1.Teachers in British Columbia are set to begin job action in lieu of a full out strike. I can’t imagine sending my child to school right now and I’m not sure how other parents handle the uncertainty. The scrambling to figure out child care and juggle job responsibilities would be enough to make me pull my hair out.
I support our teachers in demanding fair pay for the hard job they do everyday. I think they are underpaid and stretched far too thin to the point that I have chosen to home school for another year because I want to make sure my daughter gets all the attention she deserves. In over-stuffed classrooms nobody gets the proper amount of attention they need. Teachers in B.C. have cut bureaucratic tasks like hosting meet-the-teacher night, writing report cards and fulfilling supervising responsibilities. Five school districts in BC have already cancelled recess, including the one we just moved from last year. For me this adds up to teachers not being able to spend the extra few minutes needed each day to tell concerned parents how their child is doing, and far too many children being bullied on unsupervised playgrounds (for those who still have recess that is).
2. The above is a nice segue into the second reason I’m happy to keep my child home this year. Recess is disappearing. If recess is going the way of the passenger pigeon and I have the ability to stay home with her and take her for hikes or to the playground or lessons then I will take that opportunity and run with it. (No pun intended).
3. She will learn cursive writing. Did you know that some schools in the USA have stopped teaching cursive writing? While Canada still supports learning to hand write, I see red flags everywhere. If they can get strip physical education down to once per week and remove the emphasis of learning art and music and now recess is disappearing, albeit for a “valid” reason, then who’s to say cursive is going to stick around?
4. We can sleep in. The beauty of home learning is being able to start the day whenever it works for your family. Enough said.
5. She will get to learn at her own pace. My daughter is quite a ways ahead in reading, but slightly behind in math. When you’re home learning there’s nobody’s schedule to follow but your own.
6. I don’t have to pay for school supplies. When my daughter attended Kindergarten at public school in the town we lived in before we moved here, we didn’t have to pay for any school supplies. The school district in that town passed a motion that the district would pay for all essential supplies as a part of a move towards ensuring that public schools are accessible to people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Now that we live in Victoria, we have to pay for school supplies like everyone else, which is fine, but I do enjoy saving my money and reusing the crayons we’ve had for years that still work just fine thank you while everyone else is out buying 12 new HB pencils when they have a junk drawer full of them already. This is a controversial issue and Annie at PhD in Parenting did a nice job of putting it forward here.
7. My daughter will not get overwhelmed by extra-curricular activities. If my daughter went to public school we’d still want her to take skating and swimming lessons and go to Brownies and possibly even the music class that she loves. Attending all of those classes would be way too overwhelming for her after a full day at school. When we home school all activities have equal footing. We schedule the “extra-curricular” classes into her regular learning times and on the day of those classes we do less scholastic activities so she has the energy to “do it all.”
8. She will receive the extra assistance she needs. First of all, my husband, my step-son and I can all help her when she needs us. That’s a 3:1 ratio in her favour. Secondly, if my daughter went to public school she’d be very low priority for receiving any special assistance. She doesn’t have a diagnosis of anything, although we have had her assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder and continue to work with her to get her the help she needs with her social skills challenges and behavioural issues. However, because she is our highest priority and we are her teachers, our home schooling program, called Self Design, has monies put aside called “low incidence funds.” We get a portion of those funds based on our daughter’s needs, and last year, for instance, she had 20 1 hour social skills counseling sessions completely paid for. We can get Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, specialized hearing tests or therapeutic riding paid for as well. Basically, whatever we want within reason and a certain dollar amount. We just have to find out own therapist(s). I’ll take that over having her looked at once by a school OT who is stretched between 20 schools and hundreds of children, many with real diagnoses that do deserve extra attention.
9. She will be influenced by her family much more than her peers. She’ll eat healthy foods at lunch time and not be subject to seeing the many types of processed junk foods other kids are allowed to eat. She also won’t be subject to peer pressure, bullying, teasing, latest must-have trends, curse words, or disrespectful behaviours seen in other children. I know she’ll be around this at some point and I don’t keep her home to shelter her from the “real world” but I bet you don’t want your kid to come home from school one day and call you a stupid fart face, only to back it up with the excuse that she heard Tommy calling the teacher that at recess, do you? Oh, that is if recess still exists where you are. Nope, I’m happy to keep her home this year.
10. The best reason to home school is to be one-to-one involved in her learning. I can support her desires to learn about things that aren’t taught in Grade 3. Things like world religions and other languages (French, Mandarin and American Sign Language), cooking, baking and how to play the recorder (which she learned last year). We can also teach her things that are important to our family like plant identification, herbalism, and gardening.
Home schooling isn’t for everyone, for personal, economic and/or other reasons. Until the end of August I didn’t even know if I would home school or not. I had applied for a few full time jobs that I wanted and decided that if I got one of them that I would send her to public school because there was no way I could juggle full time work AND home schooling. (I tried for a week in June and it just about did me in). Alas, I didn’t get any of the jobs so that helped with my decision to home school at least one more year. Now that we’re doing it and all this stuff is going on with the teachers in our province and I’m hearing about more and more of the things that make school fun for kids being cancelled, I am so glad I am at home. It’s not always easy or fun, but it kind of reminds me of breastfeeding. This time of their life also passes quickly. It’s hard sometimes but completely worth it.
*Because I know some of you are wondering – just like the other post I wrote by surprise, this post doesn’t necessarily mean I’m “back.” I just finished an interview with Amber from Strocel.com on the subject of quitting blogging and how my life has gotten better since I stopped spending so much time on line. But with everything going on in our province regarding back-to-school I couldn’t resist this topic. It isn’t very often I get ideas for blog posts anymore. My presence is practically non-existent over at Natural Parents Network where I am supposed to guest post once per month. So, perhaps I will write some more here, but perhaps I won’t. Any of you who are actually still subscribed to me and paying attention – wow – thank you! You’re awesome.