Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Homeschooling Debate

I had never considered homeschooling my kids until recently. Never.  Homeschooling was something hippies and people in denim jumpers did  (holla, Chambanachik) and I wanted no part of it. Plus, the boys seemed to enjoy school and honestly, I couldn't imagine having them home 24/7. Once all your kids are in school and you've tasted sweet, sweet freedom, it's hard to imagine giving that up. Selfish, I know, but there it is.

However, Aidin has made me reconsider everything I previously thought regarding homeschooling.  The past few parent/teacher conferences I was surprised to learn that he was not getting perfect scores across the board. This kid is scary-smart, probably smarter than me.  Academically his scores are stellar, but there is a requirement for a "social interaction" grade and that is where he struggles.  He does not like having attention on him.  He doesn't like people looking at him for too long.  If you are having a quiet discussion he will talk your ear off, but to be asked a direct question with people awaiting his response makes him clam up.  His teacher recommended that I get him involved in sports to "bring him out of his shell". 

Although I understood the teacher's concern, I also understand my son.
 He has had these little quirks for as long as I can remember.  When he was just a toddler we called it his "robot walk" or "old man walk", when he would get so embarrassed by attention that he would look up at the ceiling and walk funny.  Last year he was placed in the gifted program but I came to find that all that amounted to was one hour, once a week of advanced tutoring.  His then-teacher and I discussed the opportunity for him to skip a grade, but we both agreed that socially/emotionally that would not be a good option. That was when the homeschooling seed was planted. There were simply no resources to handle a kid who fell outside the normal range. I hoped things would be different here in Japan but unfortunately, they're not. In fact I've noticed a lot of odd changes in Aidin this year.  He has a lot more anxiety.  He is obsessed with his appearance, but not in the usual way. He brushes his hair around 10 times a day. Just odd little things like that.

A few months ago Aidin brought home a graded assignment.  He had missed one question in the reading comprehension section, in which he had to read a passage about a girl's fun Thanksgiving and answer some questions about it.  The question he missed was, "What was the point of this story?"
He had answered: "To entertain people".

I had to laugh, because in a sense he was right.  Why else would there be this ridiculous story about some girl's lame Thanksgiving if not to entertain people?   There was no moral, no lesson to be learned.  It was not THE right answer, but it was A right answer, which is where I feel traditional school is failing my guy.

 So, that's where I am now.  Unsure of what to do but knowing that I need to do something.  The idea of homeschooling is terrifying to me, but so is the thought of failing my kid.

So if you have ANY thoughts on the matter, please share!! Have you homeschooled? Were you homeschooled? Help a mother out!