Thursday, August 18, 2011

Homeschooling Adventure

Cherub 1 starts his freshman year of high school on Monday.


My BABY is in high school!!!

Here's where it gets really, really interesting though....he's going to start his freshman year of high school sitting in our kitchen at a laptop.

Nine years ago if you had asked me if I would homeschool, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed. I never even entertained the idea. But, right now as I type this, he's next to me in the kitchen taking a beginning of the year standardized test.

I have no idea how much I'll say about out homeschooling adventure on here. But it certainly is going to be an interesting part of my life starting Monday. I'm going to be spending a lot of time with my oldest. (Prayers would be appreciated!!)

For what it's worth, this is why WE are homeschooling....

  • There are at least 70 known gangs in the county that we live in. I'm not worried at all about Cherub 1 wanting to get involved with a gang. However, it does create a climate that I don't believe my son needs to be immersed in. There was quite a bit of violence in his middle school and that's not going to get better in a high school environment.

  • Cherub 1 is a very, very bright young man. He tested and was accepted into the gifted program at school a couple years ago. However, Cherub 1 doesn't like to do his homework. And in middle school, despite my best efforts, the teachers did nothing about his absent homework. They would give him a full six weeks to turn in all of his assignments. So, Cherub 1 slacked off for 5 1/2 weeks at a time and would then turn in the bare minimum of homework in order to keep his grade "high enough". This approach is unacceptable to me. I want my child to suffer the natural consequences of not doing his work. I wanted my child to fail! In my reality, if a client asks for a proof on a job on a Monday, I don't have three extra weeks to get that proof turned around. I want the school to hold my son to that same level of accountability.

  • And last, I'm not a fan of the Texas education system. No Child Left Behind was born here and it has wrecked havoc on the school system. The amount of testing and the overall emphasis on testing has destroyed any level of quality learning. Cherub 1 spent too many hours literally sitting at his desk doing nothing in eighth grade because the school was taking a test that day and he wasn't allowed to do anything when he finished. School started at 8:20. The test would start at 9:00 (or so). He would be done at 10:30. He would be forced to sit at his desk and do nothing until 1:00. Then, after lunch, they might let him read a book. -- This didn't happen just once or twice. This was a regular occurrence.

We aren't homeschooling in the traditional sense though. After much research, we have decided to enroll Herman in an online high school. So, technically, he's still enrolled in a Texas public school. He's still going to have the standardized testing requirements. But there's a level of flexibility that I think is going to be great for Herman. I'm going to know what is being assigned and whether or not he's doing his work. And if he doesn't do his work, he will fail. I will NOT let my kid slip through the cracks and just slide by. He will work up to his potential. (dammit!)

I'm looking forward to this. I know there will be screaming matches and power struggles. Herman and I are waaayyyy too much alike and we tend to butt heads. Ultimately though, I think it will be the best way for Herman to actually be held accountable for his work. If he wants the freedom and flexibility that an online education can offer, he'll actually sit down and get his work done in a timely fashion. (Sounds good on paper anyway.)

For what it's worth, the other cherubs are still going to attend a traditional brick and mortar school. Pumpkin will be in the same (lousy) special ed self-contained classroom with the same dingy teacher that knows very little about quality special ed. Texas foster care laws state that children have to be enrolled in the public school system so I have no choice.

I'm going to try and get Dolly into a Head Start program. I attempted to do this before we left on vacation and was given the run-around. I tried to call while on vacation and was told I had to come in person to sign her up. It's on my agenda for tomorrow but I'm afraid she may end up on a waiting list. Due to the fact that she's in care of the State though, and the fact that she has a speech delay, I'm hoping she'll be at the top of the list. I think preschool would be good for Dolly.

Dude is too little for anything formal so we'll hang out at home together.

TT will be in second grade and Bart is going into first grade. And as much as I still detest the Texas school system in general, testing doesn't get completely out of hand until third grade. If we are still in this location next year I will entertain the idea of homeschooling all my cherubs. But for now, I pray they get quality teachers and I'm going to let the public system do the formal educating.

So that's it in a nutshell. School starts Monday. Should be interesting!!


MamaFoster said...

welcome back to reality right? :)

jendoop said...

I have friends that have done a great job homeschooling and love it. Cyber schools make it easier on mom/teacher. I'm glad that it has become a possibility. All of your reasons are understandable. Good luck!

Rebecca said...

As a Texas public school teacher and former foster parent, I know for a fact that foster children get first dibs at Public Pre-K, which is a half-day program. (Not sure about Headstart.). That being said, in my area the Pre-k classes are completely full at this time, but a foster child would be at the top of the waiting list should there be openings later in the year.