Category Archives: Transition to Homeschooling from Full-Time Teaching

A+ Education Solutions offers a range of educational services

I started A+ Education Solutions in 2013 because I had a strong desire to help students who need a little extra help to reach their goals. In the process, I started a cottage school that morphed into a more traditional model of a school, partnered with my husband as he pastors our church, moved, had a baby, had a couple of children leave the nest, taught at another wonderful Christian school, and most recently, realized that I need to return home and center myself there. Through all of it, my mission for a vocation has not changed: I believe God has called me to creatively facilitate Christian education for a diverse population of students.20170612_074936

Though I no longer run Jubilee Academy, the model I began there still lives in my heart. What is that model? Well, for starters, it’s a kinder, gentler model of education — an individualized model, where students are seen as real people who have struggles, but who also have much to offer the world. God created each of us with unique gifts, and those gifts are meant to be shared with the world. However, some people buy into the cultural lie that academics and athletics are the prized intelligences, and that others are inferior. Can you imagine a world without artists, mechanics, electricians, fast food servers, and on and on? Two of the most important jobs in the world are plumbers and trash collectors. Think about that for a moment.

But we all have to get through the academics, at least for 13 years. Some of us really struggle, though. And we just need a helping hand, maybe just for a season, and maybe all the way through. Sometimes the student needs direct help, in the form of tutoring and assessment. Other times, the student needs indirect assistance, such as an IEP advocate at school or homeschool support for his parents. A+ Education Solutions is here to help with these needs. Rates are reasonable and assistance is personalized to your family’s needs. Because I’m focusing on health and family, slots are limited, but there are a few left and I am happy to put others on my waiting list. For more information, email heatherpwalton@gmail.com or text/call 502-438-4680. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

A Cottage School is Born

Jubilee Academy at KavanaughToday I finalized plans for Jubilee Academy to operate at Kavanaugh Life Enrichment Center in Crestwood, KY. I am excited about this venture, because this is an opportunity to do what I love–which is teaching–while including the people I love–my kids–for the most important reason of all–God‘s glory.

I got the idea of beginning a cottage school because I didn’t want to quit teaching professionally even though I decided to homeschool my own children. There are several fabulous cottage schools in the Louisville, KY area, but I wanted to build a unique program based on my own philosophy of education. Jubilee Academy is a blend of the best of progressive and the best of traditional education. Students will participate in reading, writing, and math workshops each day. They will receive instruction from me, and then they’ll put the skills to use while working individually or in groups. Those needing extra instruction will have individual conferences or focus groups with me.

Since I am certified in special education, as well as in elementary education, and since I personally have two children who have ADHD, I want to reach out to others with children who struggle. I have a passion for teaching all kinds of students–students who are considered typical, as well as those with ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Asperger’s Syndrome, and High Functioning AutismJubilee Academy will admit students with and without learning challenges.

In the Old Testament, the Jubilee was the year when everyone got back any property they had mortgaged, when debts were forgiven, and when captives were set free. I see Jubilee Academy as a place of freedom and joy for students. I also see this venture as part of my personal journey of freedom.

I am looking forward to seeing what God does with Jubilee Academy in this venture of creating a cottage school.

Turning the Page to Reveal a Brand New Story

One thing I like about storybooks is that, when you finish a story, there’s a fresh one waiting for you. You just have to turn the page. Sometimes, when my kids ask me to read another one, I tell them that they have to go to bed. Other times, I indulge them with “just one more.” Either way, there’s another story waiting.

Life is like that, too. When we end one stage in our lives, all we have to do is turn the page and another begins.

Yesterday was my last day teaching in public school. I’ve really enjoyed my job, so it was difficult to think of that chapter ending. But today it is time for a new story to begin. I am preparing to return to homeschooling, after taking five years off. I am going to teach at a local cottage school two days a week. And I’m getting serious about my own business, A+ Educational Solutions, which provides tutoring, educational testing, homeschool curriculum consulting, and lesson planning. As part of A+ Educational Solutions, I’m beginning Jubilee Academy, a cottage school for Grades 1-6 that will meet Mondays and Wednesdays, 9-2:30, in Crestwood, KY for the 2013-14 school year. I’ve located the spot where I plan for Jubilee Academy to meet, and it’s a wonderful location. I will finalize it in the next couple of weeks, and then announce it. I’m very excited about the opportunity to continue to teach classes while I homeschool my own kids. I’m also preparing to promote A+ Educational Solutions and Jubilee Academy at a couple of local homeschool events–the HFHG Curriculum Swap and possibly the CHEK Convention. After that, I’m going to have an open house for Jubilee Academy, probably in mid-June.

