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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

FREEDOM!!!!!!!!

I finally feel like I can just relax and enjoy our schooling again. I feel like I can sigh a deep breath of relief...

I have shared many times that after eleven years of privately homeschooling we had decided to join a public charter school. Why? The main reason was our finances. We just couldn't afford to school the way I like to. Then I started doubting myself. After all of these years, I still had doubts. Were they learning enough? Were we doing enough? Were they on grade level?

Well, it turns out the answer to all of the above is a big fat YES!! We were doing more than enough, they are on grade level and they certainly ARE learning. The kids did quite well with their testing and assessments, and they managed to keep their grades close to 100% for one and in the 90's for another for their overall grades in this school which is supposedly "challenging" academically.

So, why are we leaving the school? Well, because I on my own without the so called professionals and their "quality" curriculum have managed to produce three rather intelligent children. We did that by reading REAL books about REAL people, and just living and enjoying life. We have learned about science by nature walks that have instilled a love for the natural world, by visiting observatories to learn about the solar system, we have done lots of hands on experiments. We have learned History by reading biographies and autobiographies of the great men and women who have walked before us. My children have acquired quite an impressive vocabulary and excellent grammar and spelling skills by reading such books and using them for copy work and outlining. And, we had FUN doing it all! My kids have a deep love and appreciation for the written word. They got that by reading and having read to them GREAT literature.

So, doubting ourselves we join this academically challenging charter school and there are no real books, just text book after text book. There are no real science experiments or hands on opportunities for learning, just reading and memorizing of vocabulary words! After spending the last several years learning about World History, American History, and the Ancients by reading real books of those who lived and experienced these time periods, what do you think my 9 year old spent the last five weeks learning about in this challenging school? "A community is where people live, play and work together." And just as much time learning the difference between a rural, suburban and urban community. Don't you think he SEE'S and LIVES that as we drive from our own rural community to the suburbs nearby to get to the urban community of downtown LA for his burn treatments? I think he and most young children are perfectly capable of learning these things just by living life, why waste 5 precious weeks being taught this from a text book? And yet people still wonder why public education is no longer working?

I have had public school teachers recently tell me that they are jealous of what homeschoolers can do and teach that they just aren't allowed to in a classroom. It was confirmed what we all suspect of public school students being "taught to the test." And one of these teachers said most of what is on this test, is not anything these kids really need anyway!!

I don't want to knock this particular program down though. It does serve it's purpose. I think it is great for those just coming out of the schools that feel they need the structure and support provided. It is still a far better alternative than attending public school for sure. And like everything, not all public schools are bad, not all charters are bad and not all homeschools are successes. It all depends on those who are involved. But as for me and my family....we'll stick with real books and real life homeschooling!

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