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The Last Day of the Semester


This is a more personal update versus financial. Please skip if that does not interest you.

Today is the last day of Princess and Gymnast first semester in public school. We made it.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve sat with each of them individually and had them look back at this semester and asked for their feedback and perspective. I thought I would share their thoughts with you.

I asked each of them:

  • How did going to public school differ or meet your expectations?
  • Looking back and comparing homeschooling in Virginia and public school here, which would you choose? (I didn’t ask them about homeschooling here as the challenges we faced were the main reason I chose to try public school.)

Princess’ Perspective

The stereotypes about high school are all wrong. First, I didn’t get bullied at all. And second, there is not a lot of homework at all.
Princess, age 14, 10th grade

She has had a really good semester. Gotten straight A’s across the board. Made the varsity volleyball team for the fall. Inducted into the Anchor Club. And made several new good friends.

Princess inducted into Anchor Club

Gymnast Perspective

I don’t like getting up, but I like feeling normal. And I’m learning things I hadn’t learned before, but maybe I wasn’t to that level. But there is not a lot of homework. I am glad I was homeschooled, but now I really like the social aspect.
Gymnast, age 12, 7th grade

He has struggled. Grades, fitting in, been assaulted three times and being so busy with training 4 nights a week. There were kids who told him they couldn’t be his friend “because he is brown.” But he has also grown and matured, and continued to be true to himself.  He is finishing the year with all As and Bs and squeaked through the standardized testing (where they tested for the full year of material and he was only there for a semester.)

He is ranked sixth overall in our eight state region in gymnastics. And has just committed to the next year of training and competition, moving up to Level 8. (Here he is modeling over 100 of the medals he has won over the last six years of competing.)

My Thoughts

I had no doubt that both of them would be successful. They are resilient and smart. I could not be more proud.

I think if we had done this back in Virginia it would have been a completely different experience. They would not have faced so much racism. The education is definitely better there. But then again, we had such a strong homeschool network there, I would never have considered it.

And we would have also had to deal with a great deal more bureaucracy. Whereas, here the schools have really worked with us to accommodate Gymnast’ training and competition schedule and Princess’ advanced status.

Next Year

There are some things we will change in the Fall. Riding the bus more is definitely one we will try. Getting more involved with volunteering at the schools. I’m going to apply to substitute teach.

But for now, we will continue with public schools…I will always regret that it came to this. But I know that at this time and at this place in our lives, it is the best choice for both of them.

Thank you for being part of our journey.



  • Reply J |

    Just curious, what did each of them choose between homeschooling and public school?

    • Reply Hope |

      Princess said she would choose public school here, but if we were still in VA with our co op, etc. she would return to homeschooling.

      Gymnast said he would choose public school either place because of the social aspect.

      They both agreed, without my prompting, that the education aspect was more intense homeschooling versus public school.

  • Reply Laura |

    I am truly glad to hear overall school was a good experience for them. Very sad to hear your son experienced racism.

    Do you have a plan for how you are going to pay for gymnastics?

    • Reply Hope |

      I do not have a plan. Right now, I’m just trying to get through the here and now. And for now, I have training costs taken care of through July.

  • Reply Reece |

    I’m glad to hear it was mostly positive. Hopefully next year will be smoother as they now know some of the kids/have had a chance to make friends. Also, can you update on the twins and what their plans are? I know one is in community college right? How is that going? And will his brother be coming down to live with you guys soon? Maybe check with them, see if they’d mind you giving updates on them too!

    I also have questions about the sports and them not being a line item in your budget and you’re not being very clear about where the money is going to come from. Elite sports are very expensive, so when you say you’ve made an arrangement with the Gym and he’s signing up for another year, do you mean he’ll be getting a scholarship for the training and competition fees? Or are you going to add a line item in your budget to save/pay for this? Or are you waiting to see if you get unemployment and are planning to pay for it out of the expected lump-sum check? Or will their Dad be contributing financially?

    I know you said this was a personal, not a financial update, but there are still financial questions to be answered!

    Also, will you need to start budgeting soon for school fee’s, school sports and clothing for this fall? That might be a better use of the Universal savings as it is a firm expense that you know is coming in a few short months…


    • Reply Hope |

      I will give an update on the twins in the next week or so. Thanks for asking!

      School fees? That is news to me. Not sure how to budget for that since I’m completely in the dark. There are fees for school sports? Again news. Hopefully, I can ask those questions to the coach in June when practice starts.

      You will see an update on part of the sports cost in the next update. As for Gymnast, it’s been worked out through July. And I will tackle it as it comes. That’s all I can do at this point.

