Home schooling six kids can be nerve racking to say the least. There are many “What ifs?” in the picture. What if I can’t teach? What if they don’t learn to read? What if they need more help? What if they are asked a question they should know but don’t? What if, what if , what if!!!! But as I have progressed in the years the big looming question was “What if they don’t graduate?”. Now as a home schooler in a hands off state this question is entirely in my hands. I choose when they get their diploma and I give it to them. But, and this is a big but, what if I am wrong and the child doesn’t really deserve it?? How is this quantified and qualified?
Last fall I gave my first high school diploma to my oldest son. Proud parents, we even sprung for a diploma in a case. He worked hard through the years. There were times I thought he was a genius and times I feared for his future, but when the time came I was sure it was right. Well, pretty sure. O.K., I was pretty much sure there was not much more I could make him sit down and do. Whew! That wasn’t too hard.
Well, the diploma meant for us no more Mom schooling him but it didn’t mean the end of learning. He is still full of new things that he has read about or learned. Ahh! That was what I had hoped for. Self teaching. But it doesn’t end there. He has gone on to get a job with a large company and loves his job! This is where I throw my hands in the air and do the Rocky dance!
Home schooling is my choice. But as I have said it isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. If you read some HS forums or blogs it can seem that way. But the reality is we all have different roads that have many obstacles. Sometimes we are our own obstacle and sometimes the kids are, not too mention the myriad of familial nuances. This part (graduation) too, is the same. I’d like to share some of the things we encountered during his job process.
When my son applied for this job he had to test out. In his application class there were folks of all ages. They had to take a basic math test. Most failed. He was the only one there who could read a tape measure before the examiner taught the group this skill before the test. At the next step, he was considered hired. But there was three weeks of training starting at 6Am at the local college. If you were a minute late the doors were locked and you no longer had a job. My son rode his bicycle fourteen miles a day(round trip) to get there and have class for six to eight hours. These classes were more math, geometry and basic algebra. Each aspect taught first then tested. Fully 25% of this class dropped out in the first week. There were daily tests on the material and this is what I find interesting to home schoolers, the teachers were constantly asking my son if he was listening. He apparently did not give the appearance of a student they said. He explained he had his own way of learning and he was indeed listening. He explained he had never been in a classroom before so he was unsure as to what it was they expected. He was acing his tests!
Another aspect of this was how they tested him. It was on something called an ‘egg’. It is the digital form of the test sheet. He had to be shown how to use it. ( I am a big fan of paper and pen) But even in this new environment, he did well. Again and daily his class got smaller. When his teachers learned that he was riding to class on his bike they had to be shown because they couldn’t believe it.
By the end of classes he was at the top of the class, and the class had dwindled to three. (from about 30) His teachers were giving him their assurances that he would do well at the job and he should remain in touch so they could help him out. Well, that was sometime ago and they were true to their word. He is the only one from the remaining three working . The others will have to wait.
Home schoolers are still subject to question. We therefore prepared any area ahead of time. Transcripts, diploma etc.. We got the diploma to “look” more like a “real” diploma so as not to be questioned about home school. In our state, disciplinary or problem students are sent home to use an on-line curriculum. They are still part of the district but are called home schooled. We have had to differentiate ourselves.
My home school helped make my son capable of living on his own with employment.(In these economic times, no small feat) Public school does this too. ( However, based on his assessed group, not very well) But this is MY son, MY child that I got to spend time with and probably learned as much from as he did me. I know he is happy and I do not have to guess at what it was he learned, I was present. I believe he is better off for our efforts and I think he does too! My son did his part and we did ours. I still will impart any ‘wisdom’ to him that I have gained from age and life. But it is up to him what he will do with it.
So home schoolers forge ahead. The end is not the end but a new road to trod upon!