I had a lot of misgivings when the girls began the third grade. The teacher who had taught third grade for ten years at the girls’ schools quit to homeschool her own child. The new teacher only had experience teaching middle school and during the parent teacher conference made it clear that she had not prepared for her new class. We considered changing the girls to a charter school that many in our area loved, but were told that the third grade was full. However, the fourth grade is usually empty. After some research we found that there is plenty of room in the fourth grade because 60% of the kids fail the third grade! It was out of this growing sense of helplessness that we reassessed our decision. We took charge of our children’s education.
The first thing I did was to call my best friend who had been an elementary school teacher and threw together a game plan. It wasn’t hard because I am a traditionalist and felt strongly about teaching the subjects taught in traditional school since our goal is to have the girls attend university. However, I don’t agree with the teaching methods, priorities or the 15-year-old materials being used.
I admit that I modified the “game plan” as I went until by the middle of the year I was confident that we were on the right track. By the end of the year, when I had the girls tested, I was sure we had met our goal. Baby A tested in 98% for math and 99% for language arts, and Baby B tested in the 99% for math and 98% for language arts in the entire state of Florida. We are doing great so far!
Academics aren’t everything. Yes, I can’t believe I said that but it’s true. It was the second component I addressed the first week of homeschooling. The nice thing about today’s social media is that you can find a multiplicity of homeschool groups. We joined about a dozen and attend playgroup twice a week, attend field trips regularly and have several play dates during the week. This doesn’t include the girls’ participation in karate class, theater group or the multiple summer camps that they attend.
Taking charge has meant that we have completely quality control. Our girls are learning from challenging but age appropriate material that we have selected. Several of the children and their families have become great friends! The girls’ friends no longer feel like a disjointed external component, but are an integral part of our family.