No--no new baby. Something even bigger and more time consuming:
I've decided to pull Max out of public school and home school him.
Yes, I realize many of you who know us, or maybe only know me through this blog, are yelling
"WHAT?!?!?!?!?!" at the computer screen right now.
Because let's face it: We all know I'm not the home schooling type.
*I'm relatively lazy and occasionally impatient.
*My house has chronically cluttered surfaces.
*I've never once cried sending my kid to school on the first day,
*I generally just look forward to the noise level decreasing when two kids leave the house.
*I've been known to call Home Schoolers "Crazy People" and "Saints" alternately, and have never had any desire to join their number.
In other words, while I fully appreciate the benefits of home schooling, I've never wanted to do it. And I've never thought I'd need to do it.
Public school is just not working for us.
Obviously, many many things play into this decision and I've been thinking about it for a long time; but here are a few of my main reasons:
1. Max and Sam both have ADHD. They are both easily distracted and work immeasurably better in small groups or ideally, with one-on-one attention. Especially Max. (Here in CA, they have HUGE classes.)
1a. They both have some mild PTSD issues from living through the 3/11 earthquake and aftermath--which was also extremely detrimental to their schooling last year. (Max was behind in math pre-3/11 and got farther behind after!)
2. They both have IEP's for additional services required by law and provided by the school district. Despite this, they both struggle and Max just isn't catching up. (Sammy's services helped him a ton the last two years, whereas Max's speech therapy has helped him...not even the tiniest bit.) (And furthermore, I think Max will still receive the same services...?)
2a. Although I tried to get in to see the Principle to discuss the above items with her before the school year began, I was not allowed to speak to her, and she has still not bothered to meet or contact me. (Clearly, I'm still a little ticked about that...)
3. Homework, which I do not believe should be required after a 6.5 hour day, takes us hours of pain and tears. (And leaves me feeling Max still doesn't "get it". This is a bigger issue for Max right now. Sam's issues are more social/emotional.)
4. If I'm going to spend hours helping Max with school work, I want it to be at 9 or 10 a.m. NOT the "Witching Hours"--from 3-5 p.m. (With all the neighbor kids playing happily outside the window...)
5. Ultimately, I feel like when it comes down to it, their education is my responsibility. If the school isn't doing a good enough job, or if they are not doing a good enough job in school, I can expend hours of effort trying to get additional help, like I did last year, only to find that it was mostly wasted effort, or I can quit whining and take matters into my own hands. It's my job. So I'm going to do it.
With that said, I've been reading up on this for months. Here are a few quotes I've found along the way that made a lot of sense to me: (Since the objection I hear most often is that home schooling isn't good for kids socially, a few of these deal with that.)
"Our modern system is a fairly recent development. Only in the last seventy years has it become the predominant system."
The far end of the Family Room: Our new class room!
|Found another desk at a consignment store here.|
"Almost everybody in America today is getting the kind of education that has historically been reserved for those who simply had no other options." (i.e. the poor and lower classes. The rich were generally taught at home by tutors or sent to expensive private schools.)
What about their social life?
"If parents are so-called "backward and strange, chances are their kids will be also--even if they are in public school. At least in home school, their confidence is supported and they have a strong chance of getting a good education without their love of learning being destroyed by an artificial social and class structure ...those who tend to struggle socially may be better off in a homeschool..."In my experience teaching pottery to home schoolers, the above is entirely true. I found the vast majority of home schooled kids to be sweet, intelligent, polite, and happy to see and socialize with all of their fellow home schoolers. (And neighbors, and friends, and public schoolers...)
"If your children are educated at school, you still need to give thought to their socialization. Are they perhaps being socialized in bad ways?"
Aren't all parents worried about negative peer pressure from school friends?
"Public schools also have numerous socializing failures."
(Source for previous five quotes: A Thomas Jefferson Education)
"What about my child's social development? Doesn't he need peers?" Children need friends. Children do not need to be surrounded by large groups of peers who inevitably follow the strongest personality in the crowd. The question for any parent is: Do I want my child to be like his peers? Or do I want my child to rise above them?"
"When I taught school, I was convinced that parents couldn't teach their own children. But twenty-five years later, I can look back and say: The experiment was a success. I was the best teacher my children could possibly have had because I was their parent."
(Source for previous two quotes: The Well-Trained Mind)
So do you think I'm completely crazy? Or just partially?
What do you think about home schooling in general?
By show of hands, who thinks I'm going to crash and burn?