I have been in a bit of a tizzy this week because my son has had some issues in college. In my mind, success of homeschooling would be based on success after homeschooling. This means I have tied the job I have done, and even my self worth to their success. But life has a way of kicking you in the butt doesn't it? So when son announced that this semester was not going as well as he thought and that a school transfer might be in order, it was as if someone had punched me in the gut.
FAILURE. That was all I heard. Not my son's failure, because he wasn't doing THAT bad, he wasn't on academic probation or anything. He was just having a hard time. But was the failure mine for not adequately preparing him for college. That's how I felt.
When I decided to homeschool, it was clear to me that if the kids continued on the track they were on that they would never-ever even make it to college. This particular child had taken to not speaking at all in school (selectively mute), and the other was being forced into ADHD testing. The boy ended up in college with scholarships, and the girl is right behind him, so that is not failure on my part, at all.
Still, I had to ask myself if I overlooked something I should have anticipated??? I will honestly never know. But asking that question, and putting his issues on myself would have been the same as expecting the schools to take credit that I, an "A Student" in high school completely flunked out of Fordham University after my first semester and had to start over at a community college. For some kids, the transition to college is just hard. It was very, very, hard for me... it is a challenge for my son... and we have the same learning styles. Fortunately, I can help him turn it around just like I did.
I have also seen some blessings in this experience. Son has had a year to find out what college is actually like. He has a better idea of what he likes and does not like. His perspective on what is a good college and what is a bad college has also changed. He is educating us on his discoveries. He is looking at schools he had not considered before and measuring the finances vs. the prestige. He is making a bold decision to weigh where he is against a school he would have never considered before.... and in all that a new and more appropriate major (for my son) has been added to that school he is considering. It is starting to look like a blessing in disguise, that he could transfer into a brand new program that is more suited to his strengths and more in line with what he wants to do with is life. Prior to this, the only 2 schools that offered this new major were very, very expensive.
So, in the end, I can look at a young man who is able to make a decision for himself before a decision is made for him. He is able to weigh the pros and cons of a situation, and is working on a measured decision, and not something that is impulsive of knee-jerk. He is not emotionalizing the situation like I was starting to.
When I look back at why I chose to homeschool I know that THIS IS NOT FAILURE. The statement I made then was "I don't know if I can do better than the schools, but I can't do worse". I know I have met that goal. He is well ahead of where I was at his age, and more confident too... and let's not forget that the schools were in much better shape when I was his age. When I compare him to his same age relatives, he falls into the middle of the pack. Some are the same or better, some are behind. I will take my comfort in having met the goals we set.
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