Well, it is almost a year since we decided to get off the public school hamster wheel and take the reigns on the children’s education. Those that know me know that I believe in strong free education. An educated population helps a community and a society grow. What happened last year at my daughter’s school was not what I would call good preparation for life long learning.
The kicker was that this was the gifted program for our district. I had high hopes for all the things she would learn and all the fun she would have in broadening her educational horizons. I came away from her third grade year with a tired kid who was tested until she was a nervous wreck and who didn’t really master the basics. We were both so disappointed. She and I both worked hard. If I saw that she needed help in a subject we would get up early and practice. However, we were also staying up late to get through her homework, and she still wasn’t getting it. The entire year went this way and when I tried to talk to her teachers I felt like my concerns were not taken seriously. After talking it over with my husband we felt it would be best that we pull her from public school. It was a hard decision and one that we did not take lightly. I can’t explain how helpless I felt trying to work with my daughter within the system. Learning was pushed aside in order to teach the kids to pass the Virginia Standards of Learning tests (SOL). Everything was geared towards this test. Not mastering the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic but passing a test at the end of the year. I felt like with much more “learning” in this way and my child would slip through the cracks.
A lot of our school year has been going over things that she “learned” last year so we are just now getting to grade level material. I would be concerned that we are “behind” but doing public school at home is not what our schooling is about. Our schooling is about raising individuals to critically think about the world around them by giving them a strong foundation on how to learn.
We are blessed in that I am able to stay home and do this for all three of my children. I am blessed that I have my husband, Daniel’s, love and support. We have learned a lot this year but we have done it in a way that is certainly not a stressful as last year. Looking back at this year I’m glad that we took this step.