Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Long Overdue Series of Posts on Home Educating My Children part 2

The Next Phase:

So here we are, kids approaching high school, with four other school age kids, a toddler and a baby. I had reached my breaking point. Something had to be done.

But becuase of my "unorthodox approach", none of my kids were able to be transferred into school. They were too behind, and too ahead, and would be in 3 different schools, and never having ever enrolled anyone in school, how in the heck was I supposed to figure that out? And would it help me? I felt at that time the devil I knew was better than the devil I didn't know, and we persevered.

Meanwhile, I am struggling mightily to establish "systems" to keep the house clean, food bought and prepared and laundry clean. And children to choir and my own exercise and peace of mind.
I felt trapped. I was always worried my kids weren't getting enough school, and yet they seemed to be doing well enough. I was pleased with their innocence and sense of wonder, and their little world of great imagination. None of my children read early, which bothered me, as all these home schoolers on the internet had their little geniuses reading Greek and Latin by age 5, and they were reading Lord of the Rings by age 3. My kids were barely able to read their math workbook (yes I had succumbed to that by now, thank you MCP) at age 6. We had time lines created and empty, copy books with 4 pages finished and the rest blank. Poetry and art notebooks with 3 pages in the them, then empty. Shelves and shelves of science books with experiments and what not, that looked great, but were never used.

So, I bit the bullet, and enrolled my eldest in Seton Home School for his freshman year. I figured at least he would be accountable to someone else for a change, and maybe it would take some of the pressure off of me.

It was a long, long year, but he did finish, had decent grades and scored well on his first standardized test. He was miserable. It was at this time it seemed to me kids this age should not be alone so much, and it wasn't very good for him to spend his entire day in his room. I had other friends doing high school with their children at home, and it seemed to work out much better for them. I tried to get him more involved in things ( he was still in choir, and they had a good youth group at church, he was getting quite involved with pro-life activism, and he had lots of friends, but the days were so long and alone, except for the enormous amount of confusion at home with 6 younger siblings and an overwhelmed mom). But I had so little extra time to get him from point a to b, that I just couldn't do any more. The other kids were plugging along, and we had a little group that shared the teaching of science and history. This worked well, except we had to combine ages, so some of my kids skipped Egypt, had 3 years of Greek and Roman history, or did the Medieval Period for 2 years in a row. But they were getting history! Science was TOPS units (fun!) and Exploring God's Creation with Physical Science (kids were very sensitive to "propaganda". Is it okay to avoid one kind of propaganda and replace it with another?) But, they were doing science! Yay!

But the thought of home schooling my eldest son the following year gave me hives. He was miserable, argumentative, and thoroughly uninspired by his education. And why not? He was home all day with nothing but women and children, and here he was a blue blooded 15 year old boy. Is there anything else more frustrating?

(Next: A Difficult Decision. Tune in tomorrow)

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