>> Sunday, October 25, 2009
***part 1-why am i thinking about it?***
before i became sick, the thought of homeschooling rarely crossed my mind. i had to work and the girls went to school. that was just the way it was. so now i'm home full time and i have thought about homeschooling. the thought does appeal to me in ways. but in other ways it kind of scares me.
kelley is in 5th grade and is having a really good year so far. which is good because last year she was in an advanced academics class. although she held her own and made good grades, it caused her a lot of stress. we knew that this year she would not be in that advanced class and instead she's in a bit of a non-traditional classroom setting this year. it's working out well and i have no desire to take that away from her.
when i start to think of next year though, i shudder. my little kelley will be going into middle school. and when i say little, i don't mean it just as a term of endearment, i mean she is literally the smallest child in her grade. and maybe even the grade below hers. my middle school experience was not good at first. middle school is a totally different environment but i also had just moved from small town, ohio to big city, florida. i had major culture shock in addition to the new ways of middle school. now that part won't happen to kelley. but i am really worried about how she will adjust. and i know that by the time kids are in the 8th grade, they are just completely way too grown up. am i ready for kelley to be in that environment? no way. so i have considered some other options like a private school or even homeschooling.
bethany on the other hand i would consider homeschooling very seriously. she's a "little bit" too, but her personality is big enough to compensate. here are the reasons i do consider teaching her at home...bethany is a unique child. she dances to her own beat and i like that about her, i like it a lot. while i do expect her to follow rules, i also don't want her individuality to be suppressed by having to conform too much. bethany also doesn't always work up to her abilities. so far her teachers have all been pretty good at realizing that. though sometimes i think she gets labeled as a bit of a problem child because of her expression of her individuality. and lastly, she is following kelley. kelley's personality is completely different than bethany's. they are really like night and day. last year bethany's teacher was one of kelley's former teachers. i think kelley was probably the "teacher's pet" and so the teacher was thrilled to have bethany in class. my dad (papa) is pretty involved in communication with the teachers as he is also a teacher at the local high school. he was sure to tell this teacher that bethany was very different from kelley.
i don't think the teacher actually realized the extent of the difference until of course, she met bethany. i noticed that she was different with bethany and it was ok at times, but at other times i really felt that she "micro-managed" bethany way too much. she would frequently send notes home to tell us things that bethany had done during the day, that in my opinion, really didn't warrant a note home. kids are kids. one example was that bethany had pulled her arms into her shirt and tucked her head in too, she was being a turtle. we had recently acquired a tortoise so that was what was on bethany's mind. i certainly think redirection was needed, but i feel that it went overboard. especially with the fact that the teacher felt this was a big enough issue to send a note home.
really i can see that school isn't always great for bethany's self esteem. she is a very smart girl just like her sister but because of her quirky ways maybe people judge her. so many times bethany will tell us that she is "stupid" or "the bad kid". i worry a lot that if we don't do something to get these thoughts out of her head, her self esteem will suffer. maybe even to the point of giving up and just becoming "the bad kid".
her recent progress report wasn't so great. i am sure the reason why is because at times she will not actually read the assignment and just throw answers, any answers on the paper. it's laziness. conversely, when she actually does put effort into things she is an "A" student. for example spelling tests, they have a pretest earlier in the week and if they get a 100%, then they are done for the week and get to skip the official test on friday. well bethany always gets to skip the big test! with challenge words (they are sort of extra credit if you miss one of the spelling words) bethany's scores are actually over 100%, always. so as you can see she surely isn't stupid nor is she the bad kid-she is just bethany-who happens to be an out of the ordinary, quirky little girl. if i knew who was responsible for putting those thoughts into my baby girl's head, mama bear would most definitely come out and it wouldn't be pretty.
i have been pleased with most of the teachers both girls have had over the years. kelley's 1st grade teacher retired at the end of that school year. i have a feeling that she was definitely ready to retire and that year probably wasn't her best. and even the teacher who both girls had was a great teacher. she was kelley's teacher when i got sick and was a great support to kelley then. after having kelley in class i think she had expectations of bethany that weren't reasonable. kelley and bethany are just very different girls.
so these are the main reasons why homeschooling is on my mind. part 2 will be coming soon to explain why this whole idea scares me.