For the past three years, I have anticipated the first day of school with a welcoming heart. Okay, I’m exaggerating. The first year I was terrified but felt prepared as we were entering into a co-op that seemed welcoming and supportive. By the end of that first year, my measure of success was if we all survived the day or not.
Year two and three we joined a different co-op for my son and began unschooling, my daughter. Unschooling is a process of student centered learning. Basically, Cherrie led her instruction. If she were interested in whales we learned about whales and incorporated into everything we did. I had the kids take a learning styles test last year and realized they were not being taught in their preferred learning style. Cherrie does very well with hands on activities. Marshall is auditory and needs to hear things. His learning was reinforced going to a co-op one day a week for lectures. They also did plays which he loved wholeheartedly.
Enter School Homeschool year 4
So let’s fast forward to this year and my current breakdown. Earlier in the year, we came across a fantastic program for Marshall that is geared towards performing arts college admission. My star needs an education and so in my head, I was like YES this is it! After discussing the travelling back and forth with my husband we discussed relocating closer to that program. Needless to say, once we began that journey was met by opposition from all sides (inflated apartment prices, low inventory of rental homes, my husband’s job relocated, etc). Combine these factors with the cost of the program and we weren’t saving any money by moving.
Move on When Ready
Prior to thinking about doing the arts program, I looked into Move On When Ready. In the state of Ga, this amazing program allows homeschooled students to enroll at local colleges free of charge and they receive credit for both high school and beginning college classes simultaneously. This program required ACT or SAT scores and I wasn’t hip to this. After making the decision to further explore the arts program we bypassed the testing phase…….Mistake Number 1.
The arts program was going to be three days per week for multiple hours. It required that my student take some sort of homeschool curriculum. Follow my thinking here:
18 hour weeks training in ballet, music composition, acting and singing for Marshall. In addition, he still needed to do school work. Cherrie needs personalized instruction that works around sleeping habits. We are planning to shop the kids to talent agents and I’m working on a Master’s Degree.
Easy isn’t always best
The easiest way to make sure the kids got their learning in was to explore online schooling. I opted to go with an online charter school. Yesterday was day one…
I have never in my life received so many emails micromanaging the learning process. Strike One. While it claims we need 6 hours of instructional time, it took almost 18 (including naps, meal breaks, etc). Strike Two. This is literally “school at home” not “homeschool.” Strike 3. They placed Marshall in 10th-grade classes but a 9th-grade homeroom claiming they didn’t feel he had enough “credits” to be in 10th since he didn’t take an “accredited” math or science last year. We did a lot of lessons and even had a math tutor at one point but the school doesnt recognize this. Strikes 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Mom Guilt and the Disconnect
At some point I should have re-evaluated this choice once we concluded right now was not the time for Marshall to be in the arts program. I said I was going to give this a chance. For the first time in 2 years since we started unschooling Cherrie’s face was leaking water! When she used to cry all the time I told her she needed to stop leaking so much water from her eyes. She cried through every lesson. I’m not even really sure if she learned anything. Science is her favorite subject, so as she was working on science she was upset when we had to stop and she had to move on to another subject. It was literally a day from hell.
I made a post on facebook about needing help sorting through this decision. Many homeschooling mamas were against this program (rightfully so as I have a village of moms that unschool and are completely against the notion of schooling at home). A good college friend called and shared his experience with me as a formerly homeschooled teen. I talked to several moms privately as well.
It’s back to the drawing board for Kimihou’s clan this school year. I’m sure im not the first mom to jump ship on online learning but now I’ve got to gather information on how to proceed!