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Why Our Hearts Changed Towards Homeschooling

Public School Transformed Our Daughter

by Debbie E.

Several years ago, my husband and I were excited because our daughter was going into the first grade. We met the teacher, we eagerly went to the store to purchase supplies that we were told our child needed for class, bought the new clothes and backpack. All the things parents do for their children before putting them on the bus to send them off to school. Our daughter went into first grade able to read and, after two years of public school, came out of second grade not reading at all and having no interest whatsoever in learning. We watched our beautiful daughter transformed from a bright, energetic, curious, inquisitive child to someone who was sullen, angry, withdrawn, and no longer interested in doing anything.

You might think we did not follow through with the school. We did. We attended parent/teacher conferences with the teacher telling us one month things were fine and the next month, the situation was grim and we needed to do something for her now. My husband and I were baffled. How could she be doing so well one month and so terrible the next? The usual antidote of Ritalin was tentatively suggested and for her to be placed in special education classes. We agreed to the special education help. Later, we found out they had pulled her out of math class for help with reading. Now she was failing math as well as not reading. We also found out she was required to stay up with the work given in her regular class as well as expected to do an additional amount of work given in the special education classes; even if she was not present in the classroom for the lesson. What papers she could not do in class were brought home to be done.

My husband and I both worked as most families have to do now days. I could not be in the classroom, but I did work with my daughter at home. I can attest to the fact that she brought home, almost every night, two to three hours of homework. What seven-year-old child, including her parents, would not be overwhelmed with this work load. One evening our daughter, in tears from frustration (can we say total burnout), flung her papers down and yelled "I HATE SCHOOL!" I had a vision of ten more years of this scenario being played out and knew then, I would be home schooling our child.

I had always doubted my ability to do this task. My husband always had wanted to home school. I was the one who was hesitant recalling my own childhood memories of school, feeling that I truly was not capable of teaching my own children. However, the day my daughter broke down was the day my heart changed. I started learning any and everything I could about home schooling.

Today, some years later, our daughter is succeeding. She enjoys learning many different things in her own way. She reads, she draws, she is very creative and comes up with ideas and plans of things she desires to learn and then follows through. We are still catching up on the math but I know this also will come when she is ready. Nothing can replace having our daughter back.

We have also learned much while undertaking this adventure of home schooling. We have learned that we do not have to have all the latest 'bells and whistles'. We drive older, paid-for cars and our house needs some repairs. My poor husband has to fix things right and left, but somehow, we manage. We do not eat out as much. We have had to live with less so that I could quit my career to stay at home. We have learned how to scrimp and save, use the Internet and local resources such as the library in place of costly curricula. The most important thing we have realized is how much we enjoy our children. My family is so much closer as a result of home schooling. I wonder how much we would have lost by not really getting to know our children, by sending them off each day leaving their care and upbringing to some stranger.

As the years have passed, we now understand more of what happened to change our daughter. Remember those supplies we bought for her, we found out later they were passed out to the class. They were not specifically for her as implied. We now know that for every child placed in special education, the school receives money from the government. We were also told, by another individual, they get even more funding for every child classified ADD/ADHD on medication who is placed in special education classes. We regret ever having placed our child in a situation that was detrimental to her well-being.. You can ask her to this day if she wants to go to public school and she will tell you firmly, "NO!"

In the meanwhile, her brother has never been to public school and the difference is like night and day. He is confident and has no hesitation undertaking a task. Our daughter struggles daily with self-confidence, seeking reassurance that she is doing everything correctly. There was a time when she was like her brother and it was before she went to public school. I hope one day she will again be confident and not doubt herself.

I remember my grandfather saying he only had an 8th grade education. He always acted ashamed of this fact. Come to find out, his 8th grade education was the equivalent of and maybe exceeding a local community college program. What happened? Where did it change? We need to take a long hard look at what has changed in our schools and go back to the "old ways" of our grandparents including returning old values and morals in the classrooms.

Let me encourage you as a parent, if your child is not prospering in public school, do whatever it takes for your child to succeed. For us, it was to home school. Contrary to what people think, home schooling has made our lives easier. We live on our own schedule. We make goals and meet them in our time frame and when we are ready. If we need to work on something for a longer period, we do it. Whatever it takes to gain mastery of the subject. Is it easy? No! It takes time, sacrifice, and commitment, but if we can do it so can you.

Read more encouraging testimonies!