October 07, 2005

It's Official, I'm a..

Homeschooling mom. Yep, you read that right. Melissa, the woman who loves to send her kids out of the house is now a homeschooling mom of a 9th grader.

Oh, dear God, what am I getting myself in to? I just sent off the form to the Wisconsin Department of Education. We're on our way through a journey that I never really thought I'd take. I've always liked the idea of homeschooling. I just was never up to the reality of it. I've contemplated it a few times, especially when my son was in 5th grade and begged me to.

J: Please mom, please! I have way too much homework, I can't do this.

Certainly a child's disdain for homework isn't a good reason to homeschool, right? We kept him in the private school that he attended from 4th grade through one month of 8th. Last year he tried public school for the first time since 3rd grade. It was a nightmare. The math that our school distract uses is obviously meant for extraterrestrials. J's vocabulary and reading abilities have been college level since 7th grade. However, he's always struggled with math, organization and study skills. He has ADHD and depression and he excels in some areas to the point of being advanced, and yet he remains almost remedial in math. I won't go into why he isn't in the private school anymore at this point, I just know that a traditional school isn't working for him.

He's bored, uninspired and frustrated.

My number one complaint is that he's not learning how to learn. He's not being taught how to take ownership over his own learning. This concept of spiral learning is bunk. Read, memorize, test, forget. That's about what it boils down to. Last night he took two candles from Mooch's birthday cake to experiment.

J: Mom, I've always wanted to know, why is it, that when I join two candles together the flame gets larger and larger. What is the scientific reasoning for that?

Me: Let's look it up tomorrow and then you can read about it as much as you want.

That's what I want to see. I want to see kids be able to really master a concept. To seek out the answers to their questions. Some of history's most renown scientists and inventors were homeschoolers and self taught learners. I don't know if this is something we'll do until graduation or not. I just know for now, he needs to get back to the basics in the areas that he's weak in, gain confidence, and discover that he's capable of learning how to learn. He can teach himself just as easily as any teacher at school.

So far, there have been frustrations. With his ADHD, he's sometimes very unmotivated and prone to distraction easily. He's also figuring out that I mean business. When I say something needs to be done, it had better get done. I don't care if he chooses to do math or language arts first, just so long as it gets done. Complaining, grumbling, and tantrums will not be allowed in my classroom!

I don't plan on turning my personal space into a homeschooling blog, but seeing as though I now am homeschooling one of my four kids, I guess I might as well out myself.

Here's J. He has this idea that many homeschoolers are dorks with their pants up to their nipples. He'd like to change that misconception and thinks of himself as the boy that's going to do it. So, this is the face of a high school aged homeschooler.

Mr Cool

Wish me luck. God only knows I need some help. Miracles, patience and fairy dust accepted.