Third Grade … focus and sitting still are difficult for any child; add in ADHD and focus is like a puck on the ice during a Penguins Stanley Cup Playoff Game. Where we live the average classroom size is 21 children. Children who are children … moving, fiddling, joking, talking, passing notes, etc. All of that leading to an environment of distractions.
Then there is inevitable teasing, potential mean kid, bullying and the teachers reactions. Does the teacher make you feel safe? Does the teacher yell? Does the teacher ignore you? Phrases such as “why can’t you learn this?”; “keep up with the rest of the class”; or screaming at another group of kids when you are concentrating are all very disconcerting and overwhelming for children. If you mix in a dash of ADHD it is the recipe for cocktails such as school sucks, why bother, or I QUIT.
Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing the child who loves learning begin to hate it. She gave up on herself and stopped believing she could do anything. I began to hear phrases such as I’m stupid, followed by I can’t learn this and topped off with Everything I do is wrong. Honey, where is this internal monologue coming from because I know you have never been told this by me or your dad.
After much digging and probing we found out a whole lot was happening with peers and the teacher. Switch teachers … too late. She loved the teacher but had just checked out of the traditional school system. Each day was begging to stay home and be homeschooled.
I am a person who is a firm believer in loving to learn. I do not want anyone to hate education. Learning should be a passion. Something that we carry with us each day of our lives. As such, her father and I decide to make changes. Enter the second semester of third grade and we begin a new adventure … online schooling.
Why did we choose online schooling? I am the stay at home mom for three children (8, 6, and 3). Preschool at home has always been a choice for us. My partner gave me valuable feedback on trying to mange our household, three kids, two dogs, miscellaneous other pets, a social life, relationship and all the curveballs that having a family of five entails plus trying to find, write, maintain a curriculum that not only fulfills the state of Ohio but their personal interests and what we feel is valuable to include.
Hence, online schooling. The curriculum is set by the state and flexible to allow for other homeschool opportunities including socialization. I am finding that the curriculum is more difficult than her traditional schools and I like that. It does add into the first few months being hard dipping into difficult bordering on insane. Now that we are finding a rhythm and balance to our life it is getting easier. Everyday is a new challenge especially as we are still academically catching up from the time that she had lost all interest in education.
Does homeschool work? Yes, but I firmly believe that homeschooling is NOT for everybody. Homeschooling is hard on everyone, it impacts the entire family, it also is a lot of work. The younger the children are the more you need to be hands on. If you are going to homeschool you need to make sure that you wish to take on a full time job as teacher, principal and educational advocate.
I have also learned that I need a personal morning routine that begins without the children. To accomplish this I get up a half hour before the rest of my family, make a pot of coffee and either journal or read. This is what I need for my sanity and to be the best form of myself for my children. I need to fill my internal well. Also, know when to take a break and how to give them without ruining your whole day. As you go along you will also learn when to chuck the plan and improvise.
Meanwhile our adventures continue. Balance is something we learn each day but the biggest things we are learning is to be a team and love life and all that it teaches us.
Sassy Viking Mama