Color me dense, but it just occurred to me how much homeschooling is all about control.
I admit to being a little more slow than most people. . .
For example, when we started homeschooling (the first time), it was because Drew was getting seriously bored in school. We had moved, from an excellent school system in GA to a ___ poor one in CA. In GA, he had, in 1st grade been doing cursive and multiplication, amongst many other things. In CA, they wouldn’t even begin those until 3rd grade. He was in 2nd. They were so adamant about not doing it until 3rd grade that his teacher told him that he was NOT allowed to write in cursive.
*sigh* Once upon a time, he had the most beautiful handwriting.
Ah, but all that stuff was “minor”, just stepping stones. He was regressing in his skills, he was bored out of his mind. . .
The final straw was when he told me that when he finished an assignment he had to sit quietly at his desk till the rest of the class was done. I didn’t see how this could be a big deal as he was an avid reader, until he informed me that they had to sit still and DO NOTHING till the rest of the class was done.
That led to a talk with the teacher, who told me that Drew was almost always the 1st one done, and frequently had to wait 20 minutes, or more, for the others to finish!
When I suggested allowing him to read something in the interim she would have nothin’ doing; saying it would distract the other students.
And there began our homeschool adventure. . .
Then, we moved to England, and back into school he and Tyler went (as homeschooling at that point had only been to get him out of “bad situation”).
They came back home after a year because Drew was coming home with 4+ hours of homework, in 4th grade, and all-too frequently saying the teacher hadn’t had time to “teach” them, generally in math, and so would I help him out? Upon discussing this with the teacher she admitted that she “frequently didn’t have time to cover some subjects, particularly math, with the students and felt that at the 4th grade level the parents should be able to cover that”.
Additionally, Tyler was ending 2nd grade and simply could not read. Even with the benefit of the reading specialist that he’d been having to see for over a year. Daily, I had to hear him tell me how “stupid” he was. . . He was not just struggling in reading, either, (which is understandable given how science and social studies are almost completely based on reading at that age (in public schools)). Math was kicking him in the tail. And at each and every conference I had with the teachers and administration they kept telling me that it’d be “okay”. They’d just move him onto the next grade and give him more specialists and he would “gradually catch on”.
ummm. . .yeah. THAT went over as well as a flying brick.
So, the kids came back home. . .because, for the second time, I felt I had lost control of helping educate my children.
Many people that I’ve run into, who also homeschool, brought / kept their children home for other reasons. While many would guess “religion” would be the major reason, I actually haven’t, personally, run into anyone who gives that as their main reason. (Hearing more of it as a “side benefit”.) “Special needs” is a big one, rather gifted or disabled. Bullying, is another reason I’ve heard a lot of. (NOTE: The link is related to bullying in public schools — not to homeschool reasons. It’s just that I know a couple of people who started homeschooling due to bullying. And, after reading that article, I know they are glad they did!)
Then the parents, and the kids, determine their methodology, and their curricula and their support groups and/or co-ops. And it’s all forms of control.
Which brings to mind the terribly scary label of “control freak”. Or worse, “overprotective”. (Which I don’t think I am, just so we’re clear.)
What I find interesting about this is how often I feel completely out of control.