I had to share something that happened to me the other day. I was at work (to help out until they can find someone), and I just had to brag on Trey a little about how well he's been doing. Then someone said, "Wow...that's got to be real hard with his MOM as his teacher. And I bet you're not the slightest bit biased, are you?" I laughed it off, because working in a police department has taught me that most of what people say shouldn't be taken personally; because most of the time, those types of comments are made without much thought. After a day or two, though, it hit me that this may very well be a common misconception some folks have about homeschoolers. So I wanted to take a minute to assure those folks that homeschooling is no "easier" than public school. The academic content may actually be even more difficult, as well as the expectations of "the teacher" being higher if only because she knows your true potential.
Trey was really struggling in public school, and not because of the academic content. He was struggling because the school was unwilling to provide any modifications for him due to his ADD. For instance, they would put all of the math word problems at the top of the page instead of at the bottom. He would get stuck on the first one and was never able to move past it. Instead of nudging him to keep moving, the teacher would let him run out of time, and he would end up failing the test. This was very hard for him (and us) to swallow, because we know how smart Trey is.
Because he is now at home, I can nudge him to keep moving along. If he doesn't know the answer the question, I can nudge him to skip it and come back to it later. I do not give him the answers, and if you ask him, he'll surely tell you what a challenge it is, because when I ask a question, he can't hide in the back of the class hoping that someone else is going to raise their hand.
I test him weekly on the lessons that we have covered in his boxed set of curriculum. There are "Self Tests" at the end of each section, and there are 3-4 sections in a unit. The self tests are NOT open book, and he must score above an 80% to be allowed to move forward. On the rare occasion that he scores below an 80%, I make him review the entire section, and then I give him a separate quiz to insure he has mastered the material before moving on. He has 4 core subjects (Language Arts, History/Geography, Mathematics, and Science), and we also do Spelling and Vocabulary, and extra Enrichment activities that usually consist of experiments, Library visits, mini-units, etc. He doesn't do near as much reading as I would like him to, so I am considering starting a Boys Only Book Club through TEACH so that the boys can have something to challenge them to WANT to read.
Last week, he completed his first round of Unit Tests. He received high A's on everything. I give 2 bonus spelling words a week (just like public school), so his AVERAGE in Spelling is 110%. I couldn't be prouder of my little man! The only drawback seems to be the socialization factor so far. But there are a lot of sweet little boys in our homeschool group (TEACH) that he will get to play with a few times a month, so that will help. And Trey has never been one to have a lot of friends. Due to the insensitivity of most of the teachers he's come across, he has been made out to be the "problem child" and so most of the kids in the public school classrooms didn't want to have a lot to do with him. I realize that he's a challenge, but he is such a joy! He really loves people. He prays for people, even if he has no idea who they are.
I know I've told a lot of folks this story already, but when Trey was in the 2nd grade (last year), a dear friend of our family (Lindsay's babysitter, Karen) had a medical scare. I told the kids that we needed to remember to pray for Ms. Karen. Trey immediately asked us all to meet him in the living room. He instructed us to join hands and go around in a circle one by one and pray for Ms. Karen individually and then altogether. The next day, he went to school and had the entire 2nd grade praying for Ms. Karen at recess.
That is why I am so thankful for him (and all special needs children). Because they end up teaching us far more than we could ever imagine!