I consider myself a very involved parent. Education is highly important to me, more so than to most people. I have always taken a front seat to my child’s learning. I was a familiar face at my child’s school, attending parties, programs, reading nights, and basically any other happening at the school. Not to mention I was the PTO president for 2 years before deciding to homeschool. I’ve spent hours upon hours inside the school, working with the faculty and staff at our school.
So, understandably, when I decided to pull my kids out to homeschool, the rumors began to fly. Had our PTO, who was made up of some of my closest friends, suddenly had a falling out? (Some not so bright people seem to think this is the problem, but I’ll spare them the embarrassment and I won’t name names.) Had our teachers not done a good job of educating my kids? Had I joined the ranks of parents who are living in fear of a school shooting? Or was I terrified of the dreaded Common Core? Why would I suddenly decide homeschooling is better?
Honestly, homeschooling is something that I’ve always wanted to do. Steven would never agree to homeschooling because of Natali’s personality. She was an insanely clingy child, who wanted her mama at all times. (She is still like this, but she has gotten better over the years.) I agreed. She clearly needed to get out and make friends, away from me.
From the get-go, I was not satisfied with my child’s education. I felt that she should be learning more and watching non-educational movies less. I understand that some parents simply use school as a babysitter. However, I do not and if I wanted her to watch every movie in the Disney vault, I would keep her home and we would watch them together.
This was my first major red flag. They stress and stress about testing week but then the week before, they do nothing but watch movies. Then they just can’t seem to figure out why our school has such low test scores. SMH!
I’ve had my fair share of meetings with principals, the Superintendent and even various School Board members. No one seemed to have a clue about any issues happening at our school. I slowly became the voice of our students. If I don’t tell administrators what is going on, no one will and the problem will continue. This was not something I wanted to do, but it just felt like it was something that needed done.
Last year, Natali had, by far, the best school year she has ever had. She had a teacher who was different from all other teachers. At the beginning of the year, I honestly was not thrilled about having him as our teacher. It didn’t take him long to change my mind. Right off the bat, he made it clear that he wasn’t there just as an educator. He was a friend to the kids, a confidant and a good listener. He cared more about the kind of person the kids became rather than if they were straight-A students. He treated the students like people and not just kids. He was teaching them so much more than what was in the textbooks. He was teaching them about life, how to be a successful, kind human being and that bad kids are not always bad adults.
At the same time, Emersyn had started kindergarten. We had requested a teacher, as we always do, based on who we felt would be the best fit for our child. She wasn’t a terrible teacher, (we had definitely had far worse) but Emersyn just wasn’t learning like I felt she should have been. She is the type of child who picks up on everything. She will spout off a random fact that she learned months or even years ago. So, why was she not thriving at school? She wasn’t a bad student but she didn’t enjoy school. She liked the idea of school, but when it came down to it, she wasn’t the type of child to sit in a desk and quietly wait on other students to finish their work.
It was an eye-opening year for both Steven and I.
We made the decision around Christmas that we would definitely homeschool the following year but we would let our girls finish out the school year in public school. Around February, I decided on a homeschool curriculum. Wowwy-wow-wow! What a difference between public school and homeschool curriculum. Emersyn’s first day of first grade would require reading from a challenging chapter book! She was only learning the letter “P” at this point in kindergarten. (Yes, she already knew her letters and sounds, long before kindergarten.) At this point, it became clear that she would be nowhere near where she needed to be for first grade. We made the decision to pull her out of public school and work on getting her up to speed.
The last day of the 3rd quarter was her last day of kindergarten. We immediately got started on her reading skills. We finished both the preschool and kindergarten portions of her curriculum in just 3 months. My girl went from sounding out “cat” to reading words like “should” and “laugh.” More importantly, she actually enjoyed it.
Our school is not the greatest in the area but it is also not the worst. But do the teachers teach because they care about shaping our kids’ future or do they teach because they enjoy summer breaks? I don’t know, but I could probably guess which teachers are teaching for which reason.The reality is, no matter how great of a teacher my child has, they will never care as much about my child as I do. Which leads me to believe that the best place for my kids to learn is right here, in the comfort of their own home, where I can guarantee that they learn to feel beautiful and safe and loved. And that’s some of the most important things a child can learn.