|Some things are bigger than us.|
Here's what is rubbing me raw: Homeschooling. It's certainly not for everyone but I don't understand the vitriol people spew when the subject comes up.
I did a quick Google to see if there is a reality tv show about homeschooling and found this blog where so many of the comments were hateful and conformist. Today I hit angry reviews of this homeschooling book I really like.
Control issues? Personal insecurities projected onto others? Just take what you like and leave the rest.
I think a glimpse into our lives would help people to quit asking me, "Are you going to homeschool again this year?" Curiosity is probably the root of the question but it chips away at my already fragile uncertainly. Any homeschool parent who isn't conceited hears: "So, are you keeping your kids chained to the furnace again this year?"
It is a giant, Costco size can of worms with no bottom. I cried when I filled out the forms to take them out of school. It is so impossibly hard to do something so unconventional without training and so much is at stake. But it has worked better than I ever imagined it would and...
I can’t send them back into a place with labels that never worked for them. I loved elementary school, hated jr. high, high school and college. My sister was the opposite. She thrived. So much that college professors would ask me, "Are you the Caley from that class...?" Nope. Not that Caley. I'm the Caley in the weeds.
But not in elementary school. I owned elementary school. I'm not projecting my issues onto my kids. School is broken.
- When my kids are gone for 8 hours and come home with two more hours of work - broken.
- When I have to teach them their multiplication tables before they start third grade - broken.
- When family time revolves around what a fresh-out-of-school, 22-year-old without kids tells me I have to do with my children - broken.
- When my kid is half way through third grade and can't write - broken. DON'T BLAME THIS ON ME. They are twins. Same bedtime. Same rules. Same nutrition. Same flash cards.
- The longer my kids were in regular school, the farther behind they fell - broken. And they started K at the top of their classes. Their standardized test scores were stunning. (I didn't 'teach to the test.' I didn't know they took those tests in 1st grade!)
I homeschool because it works for my kids. I don't enjoy it. I barely made it to my high school graduation. But the proof is in the results and here they are:
In three months, my kid who couldn't write and hid under his desk at school, had finished the third grade (the grade I pulled him out of) and written 100 pages of Minecraft stories. He could do all the math required in elementary school including long division, fractions, decimals and percentages. His twin, who stayed in the school's "gifted" program, couldn't.
Don't think "all the individual attention made the difference." Didn't happen. I have a farm to (try to) run. I would show him how to do something, write a worksheet about it and let him go wherever he wanted to do the work.
He stood up straight. He could talk to adults. He kept track of his homework. He was like a different kid.
He and I went to have lunch with his brother at the school a few weeks after he started homeschooling. The office staff eagerly asked him questions at check-in. "How is home school?" His answer summed it up: "Great!" He said with unbridled amazement, "You can eat WHATEVER YOU WANT!"
This past school year they were both homeschooled. The first son has a harder time with his brother around. The 'gifted' son (They are both gifted to me.) still struggles with math but reads at a college level. This year he can read the math book.
Here's a link to the picture of them with the Governor, in his office for the signing of a bill they worked to pass.
I tremble with fear when I think of homeschooling them. I don't know everything in the world, how can I possibly be up to more challenges? But I can't send them back to the place where they were afraid to ask questions and had to get permission to go potty.