We went through the OneApp process and ended up as homeschoolers. It sounds like a joke, right? Well, it’s not! It’s a true story. And apparently one that’s not too uncommon here in New Orleans.
My husband and I had always had homeschooling as an option in our minds for our kids. But as our son neared kindergarten age, we decided we’d give the OneApp a shot and see where we got placed. Then from there, we’d make a decision about whether to take the spot or take the plunge (into homeschooling). So we did our NOLA parent due diligence and went around to all the open houses and school tours. As we looked at the different options, we had a few criteria in mind.
This is #1 for me. I’m a Kindermusik educator and I have very strong opinions about education, especially in the early years. I didn’t want my son in any situation where he would be told to sit down and stop asking questions.
Racial and economic diversity.
We live in New Orleans and encounter a wide variety of people every day. We wanted our kids’ educational experiences to reflect that.
Proximity to home.
I was not willing to drive more that 15 minutes each way. With a toddler still at home, having a short commute- or better yet, the option to walk- was pretty important, but not a deal-breaker.
We eventually sent in our OneApp with exactly ONE school on it. You might say we were being picky, but I’d argue that your kid’s education is an area that you absolutely SHOULD be picky about.
After the few months long wait (seriously though, why does it take that long?!?!), we found out that our son did not get a spot in the one school we had put. No huge surprise there. And when I texted my husband to tell him the news, his reaction was the same that mine had been. Relief. That’s when we knew that we were meant to be homeschoolers.
We were kind of tossed (willingly) into homeschooling. But now that we’ve got one year under our belt, I can honestly say that even if we ever move into a more sane school district, we will probably continue to homeschool. There have been some unexpected benefits to it that I wouldn’t have necessarily thought about.
This is huge! My husband is a musician and I am a self-employed Kindermusik teacher. Our schedules are irregular, so homeschooling gives us a lot of freedom and flexibility. We can sleep in as late as we want! (Well, as late as the toddler lets us…) Plus, if our son was in school, my husband who works in the evenings, would rarely get to spend time with him. As homeschoolers, we get a lot of quality family time.
Seeing our kids learning in action.
We never miss a thing. I didn’t realize how special this would be to me. But it is truly amazing to watch your child blossom in front of you. And it’s super interesting to learn about their learning style and what makes them tick.
Travel – whenever we want!
My husband and I are big travelers. And we love taking our kids along with us. Homeschooling means we can take a trip whenever we want, truancy be darned. And don’t get me started on the educational benefits of traveling for kids.
And I’ll go ahead and answer your question about socialization (a.k.a. the #1 question homeschool moms get asked). We have had NO trouble finding opportunities for our kids to get together with other kids to learn and play. For kindergarten, our son did Children’s Chorus on Monday afternoons, a homeschool group walk in Couturie Forest on Tuesday mornings, Kindermusik on Tuesday afternoons, homeschool PE on Thursday mornings, and field trips on Friday mornings. Plus playdates throughout the week. Here in New Orleans, since the school system is the way that it is, there is a large population of homeschoolers, with a variety of reasons for homeschooling. So it’s not hard to find your tribe. In fact, there are so many socialization opportunities, that I often have to stop my extroverted self from signing up for all the things. Because if we’re homeschoolers, surely we should stay home sometimes, right?
If you are considering homeschooling, feel free to reach out to me! Also, the NOLA Homeschoolers and Homeschooling Heroes: NOLA Facebook groups have been invaluable sources of information, support, inspiration, and socialization for me and my family.
About Madeline Thibodeaux
Originally from New Mexico, Madeline moved to the Big Easy to attend Loyola University. After graduating, she met her husband, local jazz drummer Paul Thibodeaux. Madeline is the owner and head teacher at Kindermusik with Madeline. She and Paul have two children, Sebastien (age 6) and Marion (age 2), and are homeschooling Sebastien. In her free time, Madeline enjoys reading, drinking wine with the girls, going to the movies with Paul, and doing anything outdoors.