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Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Start of It All!

I have been a single parent from day one of my child's life, which for me started at 17 years of age.  I finished high school with honors, received a scholarship to a private university, and followed the expected pathway.  I moved out right after graduation, worked, and went to school full time, while caring for an infant.  My foolish pride and bulldozing-stubbornness didn't allow anyone to help me unless absolutely necessary.  I utilized programs in my community to make childcare more affordable and part of my scholarships and grants to pay for some extras.

My child started daycare at 6 weeks old.  Her daycare put her through a preschool program and when she was of the eligible age, she started kindergarten at a public elementary.  She learned and excelled at this particular school from kindergarten through second grade.  Receiving special awards of achievement each year, either as the top girl of her class or top student of her grade.

During her second grade year, I was the Director of Marketing and Merchandising for a chain of convenience stores, truck stops, and Subway locations.  It was bought out by our competitor and many of us, me included, were released with severance.  I found myself with nothing to do and no realistic job offers where we lived.

The wonderful school that she attended was made available through a transfer because of the location of her daycare and my job.  However, there was another elementary school much closer to our house.

Due to all the changes of her second grade year, I made the decision to put her at the school closer to our home.  It was the same district, and I didn't think there would be much of an adjustment.  Boy was I wrong!

Today I came across the original notes I had from meeting with her teacher about the situation that catalyzed our wondrous entry into home education.  

Issues my 8 year old daughter was dealing with...

  • Poor grades
    • She went from an exemplary student with few low grades, to multiple assignments being below par.
  • Crying 2-3 days a week
    • She would come home and recount her day, often ending in tears.  There were two particular girls in her class that were physically rough with her.  They tried to trip her in class and would shove her.
    • It should be noted that I don't have an "overly-sensitive" child.  I honestly would've expected to address retaliation before I would defeat.
  • Victimized
    • When I emailed her teacher about the incidents that Rosalinda would report, the teacher would just chalk it up to everyone trying to adjust from summer.
  • Teacher's lack of understanding
  • Teacher ignoring/embarrassing her
    • I can't remember the specifics of this
  • Peer Issues
When I met with the teacher, she told me that the two specific girls involved told her that all of these actions were Rosalinda's and not theirs.  I was really discouraged that six weeks into the year she had NO idea of my child's personality.  And she dismissed my early emails describing these altercations.

I later found out that she contacted my child's second grade teacher to confirm my daughter's personality.  :/

I left that meeting unsatisfied and met with the principal.  I began suggesting a transfer back to her original elementary, which wasn't a welcome suggestion at all.  So the principal decided to swap my child's classes.  I was shocked by the situation as a whole.

Since public schools have been cutting back on their special education programs, they compensate by trying to stack the classes with like-students.  Rosalinda was in a class with other gifted learners.  But because of issues with bullying, it was decided that she would be put in the inclusion class because of the student chemistry.

An inclusion class has two teachers and is meant for students that require additional assistance for whatever reason.  There were students with medical conditions that missed several days because of their condition and students with learning disabilities.  The class pace was drastically different from her first classroom.

A few weeks in that class and I was dealing with behavioral issues.  Rosalinda was getting in trouble for not paying attention, reading when she should've been doing math with the class and the such.

I finally had enough!  I had always liked the idea of homeschooling, but as a single-mom had never thought it was more than a pipe dream.  But God...lol.

I met with her second teacher on a Monday and wasn't satisfied with where things were left.  Talked to a seasoned homeschool mom and got pointed to Cathy Duffy's "100 Top Picks Homeschool Curriculum. "  I pulled out some old research and got answers to my big questions.  The next day (Tuesday) I read "100 Top Picks Homeschool Curriculum," emailed Rosalinda's dad (who I thought would be my biggest obstacle), but he shocked me with immediate approval and support and even agreed to pay half of the curriculum cost!  So, Wednesday I purchased the curriculum I had picked out and ran past my seasoned homeschool mom and notified the school.  Thursday, I sent Tiff to school with the information that it would be her last day to allow her to say her goodbyes and get friend's info that she wanted to keep in contact with.  I asked her not to tell anyone and to make sure that she still did her best on everything that was assigned to her that day.  At the end of the day I went to her classroom, collected her supplies, and never looked back!

It happened quickly, but it was organized and a peaceful transition.  Both my child and I have enjoyed it more than we thought we would.  She is blossoming into a beautiful young lady and I couldn't imagine going back to work and missing it again!


  1. Your start of homeschool sounds much like ours. I pulled my daughter from public school in the middle of 1st grade because they decided that a)they were going to fail her in 1st grade because she was immature, and b)because of her behavior their choices were to paddle her or suspend her. Her "behavior issues" came to a head when she asked the teacher if the busy work she was handing out was for a grade. The teacher told her no, it was to keep them busy until lunch. My daughter (remember she was in 1st grade) told the teacher if it wasn't important enough for the teacher to grade, it was not important enough for her (my daughter) to do, crossed her arms and refused to do any more work. Of course, there were many, many meetings with the school and teachers, and the guidance department. I knew that homeschooling was going to become the only viable option, and it terrified me! I found a curriculum (Time4Learning) that not only made me comfortable but thrilled my daughter and we jumped in to homeschooling head first! Like you, we have never looked back, in fact, I cannot imagine any other way of educating my daughter now. Thank you so much for sharing! It is always wonderful to hear success stories, especially from those who didn't start out homeschooling! Happy summer!

    1. Another reader, Kerry, recommended an ebook from Time4Learning for new homeschoolers on the post "So, I'm Thinking About Homeschooling". I'm glad there are resources out there to take some of the stress out making the transition. :)

      I had to laugh at your daughter's logic. Even though my child never exercised it on a teacher, I remember having a talk with Miss Rosalinda about her behavior toward a girl at her daycare. She matter-of-factly informed me that they had been taught the golden rule and since the girl had treated Rosalinda that way, she obviously wanted the same treatment in return. *forehead smack* It took some effort to not laugh at her seriousness.

      Hope you enjoy your summer as well! :)