Reasons I decided to homeschool Leah:
- Crappy teachers who ignored her 504 plan and shamed her for her ADHD (inattention)
- Crappy Common Core Standards that were confusing and led to all her grades being lowered while at the same time sucking all of the interest and excitement out of all her favorite subjects.
- A feeling that she was growing more and more distant from us, and not in a healthy teenager way, but in an unhealthy attachment disorder way.
- Hours of battles every single day after school trying to help her do homework when I had no idea how the topic was being taught at school because textbooks are rarely used and she often forgot to write assignments down.
Reasons I decided to homeschool Luke:
- Crappy common core standards that resulted in more than half the year being spent on testing or preparing for testing. (hours of instructional time spent on getting all the students’ laptops working so they could take tests on them!)
- The fact that our middle and high schools issue laptops to every student and require them to carry them to/from school every day and charge them every night. With Leah this resulted in middle of the night youtube watching and stealing our credit card so she could purchase shows off of amazon. Given that Luke already had a track record of stealing every screen in the house and stealing credit cards, this seemed like a very bad idea.
- Luke’s screen-stealing habit expanded beyond our home at the end of last year when he stole a classmates smartphone so he could download/play a “freemium” game. To say that stealing screens and using them to play games is an addiction for him is to put it lightly. I very much feared he would steal more phones this year.
- In dealing with all the stealing, I read this book, which led me to feel that I had not done enough to nurture our relationship and that more time together would be a good thing. (Note: I highly recommend the book. But I’m not sure I’m doing a fabulous job following all the advice).
Last year I just homeschooled Leah. We are part of a Classical Conversations community. I love the idea of CC. I think it so far surpasses what kids learn in public schools and I wish with all my heart that I’d started both my younger two in the program when they were four years old. But I didn’t. And starting Leah in it after spending nearly all of elementary and middle school in public schools meant that the “Challenge” program more than lived up to its name. Even so, I felt at the end of the year that she’d learned a lot and we’d done pretty well together.
So I threw Luke into the mix.
It is not going well.
He is in the “Foundations/Essentials” level of CC, which means a LOT of memory work. He does great with the memory work that is put to music. But the charts full of irregular verbs are going to be the death of him AND me. Also, he wants to argue about everything. If I said “water is wet” he’d say “What do you mean it’s wet? I saw water yesterday that was dry.” All. Day. Long. I am not kidding when I say that I have completely lost it by 10am every single day. And it never gets better from there.
Add to that, the Challenge program is even more challenging for Leah this year. Short papers to write in science, every single week. Logic terms that don’t make intuitive sense and for which she has no motivation to learn. She argues about basic standards and expectations on every single assignment. She sighs and says “I know I won’t do it right anyway.” She tells me she hates school and wishes she were dead. (No 14 year old alive can out-drama my girl).
She is off ADHD meds because they had terrible and terrifying side effects. We’re trying neurofeedback now, once a week, every week, since early summer and going into the foreseeable future. I am convinced that her early childhood trauma and malnutrition has had such profound effects on her brain that it’s impossible to say what is “ADHD” and what is something more, but it all leads to a heck of a lot of anger and frustration, for both of us.
I want to quit. Like right now, today. I am no longer convinced that Home is the best place for either of them to learn. I am angry, all the time. I cry almost every day. My kids don’t like me. I often don’t like them.
There’s a private Christian school whose website I visit almost daily now. I tell myself it is an option for next year. If the school is not caving to the Common Core pressures and if they don’t issue the kids laptops, it would be a huge improvement over the public schools. And frankly, I think my children need to be around other children, hopefully some of whom would even be a good influence. Luke is happy to be signed up for sports and clubs and whatnot. Leah is much more obstinate, refusing to join any sports teams and only wanting to do solitary activities. (This despite the fact that she clearly enjoys being around other kids her age, as evidenced by how much fun she has at CC every week.)
I’m not sure I can wait until next year. I feel like I am losing my mind. Seriously. Like the other night I dreamed I was in an asylum and had my arms bound and all I could think was how RESTFUL it felt.
I went into this believing it was the best thing for my children. Believing I was being obedient to God by doing this. Now? I don’t know. If I am supposed to persevere and do this, I want to try. But what if it’s bad for my kids? What if it permanently wrecks our relationship? What then?
I just don’t know.