  • Reply Reece |

    I guess where I’m from you have to pay school fees to register your student, for book rental, class dues, activity passes, and team sports uniforms. I assumed (maybe incorrectly) that it was the same everywhere…..
    Okay, cool with the update on the Gymnast sports cost coming, but I would advise you to add this as a line item to your budget now as unfunded and then work to shift your $ around so that if worse comes to worse, you have at least the start of a plan. July will be here before you know it; you can’t just say “well, I’ll deal with that when the time comes” because you’ve done that before and it has not worked out well for you….I know you want the car paid off asap but you KNOW you have funds to be paid out in July, so why not dial that back a little and save those dollars toward the bill you know is coming? Then, if you do get financial help in some other way you can always make a lump sum payment at that time, you know? Just my .02……

  • Reply Shanna |

    In CA in an affluent district we pay about $1000 to register for public school fees or more. Many of these things can be considered optional (yearbook, class homecoming t shirts, etc). Sports “donation” is anywhere from $300-$800 per student depending on the sport. They cannot make you pay, but sports are NOT funded here by the district and thus it is expected you pay.

  • Reply Shanna |

    Additionally, since your daughter is clearly very bright you should budget the cost of AP exams, test prep materials, etc. ACT and SAT prep classes are taken between sophomore and junior year for testing during Junior year (also costs). Lots of expenses involved the last two years of high school-prom, grad activities, college applications, etc.

    • Reply Hope |

      True, true. HOWEVER, if she can complete 30 hours of community college here in the state of GA before you graduates high school (which I believe is very doable,) 4 year universities will evaluate her as a transfer student rather than a high school student and she will not need to take the SAT or ACT.

      Sea Cadet and I have been visiting schools alot this year, so I’ve learned alot of ins and outs. And he has completed 28 credit hours just this school year. Since Princess can start the fully funded by the state dual enrollment program next summer, she will have no problems reaching that magical number.

      So I MAY not have to pay for prep classes or those tests. Win! And I’d much rather her get the college credit for free than take an AP class as well. Crossing my fingers, she stays motivated.

  • Reply Mary |

    Glad they’re adjusting to public school although it’s definitely unfortunate that even in this modern day and age, racism still exists the way it does. It’s upsetting to hear your son was assaulted several times, and hope he won’t be when he rides the school bus!

  • Reply debtor |

    I’m glad they mostly like it. I would say that as much as it sucks it is a good thing your son got to experience some of the prejudice because he WILL face it at work and in college because he will be considered a black man. At least now he is at the age where he can talk to you and look to you for advice and support so he has some sort of strategy on how he wants to handle it and is not blindsided at the last minute.

    Something you said sparked something – since you homeschooled for so long – how do you feel about teaching? That seems like a natural fit for you and something you could look into while you search for perm. work. Could you be a sub teacher at their school? Or maybe even offer tutoring in your neighborhood?

  • Reply Walnut |

    SAT/ACT is relevant for scholarship as well as college admission. She should certainly plan to take both. Getting a book at the library for self-study would be a good alternative to paying for classes.

  • Reply Anonymess |

    You’re a good mom, Hope. I’m glad to know your kids have found public school a positive experience overall.

    I second that you should consider saving for the SAT/ACT. As bright as your daughter is, and as skilled a test-taker as she is, my judgement is that you don’t need classes for her. A book from the library to introduce her to the tests should be sufficient. Not only are the scores considered for some scholarships, but they’re one of the main ways colleges learn about, and plan their courtship of, high-achieving students.

    I’m so, so sorry your son has had to deal with such blatant racism. But if he’s enjoying the social aspect of public school in particular, he’s clearly not letting it intimidate him.

    Also: so cute, the both of them!

  • Reply Marcy Trost |

    Definitely plan to have Princess take either ACT or SAT (or both) at least once. She can prep for free online via Khan Academy. Many competitive academic merit scholarships are based upon the SAT or ACT score to some degree, so you want to ensure that Princess is in a good position to be considered for those when the time comes. If she is as strong academically, she may want to consider a collegiate experience that will take her beyond one that is available there in GA.

  • Reply Rosalind |

    Okay, I’m hoping you are black yourself, hence the comment, but I don’t think it’s a good thing at all that he’s having to experience that. When my brother was in kindergarten he had to deal with someone calling him a dumb brown person. It didn’t help his life in any way, neither did my experience of being treated badly for being half black.

  • Reply first step |

    For the ACT/SAT testing, check with the guidance or career office. The school district my kids attended paid for all students to take the PSAT and Pre-ACT tests that are for scholarship qualifications. Also, the district offered reduced or no fees for students in need to take the SAT or ACT. Application fees may also be reduced or eliminated for qualified students.

So, what do you think ?