Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2 Weeks From Today......

My 3 girls in the middle with their good friends!
 We start school here in our household... But today was the day most of the area public schools started... It also starts the day when perfect strangers feel the need to ask me Why my kids aren't in school if we happen to be out in public during normal school hours? Then when we reply we home school! I sometimes get a look like you are not doing it right and they ask the girls "Did you do your school today?"or I get a smile and a nod of approval...   When we get asked the "Did you do your school today?" I some times want to get real sarcastic and say "No we slept till 2pm, had ice cream for breakfast and then decided to cruise town".. Lol..  Truth is we are usually up by 6:30-7am and get chores done and then start school by 9am..  We do keep a flexible schedule though.  It is what works the best for us..
  We tried the public school thing. Let me say this first! I am NOT Totally Against Public schools!  You don't have to defend your decisions to me. Some people the first thing they say after I say we home school is I could never do that. And that's just Fine!! The main thing is being there for your kids and helping them no matter what your choices are. I am not defending our decisions here just sharing it..
 My girls went in to school in the 80th percentile in preschool knowing everything they needed to know plus some came out of preschool at a high average to go into a kindergarten class that almost ruined them.. I was told how my kids were struggling in school. I asked for things to help them.. I was told they will catch it later.. They passed my oldest on to 1st grade and the other 2 entered Kindergarten.. They put my oldest in a special reading class were the teacher would get angry and smack the kid's desk. That teacher got angry when I removed Candice from the reading class. It wasn't working and the teacher was very hateful and angry. The teacher was also convinced we did nothing at home. That ticked me off because we would spend an hour every night struggling through what she sent home. I didn't know about the smacking the desk thing and other stuff till much later..
Candice 1st grade
 My daughter Who Loved to read and be read too now Hated it! With a passion! She also hated school and was so nervous she had chewed all her fingernails down till they were raw. She always had dark circle under her eyes and didn't eat much. I was really worried about her.. She was also acting out big time. Looking back it breaks my heart to see what she went through.
  Her 1st grade teacher worked with her and another student together. She truly cared about my daughter.. In the mean time my other 2 started having problems( same kindergarten teacher as my oldest).. I started thinking about homeschooling.. My first thoughts were I can't do that!!.. I don't have the patience and what about socialization??  and many, many other questions.. So I started researching..   I read every book I could find on teaching my kids to read as this seemed to be one of our big problems. Looked up homeschooling online.. There wasn't near as much at the time as there is now.. The biggest help was The Homeschool Legal Defense Association website.
 So then after much discussion with my husband who wasn't really for it to begin with but was willing to let me try. Especially seeing how unhappy our kids were and how stressed our family was at the time.. It was miserable.. So then to make the curriculum decision.. Coming out of public school and having trouble already I wasn't quite sure what to do.. So I bought a curriculum I was familiar with having been in christian school for about 5 yrs as a kid myself. I decided that is what I was going to use...
Kyla Kindergarten
   The best piece of advice I got was Do Not Base You Entire Opinion On Your First Year!!! Boy was that true! Things were rough! I loved my kids but I felt like I was beating my head against a brick wall.. Back to the internet and more curriculum researching... Found another curriculum and it worked okay then I added some unit studies.. That was even better.. Finally about 4 yrs later my oldest didn't see school as so much of a chore and the other 2 liked it as well.  We were still struggling with reading with 2 out of the 3 kids. Even now its a chore for them. But if they find something they like they make more of an effort.. One kid likes to read! They still have issues but things are improved.
  I don't have a problem with Public schools! The way some of them are managed and some of the teachers in the way they manage the kids. I know several Really good teachers! I still pay my taxes that support them. Not everyone is cut out to be a homeschooling family. Not everyone is meant to be a Public school family. My major pet peeve with the public schools is they want to put out Cookie cutter kids. Everyone scoring high in all subjects and showing no real individuality at all.
 My experience with school was this started out in public then to a christian school for 5 years then back to public.. I did NOT like school But I loved learning.. I still do! Junior High and High school I was almost sick sometimes with nerves. If you got hung up in the wrong crowd you were pretty much stuck there till you graduated!  If you tried to get away then you were still classified as being with that "crowd"! I did have friends and I did learn. But My grades A-B were average because I would get bored and slack off by the end of the year.. I think I could have done more but I preferred to fly below radar with most teachers and Lets face it the middle of the road kids get less attention than say one with "problems" or a High achiever!    
Kara Kindergarten
 All this went into our decision to homeschool. Along with my husband's experiences. We are extremely happy with our decision. Even Kyle who wasn't really for it at the beginning says it was the best decision. He supports the girls and I in it. He is active in our daily life as much as he can with working outside the home.. He can teach them things I can't. The best kind of learning comes from experience and that is one of the things we focus on. Yes we still have our book work because it all adds up. This year we are completely tossing our strict curriculum. We have added bits and pieces to make up a whole....With all subjects covered in various forms of education. All you extremely organized people reading this probably just had a "some one walking over your grave" type shudder! But that's okay! Just be glad its me and not you. lol  
 Some people don't agree with how we are doing things but I have never been one to do something for other people's approval. It is working for our family. One day I am hopeful that we will launch productive, responsible Christian women into the world. Right now we just have to get through the teen years!


