Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hard Decisions

Today is an important day for those of us here in The Holler. Today we took Baby O out of public school.

We are elated! We are terrified.......But the reality is that Baby O has since the day she started school functioned at least  3 to 4 years ahead of the other students even in preschool. Her teacher suggested that she be moved ahead at least one grade and the administration declined. This created more problems than anyone will ever understand. The other children thought she was bossy and controlling and she WAS. She read when the other children were just learning their alphabet. As a second grader she read at a seventh grade level. She won every spelling bee. Every essay contest. Every writing contest. The other children cried. The other parents complained.  Baby O cried because people were  mean to her and she didn't understand why. We cried because we could do a d**n thing about it. We complained to the school. The reality of that situation is that a small school isn't equipped with the man power or funding for anything special for kids like Baby O. We lingered for 12 years. Two years of preschool, one year of kindergarten and 9 years of school.

This was a hard thing for O Wise One. His roots are deep in the area. His Mom and Dad worked for the school.  So did his Aunt. His family has been in this area for almost 200 years. His sense of community is powerful. For him to remove his daughter from the local school was a huge step and a sign of just how at the end of our rope we really are. We prayed and looked for alternatives. With monumental state and federal budget cuts small rural schools are struggling to stay afloat. They are losing teachers and programs at an alarming rate. For students like Baby O there were no alternatives even when the funding was there. There are no longer debate teams, no longer kids playing in a band or a music program past the second grade. So much for that clarinet setting in Baby O's closet. It had come to the point where she was spending 15 or 20 minutes in a class doing her work and the rest of her time free reading. She was reading 10 to 15 large books a week in class! But she was making straight A's and bringing up their test scores so they  (the school) were happy. The school refused to move her ahead to more difficult classes or allow her to graduate early. They were both against the rules. She must stay in school for the allotted 4 years because that is how their federal funding is based. On the number of butts in the desks. We could sell our house and move to a different school district. But would it be any better? We could sue the school and alienate our friends and neighbors and an entire town.

Our chosen alternative is to remove Baby O from public school and we have now enrolled her in an online High school through our state university. She will now go to school sitting at our computer and receive award winning gifted and even college level classes at home. She will graduate with a " college preparatory" diploma from our state university with even a cap and gown ceremony.  The cost will be incurred by us as her parents. We will continue to pay school taxes even though our local school was unable to meet the needs of our child There is no going back as her local school will not except these classes and if she chose to go back to public school they would make her retake all these classes. Wow what a society we have come to! They have lost a straight A student and she has lost the connection to kids she has been with since she was 3 years old. What have we allowed our education system to come to?  With only three years left until college maybe it is time we take control again of her education. It will be a change. But she welcomes it for the opportunity it allows her for better classes. She is so excited. More excited than I have seen her in years. O Wise One and I wish we had done it sooner. We keep telling ourselves we can do this! God is with us : )

Anyone want to give input on home schooling we welcome any and all input at this time.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. As a former public school teacher I am not surprised because I had a Baby O in class. The other teachers complained that they didn't know how to "hold her back". I was reprimanded for tutoring my Baby O during her recess (I was a music teacher). It saddens me. BUT she will be fine.

    I know little about home schooling but it will most likely be enlightening for your Baby O. I have noticed that many many people homeschool for, how do I say this, reasons other than academic.

    Good Luck!

  2. I applaude your decision and your efforts to better educate your daughter! You'll make it through this knowing Baby O is getting the education she well deserves. It's sad our public school systems can't meet the needs of our children.

  3. There are so many options out there for homeschooling. I homeschooled my girls for two years though homeschooling a highschooler is whole new ball game. I do know that one great thing about homeschooling in the high school years is that alot of courses can be counted as both high school credit and college. So she could enter college with almost her first year already completed. Research, research, research online and you will find many resources to further her education.

  4. Doing the happy dance here! Although we only endured one year of a child in half-time preschool and another child in the first grade, we had the same experience as you did. That's why we've been home schooling for the past 9 years, too. Besides, I just really like my kiddos and want them around:))

    Baby O sounds very competent to take this on~ good for her! And don't worry about the friend issue, the real ones will still be around.

    You'll all do great! Especially because Baby O is excited about it! Yippee!

  5. The problem with schools now is that they don't actually 'teach' any more. Everyone is given the same schooling and it's all substandard. It's not of the quality we had when we grew up. It should be better, but it's not. No one is really corrected on anything for fear of 'ruining their self-esteem'.

    If I had it to do all over again, I would probably keep my kids home for home study, too. I believe if you look on the internet, you will find lots of good home study information, and if you use it for an interest on Blogger, you'll probably find people who blog about it, too. I know one of the blogs I follow on Wordpress, Nigerianmeadows's Farm Diary, home schools her kids, so maybe you could email with her to get information.
    Good luck and congratulations! I know it will work out well. :)

  6. Reading these comments reaffirms my decision to quit teaching. I really really wanted to educate my students and not be a part of the complacency and babysitting I saw around me. Failing is part of life. I don't buy that self esteem garbage where everyone gets a trophy. Self esteem comes from within.

    This decision for Baby O is a very good one. She must have been miserable in school.

  7. You go for it! I did the same with my daughter many many years ago before 'online' schools were available. We pulled her out of school 4 days into the 10th grade. Check the community for extra curricular activities she can join in on, don't forget about your local library, they can be a big help. And, check with state and country run 'activities' as well. Do some internet me, it's all there. Everything will be fine. We used to home's just a matter of going back to the 'good ol' days'! CONGRATS!

  8. We have been homeshooling since 1991 and love it. Yes we do have "those days" but it has been well worth it.

    I suggest you check your state's homeshooling laws out on the specific requirements, etc. as each state is different. You can find the laws for your state at which is Homeshool Legal Defense Associate website, which you can register with, etc. in case any issue arises from the local superintendent, etc. pertaining Baby O's schooling. HSLDA attorneys will represent you in that matter, etc. all at the cost of your membership fee. You can get a discount if you are enrolled with a group that they are affiliate with (homeschool satellite school, etc.)

    Good luck and best wishes in this new adventure to your family!

  9. I know nothing of home schooling but do know some children that do. They are far ahead of the public school system.

    In Arkansas, after homeschooling, I think a GED test is taken and on from there. One young lady I know, did so well on her GED and SAT she received a scholarship to college.

    I have no doubt Baby O will excell in this environment. You can still fit the social stuff in locally. You are good parents and if she is excited, then this is the right thing to do.

  10. I think you made the right decision. We struggled with our twins too but we lived in a large city where options were available to the gifted. Ours just graduated so won't suffer the budget cuts that lead to devastating program loss. We forgot omewhere along the line that school is about chidren- not politcs, teachers, Standardized tests. I wish I coud offer you advise but I only homeschooled briefly.

  11. We homeschooled our daughter, now 29, from lst through 12th grade, using a curriculum that I pulled together myself from various publishers. My daughter went on to graduate from the University of Washington with honors. By the time they're in high school, they mostly just take the materials and run with them. The only issues my daughter had when switching to college was learning to work to deadlines and notetaking skills, as neither of these skills were much required with our homeschool. She picked them up easily. With as much public school behind her as your daughter has, she'll have no problems. Since she's doing a college-sponsored high school, some of the classes may count for college credit also. Good luck!

  12. First you have to be their for your daughter and not the school. Public school need to learn that they have to challenge the smarter kids and show the way for the other kids. My son was in a gifted program in his early years, but because of budget cuts this money was used for the slower kids. A mind is nothing to waste. Please keep us updated and how the new challenge in homework is. Big hugs to all three of you for doing this! Keep the faith and the path will light up for you.


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