Homeschool Contemplation Once More

Well another couple of months have rolled by, so it’s only natural that I’m finding myself facing another “To homeschool or to keep doing the same public school” mental calisthenics routine once more. I have performed this obsessive analysis repetitively for years but have yet to make the move.

Please note that in my pre-kids / pre-public school life, homeschool landed solidly in my category of ‘Things That Immediately Caused Me to Scoff and Roll My Eyes’ because seriously – what kind of granola helicopter parent would think that they could do better than an entire school system. Of course the best part of judging other people’s choices that you can’t understand in that moment is we often end up with one heck of a personal lesson of our own that makes it crystal clear how much you did not see beforehand.

To be clear, I’m not trying to sell anyone else on the merits of homeschool vs. private school or public school. That’s a personal choice, and all of the options have massive pros and cons. I’m not seeking approval on whatever route we ultimately decide to follow either. You are totally welcome to do whatever you feel works best for your wild teenies, and we will figure out what we believe is best for our monkeys. My thought is that we each mess up our kids in our own unique way despite our collective best intentions to make 100% awesome choices for them.

I’m just so fed up with facing the same school crapola for the thousandth time. Here are a handful of the issues that have my mind in high gear once more. The reading assignments that I see are laced with language and concepts that are way beyond the kids’ years. In the world of math, the teachers are forced to blow through countless concepts at a furious clip. The kids are never given sufficient time to gain a solid grasp on anything before blasting to the next item on the requirements list. One of my favorite school frustrations is that they are no longer taught how to read cursive or sign their names. No joke. Most current high school graduates literally write their names in block letters as their form of signature because that’s the only way they know how to write. Then there’s the overzealous commitment to tech. 95% of assignments are completed on the school computers so we don’t see most of them. Some concepts are easier for some kids on paper. Algebra anyone??? Also we receive several email notifications about other tests and assignments on a daily basis (assuming that that information is added within the same week or two or three depending on the instructor), but good luck trying to find out what your child should be completing or studying. If I want to check their assignments, I have to filter through daily emails from some teachers, comb through another set of email notifications for each child that then takes me to a separate site with six individual teacher pages with additional subcategories (per teacher and per child), and then also review further separate emails from the school itself. We are bombarded every single day, and the plain truth is that I can’t keep up with it all.

If I felt like my kids were soaring, I would roll with it, but they aren’t. Not at all. You would never know it by looking at their grades, but my kids are so amazingly sharp and extremely intelligent. If they are taught concepts in ways that they can understand with effective practice material, they can learn anything. But their grades are okay at best and unbelievably bad at times. This is not a ‘My kids must have all A’s!’ issue. Honestly I don’t give a rat’s a$$ about that. If a C is your honest best, I’ll take it. But my kids are bombing tests about concepts that they understand with ease once we review them for a few minutes at home. They are losing points on assignments that they somehow forget to submit because they get overwhelmed with it all, too. The kids don’t seem to know what needs to be done when, and they look at me with blank stares when I ask what happened or what they need to do next. My kids make mistakes, but it feels like they are getting lost in the shuffle to the point of disappearing.

And don’t even get me started on the standardized district and state tests. Talk about Crapfest Central. You truly wouldn’t believe some of the questions that they throw at these children. I wish I had an example, but it’s now past midnight and my rant doesn’t need any additional fuel. I don’t care how well read, mathematically inclined, or test savvy you think you are, I assure you that some of the questions would leave you asking what in the name of all that is holy would lead someone to answer Question # x with the answer that was deemed to be the ‘best right answer’ for the scenario. That best answer situation is actually a very real problem in these exams. That means that there is more than one genuinely correct answer in the available multiple choices but the test taker has to make a guess about what the test writer’s subjective opinion. Our teachers have told us repeatedly that they often don’t know the correct option and consequently have to confirm the supposed best option before explaining the answers to the children. This has been an issue we have faced since elementary. Cra. Zy.

There are only two monster speedbumps in my furious desire to get them away from their current setup and into a more rational and pragmatic school environment. My full-time job and social concerns for them.

I’m a really good teacher. Although my kids could bend your ear for days with countless terrible Mom tales, they would openly sing my mad teaching skill praises. Regardless, that doesn’t mean that the teaching happens in two minutes. It takes time to go through a concept. Even if it was just 15 minutes per subject per day, that’s a serious amount of daily time per child. Although I work out of the house, I am seriously busy during those days. My job is not optional as our bills have yet to start funding themselves, and the truth is that I enjoy working. I’m good at my job and my brain would go bonkers without the mental stimulation.

