I was chatting with my mom today when she asked if we were home schooling our middle child next year, which will be her freshman year of high school. I told her that we had decided it would be best to continue home school for her. She’s worked really hard and has come a long way in learning to manage her sensory issues, but she still needs the flexibility of home to be able to switch subjects when she hits a frustration point, or even walk away for a few minutes. She can’t do that at public school. Mom’s reply is that they switch rooms for classes, and that would be a break.
She just does not get it.
Mom wasn’t rude or pushy, but she made it clear that she thinks our daughter ought to be in public school next year. I held a teaching certificate for this state. (I let it expire when we moved away for a few years.) Mom knows that I refer to the state’s website of educational requirements and guidelines, and use our oldest daughter’s classes in the public school to guide our course of action. We have re-evaluated our situation every year to decide whether to continue with home school or give public school another try. I cover what the state expects and then some. Our daughter gets “socialization” through a home school co-op, 4H, and the church youth group. Multiple people have commented on the growth they’ve seen in our daughter since she left the public school system.
If we put her back in public school now, I can tell you what is most likely to happen. She’ll hate school again. She’ll be teased and gossiped about, quite possibly to the point of bullying. She won’t complete all of her work on time, thus incurring 1/2 off (for one day late) or possibly take zeros, which could lead to concrete failure. She won’t care – the delay is usually a tactic to get out of dealing with a frustration about the assignment.
At home, she mostly enjoys school. She doesn’t complete every assignment when I want it, but is still accountable for the work and it does get done. Her self confidence continues to grow. She gets to explore topics of study that aren’t available in the public school (she’s going to read a college textbook on oceanography next year – by her own choice). She’s learning how to manage her sensory reactions. She’s reading more classic/traditional literature than the public school does.
Overall, homeschool is the best option for our daughter. We have two other children who are still in the public school system. They are still doing well in their environment. The day that stops for either of them, home school is open to them.
I’m frustrated that my family can’t be supportive of the fact that we are doing what’s best for each of our children, considering what best suits their needs. Isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? Mom has argued that a classroom teacher can’t take the time to deal with sensory issues. I agree. That’s one of the big reasons she’s learning at home. I am a teacher who can take the time. I don’t have 30 other students.
If you knew of someone who hated their job, who was being held back from excelling because of the workplace atmosphere, yet had a job offer for a position in which their talents would be allowed to shine and they’d be productive and happy, wouldn’t you tell them to take the better job? They’d still be working, just in a position better suited to them.
I think that’s the way to think of home school: the child is still being educated, just in a way better suited to them. Actually, they’re being educated in an environment tailored to their specific needs/talents/interests, allowing them to achieve much more than they might otherwise.