Homeschooling Again

decision to homeschool is easyA couple weeks ago my 12-year-old (who, coincidentally, reads on a late high school/early college level) brought home a permission slip from the local public middle school.

They wanted me to sign that I’d be financially responsible for audio books that she is going to be checking out. When I asked why she wanted to check out audio books when she reads faster than I do, she said that she wanted to do what the other kids did, and have the audio playing and follow along with her finger across the pages.

I nearly lost it. (And I don’t have that much sanity from the get-go, so I can’t afford to lose any.)

I followed my mommy-hunch and got online to check out her grades and saw a horrible grade in language arts — one that had plummeted in the past three weeks. I’m telling you, a child who reads and writes the way she does, has no reason to be struggling in a language arts (or any other) class. I asked her what was going on. We discussed it. The gist of it is …she’s bored.

I’m going to make sure she’s not bored. She’s being home schooled again. I tried the public school thing. I really did. I watched as she “slid” by in all her classes. I watched as she became bored and found ways to entertain herself. Thankfully, that was usually reading in class rather than paying attention. She reads 5-6 books a week on average, and sometimes more. Her choice of self-entertainment could have been so much worse.

I struggled with the guilt of leaving her potential in the hands of the public system. I reasoned that she needed the social contact, that I didn’t have the time, that everyone else left their kids in the public system so it must not be as bad as I thought (knowing full well I was lying to myself).

Once I made the decision, I expected a backlash of internal panic. It didn’t come. I expected the dread of one more thing perched, teetering on the summit of my very VERY full plate. It didn’t come. The strangest thing happened, instead…

I felt at peace. I knew that I was on the right path. I’m not stupid, and I’ve done this enough before to know that it will keep me hopping. But, I now know that I’m doing the best I can to ensure her long-term success by handing her the tools and instructing her on how to use them myself.

I don’t know if I’ll keep her out for all of the middle school years. I don’t know if I’ll break down and let her go back to “the system” in high school. Time will tell. I do know that with a mind as absorbent and “sponge-like” as hers is right now, it is immoral (if not criminal) to not throw everything possible at it.

I may not be able to change the world, or joust the windmills of the status quo, but I can do my level best to improve my little corner of the world and to give my youngest child the tools she needs to succeed.

I wish I could believe in the public system. I can’t. So, I’ll exercise my right to do it myself. I have to go now… we are studying the last Czars of Russia.

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