I didn’t post in January, but I really wanted to. I just couldn’t announce publicly that we were pulling our kids out of school and starting our homeschooling process. It’s been a really hard decision for my wife and I because we both believe so highly in education. Our 2 in school were facing very different issues, but we felt homeschooling was just too necessary for us at this time.
One is testing 2-3 grade levels above and would very consistently complain, “School is boring.” Our older one has food anaphylaxis to a number of foods. We worked very hard to communicate with her teachers all through her schooling and things were not going well.
We had a teacher say they would keep all unnecessary food out of the classroom unless we could check the ingredients, but one morning my wife stopped by the room and discovered an assortment of goodies that contained foods my daughter is anaphylactic to. My daughter never wants to stand out as a “problem” and would try to not make a scene ever. She has always tried to “fit in” as best she could, she currently only tests slightly above her peers. Again, not standing out.
We look at homeschooling as a great new adventure where they can let their minds go and learn as much as they desire in a worry-free zone. We know they love learning still and I love that my wife’s creativity can have them “playing” for a day with Junk Box Wars and toward evening the kids will ask, “What about school?” They still have a desire to open a book and/or complete worksheets, so we accommodate.
The first day we had them home I asked the girls, “What is learning?” and my oldest sat up straight with her hands in her lap giving me her complete attention waiting for me to fill her head with knowledge. The younger one was not so student-like, but still had a belief that it involved worksheets and textbooks. As we continue our journey, I see them learning differently. They learn faster hands on and I see them being creative in ways that I find wonderful. Our daughter we just pulled from 1st grade showed my wife her paper:
and asked, “What number is this?”
My wife said, “Eleven.”
Daughter, “No it’s not, it’s forty-four!!” 🙂
To be fair, my daughter does sometimes write her numbers backwards. School days used to be long. My wife and I shopped long and hard to find the best school for our girls in the beginning and the best started at 8:30 and ended at 4:00. The girls would come home exhausted from either containing themselves or from mentally trying to stay safe and not fall into anxiety mode. They would often come home and just melt down.
Over Christmas break, we saw our girls being “our girls” again and knew homeschooling was in our future. You also should probably understand that we had tried to work with the school a lot as well. We had our 1st grade teacher sending home extra homework (that was a few extra worksheets once each week or so that were either 2nd or 3rd grade level) and my daughter would jump up and do them immediately. 15 minutes later, she’s done and wanting more, but still exhausted from being at school all day.
For our older one, we went through an Individual Health Plan (IHP) and it lacked teeth for infractions, so we went for a 504. We received a LOT of pushback and I showed the school the legality of 504 for students with anaphylaxis and still had a lot of resistance. We were ready to fight all the way until we experienced Christmas Break. Our girls are so much better off learning without school for now. We’ll see how they develop.
My wife resigned as president of the Parent Advisory Committee, but I’m still on the School Board. I still believe school is right for the majority of kids, but I also believe it needs to be appropriate for more. Maybe I’m a bit delusional in thinking that school used to work best for about 98% of the kids, but today I see that number shrinking. Our area has an incredibly strong homeschooling community despite the fact that our area is much higher than the state average, which is consistently in the top 10 in the U.S. Why would such a strong school district have such a strong homeschooling community unless more and more schools were missing the mark? I have to wonder if it’s time for schools to change? I believe so, but I think 40 years ago I was not among the 98% who school was right for, and I know our kids are doing great already with homeschooling, so I may be a wee bit biased.