Goodwife said...

Beautiful post Tonia! I agree with pretty much every single thing you said. We pulled The Youngun out in March of this year so this will be our first full term homeshooling. We don't follow a set curriculum and just make sure we cover all the bases. We removed her for the exact reasons that you stated and as you said, I was more on board with it than my husband. When public school registration got close we discussed if we were going back. My husband was like NO WAY! LOL! The Youngun just looked at me as if I were crazy, so we are for sure a homeschooling family now. You are right, the stress level has gone WAY down. Our daughter was a massive ball of nerves about school and she's a totally different kid now. Lots less stress in the household as a whole. I agree it isn't for everyone and I'm just thankful we live in a country and a state where we can choose! God bless!

Coffee Catholic said...

We're not going to do a strict curriculum either. We live on a farm ~ our kids will learn so much better living life with us on the farm then they will if they are stuck at the table behind books all day. I'm not going to replicate the very things that cause public school education to be so much of a struggle for far too many kids. Children were not meant to be removed from society for 12 years and stuffed in a room all day with only their peers. That is unnatural.

I *am* against public schooling the way that it is set up today but I'd never get in anyone's face about sending their kids to school. We need Montessori style schools. Or what about Earth Schools like the one ran by the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist? Why can't we have sensable schools that help children to learn by getting them out into the world rather then stuffing them behind a desk in a classroom all day?

Brenda said...

Best wishes for your school year! I think you and your girls are doing well in the homeschool environment.

Amy McPherson Sirk said...

I'm so pleased you found a schooling option that works for your family. Every kid is different and every family has different needs and expectations.
I homeschooled for a year and a half after my bright and curious kid became a sullen angry child after just 3 months of a certain Middle School. After that time of homeschooling she was ready to go back to a conventional approach (parochial school) and I had become the family breadwinner so I was unable to continue as the family teacher.
I lost some friends over my decision to homeschool. But we each do what is right for our own family and our own situation. Good for you for sticking with it.

R Dean said...

Tonia, what an inspiring story, good for you and your girls for persevering!!! I'm sure they will get through the teenage years just fine, just continue to do what you have done, sounds like you have a very successful strategy in place for home schooling.

R Dean

small farm girl said...

I think it's great that you home school. I know a lot of teachers that actually say that if their kids were of school age they too would home school. The curriculum of schools now don't let the teachers actually teach.

Flat Creek Farm said...

Bless you for homeschooling!! If I had it to do alll over again, would definitely have homeschooled our son (hubby didn't agree, but oh well.. lol). I wonder if someone would hire me to homeschool their kids. What a fun and rewarding job!! I'm getting ready to start substitute teaching in public schools. Lord help me ;) -Tammy

matty said...

Some of the best prepared students I have in college are homeschooled. They come with a better sense of who they are and are more prepared as readers and thinkers. Don't let anyone fool you; public schools, as a whole, are doing a poor job. Trying to standardize education as well as limiting what teachers can and can't do has seriously compromised the educational process. Each student is unique; they should be taught as such.

Stick to your guns and let the gals grow and learn. They will be well guided, I know!

I will get you the marmalade receipt this weekend. I am still in the first week of meetings and such. It has been a long week... Classes start on Monday. Whew!



Deanna said...

You are to be applauded for doing what is right for your family. My husband taught high school for many years and even today former students tell me how he changed their lives. Not every teacher is so dedicated. We struggled with our son, similar to what you described with your girls. It was not until High School that we actually got him on track. And it took one special teacher to do that.

Great post!