I’m excited to see what God is going to do in my story as I turn the page from one great chapter to another.

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Following God’s Plan Can Be Bittersweet

The road God calls us to walk is sometimes bittersweet.

Tomorrow will be my last day teaching at Cartmell Elementary. I have had the craziest year there, and there have definitely been ups and downs at school and at home. But when it comes right down to it, I love working there. I love everything about teaching in public school—everything except the time I spend away from my own children. I love classroom decorations, lesson planning, and working with other teachers. (OK, I don’t always love meetings and paperwork, but those don’t even bother me that much.) Most of all, I love the students, and I love knowing I’m making even a small difference in their lives.

This year was a little bit rough at work because of some unusual circumstances, but even with the difficulties, I still loved teaching—every minute of it. So saying goodbye to full-time teaching has me kind of down. Most teachers are so excited about the coming summer vacation. I will enjoy my summer for sure. But I’m probably the least excited teacher at my school right now. Packing up boxes and taking down decorations has brought some definite sorrow.

Sometimes God calls us to do things that bring us some sadness. Contrary to our society’s philosophy that we should do what feels good, the Lord calls us to sacrifice. So many people sacrifice what’s best for their children to do what feels good to them. The Lord often calls us to sacrifice our own desires for the good of our children.

So, while I feel kind of down about leaving full-time public school teaching, I am hopeful that God will bless my sacrifice and benefit my family because of it.

Lessons from Spring Break

Today I took the boys downtown to go to the science center. I was bummed when I started to park and realized that I’d forgotten my purse, which meant we couldn’t park anywhere within a reasonable walking distance and we didn’t have our membership card. Then I remembered that there are some very nice playgrounds near the river, so we went there instead. We had a fabulous time, unhurried by the demands of the regular school year schedule.

Hanging out with my kids this week has confirmed my decision to return to homeschooling. I have enjoyed having the time and energy to play games, take them places, and just listen to them. Even though I have a job that gives me 16 weeks off each year, I still feel like I miss out on so much with my kids. I realize that homeschooling has its own challenges, but I sure am looking forward to spending quality AND quantity time together.spring break 13 1

My Journey Away From Homeschooling … And Back Again

I homeschooled for 5 1/2 years before calling it quits. I loved it at first, and felt called by God to do it. But it was hard, especially with a child with ADHD. I got burned out. I remember leaving the kitchen table to put in a load of laundry while the girls were doing their work at the table. I’d come back and they’d have run out the back door to play. Not just once … this was the kind of thing that happened regularly. Eventually I got burned out because I began homeschooling in my own very limited strength, rather than depending on God’s endless strength. I was tired and I had two babies, and I felt like I just couldn’t do it anymore. So, rather than getting first-time obedience from my children, and rather than seeking God’s strength, I sent them to school.

It’s been five years since I made that decision. In the meantime I got my Master’s degree in education, worked part-time at a couple of part-time programs for homeschoolers, and worked for two years as a special education teacher. It’s interesting that I struggled to educate my own special needs child, but I decided to teach other people’s special needs children.

What’s even more interesting are the reasons I’m returning to homeschooling. First, it’s time to go back and fix the problems in my relationship with my children that caused me to quit homeschooling the first time. (Amazingly, sending them to school did not fix the problems, as I had thought it would.) Second, my 6 year old has been diagnosed with ADHD. His teacher says it will be very hard for him to be successful in the 1st grade because there will be 24 kids in the class and he needs more attention than he will get. My boys go to a Christian school that is not equipped to deal with attention issues or learning disabilities.

So now I want to establish the proper relationship with my kids and give them the BEST possible education. I know the importance of individual attention and individual education.  Even though most teachers are fabulous people who want to give the best to their students, it’s so hard to give your best to 24 students! I absolutely believe homeschooling can be the BEST educational choice.

Another goal I have is to help other people to be able to homeschool their children through difficult circumstances, like ADHD, behavior issues, and learning disabilities. I want to help people not to give up, like I did the first time. I don’t know exactly how God wants to use my experiences, but I trust that He does.

I’m looking forward to homeschooling in the power of the Holy Spirit this time!

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A New Perspective and a New Venture

After two years of teaching public school and a couple of years of prep-work that came before, I am making a radical change after this school year. I am going to teach part-time at a cottage school so I can homeschool three of my children. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, because I absolutely love my teaching job. But I love my family more, so after spending a couple of years giving my best to other people’s kids, it’s time to give my best to my own kids.