Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Discouraged, defeated, disappointed in Myself

I can not talk about this to anyone. I tried today to a friend, she IMMEDIATELY and practically screamed in my ear, put them back in public school. I have to sort through this logically for myself, and you are now in this with me so can appreciated better than anyone else the problem. I bought into this plan years ago, with my whole heart, home education to me was the best solution for a truly progressive 21st century education. I believe that my education was inadequate, that the peer issues growing up destroyed what fragments of self esteem that I had after an horrendously battered family and abusive alcoholism and all the lovelies that go along with it. SOCIALIZATION did nothing for me but make a septic situation toxic. Todays situation in our local school doesn't even come close to being that good, I graduated two through the system and it was a disservice to them on a global scale. Daily I am reminded when I assist my college freshman daughter to formulate a simple sentence. So the need for a home based education with someone that is dedicated to the highest level of qualifications is necessary. Our system is broken. I thought that I could teach, after all, I am brilliant at field trips, teaching outside of the box is myspeciality. when it comes to finding National Geographic and Eyewitness Videos, I am the Queen. when it comes to online interactive websites that teach a topic, or make a lesson fun, I am your go to girl. I can take the mundane and make it fun and interesting. I have projects on the shelf that we have not begun to get to. growing crystals, exploring swamps, looking at life through a magnifying glass. I can do that. But when it comes to dragging through each and every single freaking math lesson in OLS, and trying to match up each social studies lesson with the History Channel DVD's, augh, I would rather have a root canal. I do not feel comfortable sitting at the front of the class room, droning on about this lesson or that lesson, and I know that my kids feel completely lost without someone droning on so they just coast along waiting for me to take them by the hand, hold the food over their mouths and feed them like little birds. Here is the ideal situation: I took them to Glacier National Park for a week this summer. We had to get up, walk down to the trailhead, meet a park ranger that would guide us on a 3 - 4 hour tour and talk about glaciation, erosion, and what happens during a glacial event. it was brilliant and interesting. I see them paying attention, I see them engaging with the ranger. I see that they get it. we are good. if they didn't, I ask them later on some questions and I clarify with additional details so that they do comprehend it, and I consider the lesson complete. THAT I can do. Here is were it gets complicated. In the Online Learning School, which when it comes to progress, accountability, and ease of use I do appreciate. I have more anxiety about progress, tracking, did I give too much credit, not enough credit, did we do enough to satisfy, not enough, too much? did I sign off on an objective when we really didn't get it learned thoroughly? we are at 23% in some areas and 47% in others, when will I realize that I missed an objective, what if I spent too much time on this, and not enough time on that? Wouldn't it be easier or better to just sent them back and accept mediocre or worse? Now all the bleeding ulcers aside. I can reassure myself after the standardized tests right? (closing eyes in surrender) About those standardized tests. well.. see this is how it went last year. my child was not reading when we pulled him from Brick and Mortar, and went VA. I can tell you without a doubt that I FIXED THAT, The good news is that I waved the reading fairie wand, added in a Kindle and the reading problem is solved, he is reading voraciously, and while TXVA was in the picture, they didn't help with his special needs, despite requests that they do, no assistance, no adaptations, no plan for an individualized education plan. I (as it has been my experience through absolutely every other special needs situation that I have solved with my children, it is MY fierce determination to solve the problem, NO ONE else will see my struggles and rescue me, I have to do it myself and after while that does get old). Reading is solved, and TAKS testing demonstrated that. now for MATH. that was not so good last year, and this year is not looking any better, and worse we are tested on WRITING. LOVELY. so here I am, being sucked into the VORTEX from the 7th circle of hell.. STANDARDIZED test anxiety. To make things worse, my spouse is tolerating this experiment, he does not agree with home school, he does not agree with fighting the system. He is a happy huddle masses kind of guy that thinks schooling should be left to the professionals. So even getting him to talk to them about not cooperating with assignments is difficult at best. He keeps putting it back on me, if I were 'watching them better' they would be more compliant with the work. and that is were we are getting to the point of this diatribe. They do not want to do the work. they hate the work. They would rather take a nap than do the work. logging in to work on the OLS math or completing the vocabulary worksheets is root canal for them. They absolutely do not want to work on a composition and to get them requires that I threaten to put them on the rack and other tools used by the Inquisition. Each day is like that, a struggle to get compliance and no appreciation for the opportunity that they have been afforded. So here I sit. Wondering why I am doing this to them and myself. If it is only important to me, and I am the only one fighting for it, is it my problem that I am failing? is it my inadequacies that makes me a poor teacher? When I ask the weekly question, do you really want to go back there and go through all the pain and suffering of public school they are quick to say no, but also do not make efforts to make progress in a measurable way in the OLS. So do I continue to find ways to teach them that work for me, and just check off lessons even if I do not feel that they are EXACTLY correlated to what we learned? do I try to be more of a 'textbook' teacher even though I do not have that gift? do I just close my eyes and cry? last week I talked to my teacher about the challenges that I am dealing with regarding the writing and my child that could use the resources and I even talked to the resource teacher, both were sympathetic, but clueless of what to do to help this student. they suggested a different pencil might help. that friendly emails to him might help. (we did that at the beginning of the year and would would answer with one word replies.) I do not think that my work is done, I do not think that it will resolve itself to send him back to school to be taught to write, I just do not know what to do. I do not have the resources available and I do not even know where to start. I wish that a break would help, but sadly we just came off from a 7 week break, so that "they are burned out" is not the problem. OLS gives me Anxiety TAKS gives me Anxiety my kids gives me Anxiety Where are the flowers for my hair, the wool socks for my feet, and the tie dye wrap around dress that I can wear skipping through the fields of white Daisies? I am pretty sure that was part of the advertisement in the brochure.

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