Homeschooling and Public School, Our Choice and Journey

I started un-officially homeschooling my daughter when she was 4. She officially homeschooled for grades k-2. Life got hectic after second grade and so the decision was made to put her into public school (as there are no private schools within a one hour radius of where we live and k-12 is not available here). Third grade went well enough, because of my background in education, and a great homeroom teacher, she did well, but wasn’t overly challenged. (She never had to test into school, I homeschooled according to her wants and pace, and went above her grade level. I feel she should have been started in 4th). We had meetings that never went anywhere but with promises.

4th grade started off promising, with a few meetings, there were advanced classes that she went to, but again, the challenge wasn’t there. Talk of skipping her a grade came and went, (another words, I was shut down because the idea of moving her from a grade school to the middle school was too overwhelming in their eyes), and maybe it was, or would have been.

So I enrolled her in 5th grade, under the “best of promises” that with the restructuring it would get better. With the exception of an invitation to do Peer to Peer, and some great opportunities stemming from that, the school year has gotten worse. I blame a good portion of it on the common core. I blame the other portion on a new teacher that had spent her life teaching k-2 and not being able to adjust to 5th grade or our states common core standards. Gone were the advanced classes, budget cut backs made some programs unavailable.

Yes, I am THAT mom. I double check the work that is sent home, and send it back when the teacher has corrected it wrong, and it happens a lot. Because if my daughter is going to put in that much work to her homework, then that much work needs to go into correcting it. I fully understand how much our teachers do for our children as I have been there. But sometimes, there are cases, when the teacher needs to admit that it just isn’t working.

So over the weekend I talked with my daughter and we made the decision to go back to homeschool with a little help from the school. Today I had the meeting with the guidance councelor (who we adore) and the school principal, and if all goes according to plan, little energy will be doing Science, gym, art and PE at the school and the rest at home. Once the school gets their part of the paperwork filled out, I can pair that up with my paperwork, send it to our homeschool division and once again resume homeschooling.

Why science, library, art and PE? My daughter IS challenged in science, her teacher was her 3rd grade homeroom teacher, they share a bond, and my daughter loves science. She is bored in math, because they focus on one concept at a time, ie: plotting coordinates, while not keeping up with the small fundamentals of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. Her math teacher was her social studies teacher last year. Last year she was in advanced math. So its a shocking change for her. English? The spelling work is below what my daughters’ needs are. They are words she did last year in advanced. The spelling worksheet that gives the variances on what the children can do with their spelling is MY email to the teacher from the beginning of the year. Yes…mine. It hasn’t changed, that’s disappointing.

Library, art and PE: it will keep her social, keep her active, and keep her in subjects SHE feels she is benefiting from. She hates music class. That is not to mean she hates music. She loves music and owns a guitar, a recorder and a piano. She takes piano lessons. She is just bored there and feels she is just doing the same thing as last year.

I know parents chose homeschool for all sorts of reasons. I chose it because I wanted my child to get her education from me. I knew she was smart and I knew I could nurture that and I knew I despised the common core. I know teachers are bound by the common core. I know some teachers love it and other teachers hate it, but can’t do anything about it. I strongly feel the common core is dumbing down our children. While our school has tried, they just can’t meet the needs of the kids that excel.

I am hopeful that they will get their part of the paperwork done swiftly and that they will accept my choices of what classes she will continue in school. If they don’t then it would be a complete withdrawel from public school until we move. I would hate for that because there are some really good aspects to the school that my daughter would miss out on. She is part of a peer mediation program and she loves doing that. The school was rebuilt before I enrolled her so they have great classrooms. There is a big sense of community at the school with very little instances of the bullying and cliques that you get at that age. That is why keeping her in part time makes sense for us.

I just wonder, how many other parents are as frustrated with I am at the common core and how it is miserably failing our children.