Home Schooling: Academics

So yesterday, I told you a lot of personal reasons for why we chose to home school. Today, I want to talk about what was going on academically for both kids.

One thing I will say is both kids were promoted into the next grade by the public school system but with the curriculum we are using we held both of them back a grade and are repeating it. We found the public school system to be almost 1.5 years behind our home school curriculum. I just don’t understand this and it has been quite the struggle.

Gamerboy: Currently redoing SK.

By the time we started home schooling, Gamerboy had attended one year of nursery school, JK and SK and had been promoted to Grade 1.

BUT…

Gamerboy could NOT read at all, barely print Gamerboy’s name, recognized very few letters and could barely count to 10. This was NOT ok by us. I know some would say, why didn’t you do stuff at home? We did!! The problem came from the lack of correspondence with the teachers. When Gamerboy graduated from nursery school, we were told Gamerboy met the requirements for SK…We knew something was amiss and so we sent Gamerboy to JK to see what more was needed.

During the SK year, every week, Baker Mom would ask the teacher what Gamerboy was struggling with and ask for additional stuff to use at home. Some weeks we got some , but most it was “everything was fine.”  Yet, the report cards said otherwise.

Then in December, Gamerboy’s teacher approached us with the notion of getting a diagnosis of ADHD. And, considering I have ADD, we not opposed to it as we questioned it too. So we started the process, the hurdle we faced was the teacher simply refused to fill out the paperwork necessary. And she would complain endlessly about Gamerboy. It wasn’t til about May or June she finally got off her duff and did it. Only because the specialist and Baker Mom nagged her.

There is something fundamentally wrong with this picture isn’t there? I think so. Needless to say Gamerboy does have ADHD and is on medicine which has helped tremendously. Within 3 weeks of home schooling Gamerboy had all the basics down. Today, Gamerboy’s math skills are amazing, and Gamerboy can print clearly and is now able to read simple readers with little assistance. Something, that in 3 years, the public school system failed to do and we accomplished in 6 months.

We have had to battle with Gamerboy’s self-esteem because of this also. If we had kept Gamerboy in school Gamerboy would not have an IEP.

Craftser: Currently redoing Grade 3

Craftser had more significant troubles. At first, we thought Craftser might be dyslexic but that wasn’t the case. I believe there is a permanent disconnect between what Craftser’s hand or mouth processes from what Craftser’s eyes see. We are working around this with using auditory learning.

Not only that the public system failed Craftster in so many ways.

Craftster has a very unique way of printing and doing cursive; this is something we have been unable to correct and the public school system chose to ignore. On top of that, Craftster was forced in the fall to do remedial cursive because Craftster had no real knowledge of it and he had to do 3 months of the grade 2 curriculum to get him up to par for the grade 3 curriculum. Not only that Craftser had been told by Craftster’s teacher the year before that they were phasing out cursive altogether. There were some real arguments with me to get the work done, but now Craftster loves cursive and refuses to use printing .

Another big failure is spelling, Craftster never learned to read by phonics, it was all by being told how the word was written. Cat is spelled c-a-t because we say so.  There was no learning of the “c” sound and how it was used or how it worked in conjunction with the other words. Craftster would bring home assignments chalk full of spelling and grammatical errors and yet get an A. When we questioned the teacher on this, it was we are checking that yet…I really had an issue with that.

Craftser also struggled with oral reading because Craftster was unable to sound out words and had, as I said, no concept of the phonic rules.

It is only now that we are getting to the point where Craftster can do most spelling by sounding out words but on a bad day…Craftster falls back on the ways of the school’s way of doing things.

Also, it is only recently that Craftster has begun using descriptors in the sentences Craftster writes. Again, I feel this is a failing of the system not teaching the basics of how to write a sentence and what each part is.

Furthermore, Craftser has found math to be equally hard in the beginning, because they hadn’t even taught  simple things as what is an addend or a factor. How to work simple math problems or other basic stuff. Today, like me, memorization of the multiplication tables is almost non-existent. I believe that to be a genetic pass on. We both can work higher math but to do simple math, we have to find other methods to work it out. And that is ok by me.

Again, if we had kept Craftster in school, Craftster would also now have an IEP. Clearly neither child needed that.

Home schooling has open up  a whole new world for both the kids and they are doing so much better.

It is truly sad to know our schools no longer hold to what is most important…teaching our children to think for themselves.

My next blog shall be on the third main reason for home schooling: Our Faith

God bless

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