Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In defense of homeschooling

We had our first CSE meeting this week and while it was not as bad as I anticipated, it was also a little hard to sit through.
The committee has decided K3 needs resource room help; 5 days a week, 36 minutes a day. What kind of bullshit is that? 36 minutes? Where is the formula used to determine this arbitrary number? It certainly has nothing to do with my particular child. Then we have the issue of where to provide his services. Now, obviously this is one I expected. And up to this point each evaluator has offered us the choice of bringing K3 to the school, or them coming to our home. He is not adverse to going to the school and I figured it was best to have the evaluator on familiar ground with all of "their" tools and tricks. But this is another thing altogether.
I tried to appear a willing participant, but firmly explained that while I was certainly willing to try whatever they thought best, I was not going to fight with my child to get him to the school 5 days a week for 36 minutes.
The other thing that I found funny was a question asked by the CSE person. "So, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, how is the homeschooling going?" How is it going? What the heck does that mean? How do you answer that without negating the need for services and/or putting your homeschool on probation?

Through this whole process we have spent an extraordinary amount of time defending our decision to homeschool. This is not new territory, as we have faced all of these questions before from everyone from complete strangers to our closest family members. But for some reason, through this process, I feel criticized and accused. Again, I knew going in to this process that I would be entering a sort of trial by fire. I am admitting to all the world that my son is not on level academically. Because of the way my other 2 children have advanced though, I was feeling pretty confident in my ability to withstand the accusation that it is my inferior teaching that is causing my son to fall behind. However, now I am not so sure. Hopefully this is a temporary loss of confidence, as homeshcooling is no place for wimps!!

So, that got me to thinking about all the other idiots who think they have the right to question our choice. i am not talking about family members and close friends, the people who genuinely care about the welfare of our children and who are honestly curious about why we have made this decision. I am talking about the old lady in the grocery store who asks "No school today?" To which I once replied "No senior center today?" Not a high point in my life, admittedly.
I am talking about the school teacher down the block who grills our kids about the minutia of sentence structure or obscure facts on ancient Greece. The soccer Dad, screaming at the ref for what he perceives to be a bad call while asking how our kids could possibly get a decent shot at an athletic scholarship.

As parents, we are required to give our kids our all. We need to offer them the best of the best and encourage them to excel. No one knows my children better than me, no one loves them more than me and no has higher expectations than me. So why, oh why, would I possibly make a choice for them that I have not researched within an inch of it's life and believe to be the best?

And what business is it of yours anyway? :)


hmbb99 said...

Every child is different. Where one exceeds others may fail. Unfortunately schools don't realize this and force children to be labeled and pigeon-holed. Don't doubt your abilities or let them doubt your abilities. They may try to 'teach' your child things to get him to his level and find that they 'fail' as well. Chances are that what he succeeds at is not what they perceive to be important. He will learn at his own pace regardless of who does the teaching.Stay strong in your belief that only you know what is right for your child.

Jen said...

I am so sorry you're going through this! Keep confident though---you know you're doing the best for your kids, and you know school would be no better. We believe in you! xoxo

Mom of 3 said...

Thanks, Jen. I feel so blessed by the amzong homeschool network we have here. I appreciate your vote of confidence.