Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Homeschool Deal-ee-o

Okay, for those of you who are interested in what I am up to, here's the scoop. Ruby loved kindergarten, hated first grade, hated 2nd grade. She felt like the day was too long and she didn't get enough play time, and she missed us. She was not having any problems socially or academically. Her teachers were fine, her school was fine, I just found myself wanting more time with her as I watched her childhood going by too fast. I wanted more influence in her life, and more control over her time. I had been thinking about it for a long time, and had always kept it open as an option to present her when she reached middle school (because I think middle school is evil and soul crushing) but as she continued to complain I thought about it more seriously. After Christmas break she finished a couple of weeks before I got up the nerve to finally take her out. It was as simple as walking into the office and telling them my intentions. I took her home that day and we have been educating her here ever since. I think I have missed it more than she has. I keep asking if she wants to go back and so far her answer continues to be an emphatic no. It is basically a giant experiment, I don't really know if it's the best solution. I find that there are trade offs. It is more work for me to sit down and teach a math lesson, but I have less stress overall I think. We have no more homework tears, more energy for soccer practice, and no wasted time driving her to and from school. The best thing to come out of it so far has been the friendship her and Calvin have developed. She was gone everyday until almost 4:00, then dinner, homework, soccer, etc. and she never had time for him before. She has become a wonderful big sister and loves spending time with him now that she is home more. For now it is working for us. I will keep you posted on how it's going.


Jen said...

I can totally relate to wanting them around more!! As Leah gets ready to start kindergarten it makes me want to curl up in the fetal position!

My biggest beef with the school is curriculum. I feel like most days Ben isn't being challenged and is learning at school to do things half brained. The teacher is so disctracted by one trouble student who acts out a lot {somehow in every classroom there is always one!} and really devotes half of her time on keeping him on track and the other 30+ kids suffer. It makes it impossible to get into any subject with any depth. They watch a lot of movies and have a lot of student led time... which just equals a lot of chit chatting for all those 9 year olds! :) I know I sound a little bit like a Nazi Mama right now... and I do tend to go in that direction, ha!... but I really feel like my intelligent child is getting dumbed down every time they go to school.

And... middle school IS soul destroying!

We've checked into private schools but really can't afford the $3000 a month on one income. Our local charter school has a worse reputation that public.

Sometimes I wish I cared a lot less! :) It would be easier to be oblivious. At the moment we are making it work with dedicated afterschool focus and staying aware of what they are doing in class.

Then again, Ben is almost always in a sport and I feel like he could really use more free, run around like a kid time.

I'm so interested to hear how things work out with your experiment! Keep us posted. You are so brave. I feel so nervous to take that step. {and then again, nervous about our status quo.}

Jennifer said...

I am sure people think I am a little crazy, so I am glad you understand. What you are describing with Ben was a big part of our decision. Although she wasn't having any problems, she wasn't progressing like I thought she should. ( and I am no overachiever) Teachers feel that proficient is acceptable. Even good teachers are not able to meet the dynamic needs of a diverse group of children. We tried supplementing after school, but the day was already too long. Why can't they effectively teach my child in the 7 hours they have her?
Also, she was well behaved so she was forgotten. And she started to figure out ways to avoid work. With our current state budget crisis forcing job cuts and increasing class sizes, I saw the problem only getting worse. I figured as a college educated woman I couldn't do much worse. It really is scary sometimes to have the responsibility fall on my shoulders, but I can at least now say that I have tried. I spend about 2 hours max, and she is happily enjoying her education and childhood.

Heather said...

movies and student led time? that is ridiculous.
i think it's awesome that you are homeschooling. i don't know if i am disciplined enough to do it! we'll see what conner's school experience is like once he starts 1st grade!

Melissa said...

I think you are brave! I will get a little of the experience over the summer, so I guess I'll see if it's something I can handle. Carter was having trouble at school finishing his work, and his teacher asked us to have him tested. She thought that he was probably bored with the things that they were learning. We did get him tested at a local college, and he did not have ADHD or Aspergers, just a super-high IQ. Our schools here have no gifted program at all, so they don't really know what to do with kids like him. We're going to try having him in a regular third grade class but doing math and science with a fourth grade class for next year. So I have to make sure he hasn't skipped anything important in the third grade level over the summer to make sure he's ready for next year. Hopefully, this plan will work. I don't want him to be bored, and I don't really want him to skip a whole grade or two and spend all his time with older kids. He's already growing up too fast! If you want really good math curriculum, look into Singapore Math. I wish that we had options of charter schools or private schools, but there just aren't any around. The closest ones are 30 minutes or more, and I just can't do that every day with two (almost three) other kids to take care of. I hope that everything works out well for you. I am interested to see how things turn out for you and Ruby.