindset.