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We started homeschooling when our oldest was in Kindergarten. We started with a very traditional homeschooling curriculum with all the lesson plans and texts sent to us. My oldest son and I struggled through the first two years of his schooling battling over completing exactly what the lesson plans suggested. It was a

very difficult and trying experience for both my son and me. After completing his first grade lessons, I did a learning styles test through Mercy Academy with my son and my daughter, who was to be starting Kindergarten. I came to the conclusion that the traditional curriculum was not the way I wanted to teach and not the best method for my children to learn. I looked into alternative schools and methods. I came across St. Thomas Aquinas Academy and the classical approach to education and thought it would be more appropriate for my children. After the initial assessment, I was very impressed with the information that my advisor gathered from such a simple assessment. Yet, I was still not willing to follow all of her suggestions and chose to do some classes based on my own understanding of the children. I followed the procedures for a home generated course plan and began the year. I sensed that my advisor did not agree that this was the best option (for math) that year, but she left it up to me. Half way through the year, I realized that I had not chosen the most appropriate text for my children. I changed again and taught the class free-style making sure I covered all the necessary bases for both children. They both did well, not only in math, but also in all their courses. This year I decided to follow all of my advisors suggestions for all of their classes. I am not adding anything, 'officially' to their studies until the requirements are well on their way to completion. I realized after having a bit of a meltdown last year and sending an email to St. Thomas saying that I was ready to load the kids into the van and drop them off at the nearest school, that I was trying to do too much. The guidance that I received from my advisor helped me to put the school year into perspective and helped me to understand that my children are not perfect because they are homeschooled and they do not have to outshine every public schooled child out there. The beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility with which we can educate our children. They don't have to be concerned with whether they are working "at, below, or ahead" of grade level. They can learn at their own pace without judgment and without fear. The most rewarding event that has come out of following the curriculum at St. Thomas Aquinas is the fact that my husband has seen the tremendous results of the children enjoying school work, not even realizing that it is school work. My husband had not supported my decision to homeschool and his feelings were confirmed with the struggles of the first two years. This past year, he became an integral part of the homeschooling. He began talking to the children about what they learned that day, he took on the teaching of their science course and discussed what they were learning in history with them. I am so excited about this coming year because we are studying Ancient Egypt for history and my husband has already decided that he will teach it. Also, science is the human body and the books that we are using have already excited the children. What little boy would not be excited about a book titled: "Blood and Guts." This is probably too much information, but I am very pleased with the changes that have occurred in my children and my family because of the change to St. Thomas. I am impressed with the level of support when needed and the lack of interference when not. Thank you for all that you do.

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