Monday, September 12, 2016

Crafting a Homeschool Education

“Should I homeschool my children?”

I think this is a question that is gaining more traction with parents over the past several years.  Personally it is a question that I have considered briefly several different times in the past.  Each time I faced the same feelings and questions that most parents do when considering this option:
  • I don’t have a degree in education.  Am I qualified to teach my kids?
  • Will I do more harm then good by educating them at home?
  • How can I possibly re-create public school at home?
  • What about socialization and letting them have friends?
  • Will they be able to get into college without being an official High School Graduate?
How does a parent decide to homeschool their children?  Well I don’t think I can answer for every parent, but I can share my journey in reaching my decision with you.  It first began about the time that my oldest was getting ready to begin third grade.  She had struggled through second grade with reading and fluency and I spent hours everyday when she got home re-teaching homework that had not been covered well enough in class for her to understand.  Ultimately that year I figured I had helped enough and she would be okay, since her class work was getting done and it was only the testing she struggled with by the end of the year.  Fast forward to this spring as she began the second half of her fifth grade year in school.  I could tell there was something wrong, but I had difficulty figuring out exactly what it was.  My daughter seemed depressed and was quiet all the time.  She took to hiding assignments until the last minute because they weren’t something she felt capable of doing.  A chapter book like “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” was well beyond her reading ability.  She still preferred to read Rainbow Fairy books at about second grade level, and this was after the battle of wills it had become to even get her to read at home for her required thirty minutes a day.  I was beside myself with worry knowing that if I didn’t do something she was going to fall far enough behind that it was really going to affect her confidence and possibly her future if she needed to be held back a year or struggled in high school.

This same year her sister has been struggling with the fourth grade.  She clashed with her teacher and with the restrictions and lack of creativity in the curriculum.  I really hadn’t been paying much attention to “Common Core” until it hit our schools and started affecting my children.  As I started to research what it was and what it involved and asked my children how they were being taught different subjects in school I learned something that really opened my eyes to our current education system.  Not only were the teachers struggling with teaching common core either from not enjoying what they were required to present or because it was difficult to present, but it also made it impossible for the teachers (that we love because they work outside the box and really teach our kids well) to teach our kids, some of the best teachers have even given up teaching for a different profession altogether.  For example: so many restrictions were placed on my girls science fair projects this spring that it was no longer a fun science fair project but drudgery that everyone in my house groaned about and didn’t look forward to.

My son’s experience with first grade this year has been a rollercoaster, and while I couldn’t ask for a better teacher, because she is an amazing woman who not only manages to keep my son who is quite ahead challenged each day and engaged in school, but she also manages to do that with the kids who are struggling.  In a perfect world we would all have teachers that could reach our kids and teach them as well as she does and homeschool wouldn’t even need to be considered.  If you want to read more about his challenges read my previous post about drugs in school.

Finally I looked at the school’s calendar and schedule for the rest of the year.  I was surprised to find out that from January to May the only thing the schools are teaching our kids is how to take tests.  No new material is being taught.  They spent a couple of weeks doing drills and practice problems to get the kids ready for the upcoming test and then the following week they test.  Then this cycle is repeated until the end of April.  By the time they reach May both the children and teachers are burned out mentally and don’t do much until the end of school.

After much prayer, debate with my husband and pondering I came to the conclusion that I’ve had enough and so have my kids.  I talked with each of my girls individually and had them pray about the issues as well.  Together we felt it was time.  Our family was going to stand up and say “Enough.”  We were going to take back the control of our learning and education and learn how to love learning again.  With the decision made my family’s journey into the realm of homeschool has begun.  Where we go from here I have faith in the Lord to guide me as I begin crafting a new talent.  The talent of teaching my children and crafting a curriculum to fit their needs and interests.

This entry was originally posted on June 19, 2015 on my previous blog.  I am currently moving it's contents to this blog.

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