Today, I became . . .

a homeschooling mom. Although, technically, my child is not attending school in my home nor am I teaching him so that's a far cry from what most would think of as homeschooling. Screen Shot 2012 01 03 at 10 43 53 AM We pulled our kindergartener out of the local public elementary at the Christmas break. Having attended private Christian school my entire life with the exception of seventh grade, I was shocked by the lack of academic emphasis in Kindergarten.

My boys have all attended multiple years of preschool and to varying degrees I have been pleased to see them learning, growing, doing incredible, fun and educational crafts. And then we started Kindergarten and suddenly it was like Riley was spending more than 7 hours a day in the church nursery (fun, but not educational). Not to mention, he was really struggling with behavior.

The last straw came when Riley came home saying he had gone to the assistant principle's office. Assuming it was behavior related, I asked him what he did. He said he didn't know. Then he said he knew his sight words. Confused I started digging around, and here is what I found out. Kindergarteners here are supposed to be reading at a level 4 by the end of the year in order to be prepared to go to 1st grade. At the end of the first 6 weeks, Riley was reading at a 3. By the end of the second six weeks, he was reading at an 8. That was so impressive that they sent him to the principle to read for her and that's what he was trying to tell me. However, my frustration stemmed from the fact that no one told me any of that. I had to ask questions and dig. Since the teacher already provided me with a daily behavior chart for my son, how difficult could it have been to make a note of this accomplishment?

Since I was confident at this point, that my son was going to hit all of the markers necessary to go to second grade, I began to brainstorm how to help him learn 1. How to correctly form his letters when writing them. and 2. How to control himself in an educational setting. My solution - my dad, a teacher and then principal for a long time, he's now retired and works out of an office in his home. After checking with him, we began to plan for this new form of schooling by finding a school desk, purchasing curriculum and discussing ways to challenge him and teach him manners, self-control and wise choices. 

Today is the first day. I'm excited. For my son, because he is going to LOVE it and learn so much. For my dad, because he will feel a great sense of accomplishment by helping Riley tackle these topics. And for me, no longer do I worry what he's going to be in trouble for today. No longer will I sit back watching him closely trying to decide if the school situation is affecting his emotions in a negative way. No longer will many of my days erupt in frustration and even anger at 3 p.m. when I pick up my son and find out he's done some crazy new stunt that was wildly inappropriate at school.

I'll keep you updated on how successful this little project is. (And I've applied for both of my boys to attend a new charter school here in town that follows the International Baccalaureate program which I think will help him move forward next year.)

Happy New Year!

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