Friday, November 19, 2010


I am not a homeschooler.  I don't think I could ever be a homeschooling parent.  My patience would be gone quickly.  Also, as I told my youngest  son a couple years ago when he asked me if I would home school him, "Son, that would actually be homeless schooling since I would have to quit my job."

I know several parents that home school and they do it so that they can incorporate Christian teaching into all subject matters or they want to limit their children's exposure to negative influences.  Anohter family has their kids on an accelerated program and they all start college at 13 or 14.

I fit into none of those categories.

But I am beginning to understand why there are also some parents who choose to home school their children who learn differently or who have special needs. 

Report cards came out today for high school and middle school students.  My oldest daughter who is a sophomore had a great report card...all A's and B's with one D in a very hard subject.  She has to work her butt off in school and never has a missing assignment.  but she has ADHD, language processing issues and reads below grade level.  She has no IEP or 504, so she has to work very hard.  She tests very poorly which caused her to fail everything in 4th grade in her test based school.  She also is in marching band and does a sport each season.  GPA was 3.3 with a D!  Public school is great for her at this point.

Then there are Ms. Tween (7th grade) and Sean (6th grade).  They attend my middle school.  Their ability and achievement is above grade level and he is WAY above grade level.  Yet their ADHD and executive functioning deficits make them unable to achieve at high levels.  Ms. Tween's GPA was 1.3...a D average.  She never has her stuff, turns in her classwork and homework sporadically.  She is very nonchalant about it.  Maybe because of her very difficult life to this point, something as abstract as poor report grades cannot be viewed as something to get upset about.  She may still be in "survival" mode.

Sean...a 2.1 GPA.  He is in all advanced classes.  In his 3 strongest subjects, he has a D.  But when you break the grade down, his average for tests and quizzes is an A.  He knows the material.  But he doesn't turn in the easy stuff.

After school, I went to talk to a guidance counselor and I lost it.  I said, "I feel like my kids are going to be bus drivers or Wal-Mart cashiers."  There is nothing wrong with that, but my kids are SMART.  And they have ambition.  They want to attend college and have careers that require graduate school.   They can research and plan that out.  But in "real life," they live in the moment.  And I do mean "moment"-2 minutes from now is not on their radar yet.

My philosophy is that kids have to take responsibility for their own education in middle school.  With Ms. Tween, I feel like I can't care more than she does.  And I do.  But Sean really does get upset that he is not working up to his potential.  It's embarrassing to be an underachieving kid in advanced classes.  And I think he can connect the dots to his future better.

This is all complicated by the fact that I teach at their school.  I can never get away from the pressure of having two severely underachieving kids.  I might as well be homeschooling them!  As home schooled kids, I do believe they would do well.  Except that they (and me!) are so strong willed that I don't think any of us would live through it.  Weekends are often a disaster because we have no breaks from each other.

I can see how their differences make it difficult for them to meet the rigid expectations of my public school.  Yet they certainly help the school out come state test time when they score advanced on the tests.  But is that what it's all about?  No.  It's about real kids who just don't make the cut and will eventually give up their dreams.  That's my fear.

1 comment:

Mike and Katie said...


Have you read this blog?

She writes a lot about the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol. Could that be an issue for some of your kids? Some of the things you have written about sound familiar.