Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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Homeschool flip-flopping

True Story:

Friend decides to try homeschooling and puts very desperate sounding messages on FaceBook, so I contact them.  They are at their wits end.  They need help.  They've been homeschooling for just a few months and they are struggling.

I set a lunch date and spend hours upon hours putting together information that I think will be useful to them, and show up at the designated time and place.  We sit down and have the niceties and person informs me that kids are back in school. She gave up.  I'm fine with that, but I am not fine that she wasted my time.  I would have gladly still kept the lunch date, but I wouldn't have spent time preparing
for the lunch date.  I was disgusted.

For the next two years, this person plays musical chairs with their kids... homeschool, not homeschooling, online schooling, homeschool program classes... round and round.

A recent conversation revealed that the oldest (who managed to keep homeschooling in some form) went back to school this year and was put back a grade or two.  I am not surprised.  Their homeschooling was too haphazard and unfocussed. There was no plan. There was no purpose. There was no intention.

I think what upset me the most was the tone of the conversation. I felt that the person was making a judgement on homeschooling, and even my recommendation of it due to their failure.  They did not see that they did not go about it intentionally and so success was hindered.

I wish they had spoken to me before they ever decided to homeschool.  If they had, I would have told them the following:

  1. Don't pull your kids out of school because you are angry at the school or teacher or program. 
  2. Don't try to follow someone else's homeschool program. Instead, educate yourself about homeschooling and try to determine what is best for your kid before you start. 
  3. Don't start homeschooling a high school student unless you plan to go through to graduation.  If there is a chance of the kid going back to high school, then you should educate them realizing that they will have to take a series of tests to get placed into their proper place.  This means no shortcuts, and very little specialization. You have to use the same curriculum that the schools use. 
At the end of the day, my best advice is to not flip-flop.  Be intentional, and understand that it is a long term commitment.  You have to understand that just one year or six months of homeschooling is not going to miraculously make the kid a super genius who accelerates through 3 grade levels (I have seen that happen, but it is rare.  That first year is often spent back-tracking, filling educational gaps, and tending to the child's heart.  So if you homeschool for one year and put the child back, you probably won't see any progress. ... and that is where many of the bad reputations linked to homeschooling comes from. 



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