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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Homeschool flip-flopping

True Story:

Friend decides to try homeschooling and puts very desperate sounding messages on FaceBook, so I contact them.  They are at their wits end.  They need help.  They've been homeschooling for just a few months and they are struggling.

I set a lunch date and spend hours upon hours putting together information that I think will be useful to them, and show up at the designated time and place.  We sit down and have the niceties and person informs me that kids are back in school. She gave up.  I'm fine with that, but I am not fine that she wasted my time.  I would have gladly still kept the lunch date, but I wouldn't have spent time preparing
for the lunch date.  I was disgusted.

For the next two years, this person plays musical chairs with their kids... homeschool, not homeschooling, online schooling, homeschool program classes... round and round.

A recent conversation revealed that the oldest (who managed to keep homeschooling in some form) went back to school this year and was put back a grade or two.  I am not surprised.  Their homeschooling was too haphazard and unfocussed. There was no plan. There was no purpose. There was no intention.

I think what upset me the most was the tone of the conversation. I felt that the person was making a judgement on homeschooling, and even my recommendation of it due to their failure.  They did not see that they did not go about it intentionally and so success was hindered.

I wish they had spoken to me before they ever decided to homeschool.  If they had, I would have told them the following:

  1. Don't pull your kids out of school because you are angry at the school or teacher or program. 
  2. Don't try to follow someone else's homeschool program. Instead, educate yourself about homeschooling and try to determine what is best for your kid before you start. 
  3. Don't start homeschooling a high school student unless you plan to go through to graduation.  If there is a chance of the kid going back to high school, then you should educate them realizing that they will have to take a series of tests to get placed into their proper place.  This means no shortcuts, and very little specialization. You have to use the same curriculum that the schools use. 
At the end of the day, my best advice is to not flip-flop.  Be intentional, and understand that it is a long term commitment.  You have to understand that just one year or six months of homeschooling is not going to miraculously make the kid a super genius who accelerates through 3 grade levels (I have seen that happen, but it is rare.  That first year is often spent back-tracking, filling educational gaps, and tending to the child's heart.  So if you homeschool for one year and put the child back, you probably won't see any progress. ... and that is where many of the bad reputations linked to homeschooling comes from. 



My name is Tiffany said...

Great advice. I know you were too upset to get there and find out they had re enrolled their children into school. SMH.

SAHMinIL said...

Great Advice.

Happy Elf Mom said...

We homeschooled because we were mad at the school, you bet, but I hear what you're saying overall. It drives. me. nuts. to see parents do this. I want to call the local school and go, "We are not all like that! You just don't hear from the rest of us!"

Ahermitt said...

But I'm sure you didn't just yank your kid without considering the ramifications. Too many people do this and then have to beg the school to take the kids back when they change their minds.

Ahermitt said...

But I'm sure you didn't just yank your kid without considering the ramifications. Too many people do this and then have to beg the school to take the kids back when they change their minds.

Blondee said...

That was just rude of them to seek out help then duck the kids back in school and not warn you. For the past two or so years, I have been dealing with someone who has removed her children at least 5 times from the public school system to 'homeschool', does a slap dash job of it and then puts them back in. She wants ideas, curriculum thoughts, unschooling ideas, encouragement and prayer and never ever bothers to say 'hey, don't really put much effort into your info because I'm not going to listen', or 'the kids will be back in school in a few days, no worry on the info I'm asking of you'. I can get over it, but sadly her kids aren't going to get over the damage done to them being 'flip flopped' back and forth. I am shocked and saddened the school has not intervened and done something to stop this on the children's behalf. :(

usethebrains godgiveyou said...

I think it involves a commitment to your child...not an escape from a bad situation. School is just difficult for some kids, especially for my son with his dyslexia.

Good advice from the first homeschool group I went to is your child needs to be able to take direction from you. I was a little leary, but Ben was great! Within 3 years, he was totally responsible for his work. Good practice for college.

Happy Elf Mom said...

How funny, brains, for we homeschooled to escape a bad situation originally! I keep homeschooling Emperor long after the initial incident because right now that seems best for him. :)

AHermitt, I sure did consider the ramifications. I figured, though, since Elf was six that I had that school year to see if I could do this. MO law at the time didn't require attendance until age seven. By then we had a nice routine going. Thankfully. Because that school was abusive. I don't know what I would do if I had trouble in school with Woodjie. It would be a bad decision either way if you know what I mean because of his autism. If school is abusive and I can't do a great job, I'm gonna have to go with doing the best I can and protecting his psyche.

Best choice is to get a billion dollars and hire a private tutor. I wish!! :)