- by Shawn
This school year, I thought I would try the ultimate unmanageable (so I thought) thing that I would ever attempt to do in life. I decided that I would pull my daughter out of the private school she attended since she was in Pre Kindergarten through fifth grade. I decided that because she was in such a small school and being pampered, which is not a bad thing in general but I think it hindered her learning ability. Though she started school when she was four years old, my son who is four years older than she started Pre Kindergarten when she was only three months old, not to mention we belonged to the church, so she was everyone’s baby. So, of course she was spoiled rotten by everyone in the school, even the “newer” teachers. I was thankful that she was an environment where she was loved when I was in a near fatal accident, but my daughter was no longer pushed to her ability and when she returned home, she thought she had to care for her mommie. My daughter was suffering almost as much as I was and I knew that I had to find something that would help her reach her full potential, she was no longer motivated. Now, I am certainly not saying that she was not in a good school, but at eleven years old, in the sixth grade she needed to be pushed, she had lost her independence and I could not imagine her growing up not being an independent young woman doubting herself.
I began to research to figure out what would be the best for my child as we all have to remember that each child is different and learn differently. I looked into everything I could imagine and home schooling kept coming up, though I was very afraid I decided to take the plunge. In the beginning it was quite different, but as she (we) became more accustomed to doing her work on her own and I would only watch her figure out the answers and expect her to try accomplish all that was put before her to the best of her ability. Now, with that being said, I am not saying I did not teach her the lesson, but once it was taught she was encouraged to figure out the answer on her own, look back at her notes are her text book because she was capable. I wanted her to learn that she could accomplish anything that she could imagine and more!
One of the major concerns of parents is the socialization of the child. As a parent who is homeschooling, I too, had to do my own homework. I found things that were of interest to her as well as things she had never been exposed to and she met tons of new friends. She continues to sing in a city wide choir where she excels. She has taken home school classes at the zoo. She has been able to enjoy numerous art exhibits; she has even worked in an Urban Farm. She now knows about composting and planting gardens and the importance they have in our community. She has taken “risks” that I believe she would have never taken before though she has always been a dare devil but she now has more confidence and independence in her life.
This summer she plans to take a course at Agnes Scott that she had always been a bit ambivalent about before Home Schooling.
All I can say is that it is a huge commitment and after coaching one child I do not know how teachers who care can really accomplish all that they do because it is not an easy job with one child. We only have a few months left this school year and I have decided we will continue through Middle School and she will return to Catholic High School. I have no doubt that she will be able to accomplish as much or more than the kids. She is gaining so many life lessons along with academics.
Home schooling is not for everyone. I believe each person should research what kind of commitment they can give their child as well exactly who your child is, in addition to what advantages your child will have by homeschooling. I did meet a woman who was home schooling her kids and when they were tested they were all behind. The mother admitted she did not like it all and she did not do any extracurricular activities with her children. As she said, she just “winged it”.
I just really want to press upon anyone considering home schooling that they need to realize that it is a huge commitment and it is not about just sitting at home. It is a lot of hard work involved. If it something you are considering talk to as many parents who are home schooling as you possibly can. You can always feel free to contact me. However, I will reiterate to you that it is tough and rewarding at the same time. So, remember, if it is something you are considering it will be a huge impact on your child’s life and you will be the person responsible for the experience being positive or negative, so think long and hard about it. Your child’s education will be in your hands. As we all know a child’s education is the most important gift you will ever give her.