|Homeschooling was the best decision I ever made.|
What do I mean by that? Well, you have to understand that I have a background in education. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. Then, during my first year of teaching a fourth grade class, I realized many truths. Those truths startled me into deciding to stay home with my first born baby.
For one, I heard that children were assaulting each other in the bathroom of the school where I was teaching. Second, a big majority of the children in my own classroom were severely behind. Third, the philosophies of how to teach children how to read varied every school year. My biggest pet peeve was the big emphasis in teaching the children to pass the standardized testing. I still don't know if it was due to me being a new teacher, but the administrators had all sorts of extra teachers coming in and out of my classroom.
In the end, I felt like I was a mere baby-sitter to my students so I quit. I felt that I wasn't earning my paycheck. With these realizations, I eventually decided to take up the challenge from a friend to homeschool. She had already decided to do it, even though she was of a different religion and not even college educated. She had an asthmatic child and was afraid he would go without quick treatment should an emergency occur. She also knew her own temperament, that if anyone "messed" with her kid, she would go ballistic.
With that beginning, I had also to homeschool a nephew who had come to live with my family and me. My mother, who had been his guardian, passed away. I had decided that, as he was a child who had been in and out of the principal's office (due to his ADHD--hyperactivity and emotional problems--going back and forth between my mother and my sister, his birth mother), he needed time to heal his broken heart over the loss of his grandmother. I had envisioned me dragging my three children with me to every meeting due to his misbehavior at public school and I decided NO, I am not going through that, especially the psychiatrist's appointments for prescriptions to drug my nephew into submission.
Oh, the struggles I had with that boy! He was a soon to be 13 year-old who would ride his bike in the streets often leaving my mother wondering where he was. When he came to live with us, the only way he would listen up is if we shouted at him. I hated that! If I gave him work to do, he practically wanted me to hold his hand, wanting me to sit right next to him like the special education teachers did in the public school.
It was so frustrating! It was even harder when he would give me the excuse that he needed his medication in order to attend to his work. I told him that it was a crutch to depend on those medications. Imagine what it was like to teach him how to write. He would protest for many long minutes after which I would point out that he could have been writing all that time that he was protesting.
He did attempt to go to high school at one point. One English teacher was impressed with his writing. Well, at least that went well. Don't get me wrong. I'm not mad at anyone for this failure.
I was disappointed that time ran out before I could finish educating my nephew. That's why I have striven thus far to occasionally review what needs to be taught to my children. I have recently dug out a checklist of skills to be learned by every child, not just homeschooled children. I will be looking at it closely to check off those skills already learned. I will then focus on the ones yet to be acquired.