It’s possible that I could teach the kids after my work day ended and on the weekends, but what would they do during my working hours? Would they get into ‘The Ellen Show’ or become obsessed with Plinko on ‘The Price is Right’? Would they blog about their crazy working mom and her obsession with blogging about school? Could they potentially spend that time doing independent study and completing additional projects or would they just nap and zone out on mindless memes on YouTube? Are there local groups that they could join for several hours a few days a week to learn more concepts while also killing YouTube meme-time and developing a sense of community and teamwork? And would that solve the second part of my worry equation with regard to their developmental need for similar-age social interaction? I do believe that our children could highly benefit from a social environment that was smaller with more direct interaction. Yes that can absolutely be a double-edged sword, but the truth is that we are already facing multiple razor-sharp edges where we are now. Those are stories for another day, but as I said before, there are problems no matter where you look.

How can I possibly make any of this work? How can I fit something non-traditional like homeschool into our double full-time working parent home? Is that even possible? The stark reality is that I just don’t know the answer. Not at all. But I am certain that I want our children to be free from the nonsensical restrictions that come from ridiculous attendance policies, a national obsession with faulty standardized tests, and an inadequate commitment to having kids grasp the basics before dashing to topics far beyond what is age appropriate.

I feel so strongly that there must be another option out there that would provide a better educational fit for our family. There has to be some way that would work for us. The standards are no longer meeting our standards. Something has to change, or maybe the real story is that someone has to change. I have the strong suspicion that the someone in question here will be me. Should be interesting either way. At least we have that going for us. 😉

13 thoughts on “Homeschool Contemplation Once More

    1. Additional studies that tried to replicate the original study’s results were unable to do so, but it’s always fun to mess with your kids with marshmallows. Maybe I’ll give it a go just for fun. Sadly for them, the youngest will probably steal the original marshmallow anyway and then everyone will be hosed. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Sorry jo. Education kids should never be an issue at all. I don’t envy your situation at all, cause your kids are still young. You will figure it out. Just in time to apply to college…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol well hopefully I nip it in the bud a little earlier. No situation is going to be perfect but I feel certain that there must be a better option out there for my little peeps. Hopefully you and your loves are doing well honey. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Let me begin by excluding myself as a mom. I don’t have kids and can only guess at what you go through. That confession up front, here are my two cents. Homeschooling doesn’t work like classes. The time element is different. Your kids will have a lot more free time. Common core math and lack of handwriting, specifically the teaching of cursive writing, baffles me. I believe there are activities for homeschooled kids to attend with other homeschooled kids. If your kids are smart as whips but failing in the ‘system’ I’d search for other options too. I hope someone can give you better info. I don’t envy you this choice. Think it through, again, for the million and one time… you’ll make the best choice. Best of luck, Jo. xo~k.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your kindness and your wisdom always. I think that I’m becoming much more comfortable with the idea that we might as well give it a shot. We literally have nothing to lose beyond a couple potentially seriously stressful months. But we will never know if we don’t try, right??? Fingers toes, and everything else are all crossed. Now I just need to figure out exactly how and when.

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  3. Sunshine

    Homeschooling is hard work, and a real time commitment (for mom especially), but when I looked at putting ours kids into school, I got even more overwhelmed at that schedule that we’d be forced to mold ourselves into.
    I enjoy the freedom, and aside from the days that I just wish that I could hole myself away in a quiet room for an hour (like everyday), I believe the benefits outweigh the challenges.
    Good luck with your decision. You have to do what fits your family and beliefs.
    I blog about our journey here—it’s been quite an adventure so far, but I don’t think I’d change too much.
    http://www.lessonsandlessons.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so happy to be free of the seemingly endless schedule demands of the other schools. It just felt like we were living on a hamster wheel. Ironically we have spent more of our evening and weekend time on homework than I can ever remember before, but it’s fun learning with them and watching their minds be amazed by something that they never knew before. 🙂

      Thank you so very for sharing your journey sweet friend. I look forward to learning from your rockstar mama wisdom. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I just think it’s so funny because my perspective has changed so much over the years. Pre-kid thoughts on homeschooling – You must be insane in the frickin membrane to even consider homeschool! Young kid thoughts on homeschooling – I’ll miss the kids during the day at normal school, but fish gotta swim, birds gotta eat, and I gotta work. Elementary school beginning to shift perspective – What is this crap they are doing and why can’t I answer the questions??? Also where the eff are the textbooks? Middle school – I almost never drink anymore, but this is inspiring me to consider revisiting that. And now I’m all in on homeschooling. Admittedly my kids are old enough to monitor themselves during the day while I work (in the same home). It’s still a ton of time during my lunch break and in the evenings, but it’s so worth it. I’m hooked and will sell it to anyone who is on the fence! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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