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Grizzly Mama

There's a Grizzly who has escaped the City of Brotherly Love..(and she's going back to homeschooling!!)

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Location: Out of Philly, Pennsylvania, United States

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." Aristotle - Greek Philosopher.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Decision to Go Back to Homeschooling

Here I gather my thoughts together on the many reasons for the decision to go back to homeschooling.

1. Sibling rivalry has increased since school.

* They used to get along famously. In every single homeschooling family that I know, the relationships that the siblings enjoy is markedly different than those of 'regular' schooling families. It will actually blow your mind. Get to know a homeschooling family - you are likely to be amazed! We don't expect perfection in our relationships and of course people living together will clash occasionally and we are no exception. That intense sibling rivalry stuff? Doesn't need to be there.

2. Unhealthy attitudes in kids since school.

* Listen - I know all about adolescence and how kids go through those mental changes. This is different. It seems that most parents take for granted that they will eventually become the equivalent of a mere acquaintance to their kids as they grow up. Well. It doesn't have to be that way, and it shouldn't be that way. I'm all for respecting individuality - I'm what could be called unconventional in many ways. But our family is that - a family - and it IS more important than a lot of people seem to think.

3. Academic standards are crap. We have a lot of making up to do.

* I don't know what to say. I'm horrified. From the 3rd grade class last year not even able to finish the math curriculum by the end of the year, to the rushing through the Civil War, to the almost complete SKIPPING of science for both. It's a disgrace. (We finished the math curriculum over the summer at home..)

4. Inability of school to adapt to kids' individual levels of abilities.

* The little one didn't get into the advanced math because there 'wasn't enough room'. The big one is 97th percentile on the ACT for literature/writing, yet stuck doing 8th grade work. Third year for the oldest in Pre Algebra. Terrible in every way.

5. Favoritism in school is a big problem.

* This was really gross. Just gross. Not much left to say, except that we were lucky enough to get the kids involved in other stuff (when we could find a spare moment..) where they were atleast recognized and given the opportunity to participate in activities without being forced to sit on the sidelines while the less talented, more favored kid got all the good stuff. This didn't just happen to my kids - it happened to any kid who was new to the school, or just wasn't liked by certain teachers. Sick. Out in the REAL WORLD, participating in community activities, we never had a problem with this.

6. Unhinged teacher.

* Finally went to the principal about this. Scary whacky. Don't know what's going on there, but it's obviously a personal problem and the kids in that particular class are suffering for it. Not only that, but the kids are essentially held hostage - not in any position to confront the situation themselves. For one, they're kids. For two, in the hierarachy the kids are bottom of the totem pole and therefore have no say. It has been up to me and other parents to attempt to confront this situation and quite frankly - I'm just waiting until it's over and we're out of there. Although we had a meeting with the assistant principal and we have a meeting with the head principal this coming week. At home, they have no problem speaking up - or going to another authority if they don't like what's going on. They may still have to do those chores they don't like, or have to finish schoolwork before TV, but they will be heard!

7. Large, no HUGE, blocks of wasted time.

* Dang. I don't think there is a fix for this in a school/classroom type of setting. Another reason that the model just doesn't work well.

8. Emphasis and importance placed on silly things.

* Points off for not having the red line perfectly straight in the composition book. Points on for being able to do 50 equations in 30 seconds. Doesn't even matter in my book. (Is the writing legible and formatted in a way that makes sense? Are the answers to the equations accurate - even if it might take a minute? That's what is important to me...) Also, the kids got crap for the fact that we don't go to Mass every Sunday. They go to Mass every single frigging Friday, but NO. That's not enough. The teachers took it upon themselves to give my kids crap for the fact that I don't make it to Mass as often as they like. We dealt with this by telling the kids to inform their teachers that they need to call me if it ever comes up again. They did, the teachers didn't call, end of B.S.

9. Arbitrary scoring of work in several cases.

* One day it's okay. Another day it's not. One teacher it's okay. Another it's not. I guess there is something to be said for finding out what people want and giving it to them. But the larger, more important issue is to find the standard and keep it consistent. This arbitrary stuff just confuses people and leads to either apathy or defiance and that is not constructive.

10. Inability to be involved in community, or to partake in otherwise enriching activities, due to time constraints.

* Would much rather get the schoolwork done, and have time to get out there in the world. There is a lot to learn out there, a lot of important stuff to learn. I didn't learn the important stuff until I was free from the educational institutions.

11. Lack of direction in many areas with my older daughter.

* Possibly comes under unhinged teacher category. When help was requested, she was turned away. This is what I paid thousands of dollars a year for? I don't think so.

