The Decision to Homeschool

So. We are doing it. Homeschooling the girl. Yesterday was her last official day at school. I’d be okay if it weren’t for feeling a bit battered about by everyone else’s opinions. First homeschool lesson is for mom. Go to the stillness within and stay true to what feels right, at this time, for this girl, for this family.

People have so many different ideas about what homeschooling is, and none of them have much to do with us. We are going to have to figure out our own definition.

What do we want to teach her? What do we want her to learn?

-We want her to know her value is not in question, and has nothing to do with keeping up with anyone else. 

-We want her to know life does not have to suck. That she can actually have a joyful existence, not work to live, but live to work.

-We want her to be enthusiastic about learning.

-We want her to respect her own rhythms, to allow herself the time and space she needs, when she needs it. 

-We want her to be damn good at math.

-We want her to be damn good at writing.

-We want her to have time for creativity. We want her to bask in it. We want her to roll around in creativity. Eat it and breath it.

-We want her to trust her intuition (first step, parents trusting theirs).

-We want friends to meet her in an environment where they can see who she really is.

As of yesterday at 3PM, it is winter break. 

We have filled out the forms and taken the first step in faith. We don’t have to see the whole staircase.* 

Riley pink pjs

*Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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24 Responses to The Decision to Homeschool

  1. pixiemama says:

    You, my friend, have taught me the true meaning of “follow your heart.”

    so much love.

  2. Amanda says:

    You are one brave woman and I have every faith in your ability to guide and encourage Riley (and Seth!) to be the best that they can be. It’s just so frustrating that you have had to take such a life changing step to give Riley what she needs. She has been let down so badly, you both have.

    We have to have a “sit down meeting with coffee” at school regarding what’s to become of Bear next school year. I’m certainly not happy with the way this year’s working out, and we could be in for a fight to get what she needs, but be very sure of one thing, she will get it.

  3. KC says:

    Woo hoo! Well you’ve gone and done it now — so 100% percent backing from all. There’s just no way it’s the wrong thing to do (and if it were, it’s not like it can’t be undone if/when the time comes). Just so jealous of the education Riley’s lucky enough to be getting. Can I audit some classes?

  4. Niksmom says:

    Wishing you continued clarity of heart and strength of purpose as you undertake this new part of your journey together. It’s hard, isn’t it, when everyone has an opinion an how we should be raising our children and how and what we should be teaching them. *sigh* Keep trusting yourself. xo

  5. Jenny R says:

    Glad you have made a decision – I’m looking forward to reading about your home-schooling adventures.

  6. K Fuller Yuba City says:

    Well done. Your children got just the right parents.

  7. Crying with joy over here – this sounds perfect, Michelle. Love.

  8. You have to follow your heart.

  9. *m* says:

    What a huge step, and one that will surely bring relief and joy to both Riley and you. A big task, but who better to undertake it than Team O’Neil?

    Kudos to you, and I look forward to reading all about it!

  10. Lydia says:

    I think this is a great, great decision, Michelle. My mom always says that I should have been homeschooled, but unfortunately, she’s always had to work. I’m so glad you’re able to provide such a supportive environemnt for Riley. You’ll be great, and she’ll be great, and it will all work out. I know it will.

  11. Wanda says:

    I want to go to that school. Can I come learn at your house?

  12. jill says:

    You won’t regret this for a moment. I’ve been homeschooling (mixed with some school) my spectrum son for years. The single greatest tool you can acquire is fluency in learning ‘how your child learns’. Once you master that skill you will be amazed how quickly your child masters any academic goal you have for them. She will be ahead of the curve in no time! If you need any suggestions feel free to email me. Congratulations!

  13. Betty says:

    You and HT are the only living human beings that know what’s best for Riley. Do what you think is right. Nobody else’s opinion matters. If you have to, tell these people who offer theirs without being asked first so.

  14. Stagmom says:

    You are a born teacher. So is your daughter. A match made in heaven. Go for it. K

  15. Anna says:

    To me, the most important thing about this decision is not the unschooling of Riley, but the unschooling of your own Self. It says: I know that I have everything I need right here within, to do anything I need to do. It says: The answers are not in any institution, any book, any guru, any custom, anywhere but in my heart. It’s a statement of absolute and radical acceptance of your own competence, your own perfection, as well as of Riley’s.

    When Devin unschooled, we spent entire days at the Smithsonian communing with dinosaurs. He learned to fly an airplane at 13, played bass in a band at age 15, and apprenticed with a martial arts grandmaster at 16. He says that all the real learning in his life has taken place outside of school. I know that Riley’s experience and yours will be equally rich. And the learning will be about your own beautiful selves unfolding and opening, rather than about trying to suppress those selves to fit into someone else’s idea of how to live.

    So proud of all of you! So excited about the adventure!

  16. naomi says:

    Hugs. I’m so happy for you guys. You and Riley together, growing and blossoming – It is going to be astounding!

  17. Jerri says:

    Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. You and HT are the ones who know Riley best. You know yourselves. You know that every choice you make for her is made with love.

    Everything else is just noise.

    Love and blessings.

  18. -e- says:

    I have written down your list of things you want Riley to know, and will be posting it on the fridge. A list of what every child needs to know.

    I have complete faith in your ability to guide wisely and journey to all the right places.

  19. amber says:

    Wonderful! *happy sigh*


  20. Carrie Link says:

    I think the whole experience is going to rock for all the O’Neils.

  21. Dawn says:

    On the mirror in my bedroom there is a note that reminds me to choose out of love and not fear. If I forget, I come read the way you’re living as an example.

    New Year, new beginning for Riley’s education…and yours. XO

  22. Gail C. says:

    As a long time follower of Riley and her family’s story, I still feel sad that she has been so unhappy in school and the school was so passive in making adjustments for her (including Jingle). That aside, she’s so lucky to have such a wonderful family that is so flexible and responsive to her needs. I’m hoping that the day my son realizes he’s a different with some special needs he’ll think “oh, this is an issue but I’m okay, my family and friends love me and everything will work out.” I think that what you are doing will teach this to Riley – things were not working out at school right now so her family loves her and is stepping in to provide her with a better situation. She will learn and will go through life more confident because she will understand that when you have a problem you can make changes and improvements. What a great example of flexible thinking. I’m looking forward to reading about this next chapter.

  23. Anonymous says:

    no wrong ways.
    life does not suck.
    you will make sure.
    good luck.

  24. Susan Hendrickson says:

    If anyone can do this it’s you. Good luck!

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