Thursday, February 23, 2012

Homeschooling... The next frontier

I've recently set the homeschooling wheels in motion.  Short and Shorter will likely be home with me in just a couple weeks.

It's funny, the stigma attached to homeschooling.  Everyone seems to think that all homeschooled kids are socially retarded, or weird, or ill equipped for life in the "real world" once they merge from their sheltered, dark cocoon of home.

I mean, we will of course make sure we keep all the shades drawn, and only leave the house once a month to grocery shop...  That's about how you picture it, isn't it?

I know there are people who can't cope in society themselves, and will sometimes homeschool their kids in an attempt to protect them from the world, or keep them from being corrupted.

I'm sure children that are products of zealots, or anti social people will be somewhat awkward when they merge into society as adults.  Why wouldn't they be?  When children start out in their adult lives, their value system, and ways of coping are generally similar to those of their parents.

I'm going to give you the short list of reasons for why I have decided to homeschool, and add a few comments for explanatory purposes.

  • I don't like the direction our government is going.  It makes me very uncomfortable that in California, they are now giving kids 11 years old, and up, a Gardasil vaccination in school, without parental consent.

    Little girls AND boys are told that they need this shot to keep them from getting cancer, and those kids are allowed to go ahead, and sign their own consent forms, and receive a vaccine that is going to POSSIBLY protect them against THREE kinds of HPV.

    There are over 100 different kinds of HPV.

    Yes, this is all in California, and I am in Ohio, but Texas is pushing hard for state laws also, now.  They're now requiring college students to have a meningitis vaccination.

    I don't like the way our rights are slowly disappearing.  They want to take away our right to choose for ourselves, and our children.  I want my children right where I can see them.  Period.

  • Our school districts are going under.  There used to be five elementary schools with K-6, one jr. high with 7 & 8, and one high with 9-12 in our district. 

    There is now two elementary schools, and they have K-5.  The jr high is now 6, 7, 8. 

    Recently there's been rumors that the jr high is going to close, and the kids in 6, 7, and 8 will be split between Conneaut, and Ashtabula City for middle school.

    I am SO, SO not down with that!  I don't want my kids in a city school.  And we MOVED OUT of Conneaut seven and a half years ago SPECIFICALLY because we didn't want our kids going to that school.

    There are districts near us that have already cut their afternoon classes completely, and any kids that get a free lunch are now given a PB&J, an apple, and a milk in a paper bag to take home at noon.  Seriously.

  • Around August of last year, I started to notice that there was suddenly a surprising number of news reports about groups of people and kids getting sick and being evacuated from schools.  Sometimes they were even hospitalized.

    The reason given almost every single time?  Mystery odor.  Burning eyes, burning throats, dizziness, nausea, vomiting.  The works.

    As soon as I noticed the trend, someone else did too, and she started following the trend on her youtube channel, and I started following her.

    This is the map of mystery illnesses.  All the pink ones are from 2011 to current.  I invite you to zoom in and see how many of them are all around where we live.

    And don't even get me STARTED on the mystery illness up in NY that has like 18 teenaged girls, and 1 boy displaying tourettes like symptoms.  All in the same school together.

    This one was the one that made me officially start the homeschool paperwork. The parents went to the school to get their kids, and THEY WEREN'T ALLOWED IN! There was kids getting sick, and something hazardous inside this school, and they barricaded the kids INSIDE, and greeted the parents with POLICE!


    And this one is VERY near where we live.

  • Last year, Short was being approached, threatened, and physically pushed around by groups with as many as 8-10 kids.  One of the bullies started a rumor, and all the "popular" kids banded together to defend one of their own.

    He was almost pushed down a flight of stairs.  He was cornered on the playground.  He had his food taken and/or messed with.

    The teachers told me that my son is a bit of a tattle tale.  Of course they aren't any better.  Most of the bullying done is by the teachers.

  • I don't like the food at school.  At home, our diet is 98% hormone, vaccine, steroid, antibiotic, preservative, artificial color free.  I am very much against franken-foods with a list of preservatives, and colors.  These very franken-foods are generally the ones served in every school.

    At school, pizza, and french fries are classified as vegetables.

    Yes, I could pack their lunch, but the amount of food I'm able to send is insufficient, and the variety is very small due to what's perishable, and the fact that they can't warm anything up.

  • And the final reason I'm going to list today is from my own experience.

    I had trouble learning in the average school room.  I am a nerd at heart.  I love to read and learn.  And I learn at lightning speed.  I got D's and finally quit school when I'd finished tenth grade and FAILED.  There was no way I was putting myself through any more of that.

    The only time I did good in school was when I was fifteen, and pregnant with Tall.

    We were living in Erie, and I took a public bus to the other side of town every day to a special home for pregnant teens.  I didn't live there like the other girls, but they had "school" in a separate building every day, and due to my condition, I qualified.

    We sat in a room, quietly, and read what we were supposed to read, and did work sheets.  There was no lecturing.  There was a teacher if you had trouble, but for the most part, it was just a quiet space where everyone did their own thing, and worked at their own pace.

    I got A's on everything.

    Short and Shorter are losing their grades slowly.  They're bored.  They're doing the same boring things, over and over, waiting for everyone in the class to be caught up.

    Shorter is in 4th grade.  There are THREE different spelling lists to accommodate all the different levels of students in the class.  He's also in the gifted program for math. 

    So spelling and math are the only parts of his day that are tailored to his level and abilities.  Do I need to tell you that these are now the only two subjects that bring home A's?

    And it's not even that I care about grades, really.  So long as they're C's and above, I'm good with it.  But these two come home feeling bad about themselves.  I don't like that the system is failing them, and they're the ones who have to take the self esteem hit.

So, those are my main reasons for making this choice.  And just to show you that we won't be all anti-social, I've constructed a schedule below to give you an idea of what an average day/week in our house will look like.

7:45  Out of bed

8:00  Family breakfast

8:30  Dress, beds made, chores

9:00  School work time on computer

12:00  Lunch

1:00    M- volunteer locally
              T - 2 hour gym at YMCA with HS group
             W - Guitar lessons/Short,  Maybe piano/Shorter
             Th - Library
                   (plus the library does a LOT of free things like the German I just did)
             F - Art class with HS group

2:00  School day technically over.  Kids can go play their 90 minutes of video games if they want to.

3:30  Snacks, maybe a nature walk, maybe a documentary on something they're studying, maybe we'll talk home economics and do some grocery shopping.  They're also learning to cook.

Some things will change times, but the things listed are the things we will be participating in, at the very least.  So, I hope anyone who couldn't understand my reasoning before, can now.  And if you can't... well... tough. lol

I have been thinking about this for almost a year now, and am in no way making a hasty or irrational decision.  I really think this change is going to make a world of difference in the education of my boys.

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