So, why am I homeschooling? There are a few reasons here, but in this post I will cover the first one.
1. My daughter had been struggling in math since second grade.
2. We realized there were other elements we wanted in our children's education.
3. I felt that mine and my children's time could be utilized more efficiently.
First, I would like to start this post by saying that I have never been anti-homeschooling nor have I EVER in a million years thought that I personally, would choose to homeschool my own children. I have always believed that that choice is up to the parents. Who am I to say how someone else should raise their child?
I look up to all those that can do homeschool and have done it successfully, especially when they ventured alone when it was looked down upon by so many. These brave homeschooling families were the awesome pioneers on a new movement across our country! Because of them I am able to have curriculum, informational books, homeschool groups, law info and many, many more helpful things out there, at my fingertips, to help me grow as a mother/educator. I am grateful for the many options that I have out there to raise my children in the ways, I believe to be right.
It is estimated that around 3 million children are homeschooled.There are many reasons as to why a person chooses this form of schooling for their child(ren), you can find some ideas here and here, but I am not here to cover that so much as I am here to talk about why I chose to homeschool (cause after all, we know the world revolves around me). :) So, in this post I am going to cover the main reason I chose to homeschool and will cover the other reasons in two future posts.
1. When Alyssa was in second grade she struggled greatly with Math. This was something we were expecting since our eldest child, Chad, had struggled himself in that area in that very same grade. But what we were NOT expecting is how much our little gal would struggle.
When I stated my concern over Chad struggling in second grade, I was told that "all the kids struggle with the "Everyday Math" program, but they pick it back up later." Then another teacher told me that "None of the second grade teachers liked it, but it is what we have and we make the most of it". It is curriculum mandated by the school board. Basically, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
So, being all knew to this grade level and not thoroughly understanding what choices I had or what help might be offered (especially since I had never had a child struggle academically), and not really knowing what questions to ask, I went along with it. In third grade, Chad hit a few bumps in the road of Math, but eventually his grades improved. Of course having an awesome third grade teacher that was organized helped.
Alyssa didn't fare so well. We tried to work with her, but she would often tell us, "That isn't how my teacher said it needed to be done" or "You're confusing me!" Then she would shut down and we'd have to take a break. After we about died having to drag our second grader to the finish line, we were in third grade.
We were surprised when after our daughter had not great, but decent, grades in the first quarter (83), that a not-so-good report card came home at the end of the first semester that said she was failing (55)! I was shocked because I had not received any communication whatsoever saying that her grades had drastically dropped. I emailed the teacher and stated my concern and made a conference appointment as well. During the conference she said that Alyssa wasn't failing "on average". As if that is supposed to make you feel all warm and cozy inside, knowing the big red fat F wasn't THAT big of a deal. That she would still be passed onto the next grade.
That is when I first started having thoughts about homeschooling, to which I quickly dismissed, because despite some of the not so good teachers we have come across, there are still some great ones out there. I also wasn't willing to give up that time I had to do what I wanted and needed to do. So, the idea was shoved to the back of my mind, for the time being.
Well after that and still not knowing what I should do, my husband and I decided to have him tutor her (since he was a math major) while I did flash cards with her every night. Her grades still weren't improving much. We met again when the teacher frantically emailed me stating that our little girl isn't doing well and now she is concerned that she might not pass the third grade if she isnt rescued. Ummmm, weren't we just stating that we should be concerned, but you said, "Nah, not a big deal?"
So, we met yet again. This time the teacher outlined what could be done on the school's side of things. (My husband's impression was that she was receiving pressure from the school to make an individualized plan for failing students, otherwise no such appointment might have been made.) So I listened and we put the plan into action. Welllllll, her grades improved, but not as much as we had hoped and then the year ended. By this point not only was I mentally exhausted, but my daughter HATED math and said she was the worst kid at school because she had such bad grades. It was hard to see her self esteem plummet.
All summer I stewed over it. The thoughts to homeschool her kept coming to my mind, but I would supress them as I had before. We still sent her to fourth grade where she continued to struggle. Concerned for her again and wanting to get a head start on a plan with the teacher, I scheduled a conference with her. Both my husband and I went together. She seemed like a decent teacher, but once again we got the "Oh, all the kids are behind since the summer break. Its normal. She'll catch up." But can you really ever catch up when you have missed something in math? I think that perhaps you can, but not without great struggle as evidence with my daughter. We tried to see if she would catch up in the first couple months, but we didn't see a lot of progress.
Two weeks after the last conference, making a pros and cons list, and after much prayer, my husband and I decided that this was the best route for our daughter. So far it has gone fairly well. The one thing that I have to say that helps me to know that I am doing what is best for my daughter, is that her self esteem has come back and she is happier. It's great that my child can get a great education AND feel good about herself. I love my little girl! :)