Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Why do we homeschool?

There is no definitive answer as to why we decided to home school. To tell you the truth, we had not planned on doing so. I was attending night classes at the local community college. Once both girls were in school full-time, I was going to work full-time outside of the home again. But, life doesn't always bring you where you plan on going.

Georgia is an avid reader and learner and has the memory of an elephant. She had started reading at the age of three and never stopped. In the fall of 2005, she started kindergarten, already outpacing her peers. Her teacher assured me that she would be challenged, that she would receive additional assignments that would be pulled from first through third grade workbooks, and that she was to be the teacher's helper in activities and assignments at which she already excelled. Georgia did receive extra assignments, but they were sent home as homework and were to be returned the next day. These assignments were redundant and dry. Georgia's education at school had become stagnant. She wasn't being challenged. She was bored. But it wasn't until the "Future First Graders" meeting that we realized how grim the future of her public school education was.

At the meeting, it was announced that the first quarter of first grade would be spent in getting the class all at the same reading level - a beginning first grade level. Georgia, at this point, had already tested at a beginning third graders level. We were discouraged and had had enough. We knew that if we continued in this manner that Georgia would lose her love of learning. She would have to be patient until the rest of the class caught up to her before she would advance any further, which would probably be in the third grade.

We knew public school was not right for Georgia. We would have liked to have sent her to the Montessori school, but would not be able to fork over the $600 a month tuition it would have cost. We decided to home school and that was that. We allowed Georgia to finish out the rest of her kindergarten year, but the next school year we would home school.

I know it may sound as though we are pushy parents: We are not. We do highly value education. We are a family that loves learning together. And we are our children's advocates in this world. Georgia has an innate love of learning. She loves to be challenged, to learn new things. It was a perfect match. Home schooling was our answer.

I know that public school teachers have a room full of kids at all different levels. I know they try hard and do their best, working many hours overtime without extra pay, and spending their own money to purchase items for the classroom. I do appreciate and respect school teachers. They have a tremendous job-teaching our youth. What I don't like is the system. I understand that more effort needs to be placed on helping kids that are behind to catch up. But we need to do what we think is best for our children. At this point, homeschooling is what's best. We have been doing it since they were born. Teaching them to walk, to communicate, teaching them about their world. Parents are the primary teachers for their children. And this is what we will continue doing.