Monday, November 17, 2008

Home Schoolers 101

Many moons ago when I walked my first little laddie to his first day of kindergarten I fully expected that I would soon be getting a call from the gifted and talented program chairman asking for this little guy, who knew his letters numbers and shapes at 2, to be their poster child. Instead two weeks into school I got a call letting me know that #1 didn't stay in the classroom and that he didn't come in from recess and they wanted him to come in half an hour early each day for help with his letters and numbers. Thus began the challenge of trying to figure out exactly how to work a brilliant, multi dimensional learner into the public education system.

Educating our children has seen many approaches in our family. I've had all of my children in public education, all of them home schooled and part public/ part home based on my needs and the needs of my children. Each grade level, each decision has been approached with prayer and contemplation and the needs of each child in mind. Recently Adorable Hubby and I made the decision to pull #5 out of public school and work with him at home for a while. Each time I pull a child out of public school I groan inside. Could any process make you feel less intelligent and concerned for your child?

For those who haven't experienced this process here is a primer on what you'll be told and what I thought, but kept to myself, I realize this is a difficult process for a principal and teacher as well we all want children to succeed. I have also experienced this same set of questions before when we've transitioned a child out of school so I was prepared.

In a futile attempt to preempt the questions, I offered my experience and reasoning. The secretary had already warned him what I was there for so the atmosphere was similar to what I imagine the Dr. office feels like when a patient is told they have stage 5 liver cancer with like 37 minutes to live. I explained that I had children with similar learning patterns that I was an experienced home schooler and that #5 was exhibiting extreme anxiety, was not functioning at grade level and was expressing feelings of hostility towards other students. I also mentioned I wanted to coordinate with his teacher and keep him working on the same spelling words and math program, and that # 6 and # 4 would be staying in school.

Principal: Good morning Mrs. Boy Mom how can I help you?

Boy Mom: Oh I'm just here to offer myself as an example of 'Parents and their crazy, whimsical parenting philosophy.

Principal: Pulling your child out of school is a big decision have you thought this through?

Boy Mom: No, not really this morning I looked at my To Do list and thought, only 101 items I must have one or two more...hmm let's see... I know, I'll pull #5 out of school and teach him myself.

Principal: Will you or your husband be able to supervise his home schooling?

Boy Mom: No, we both work full time and spend our evenings prowling the mall looking for mannequins that remind us of people we know... Duh.

Principal: This is a really big challenge for parents are you sure he'll get enough one on one instruction?

Boy Mom: Hmm...If a school has 30 teachers and 500 students what is the ratio of students to teachers? Show your work.

Principal: I'm really concerned for each student I just want to be sure you've taken #5 needs into consideration?

Boy Mom: At some point as his watermelon head was being squeezed out of my body it occurred to me he might have a need or two. Sheesh what does this guy not get about extreme anxiety, not functioning at grade level and hostility towards others.

Principal: What curriculum will you be using to keep him at grade level?

Boy Mom: Uh, didn't I just mention, HE'S NOT AT GRADE LEVEL!

Principal: Maybe you could keep him in his literacy block so he'd be with his classmates.

Boy Mom: Sure since he wants to "Choke" his classmates for teasing him I think that'd be a brilliant idea.

Principal: How will you ensure he is properly socialized?

Boy Mom: Are you kidding? Here's another math problem for you? If seven boys have three friends each and those friends each eat two sandwiches and five cookies when they are hanging out at boy house three hours a day six days a week how many social skills will #5 develop?

Principal: I really feel that keeping him enrolled and having him repeat 2nd grade might be a better option.

Boy Mom: So have him finish out 6 months of 2nd grade this year then do it all again next year? The perfect answer to it's not working= more, it's not working.

Principal: It seems your mind is made up I think it would be a good idea to coordinate with his teacher.

Boy Mom: Sigh, at Principals school they must teach a course called How to make Parents feel they are incapable of intelligent educational choices.

So #5 began his homeschooling today. He's an amazing child and I'm looking forward to the closeness home school brings.


S'mee said...

" when a patient is told they have stage 5 liver cancer with like 37 minutes to live."

Oh my heck! The perfect explanation!

Cowboy mom said...

Man!, I mean, Woman! If I had your abilities to get my point across so well I would have gone overboard. I'd love to hear the real story. Point received: What kind of intelligent people are supervising our childrens learning, SHEESH! Good luck with one of my favorite,intelligent(real intelligence), funny,and adorable nephews.

Valerie aka Mamalovelock said...

Wow! Good for you, though, deciding what is best for your kid not what the school system thinks. I believe that parents know what's best for their kids and you have to what you think is best. I hope all goes well for you and him. I am in my third year of homeschooling and I love it.

Valerie aka Mamalovelock said...

I just re-read my comment and its redundant, but at least you know I think it's best!! :) LOL Sorry, I really should read my comments before clicking on publish.

Gwendolyn said...

Yay! Good for you! I can't wait unil next year when we will bring our middle two back home. I am baffled that my fourth grader is not being taught handwriting or spelling, when she CLEARLY needs to be taught handwriting and spelling. So I'm doing it at home in the evenings. If I'm going to do this much work, I'd just as soon have them here all day so at least we could be done by dinner! :o)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and here's a high five from me for sticking to your guns. Why school administrators feel like they know more about our children than we do is Beyond me.

I once had a school psychologist burst into tears at a meeting I called putting the whole darn school on the chopping block because my oldest son was being bullied. She got all dramatic and cried, "it hurts me just as much as you!" Oh Really? Is he Your Baby? No. Do you even have children? Well, no. Mmmm-hmmm, HUSH.

By the way, love your new layout & background! Thanks for checking up on me; I'm hanging in there.

Blessings, Whitney

Montgomery Q said...

Love it. Why do they fight you? Because they don't want to accept that they are failing. Well played.

Octamom said...

Wow. What part of "I'm the Parent and I have the legal right to do this" does the guy not understand?

Excellent post, btw. You had me laughing in between my eye-rolls and vicarious frustration for you!

mandi said...

You're awesome!! I probably would have crumbled. That's got to be a lot of work and I'm proud of you for doing it. What a lucky boy to have such a good mom looking out for him.

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