why we are homeschooling

 

People have been asking why we are homeschooling our littlest girl. At the end of the day there was a big difference in the quality of teaching between last year and this year and she was being babysat each day. Every day the email would come in with what they did – morning circle then a literacy or numeracy activity (numeracy only twice a week) then morning tea and play outside then music/drama/art/pe/etc then lunch then play outside then come inside and pack up their bags and go home.

She was leaving home at 7.30 and coming home at 4 with just 1 session of what I would call school work. When maths was mentioned my sweet girl was often given a worksheet to do while students with greater needs worked with a teacher. If your child can’t count to 5 or past 5 how is a worksheet going to help them learn. Then I would get an email saying they did addition and subtraction. Um, if she can’t recognise numbers to 5 or remember what comes after 3 or 4 then how is that going to help. When I went back over the emails I noticed that the boys in the class never got a worksheet just the 2 girls. And my girl never did maths in a small group with a teacher or aide. Either in the whole group or just a worksheet. How is this acceptable? How was she going to learn to count from a worksheet on her own. There were only 8 or 9 students in the class on any given day and a teacher and aide.

Every day I was getting more and more upset (and mad!) and about to burst. How could we have had such a wonderful year last year with a devoted teacher who answered emails and gave each student so much attention and this year I was in a totally different situation. Never an email response and then when a broken folder was given to her for her reader for the year I thought I was going to scream. I had just sent in $80 for resources and $25 for readers and was given a broken folder without a press stud for her communication folder. It’s hard enough for her to open and close a press stud. I know it sounds petty, a broken folder. But to me if someone has taken the time to write her name and communication folder on it then I think you would notice that it was broken. And it’s not going to last the year.  Still I’m not getting responses to my emails except on the one occasion that I chased it up. I didn’t expect to pull her out in the 3rd week and not return to school. We didn’t say goodbye to our favourite teachers or staff or her friends. She needed to come out straight away and I wasn’t sending her back for another day in that classroom. We donated the almost new school uniforms to the uniform shop, returned our library books and reader and left.

I wanted to take her out after the first week but I had to convince someone that I could do this with a new baby and that we would be ok. And you know what? We’re better than ok. Every day she is doing literacy and numeracy and we are learning! We don’t have other children’s behaviour in the classroom to worry about and she’s not just given a worksheet and left on her own to do it. I sit there with her and work with her. Just the two of us. I find fun activities in her curriculum or on the internet and we cut and paste and learn together. Her big sister and sometimes her little brothers next to her too. Twice a week she is doing a preschool program 1 on 1 – in one hour they pack in gross motor, fine motor, days of the week and weather, letters, numbers, puzzle, songs, a story and questions and a craft. More than she ever did in a day of school. And every time we are out or in the kitchen we are counting and doing things. At 7.30am she’s still in her pjs enjoying toast and watching sesame street with her siblings instead of getting into transport for the day. Today it was raining so our homeschool meet up got moved to lollipops playland. We did all of our learning work in the morning and after lunch went off to burn off some energy at lollipops playland. Tomorrow she will have 1 hour of speech and then do her work and we finish the day with art and then cheerleading.

It was after her assessment which revealed just how much work we needed to do and how she would benefit from 1 on 1 and that confirmed we needed to do this. That same day I sent the email that had been sitting in my drafts and she didn’t go back to school. However it has come at a huge financial cost. Tuition is twice the cost of school fees and the special school are now asking for half the years fees for just 3 weeks of school. I tried to leave on such a positive note not bringing up the issues we had faced and knowing we had a better option at home.

So that’s the honest answer.