12. Unnatural hours, resulting in lack of sleep for everyone.

* Face it - this just blows. Not only is it full of wasted time, but for us that early morning crap just didn't work. Not enough sleep. Did you know that studies have shown that most of us are sleep deprived? There's a whole 24 hour a day, 7 day a week world out there.

Being in school this last two years has not helped them in many, many ways. I will concede that it was probably time well spent in that we ALL now "know,know" that educating the kids at home is absolutely the right thing to do for us.

It did create an avenue for the younger daughter to get involved in basketball. (Which I now find out that she doesn't even need to be in school to have participated, anyway..) Both girls also were able to learn new musical instruments, although I have been paying separately for the lessons.

One area that I have been struggling with in my anticipation of homeschooling is getting them into some sort of musical instrument group program. The Archdiocese does not allow homeschoolers to take part in the school's programs, and I really have no desire to send them to the local public school for that. There are a couple of other options that I am pursuing right now. One involves traveling to Delaware - and I'll do it if the other doesn't pan out.

We will also be responsible for paying for the younger daughter's speech therapy. This is fine, as she is almost where she needs to be. The only PITA about it is documenting that properly in my affidavit for the superintendent. It's a small PITA, though.

I am counting the days until school is over, and we can get back to doing it right.


Blogger Mr. Grey Ghost said...

Wow, that's a long list of complaints, but it sounds like you had every reason to be angry from how you explained it. But then it seems like every time I read about homeschooling, more and more parents seem to be signing up around the country. Can you blame them? My parents worked hard to send me and my lil sis to parochial schools because they were so afraid of public schools and it worked out pretty well for both of us.

02 May, 2010 19:51  
Blogger Mike's America said...

And the bottom line is that you will do a much better job of teaching your kids than a government school.

02 May, 2010 20:56  
Blogger Most Rev. Gregori said...

I can only envision things getting worse in the public schools. Yes, it is best to pull the cubs out before it is too late.

03 May, 2010 22:40  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Mr GG - the girls are in Catholic school. I am appalled, because I really expected more. You have to remember that we got a better education than the kids now are getting. The Dept of Education was Carter's brainchild, and since then the quality of education in America has taken a serious nosedive. I am a product of the public school system, and I am finding out that my education could have been SO,SO much better - but atleast I could read in first grade like the rest of us could. Now, kids are graduating high school as illiterates.

Thanks, Mike. I am totally looking forward to it.

Things are just going to get worse, Rev - and it seems to be affecting the Catholic schools as well.

04 May, 2010 07:57  
Blogger tshsmom said...

Print this list out, put it in your purse, and whip it out every time someone asks about "socializing" your kids!

05 May, 2010 18:18  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Thanks tshs! You and I know that the 'socialization' objection to homeschooling is a bunch of crap. lol.

05 May, 2010 20:41  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

Well said Grizzly Mama... I know for sure the girls love to play after work and they have there house chores but you know what... I talked to a lady at McD's the other night. I was getting dinner and she was too and the girls got in her way. I made them apologize and move over where she could take her tray but she said no big deal. I turned around and looked at her and said it more for respect than some one else caring.. I have seen so many parents not have control over there children.. I think they respect others being homeschooled better than the public schooled children.. that is my opinion on it.. I am happy they will be home schooled again and I hope it goes well with you all..

05 May, 2010 22:31  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Thank you Tweetey! I definitely notice a difference between kids who are homeschooled and those who are not.

We had a meeting with the principal this week about some of the problems outlined above. It was interesting because on several issues she attempted to blame us. That's her choice, I guess and she must have been feeling somehow responsible for the fact that we have chosen to homeschool the kids rather than enroll them in her school again.

It's amazing how many people take our decision to homeschool personally and feel that they have to defend their choice to us. Sometimes even using the 'socialization' bullshit to somehow denigrate our own choice to homeschool. Some of it is ignorance, but some of it is willful disregard for the reality of how bad institutional education in America has become. Screw 'em. I'm done with it and I'm very happy that our little experience is almost over.

06 May, 2010 08:27  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

Grizzly mama i was watching my girls outside last night and they didnt have any friends over because no one was around to play with.. but they were outside in the back yard just being friends. they were actually talking and just sitting together.. i know if they were in school that would never happen.. so i know exactly what you are going through and i am glad you are going back to home schooling..

10 May, 2010 11:27  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

It's really amazing, isn't it?

I've also heard from other parents of homeschooled kids that the adolescent phase that the thought of scares so many of us was really nonexistent for them. The transition from kid to adult was pretty seamless and painless and natural.

10 May, 2010 17:43  

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