Home Schooling: What’s the Big Deal?

Today I’m going to talk about a subject that’s close to my heart, Home Schooling. Back in my day it was unheard of. It wasn’t until my daughter was in grade school that I heard of a family that was home schooling their four kids. I didn’t understand what their deal was. I found nothing wrong with the public school system. The bully situation wasn’t anything like what goes on today. Every generation has had to deal with bullies but today they are out of control and much more dangerous than previous generations. I think the fact that they have the impersonalization of social media to harass peers had made the level of nastiness take on a new low. The ages through schooling is so difficult and has been throughout time. When I was in college, I worked in the Human Resource department of the college. One of my responsibilities was to help students gather statistics on various things for papers they had to do. One guy asked for my help on a paper he was doing on teen suicides. I was shocked to learn that more than 50% of all suicides at that time were teens. I know I’m dating myself here, but that was over 30 years ago. Look at where we are today. Sadly, those statistics are much higher today.

Back to my point. I never had any reason to consider home schooling my daughter, who is now 30. However, she has three little girls, twin 8-year old’s and a 3-year old. The twins were in public school and were learning and enjoyed their days in school. We occasionally needed to coach them on a Christian response to the unlovable. Then came last year. Our schools were rezoned and they were sent to a different elementary school for second grade. We’re in an excellent school district, so we thought nothing of it. That is until they came home from their first day of school. In this particular year, we felt it was important that they be separated. Anyone who has twins knows they have a way of communicating without words. We found they were not learning to the best of their abilities and were enabling each other. Oh, before I forget, I’m the twins “other” daily parent. They all live with me. So, some of these decisions are mine along with my daughters. We asked they be put in different classes. One came home all excited. The other came home terrified to return the next day. She had been repeatedly bullied and her teacher was unapproachable. The next morning my daughter took her to school and spoke with the teacher. She said she was appalled and would get to the bottom of it and move her to a different desk. Great, right? No! My daughter ended up making DAILY trips to the school on her behalf. Her teacher was a tyrant. After the first week of this, we requested she be moved to one of the other three second grade teachers. That was an exercise in futility. My daughter then went to the principal about all that was happening. The problem? The teacher was losing students in droves. The principal decided no one else would be moved. My sweet, loving granddaughter began to refuse to go to school. After a month of this torture, they were pulled out to be home schooled.

By this time, home schooling is commonplace. The bullying has reached the point of pandemic including so many school shootings. My daughter and I had come to an agreement when the baby was born that she would be a stay-at-home mom and I would financially take care of everyone. Between Day Care costs and all the outside activity for little ones, it just works. So, when she pulled the girls from public school in favor of home schooling, she had the luxury of being able to do it during the day.

My sister-in-law home schooled her three and guided us in the best curriculum, in her opinion. And so it began. No one in our family likes Math but me. I love it! So, it was decided I’d teach them Math and my daughter would teach the rest of their courses. It ended up being a LONG year! They were uncooperative and fought their mother at every turn. It took the whole year to get them through second grade. Then came third grade this year. What a difference a year makes. Not only are they excelling, but it looks like they will actually be entering fifth grade by this time next year. Why? Because in home schooling, we do not have 20+ students to be certain are all on the same page. We can go at their pace and they are very smart little girls. When they realized we will go as fast or as slow as they need, they became little sponges soaking up as much knowledge as they can. When they understood that staying on task will mean they can complete two grades in the time it would take them to complete one in public school, they were driven to do their best.

Another advantage to them being home schooled is they’re going to a cabin today for the week. They understand they can play and swim as soon as their class work is done. The flexibility is a huge plus. We also noticed we had so many fewer trips to the doctor due to illness.

I understand every child is different, but I no longer turn my nose up at home schooling. In this day and age, it all too often is the wise choice. Yes, it’s challenging, but in the end, it is well worth it to know our girls are safe and learning more than we witnessed when they were in public school. Not everyone can or has the time to home school. I’m just so grateful we can. There are now so many children who are home schooled that you can find countless resources online and in local groups. If you are considering it, visit your local library. They can most likely connect you to local groups of home schooling parents. The support and suggestions are immeasurable. They also provide the social interaction that’s so important to growing kids. Our girls are involved in extracurricular activities as well. Happy children make very happy parents.

Written by: Laura Ranger

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