As a mom of a son with life-threatening food allergies, I know one of the most weighing concerns for allergy families is what to do about school.
We pray that our children will outgrow their allergies by kindergarten, and when they don’t…panic ensues. How will they be safe so many hours away from us?
The question of schooling for food allergy children often comes up on our Facebook Page, and most of the time the majority of comments suggest jumping into public school with a good 504 plan.
While that suggestion is fine and certainly the opinion of many, I want to write this post for those mamas who have a tug in their gut to dig deeper for other solutions.
Because…I was one of those moms not content with the 504 route. Not everyone is going to be, and other options are out there.
So I’m here to share the idea that other mom friends passed onto me eight years ago.
And that’s home school.
I know, I laughed at my friends, too. I actually laughed at them for about two years. Home school was definitely not on my radar, but thankfully good friends pointed me to it anyways!
And that’s what I want to do for you. Point you to it…just in case!
To my surprise, home school turned out to be a wonderful, feasible, alternative option for our boys’ education. They are thriving in the most important ways, and our whole family is content and satisfied with this road we have chosen.
Yes, we started home school because of food allergies. I won’t pretend it wasn’t. But eight years in and with a wonderful program that suits us well…our family of four is in unanimous decision that home school is for us. Food allergies or not.
And maybe home school is for you!
Or maybe you will read this post and say no way! But then a year or two down the road, you will be Googling “Milk Allergy Mom 20 Reasons We Home School” because you just can’t shake the idea.
To help you start exploring this possible option, I’ve listed the 20 reasons that we home school.
Hope this helps you dig deeper as you research educational options.
FOOD ALLERGY REASONS WE HOME SCHOOL
1. PUBLIC SCHOOL TOLD US TO
Our public school told us we should probably home school because they don’t want moms volunteering around the school too much.
2. NO FULL-TIME NURSES AT SCHOOL
The public school only had a part-time nurse. We felt this was just not enough support for our food allergy son.
3. SCARY CAFETERIAS
I’m the one who has made all our food allergy mistakes so I certainly don’t expect a cafeteria to keep my son safe. Cross contamination, surface residue, and airborne allergens are all concerns.
All we have to do is read the daily news to know what an epidemic school bullying has become. Very disheartening.
5. FOCUS ON STRENGTHS, NOT FOOD ALLERGY
My sons are gaining a lot of confidence by being able to focus on their academic, spiritual, personality, and extra-curricular strengths at home.
6. SMALLER, SAFER COMMUNITY
Our home school group is small enough to build relationships and to have a food allergy safe environment where everyone is understanding. Life isn’t always like this but why shouldn’t it be for now? We believe in baby-stepping into the big wide world.
7. EFFECTIVE FOOD ALLERGY ADVOCACY
We get to educate a close-knit community about food allergies. And they are then going out and educating others. Think quality over quantity. Jesus and the 12 disciples.
8. LOWER STRESS FOR ALL
Parent and child food allergy stress levels are much lower. Better for our overall health.
9. INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION & SAFETY
We think we can keep our child alive better than a school can. That’s a strong reason.
10. TEACH FOOD ALLERGY SKILLS IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
We are walking alongside our son closely and teaching him food allergy management at age appropriate levels. Throwing the baby in the bath water was just not our preferred method for this important training.
OTHER REASONS WE HOME SCHOOL
11. BEING MAINSTREAM ISN’T OUR CONCERN
Instead, teaching our kids to think outside the box is important to us. And home school is definitely “outside the box”. We want them to be thinkers, communicators, and leaders.
12. WE HOLD OUR VALUES TIGHTLY
We want to instill values into our children that the school system probably will not. In fact, the school systems may instill values counter to what our family thinks and believes, and I don’t want to spend our evenings un-teaching what our kids may learn at school.
13. WE WANT OUR KIDS TO BE KIDS
Getting to sled when it snows, ride bikes when it’s sunny, splash puddles when it rains, run in leaves when they fall. Not to mention that no matter how good parents are at home, the influence at school these days can be appalling. In my opinion, society is growing our kids up way too fast. Call me a prude.
14. BEING SOCIAL IS THE LEAST OF OUR WORRIES
Our food allergy son is a competitive club athlete. Our other son is a natural life-of-the-party. We have sports friends, church friends, cousins, neighbor friends, home school field trips and play days. In addition, my kids are learning to socialize beyond their peer group, and that’s neat to see.
15. WE HAVE A GREAT PROGRAM
We have found an amazing, nationalized home school program that will take our children all the way through high school. Classical Christian education has been the best fit for us.
16. FAMILY TIME IS IMPORTANT TO US
We don’t spend the evenings doing homework, and that means more fun time with dad and as a family. We can take vacations whenever we want, too. Bonus!
17. RELAXED SCHEDULE
We can stay up late, wake up late. Have a slow breakfast. No lunch-packing stress or limitations, and we have time to make nutritious dinners. I love our laid back schedule especially in the kitchen!
18. THE HOME SCHOOL MOVEMENT IS GROWING
Home schooling has grown exponentially in recent years and so has the support network. At our disposal are legal defense, social avenues, online inspiration, and awesome curriculum choices of all varieties! There’s no need to go at it alone these days.
19. STATISTICALLY SUCCESSFUL
Home school graduates are scoring above average on national tests, and colleges are starting to vie for these well-performing students.
20. LIFE IS SHORT
We only have our children for a short time. In nine quick years, I will be able to do whatever I want with my life. For now, we are thoroughly enjoying our time with our kids.
Our Teen Home School Friends
SOME MYTHS ABOUT HOME SCHOOLING
ONLY MOMS HOME SCHOOL
Dads can get involved, too, and they do a great job. Good male role models are necessary for our kids and society as a whole.
ONLY STAY AT HOME MOMS CAN HOME SCHOOL
I know home school moms who work full-time or part-time, even outside the home. Doctors, nurses, Chamber of Commerce President, professors, managers, business owners galore.
HOME SCHOOL HAS TO BE FROM 8am TO 3pm
Nope. For one, learning takes half the time when it’s one-on-one with your child. And it can be early mornings, evenings, and even weekends.
SINGLE MOMS CAN’T HOME SCHOOL
I know ones who do! They enlist the help of grandparents, family, babysitters, etc. to help get things done. With a good ally, I’ve seen it’s possible
HOME SCHOOL IS TOO EXPENSIVE
It doesn’t have to be. There are tons of free or inexpensive resources out there. Our family embraces the classical model of simplicity, and we save a lot of money that way.
I HAVE TO USE PUBLIC SCHOOL BECAUSE I PAY TAXES INTO IT
Well, so do retired people and families in private school. We will be paying money to the schools our entire life as long as we are home owners. Moving to a less expensive district can alleviate some of the tax sting.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOME SCHOOLING
- Find out your state laws regarding home school. Some have no regulations. Some do.
- Any loving parent can home school. You know your child best.
- You don’t have to be “religious” to home school. There are all kinds of programs.
- There are so many curriculum and methods out there. Choose what’s best for your family!
- Practice home school during the preschool years. It will help you learn your styles early.
- It’s never too late to bring your kids home. Kids are so resilient and adaptable.
- You don’t have to pick one thing and stick to it. Changing curriculum or school decisions is fine. Do what’s best for now and be willing to change as needed.
- If you have further questions, just leave a comment and I’ll try to help!
Original Post 6-23-15