Education

Do I want to Homeschool in Illinois? Where do I Start?

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books-with-appleAfter various incidents in the school I am thinking that my lovely 2nd grader is not getting the attention, help, or support she needs in school.

She is not special needs (except being in the gifted math program at school – if that even qualifies) and she does not have a disability. She does not stick out like a sore thumb and she is not loud or rambunctious.

Doesn’t it sound like she would be a perfect candidate for a public school? I thought so, too.

But she’s really not. She is getting in trouble for things she learns on the bus, for example. “That’s why I’m not friends with mean black girls like you.” is what I heard from the vice-principal of her school today. Sure, she was being teased by multiple children but her remark brought it all down on her head. I’m fine with that. In the real world, if you go too far it doesn’t matter why – you went too damn far. Also, like I told the (very kind, knowledgeable, and intelligent) vice principal, there is NOTHING that has EVER happened in my home that would cause that statement to come out of my daughter’s mouth. Ever. Not once. It’s not part of who any of us are here.

Trust me, I’ve tried to figure this out. There was an incident earlier this year when I remarked that a black man on the television was handsome and she replied, “I would never date a black boy.”

My grandmother hated redheads. I do not know why. No one in the family shared her aversion but we all tried not to be around her when Conan came on because she would yell at the television. (This was before she had dementia, mind you. It was rough.)

My daughter is an emotional creature. She would cry for days if someone was moving or was sad when she was in Kindergarden. In first grade she got a little better, but the crying still happened. Now, in second grade, I see the tears she’s been holding all day come out when she gets off the bus in the afternoon.

They are tears of anger. Anger at not being allowed to fight back. Anger at being taunted for being called “baby” and “slow” that she is not allowed to make stop because the teacher says she does not like tattle-tales. Anger she cannot resolve because she is not allowed to raise her hand when they are in line. Anger at being small and ineffectual and unable to fight back in a meaningful, appropriate way.

It’s breaking my heart.

school-bus-rearMy first choice would be to get her off the bus where most of this takes place, but we have one car until we can afford another car. That will be a few months in the future at the very best. I may be able to drive my husband to work and then drive the children to work, but I won’t know if that is an option for a few more weeks.

Even if I can drive her to school, what about her anger? What about her inability to get help from a grownup?

I understand as an adult that her problems are small. Miniscule, really. But I also remember how big things felt when I was her age and feel that by leaving her there I am forcing her to be pressed down into a mold she just doesn’t fit into properly. She does not feel good about going to school but is excited about homework while at home. She is attentive and loves to learn.

I fear that leaving her in this situation is keeping her from learning because emotionally she is focused on other things.

She loves her gifted math class, called challenge math, and is excelling at math a grade level above her own while still completing her second grade math during normal math times and through her normal math homework.

I really think I could swing this homeschooling thing.

It would take sacrifice on my part, but isn’t that what parenting is about? Doing what’s best for your child even if it inconveniences you? Isn’t it my duty as a parent to make sure she is set up for academic success? What good is socializing in a public school atmosphere when she is learning black from white and that she is a slow baby and a crybaby? These are not things she should be learning if I want her to grow into a strong woman. These are things that make her believe she is less than and different in a bad way.

Maybe I could do better.

I think it’s time to seriously consider homeschooling as a valid option for my daughter’s education. My middle daughter seems to be thriving in the school environment, so I’d only be doing this with the oldest unless I needed to change that up for some reason.

Do you know anyone who has one homeschooled child and one that attends a local public school? How’s that working out for you/them?

What do you think?