If any of you have read our “About Us” page, you will know that we had tried homeschooling before, but didn’t have a lot of luck teaching at home with our son, who was struggling with math. We decided to put him and our older daughter (the only two in school at the time) into the public school system when he was in 3rd grade, and she was in Kindergarten.
It has been a pretty decent experience for both of them, grade-wise, but our son has been having issues with “interfering with the learning of others,” “being disruptive,” and “not using his time in class effectively.” So, a lot of his school day is spent being redirected, rather than actual, meaningful, enjoyable learning.
Don’t get me wrong; my son has been diagnosed with Inattentive Type ADHD, and I know from our previous homeschooling experience that he has a tough time focusing longer than 10 minutes to get something accomplished (unless it involves a computer screen or TV, but that’s a topic for another time…). I am not delusional. I understand that, well, for lack of a better word, my son can be a pain in the rear!
BUT, with him getting ready to enter 6th grade in the fall (the dreaded MIDDLE SCHOOL), I was incredibly concerned – and with valid reason – that he would be spending most of his “educational time” getting referrals, in some kind of “Solution Room,” or in the principal’s office. That, I know, would crush him. He wants to do the right thing, but he tries so hard to “be cool,” (which is something else that scares the hooey out of me). I don’t want to see him repeatedly screw up in school because he’s trying to get so-and-so to like him.
Then, there’s the little guy to consider… He was nominated to test for the district’s Highly Capable program. What is that, you ask? It’s the program the district offers at another school, off our island in a neighboring town, that offers a challenging curriculum to those students who demonstrate greater cognitive aptitude. In other words, he’s a real smarty and needs extra stuff to challenge him.
Well, we filled out the appropriate paperwork and rating scales. We turned everything in on time. Then we waited for them to schedule the tests. When the time for testing finally came along, our little guy was sick! He had a tummy bug and missed school on this first day that week. He attends school Monday, every other Wednesday, and Thursday. His tests were on Wednesday and Friday of that week, and he was not at 100%. He insisted on going, and, as he wasn’t exhibiting any symptoms that would expressly prevent him from going to school, he went, and took the tests.
After a couple of weeks, we got his results back. He scored in the 85th percentile! BUT (and it’s a big one… ahem) the district was only admitting Kindergartners who scored 95% or above. I found out from the little guy’s teacher that there were 12 kids who were nominated. Out of that 12, the district admitted…
Wait for it…
I was flabbergasted! I thought for sure she was joking. Nope. One student, out of the whole district, with a whopping total of 12 kids who were nominated, was admitted into the program. WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THAT?!
I thought of appealing their decision. I mean, our kiddo’s own teacher said at conferences in November that she felt “unable to challenge him.” No, really.
Then I had another idea.
I’ve been reading a lot of books about homesteading, women in the Bible, a woman’s purpose (according to God), and how to keep my home (better than I currently do *wink*). One of the things I read recently really struck me. If my “job” according to God is to be the keeper of my home, love my husband, and love my children, bringing my husband honor so that my children will rise up and call me blessed (my paraphrase of Proverbs 31 and Titus 2), why was I sending them away from me for about 8 hours each day?
Did I enjoy my “alone” time? Yes, but, at the same time, I didn’t ever really do anything FOR ME, per se. I would say to myself, “Today, I’m going to take a nap while the little one is at preschool.” Then (get ready for spastic writing – this is how my mind works, people!) I’d get home from dropping her off, lay down on my bed, and immediately realize that so-and-so in the big guy’s class was having a birthday (a.k.a., bringing cupcakes), and I didn’t make my kiddo any kind of a healthy treat to eat, which automatically meant that he was going to eat that kid’s junk and either a.) get a referral and get sent to the “Solution Room”, or b.) come home and have the attention-span of a flea’s nematode, making me totally frustrated that he can’t get anything accomplished.
So, like any neurotic mother, I would get up and quickly create a confectionery masterpiece to deliver to him at school. Yeah, no rest for me.
I don’t get manicures or pedicures (not that I wouldn’t love to; I just can’t justify spending money on those things when the kids NEED so much). I only do those things if someone gives me a gift card! So, using the couple of hours here and there for pampering isn’t really part of the equation.
I just don’t do anything specifically for me during the times I have here by myself.
What I actually do is for me, but it’s also for my husband, my kids, my friends, my animals, and our living space. I clean because I love for my husband to come home to a tidy and comfortable place. I bake because I love to give my children wholesome, nutritious cookies, cupcakes, and other treats that they love. I create things that are useful to us in our home, beautiful to our eyes, and thoughtful to others. I read because I want to better myself, my home, my kids’ lives, and our self-sufficiency. AND THESE THINGS ALL MAKE ME HAPPY!
Now, I have come to realize that I want my kids to learn these things, too. I asked my husband if I can homeschool our kids this next academic year. He said, “We should talk to the kids, don’t you think?” So, he told them what I was thinking, and they took a vote.
Every one of them voted “YES”! We will begin homeschooling again in the fall of 2015!
This time, I will not expect myself to be perfect. This time, I will follow a curriculum, instead of trying to make up my own. This time, I have a community of like-minded people who support what we are doing – the Homestead Community Post – and friends here on the island who are homeschooling their child with whom we can go on field trips and excursions. THIS TIME, we will succeed!