On Crossing Over to Homeschooling, Facebook group, the question was asked what our top two reasons were for choosing to home school. It is a frequently asked question by new members, and I have answered it with only slight variance. I think in part because my reasons become more clarified as time goes on. As I answered this question, which came surprisingly easy this time (I often have to spend a moment thinking about this before I answer, because so much went in to our decision) I begin to remember some details over the past 4 years that have come to impact our decision. I will get to that in a bit though.
1. I believe that public
school should not be mandatory, but optional. Like day care. You use
it because you want to. Perhaps teaching your children is not your cup of tea. Or out of necessity. Maybe both/only parent/s work. I
believe homeschooling should be our first choice and public school our
last choice. This could go on to a long tangent about government interfering with natural parenting, but that's another topic.
2. I want to ensure
a safe and nurturing environment for my children. I want them to be free
to be themselves and can take as long as they need to grasp a new
concept. Ok, so that was probably more like three.
The first point is relatively self explanatory. The second one is where the details come in. As I was initially answering the post, my oldest son reminds me when we first arrived in this state, and he was just starting 4th grade. Now we are from California, and moving to Texas brought some expected and unexpected changes. One being that in 4th grade, the school here has the kids rotating classrooms. They say it's to prepare them for middle school. Oh, and middle school starts at the 5th grade level. Anyway, Athos reminds me how in the 4th grade or so he was so stressed that he was actually losing hair. He also went through this phase of pulling his eyebrow hairs out. As time went on, he started having more problems with being able to sleep. Although he was a straight A student, the stress was showing. By 7th grade, his grades were starting to slip a little. He was acting out at home and suffering from insomnia more and more. He had one teacher that was condescending on a regular basis.
Porthos had done really well the first two years. By 2nd grade he was getting in trouble in class and low grades on a regular basis. The teacher couldn't recognize that he laughs when he's nervous. She thought he was just being rude and silly. 3rd grade brought a more patient teacher, but I think the previous year's experience had killed it for him. He no longer enjoyed school. Came home angry a lot. Wasn't finishing assignments, and missed out on a lot of recess. The pressure the schools put on the kids regarding standardized testing was too much, and, in my opinion, unnecessary.
The final straw; Aramis was in Kindergarten last year. OK, maybe you have all heard this story already. But it just warrants repeating. He is a generally quiet kid. His teacher was nice. He was doing well academically. Then came the Kindergarten musical program. Each grade does one throughout the year, and the whole grade level participates. Aramis is not a performer. He doesn't like doing group activities that put him in the spotlight. So when they were rehearsing for this program, he would just stand there. I talked to his teacher about it, and talked to him. He said he didn't want to participate, so I decided to not make him. His teacher told me I should make him participate or how will he ever learn to get over stage fright? Regardless, I informed her he would not be participating. She informed me he would spend the time during the program in the school office. So on parent day of the program, I come to sit with him in the office while all the other parents are out there in the auditorium. I arrive to find he is in a storage closet sitting at a desk coloring. A CLOSET!!! Seriously?!!! Althogh the storage closet was in the office area and the receptionists had a direct line of sight of him, it was still a closet!
Have you ever watched the movie "Dirty Dancing" with Patrick Swayze? Remember the scene near the end when he comes in during the closing night's show and tells Baby's father "Nobody puts Baby in the corner!", Johnny takes her hand and leads her up to the stage? Yeah, it was kind of like that for me in my heart. All of these things, just made us realize that our children were better off at home in a safe and loving environment. So here we are. Since it has been weeks since I started this post, I sort of forgot what else I had to say, so I am going to leave it here for now.