Homeschooling is the current buzz word. But it’s a scary word……It conjures up Laura Ingalls dress wearing, husband sharing, religious freak images….Doesn’t it? It’s for people on the fringe of society, those who think mainstream isn’t for them. And for the most part they are teased, the brunt of jokes and ostracised by society…….I’m guilty of it. No doubt.

But then ……………..

The school starts to suck just that little bit more each year. The funding is decreased, just that little bit more. The curriculum is steered towards the tests, just that little bit more, societal pressures and bullying creep in, just a little bit more and now, since Newtown, safety is a huge debate. Politics becomes the battle and the kids are left to suffer.

Do we send our children to school with armed guards? Will a crazed, semi automatic gun wielding fiend enter our school this time…… or next time? Will the children go through metal detectors and learn behind razor wire?

Will they be traumatised by the constant lockdown drills and talk of possible threat.

That was my cut off…. my “If that happens to our children, we leave” point…. My image of American life before living it….My fear for my children before joining the school system.

So far, we’ve been fine, although there’s been bumps along the way, mostly for Grand Master D who is the front runner. We’re making the mistakes together, he and I. We don’t know this system. I didn’t experience this system, state tests, summer school, middle school, regents, high school, LSAT’s, SAT’s, Varsity, tracking…….. You might as well be speaking Greek.

Things are getting harder, the pressure is being increased. But for what? The things we did in 9th grade are now being taught in 6th but kids are still not college ready. It’s ever changing, evolving because it was broken, so very broken but it’s changing faster than the system can change. This year, in NewYork, they’re introducing common core standards, those skills which students must master as the core of their learning. The tests will reflect this but the kids haven’t learned it. And it’s not being implemented from the ground up over time… it’s a ‘throw them in the deep end and let ’em swim like hell’ type implementation.

It’s setting kids up to fail. And teachers too! You can’t all of a sudden teach grammar to 7th graders if grammar has never been taught and expect them to understand it all. Grammar needs to go hand in hand with writing and word study from kindergarten.

It’s not getting easier, it’s not getting better and it frightens me. This year is the critical year for my son to get the best grades to get the best school for him….. in 2 years! This year the curriculum is changing on the fly but he has to be across it all to impact his future. But the things they miss along the way, the real life skills required to function as an adult get missed.

Learn to balance a check book, calculate interest and money…… when will he ever need integers? Will they help him fill out his taxes? or pay his mortgage and car loan?

Every time something new gets thrown at us, I step a little closer to thinking about home schooling, I’ve met some pretty cool people who home school, they don’t even have 2 heads or anything!

It all scares me, the school situation, the pressure, but also that if they were at home ALL day, every day and I was in charge of their education, what would that look like? How would they cope? How would I cope? Would I be better or worse than what they have now? Where would I start?

There are so many questions and so many hurdles but I have to admit it has been in my thinking more than I would like. I want what’s best for my kids, they are very intelligent and do really well but they learn a little differently, they’re creatives and Grand Master D cannot understand why he’s learning some things, doesn’t see the point, so he chooses not to.

It’s so very frustrating. If I had a squillion dollars I’d hire the best damn tutor in the land and they’d be schooling from home ….but at this point I’m still waiting for that squillion, so for now school is the best place, even when it’s not and I get to freak out that little bit more each week.

Do you home school? Are you glad you do? Are you happy with the result? Is it worth it?
If you had your time again would make the same decisions? I am really interested in your stories…..

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