All we want is the best for our children and when they don’t have a voice or have the support to be included in regular schools then we are the voice and we are the person who has to make things happen. We are the ones who have sat in on every assessment, therapy session and at the end of the day are the ones who will spend the rest of our lives loving and living with them. And that is our reality. The teachers won’t live with them or need to help them for the rest of their lives we will so no one wants better outcomes than we do. And so it’s up to us to get it right. **off my soapbox now**

On this particular afternoon we were recreating Monet artworks! This week we’ve also cut out a skeleton, stuck him together and started colouring him and labelling his parts for science. We’ve looked at the map of australia and put down where everyone we know lives and coloured it in with a different colour for each state and we’ve been focusing on identifying the numbers 1-3 and the letters a, b, c. We are still at a preschool level and have problems with remembering things but she is loving learning and making progress. And happy. All that I hoped for.

Comments

  1. Corrie, I am pleased for your dear girl. You saw what was needed and took on the challenge. x

  2. God bless you Corrie for meeting the needs of your children as individuals.

  3. Heather says:

    Corrie ,you are doing such a wonderful job for your little girl ,god will watch over you and guide you in the right way ,god bless you and your beautiful family .x

  4. We absolutley loved our daycare but over about a month we suddenly felt very uneasy about it and left within a week. We are glad we did because we heard of more issues once we left. The educator was fantastic but sadly other events in her life made her very uncertain as a carer. We also feel so much better about our decision now and are so glad we found a better option. Hang in there it sounds like you made the best decision for your little one 😊

  5. Jane Martyn says:

    I am disappointed that you have had such a negative experience for Elodie. I am a Kindergarten teacher who always tries to go the extra mile for every child in my class. I nurture and care for them as my own and feel privileged to be entrusted with their education … this is my 32nd year of teaching and yes I get tired, but am always there for my families. I wish that all early years teachers would do the same. I am wondering if you have thought about using Reading Eggs and Maths Seeds for Elodie? They are great programs, simple to use and can be easily downloaded onto an Ipad or tablet or laptop. Another great Facebook page is Early Years Down Under which has lots of great ideas that incorporate play, art, literacy and numeracy. If you ever need any ideas, or have questions, please feel free to send me an email.

  6. You go for it Corrie! You have put so much thought and heart into your decisions!
    Don’t forget that if the $$$ is high to consider asking the speechless or preschool teacher to see if they can recommend a masters student or similar to help do some of the extra work under their guidance. The students would love the practice and your girl gets the extra support!

  7. Sarah O says:

    A truly brave woman is one who follows her heart. Any child learns more from being at home, even when they don’t have special needs. As long as the parent engages with them, they will learn. It’s so disappointing when your experience is far from your expectations. In a similar boat, threatened with a penalty of a terms school fees we have decided to stick it out and hope we have another great year like last year. It didn’t start off so well with our Y6 girl doing 3x tables for homework… but I have spoken to the school and now her teacher and we are back on the same page and thriving again. I am still not convinced we aren’t a square peg in a round hole but time will tell. Meanwhile I will work 2 jobs to keep her there and wear myself out in the process! Little Miss E won’t remember me but you have a friend who lives in Tassie if you’ve not got someone you know living on the small island at the bottom of Australia!

  8. Cassie@braemarstation says:

    Good on you Corrie, that’s pretty much how we started homeschooling. It was a while ago now but reading your post reminded me of all those emotions of my 2nd oldest and the complete and utter lack of care the school showed in his situation. I was livid with how they treated him and it was a private school too. He is 15 now and still homeschooling. It turned out to be the best decision for our family in the long run as our 4th child has special needs and I know that the best place for him to get the kind of one on one attention is through homeschooling.
    I’m sure Miss E is going to thrive at home with you and thank you for writing from the heart. I hope it encourages anyone else who may be considering homeschooling their SN kids.
    Isn’t tpt great!! My favourite seller is Tara West. Little minds at work. She has some really good stuff and if you join her fb group she often has sales and buy one get one free.

