Monday, January 10

To homeschool or not to homeschool that is the question.

This last week N went back to kindergarten and her frustration level has skyrocketed.  Seems that over winter break we jumped from learning our letters and letter sounds to fill in the blank and sounding out words.  N has been having trouble with sounds the letters make from the very beginning and now she is being given a picture of a cat and the letters C_T and being told to fill in the missing letter.  She can say C-A-T sounded out but when asked which letter makes the A sound will tell you whichever letter comes to mind first. 

With this new development they are now telling me that there is a 100% chance of her repeating kindergarten (while before they were "hoping" that she could catch up with the rest of her class).  She is beyond frustrated with this.  After talking to the teacher, I found out that NO other child has this issue or is going to not progress into 1st grade next year.  That is right N is the only one.  They haven't "said" learning disabled but it has been mentioned that if she doesn't get some progress by the end of the year that they want her to get tested.  The teacher has even recommended that G get tested and see if he should go into the public school's preschool program for children that are behind as these thing run in families.

The issue is that I want to homeschool next year.  N is REALLY interested in art, music, math and science but is lagging in reading and writing much like I was at that age.  She may not be developmentally ready to read until 5th grade just like me and I don't want her to feel like she is being singled out in a bad way like I was for not being able to read or write for so long.  What do you do with a child that can understand fractions and algebra in 5th an 6th grade but can't read "The Cat in The Hat"?  Hold them back, push them forward?  The schools here don't have a learning center so sending them to a classroom to get special instruction is not an option.  I have been working with her after school but more than 15 minutes a day and she just breaks down into tears (though on weekend she can work with me for 3 or 4 hours throughout the day).

This year we are in a REALLY good school and next year we are hoping to stay here and stay in this school, but we are military.  What if we do move?  What happens if the next school we are in just ignores her learning issues because she a "good girl" and they have trouble makers they have to deal with instead?  I could  start homeschooling when we get to that school, but I know me and I know that I could not start homeschooling and move at the same time.  I could continue, but starting would be out of the question.  I have moved 6 times in 7 years of marriage and I know what it takes to move and adding "figure out how to homeschool" to that would be like a bullet to the head.

Some people are really against me homeschooling for many reasons, but the truth is that the elementary schools (yes there will be multiple) we will be attending are NOT the school we attended as a child.  My school district as a child was the Rolls-Royce of school districts with a full time art teacher, a full time music teacher and a full time PE teacher.  I WISH I could have that for my kids, but the reality is that is not going to happen.  My kids have a very large chance of getting a 4 wheels and a key education at some point (think one step up from Kansas City Missouri's School district, and yes I have looked up the top 3 places we will be stationed next and the schools are NOT someplace where I would send N).  Would I want my kids in a school like that even if it was a "social outlet" for my kids or "homeschooled kids are socially awkward"?  Would we be able to afford private school for 3 kids?  What if we have more kids?  I would have to work full time. That would mean day care... and day care is NOT a place I want my kids to go.

So right now we are acting on the premise that I am going to homeschool next year.  I am researching like crazy and have been utilizing my mother in law (who homeschooled her kids) in going over different curriculum to buy or use and have been reading bunches of homeschooling blogs like Educate Freely to get a handle on what is out there.

I am not going into this lightly. 


km said...

I don't know what's available in your area, but we use a charter school. It's free to us since our tax money pays for it. I get to "check out" my curriculum and return what is not consumable when I'm finished with it. This has been huge for us since I couldn't afford it otherwise. I also LOVE that I have a teacher "educational facilitator" that meets with me monthly and the school takes care of our annual state testing. I hope you find what's right for you.

Anonymous said...

You're taking me back in time! My mind was spinning with the choices, too. When we finally decided to homeschool, I had to put blinders on my eyes, plugs in my ears, and just trust that God was going to help us. He sure has!

If you need to find encouragement, whether homeschooling or just in helping your daughter, come visit our Freely Educate Facebook community. It's for all families who love to learn together. The members would have wonderful ideas on how to help your daughter (my personal experience is always that not every child is ready to read in Kindergarten, and that's perfectly fine. She's not learning disabled -- her mind is just busy in another specialty for now. Reading will come).

p.s. The socialization issue is a total non-issue, as you can probably imagine. It's all in what you make it, no matter how one chooses to school the children.

Lobug said...

I am a very strong supporter of homeschooling- and with how much you move, it sounds like it might really be a better fit for you than dealing with the various school systems and teachers.

For really great resources and helps, check out Weaver Curriculum Teacher's Tips and Techniques from Alpha Omega homeschool. You can find it online.