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Homeschool Seesaw

March 28, 2007

As I previously mentioned back in my catch-all post, I am currently (Lord help me!) contemplating the option of homeschooling Trevor next year. This year has been one of almost constant struggle and very little progress as far as his education has been concerned.

seesaw1.jpgWe have done everything we know to do to get Trevor “on track” as far as school is concerned, to no avail. Currently, I attend his English class every morning, Dan attends his math class several afternoons per week, and we are both in email communication with his teachers several times per week. Despite all this, my Gifted and Talented child currently has a “D” and two “C”s in his core academic subjects.

To be honest, I haven’t been impressed with the education he’s getting. Part of that is because of the teachers. His reading teacher, for example, has not assigned a single novel for them to read all year. She started to assign Death Be Not Proud but the students said it was too depressing, so she switched to Oliver Twist. (Yah, I know. That’s a real pick-me-upper!) Then the students complained that Twist was too difficult to read, so she gave up altogether and canceled the reading assignment. Now, who do you think is in charge of that classroom? (Hint: it isn’t the teacher!)

Of course, Trevor’s lack of responsibility and focus is a big obstacle to his receiving a good education. He forgets to turn in assignments after he does them, forgets to write down what his assignments are, doesn’t pay attention in class, doesn’t read his instructions carefully, etc. In one of his classes, he is currently missing 14 assignments! How does that happen?!?!? This is one point on which I seesaw the most. If I homeschool, I will take away the stumbling block of him being responsible for deadlines and personal organization. This could be good (allows him to achieve success for nearly the first time ever) or bad (prevents him from ever learning these skills).

Finally, I have been increasingly dissatisfied with the school’s “teaching to the test.” So much emphasis is placed on the annual performance test that I don’t think kids are really learning (retaining) much. They are learning how to do a BCR (brief constructed response) but they are not learning how to write. For heaven’s sake, last year they weren’t even taught grammar!

As for me…. I am extremely frustrated and tired of having to monitor his education so closely. I realize that it will not be easier if I homeschool him — oh boy do I realize that! — but I think that at least I will have some control over what he is or is not being taught, and I will be able to monitor his progress more easily. I am a recovering control freak, and although I have learned to let things slide more than I used to, I am still comforted by feeling like everything is under control. Chaos and uncertainty stress me out, and I think homeschool would eliminate a lot of that.

I seesaw on the socialization issue too. I don’t want him to be cut off from other kids… but I’m not fond of the friends he has right now. They encourage a lot of undesirable behavior and attitudes in him… and he is easily influenced. When he was home last summer and again at Christmas break, he was well behaved and got along well with everyone at home. When school started up again, we were back to butting heads with him almost daily.

When I think of the possibilities of teaching him, I get excited. Geography, art, Spanish, history, literature, etc. So many possibilities! (Dan can handle math and science because, well, yuck!) However, I also get a knot in my stomach because I can easily foresee many afternoons with him questioning why he has to do something or arguing with me about some trivial point. Usually these altercations end up with me having a terrible headache and feeling like I could make just as much progress by banging my head against the wall.

So where do I stand right now? I feel like I should homeschool Trevor, but I just don’t want to. I’m going to spend the next few months trying to pull together a summer program as an experiment. If it goes well, then we may actually give it a shot in the fall.

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4 comments

  1. Check out the virtual charter school option. If available in your state, it is probably free. It is a public school curriculum. You would be part of the teaching team. Socialization is an important part of the program.


  2. Give it a try Julie! It may be one of the biggest blessings for your family. I think the summer trial is a good start, it will give you an idea of what to expect with Trevor.
    Have you gotten any information about local groups yet?


  3. I’ll be praying for you! I know it’s a difficult decision.


  4. I would encourage you to give it a try. You will be surprised at what a blessing the time with your child will be and how much he will learn. As for some of your concerns, they aren’t anything for you to worry about. I have been homeschooling for 9 years and socialization is the LEAST thing that I worry about. My boys are very busy with outside activities…church, 4H, debate and speech, sports, outside classes anc activities, and friendships that we don’t have to worry about them not being socialized.

    Many families choose the charter school option. It isn’t one that I would recomend or choose…make sure that you do a lot of research about it first…it isn’t all it seems to be. The best thing that you can do this summer is attend a homeschool convention/curriculum fair in your area. Even if you are just thinking about homeschooling, you can get a wealth of information to help you make your decision.

    As for his organizational skills – those are skills that you can teach him at home. One thing that has helped my son is debate and speech. It forced him to organize not only his time, but his school day as well.

    Getting involved with a local group is great! It will give you opportunities for activities for both Trevor and you.

    Good luck in making your decision!



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