Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Decision to Home school

Sometimes we make choices because we have no other choice.  Sometimes we make choices because it will be a better path.  And this is what we have decided with homeschooling. 

Homeschooling isn’t easy.  But it can be a lot of fun.  I had decided to homeschool Kelsie before Pre-K a few years ago.  She was on the wait list and I didn’t really want to wait, so I didn’t.  A few weeks before public school started, we started.  I went and bought workbooks from Walmart, printed out worksheets that went along with books and made art projects based on themes, and created a whole curriculum.  Then the teacher called and said there was an opening.  I was on the fence but decided that since she was so shy that it would be a great idea.  So we sent her.  She adjusted after many weeks {months} and loved it. 

She went to Kindergarten last year and cried every single morning.  I would have to have the teacher unwrap her every morning. :-(  It was heartbreaking.  But I knew it was for the best.

This year she started first grade.  She was still very clingy at first but then she broke away from that and went in the class with just a hug and a kiss.  However, every week anxiety would take over as Fridays neared because she would have a weekly spelling and math test.  She would ace them all but would be anxious the night before and the morning of.  She would cry and not want to go.  She is not a test taker.  She eventually calmed down as the year went on, but it still lurked behind those big brown eyes, the fear of Fridays. 

I had brought up the option to homeschool her starting her 3rd grade year because in Florida we take a stupid achievement test called the FCAT. {you start taking it in 3rd grade}  It’s a test that the teachers start teaching for the first day of school.  It’s not your normal achievement test.  If you fail a portion of the test, you can fail a grade, or the next school year you are held accountable by being put into remedial classes.  This should be a test to measure where a student is, not to punish a student because they might have scored bad on one test!  This school year it was made more difficult.  It was projected that not as many would pass portions.  I have no idea who created this test but I loathe them!

After much discussion we decided that Kelsie would attend 2nd grade and that would be her last year in public school until she wanted to return.

If you homeschool you don’t have to take the FCAT.  So why is it so damn important in public schools?!  Why do they put so much stress on the students?  Why do they only teach what’s on the test?  Freaking crazy, if you ask me!

Kayla said that this year they had to cram in 4 chapters between January and March so that they would be ready for that test.  Tell me that you will remember something that you go over that quickly.  Tell me that it will be with you forever.  I’m not sure what they teach in school here.  I’m not sure if it’s the whole state of Florida or if it’s just the county we live in, but they aren’t learning the right stuff here.  Kayla never brought home one thing in her elementary years where she learned how to tell him or to count money!  She is almost in the 8th grade and has no idea what went on in the American Revolution.  But she can tell you all about the rest of the World history and geography.  She can’t count money but she can do algebra and geometry.  She doesn’t know when to use the correct punctuation or how to write a business letter.  This is all stuff that is relevant to life now, but stuff they didn’t teach because I am guessing that it wasn’t on the FCAT.  From what I’ve read and heard, they teach only what’s on that stupid test!

So while Kelsie is in 2nd grade this coming school year I will be researching 3rd grade standards and what find out from her what she wants to learn about.  I know she loves bugs and reptiles.  I think that for Science besides what she would learn in 3rd grade, she will also learn about bugs or reptiles.  And I can guarantee she will learn how to count money and tell time!!  That will be included in her math.  And we will do book reports.  Something that Kayla has only had the pleasure of doing this year, in 7th grade, mind you! 

Oh and as far as that socialization goes….don’t worry about that.  She will be plenty socialized.  I am researching homeschool co-ops and she will be involved in a sport of some sort.  We want to get her into t-ball this year.  AND, not to mention the fact that Kayla plans on doing Guard in high school and we’ll go to all the football games and competitions.  She’ll be around plenty of people. :-) 

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