I recently had the opportunity and privilege to interview Kathy Kuhl, author of Homeschool Your Struggling Learner, Staying Sane as You Homeschool, and her latest book, Encouraging Your Child. With teaching certificates in secondary math and English, Kathy worked as a junior high math teacher before homeschooling her own son in grades 4 – 12. She has also worked with students with special needs, led classes for homeschooled teens, and presented seminars for adults internationally. You can find Kathy online at LearnDifferently.com.
I understand that originally you did not plan on homeschooling. Could you tell me more about the circumstances that led to that decision?
No, I didn’t start out planning to homeschool. Getting my smart but highly distractible son out the door was hard enough. I had taught math in middle school, but I didn’t think I could help my charming, distractible son to learn to read or count.
Meanwhile, our son was coming home from school increasingly frustrated. It was a great school, but the services they could provide weren’t enough. He was starting to think he was he was stupid. But he isn’t!
I had been homeschooling him over the summers, trying to help him learn to read and add. Homeschooling friends gave me materials and encouragement. With some fears, we decided to try homeschooling when my son started fourth grade. We took it a year at a time.
How could you tell that you had made the right choice?
Homeschooling let us remove distractions, slow down the pace in areas of difficulty, and build on my son’s interests in history, literature, and the outdoors. We homeschooled for grades four through 12. It wasn’t always easy, but homeschool always seems like the best option for us.
One sign that we were on the right course was after two years of homeschooling, my son had a neuropsychological evaluation to assess his learning disabilities and strengths. The psychologist was emphatic that homeschooling was the best thing we could do for him. This expert continues to be impressed with my son’s accomplishments.
Another encouraging sign was that my bright, distractible, dyslexic son became an Eagle Scout. I think if he had had to catch a school bus daily at 6:30 AM, deal with the social, auditory, and visual distractions of high school, and keep track of what seven classroom teachers wanted five days a week, it would have been hard for him to have the time and energy to advance so far in scouting.
Do you need some extra encouragement as you homeschool? You can find all of Kathy’s books here.