  9. Corrie, I’m so sorry to hear this happen to you. What a nightmare to deal with. But it sounds like you know exactly what you want and need. Elodie is in the best hands with you as her mum. I pray that you can de-stress and that the financial part of the situation canl be sorted out. It’s appalling they require fees for the rest of the term if there is a long waiting list and if Elodie’s place will be taken straight away. I imagine there are so many costs for therapy and programs for special needs – surely this should be considered. Will be praying for you lovely. xx

  10. All families are different and I dont think schools can cover everyone unfortunately. I have a friend who has just started homeschooling as her son has special needs and in Grade 1 it wasnt going to be a great fit for him. She said he is a different boy being at home and learning in a different environment without all the noise and distractions. I hope your sweet girl thrives with you teaching her.

  11. I must admit I was worried about your decision to homeschool a child with special needs, but after your post I can appreciate your dilemma. I am a primary school teacher with a daughter with Williams syndrome and we are just about to embark on transitioning from our beautiful, tiny school where all children are treated equally and taught at their own individual level, to a special ed unit at a very large comprehensive high school. It will be one of the hardest decisions we will ever make as her parents and her safety and well being are our highest priority. I know that if our experience becomes in any way negative and as damaging as your recent start to the school year homeschooling will very much become an option for us.

  12. A job well done Corrie! I wish i had home schooled my son when he was younger. …Particularly his primary years. He was diagnosed high functioning autistic stream but was bullied badly at school. Home schooling just wasn’t done much when he was younger and was consisted really radical. You have more guts than i had!

  13. Big, big hugs to you Corrie! I have followed your blog from around the time Elodie was born (my daughter is the same age), and I know you are a beautiful Mum! I have also been a frustrated pregnant school Mum crier, at the school gate mind you in front of ALL the parents, and it was just over parking, lol!! You need not be justifying ANYTHING, like you’ve mentioned you need to put your child’s needs first (whatever they might be) as you are their advocate!! You are such a good person Corrie, know that you’ve done the right thing and take a deep breath, have a cuppa, cuddle those precious babes and try to take a little time for yourself and recharge. If I lived in your beautiful part of the world I’d take you out for a break and some preggie mum treats. Much love to you Liz

  14. Danielle says:

    I’m a bit of a newer reader of your blog and haven’t commented before but I found this post so very touching that I felt compelled comment. I can feel the immense love you have for your children in your words. You must have so much on your plate right now so I just wanted you to know that I think you are a wonderful mother and your kids are so very lucky to have you. Wishing you and your family all the very best!

  15. Yay! Such a difficult decision, but definitely what is best for Elodie. I recently attended a PD with Diana Rigg on her Promoting Literacy Development. It was brilliant. I would highly recommend the ‘Reading Race’ apps for when Elodie is ready for CVC words. There is a bundle of 4 to progress through. If you ever have the chance to attend a PD (or do one online), grab the opportunity. This program is fabulous!
    https://pld-literacy.org/product/reading-race-1a-cvc-words/

    Hope you’re able to pop your feet up at the end of each day. xxx

  16. Michelle L says:

    Bless you, Corrie. I am so sorry that you had this experience with a school that should have been equipped to meet your girl’s needs. I’m a public high school teacher and often feel frustration over our inability to really meet the individual needs of some of our students. The fact that this happens in specialist schools who presumably have access to more funds, resources, expertise and staffing than we do is even more heart=breaking. Well done for fighting for your child. I’m sure she’s learning a lot, and I bet you are too. Another fan of TPT and Literacy Planet. Have you checked your state library for possible resources? My daughters use Literacy Planet for free through our state library (Tassie), and they can also download ebooks and audio books for free. Might be an option for your bigger girl while you’re working with Elodie too? Keep up the good work, beautiful Mama!

  17. Samantha says:

    Corrie, I applaud you for your honesty, this must have been an incredibly difficult post to write. Continue to follow your instincts, I’m sure your sweet girl will thrive under your nurturing care!

  18. You have made a hard decision but you won’t be sorry. Make sure you make some time to look after you too! All the best!

Leave a Comment

*

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)