Setting Out On Our Own

The decision to homeschool is a personal one. I can only attest to why we decided on this unorthodox path. I looked into homeschooling the year before sending my oldest off to kindergarten. It was one of many options I was researching in order to fulfill the promise I made to her before she was born

I promise to prepare you the best I can for life.

I looked into private schools, public schools, religious schools, secular schools, and home schools. My husband and I would debate for hours the pros and cons of each option until one day my daughter piped up 

I like the school with the blue roof. They were nice there. 

Yes, they were nice. They went out of their way to give us a tour and answer all of our questions. Our pediatrician had concerns that our oldest was gifted so we discussed their pull-out program. It seemed to be enough for now. The next month we signed her up for our local public school. We were not sorry. Her kindergarten teacher helped to meet her educational appetite with lateral learning. 

 Since we are studying the letter "V" here is a book for you about volcanoes.

Her first grade teacher picked up the pace nicely. My daughter learned a great deal about responsibility and the rewards for being orderly. Although her teacher was strict, she was full of praise and encouragement. I couldn't ask for more. Everything was humming along so perfectly...until it wasn't. Second grade brought us to our first problem teacher. On the surface everything seemed fine but I had concerns even from the beginning that, when looking back, were the signals of things to come. When my daughter consistently placed second and third in "Math Down," a game where children pair off and try to be the first with the correct answer to a math flash card. The teacher said

It's fine if you're not good at math. 
You can't be good at everything. 
Girls often have trouble at math. 

My husband and I were livid. We told her that she was capable of doing very well in math and that second and third of a roomful of peers was nothing to get upset about. By mid-year my daughter was a nervous wreck that things weren't perfect. By spring she would cry so much when she left me that I'd sometimes keep her home. She once threw-up from this. When I asked the teacher what was going on in the classroom, she said

I don't know. I've noticed her upset a lot too.
Is there something going on at home I should know about.

My daughter pleaded for me to not go to her teacher. She was afraid she would get mad at her. But her dad and I had had enough. When I was not allowed time and again to attend a field trips, I just showed up. I was stunned by what I observed. The children in my daughter's class were silent even when no teacher was immediately present. When I asked one where the teacher was, they mouthed to me that she was at the office and they couldn't talk. On the bus they were angels. At the Children's Museum they were in a straight line while the others were off playing. They were allowed to only do the structured activities. When a little girl with a reputation for misbehaving began to fidget, she swooped in, bent nose-to-nose and firmly threatened the girl with immediate removal to the bus if she wasn't still. I'd known that they had not been to a recess at school for weeks. It was either too cold, or they were too bad, or there was no time. It became clear that this teacher wanted absolute order and control of her room of seven-year-olds at all time.

Home schooling was on my mind a lot at this point. Of course, I had the concerns that worry most parents about socializing, having them resent the removal from their friends and getting them to listen to me as well as they listen to their teacher. Not to mention how terrified I was by the fear of what my friends and family would say! Fortunately my husband was on board. He viewed it as do-it-yourself private school. I felt up to the challenge but I still wanted outside advice. I decided to ask my pediatrician. After hearing my concerns about my daughter's emotional changes and my observations of the classroom she gave me this advice

I like homeschooling. I see many homeschooled children and they do quite well. 
If you can, do it. Otherwise,
if you get a great teacher next year she should bounce back with no problems.
If you get a teacher like this one again
she may never get over it. 

Homeschool, here we come!!!!!!

But there were others to consider. My son had just completed his first year of kindergarten with a wonderful teacher. He loved school. What should I do with him? His wonderful, yet overworked teacher once told me something about my son that really concerned me. 

Keep an eye on him. He's capable of so much more than I realized. 
He will not push himself. He only does exactly what is asked of him.
Kids like those are the ones who fall through the cracks. 

 Well, that is easily solved. I don't think he can pull that off with me. The decision was made. We brought them both home the next year. We haven't looked back.   

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