So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Big Change

In October of this year, we made a big change in our household.

I am a big fan of our online public school program.  I have not ever seen school at home done nor had I any clue how to do it. When I researched it for my eldest, I could never find any 'how-to' on it. I think that was primarily because no one wanted to be misunderstood as saying you HAD to home school this ONE certain WAY.

So no one ever gave any specifics. And if you looked for that or wanted someone to tell you how they did it, the only answer you got was that "you can do it however works best for you."

That didn't work for me.

I love to bake. When I do that, I always start with a recipe. I may decide to throw things in or change things up with wild abandon but I need something to start with -- something to inspire me. And after that initial run, I may not need or want a recipe at all. But I prefer to have something to start with.

Now I am a pretty confident baker. I, however, am not at all confident about how to be in charge of my child's education -- especially when I have never seen it done.

Having the online public school was a great blessing for that reason. Public school standards are the same no matter where the schooling is taking place. And they had no issues telling me exactly what they wanted me to cover.

Plus most of the teacher books would have very detailed instructions -- as in "Say:" this thing or that thing then show the child how to do this other thing. Etc. etc.

In addition, they had finally figured out how to show attendance without punishing those who worked ahead or just 'got it' in certain subjects. I loved it.

They provided all the books and manipulatives and even art supplies. They took care of things like standardized testing and report cards and records. Both my older two even got graduation ceremonies and public school diplomas. It was great and I saw no reason to change that.

But the online school was very different this year.

Someone in charge had decided that we weren't accountable enough or something. I'm not really sure. Unfortunately, the way they decided to change that is pile on more work.

On top of that, there is a BIG test at the end of third grade so all the third grade teachers were trying to get everyone ready for that. Unfortunately the way they did that was to pile on more work.

Do you see a theme?

We were working between 6 to 8 hours a day with about a 20 minute lunch and no physical activity -- just sitting in front of the computer, book in hand discussing the lesson. Many times we began in the morning and only stopped so that I could go start dinner. And that's when she would try to do her P.E.

What's more, she had begun to hate reading. She struggles with it anyway (in part due to having learned a different language for the first 3 years of her life, I think) but they expected so much from her on a daily basis that she just got overwhelmed by it. She got to the point that she literally began to tear up every time I asked her to read anything -- even a sentence or two.

Then, they sped up the pace. If we weren't working that full day, we fell behind. She began to have regular meltdowns and I had them right along with her. I never had time for anything. Just to go to the grocery store meant I had to leave a schedule of independent work for her siblings to keep her on while I was gone.

It was crazy. And for the first time in the 5 1/2 years that I have been doing this program with my children, we began to fall behind. This was the first year of those 5 1/2 years that I felt overwhelmed despite being the only year I had just one student. I had always had two before.

So, at the end of the first quarter, we left the online public school.

And, on the first day of the second quarter, we nervously began a home school curriculum.

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