Why We Choose to Homeschool


As I was grocery shopping today, one of the middle aisles was completely blocked off. Upon looking down the aisle, I noticed several employees were stocking the shelves with school supplies.

Yes, today is July 6 and schools begin here some time around the second week of August. I had one of those moments (which I have had several of in the past few months) where I was just so RELIEVED that we are now a homeschooling family.

No going online to look for two long lists of supplies my children will need. No searching several stores for just the right type of plastic pocket folder in four different colors. And once all of the supplies are purchased, no writing each child's name on every pencil, box of crayons, glue stick, folder, composition notebook, etc.... I'm tired just blogging about it!

Last year I took special care to have all of my daughter's supplies to her classroom before school started. I even purchased a few more pencils, glue sticks, rolls of paper towels, and wipes than she could possibly need and definitely more than were required by the teachers. Yet, after the first nine weeks she came home telling me she needed pencils, another pair of scissors, and more dry erase markers (and those are EXPENSIVE).

Where had all of these things gone, I asked? My daughter told me all of the supplies in her bag had been put into a big communal supply closet and that some of the kids didn't have supplies. " What was the point of labeling everything?" I asked quite angrily. My daughter said she didn't know and could I just go buy her some more pencils. UGH.

After the first formal parent teacher conference the teacher told me what a delight my daughter was and how she was such a hard worker. I mentioned something about the testing for the talented and gifted program she had undergone the year before and the teacher said "Oh, I don't think she is gifted but she is such a joy to have in class and always works to please." Talk about a sucker punch. I could handle the not gifted part, but what I could not handle was a teacher who was so quick to point that out after just a few short weeks of school. Looked like the school year was off to a great start. (groan)

  Then came the few times I helped in her class with math testing - a session one time for nearly an hour (keep in mind these children were EIGHT) where children would bubble in answers to a test and then send the answer sheet through the reader at that computer, at which point a NEW test would be generated that was supposedly more focused on their weaknesses. I was basically there to keep a group of challenging children under control and focused. What a colossal waste of time! No wonder my daughter proclaimed she hated math.

A few short weeks after that we withdrew her from school and never looked back.

Don't get me wrong, these singular instances weren't why we decided to homeschool, but it was further confirmation to me why we NEEDED to homeschool. I was tired of sacrificing my child for some lofty ideal of public education for all that fits the needs of every child.

I had even taught in public schools for nearly ten years and had my Masters degree in Education, but when it came to the system serving the needs of my child it failed miserably. Why should my child have to pay the price for other parents who did not send their children to school prepared? Why should my child spend her educational career in the "middle of the pack" - historically the most underserved population in our public schools?
My husband and I were upset and thought about addressing some of these issues at the local school level, but in reality, what would really change? I had been in that administrator's position and that teacher's position before, and I know educators are bound by a system that is failing and broken.
The easiest way for us to fix the problem was to leave the system behind and depend on the only people who we can in the end anyways..... ourselves!

I've never quite verbalized all of these thoughts before, and I don't think I was able to until today, after my trip to the grocery store. So, thanks Kroger - for putting your school supplies out today!
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