spectating participant

March 23, 2008

homeschooling alex

Filed under: family — suzanne henderson @ 8:10 pm

I’ve been coming back to the idea of homeschooling alex again and again. It seems very clear that this is something I want to do, but I also know that it isn’t that easy of a decision to make either. We did the homeschool thing once before and it wasn’t fun. Also, alex and I don’t get along perfectly, or anything remotely close to perfectly, and I know that homeschooling could really tread on that relationship. Also, next fall will involve a whole new family dynamic that I also need to take into consideration.

But, even with all the reasons not to, I still keep coming back to this feeling that it is something that would be a good thing to do for her. I’ve spent many years fully supporting the idea of public school and wanting to be sure my children went to public school, but the reality of the situation has proven time and again to not live up to my expectations of what children should learn. It seems like schools have lost the ability to teach children and are now simply catering to the testing requirements mandated by state and national measures. I don’t see anything in the schools the resembles the educational foundation that I feel children should get. Testing requirements continue to erode the overall curriculum and all that is left is just math and reading and few regurgitated facts.

Add to this continued disappointment in public schools - and the schools we’ve attended are actually decent school comparatively — is the fact that alex really struggles with getting challenging work and being engaged in her school work. Because she rarely completes out-of-class assignments, her teachers have begun taking that as a sign that she can’t do the work. The reality is that the work isn’t engaging and she doesn’t want to do it. Because she doesn’t do her homework and sometimes her school work, her teachers said that they will not allow her to continue in the advanced classes next year. She’s already bored with the work in these classes, I can imagine how much work they’ll get out of her next year when she basically repeats the material she’s doing now.

So, my frustration with the schools is really making me want to try this homeschooling thing again. but, I also can’t shake the fact that this might be a serious challenge. Talking to alex about it isn’t all that encouraging either. On one hand she wants to stay in school so she can go to PE every day — yeah, as though that is a reason to stay in public school — and then she’ll be all over the homeschool idea for un-encouraging reasons, such as wanting to go on field trips her her friend. I try to paint realistic pictures of what homeschooling would be like, but she constantly swings on pendulums in understanding and listening, it seems.

So, for now, it’s still and idea, an idea that should be best left untouched, I feel. But, we may give it a test run over the summer - something alex isn’t excited about, but i want to see that she will do the work involved before trying to do it full-time. Of course, there is still the time issue and the fact that this is probably more than I should take on right now.