For those of you who follow my other blog, you know that I home school my four boys. I home schooled during my High school years and loved it. My husband went to PS his entire school life. He went to a small town school where his Mom, Aunt, and other friends,family, and church members worked. He decided that he wanted our children to attend PS. So, off they went. Lane started Kindergarten in 2004, and Jacob started in 2007. In 2008, after the birth of our 4th son, I finally had convinced my husband that homeschooling wasn't such a bad idea.
Lane started out as a very smart student. He learned things very fast, was reading at a 5th grade level within the 1st half of Kindergarten. His teacher continued to praise him throughout the year. Not that I'm bragging, or anything! ;-) By the time he was in the2nd grade, he started having problems. His handwriting was getting worse instead of better. He was having trouble with Multiplication in 3rd grade. Sometimes he did fair on his Spelling Test, and sometimes he didn't do well at all. Sometimes, he'd bring home a great test, but it was rare. I kept thinking that something was gonna have to give, but wasn't sure what to do. I knew Lane was smarter than his work was showing. The notes on his papers were always the same. " Lane, you need to improve your handwriting." "Lane, you need to slow down and pay attention to the details." "Lane, you...etc...." They were telling him to improve, but not helping him improve. My husband and I were getting fed up. Lane's attitude was suffering. The kids at school had foul mouths, saying things I had never heard before. He was frustrated, I was frustrated, and so was Anthony.
Jacob started school, following in his brother's footsteps. He was very bright, and was actually surpassing Lane. His teacher was continually praising him. The problem we were having with Jacob, was the attitude. Public School seemed to change my sweet, loving boys overnight. I was dreading the fact that I was going to have to send my other two to a place that was changing them into brats.
By the time our 4th son was born, my husband had had enough with the school. We decided that we'd pull Lane out of school when Blake started Kindergarten. That would have been August, 2010. When Lane started 4th grade in '08, we knew we were not going to be able to wait two whole years. Things were going downhill fast. I finally told my husband that I didn't want to wait. I wanted to pull them out the following year, and I wanted to pull both of them out. After talking it over, he agreed. We knew we were going to have to start figuring out how we were going to pay for it all, but we ha a few months to decide what we were going to do. We knew we were going to have to find a curriculum that I felt comfortable teaching. I needed structure and guidance. There was no way I was going to go into this without a plan. I checked into Christian Light Education. I was familiar with it, because I had use it when I home schooled. I discovered that the curriculum had been updated and was better than before. I ordered samples and decided that was what we were doing. Now, all we had to do was wait til Income Tax Time, order the books, and wait til the fall.
I didn't want to wait. I was finding myself crying some days. Jut because I as having to send my boys 2 blocks up the road for 8 hours everyday. A friend of mine told me she still had all the books we had used years ago. Her children had used them, too, and she had kept them all. If I wanted, I could use them. She knew that the reason we were waiting, was because of lack of funds. After talking it over with Anthony, we decided to take her up on her offer. The boys were home the first of November, 2008. We were ecstatic. But, my bubble burst soon after.
I found out right quick, that the work was VERY outdated. I knew it was old, I just never realized HOW old. The samples I had received were showing that Lane should be doing double digit multiplication, and he was doing double digit subtraction. With State Required Testing coming up, I knew we were going to have to get the newer math. We had him doing the new math by the end of the year. There were some other problems with the curriculum, but we figured we'd fix all that when we got the next year's work. I ordered Lane's fifth grade and Jacob's 2nd grade work, in March. When it came in, I was so excited, I couldn't wait until they got to use it.
Then came the test date. I was very nervous for Lane. He was so far behind in math, and I knew the Language Arts wasn't any better. But, he had great scores. The thing that told my husband and me that we were doing the right thing, though, was when Lane looked at his Daddy, and said, "I think I've learned more in these last few months that I did in all the years I was in Public School!" I tell you, my heart soared!
We never did finish last years work. I gave both boys a diagnostic test for math and language arts, found out that they were where I needed them to be, and gave them the summer off. In August, we started over with fresh ideas and fresh attitudes. Jacob took to the new work with flying colors. He was really enjoying himself. He was getting done with all his work in less than 3 hours most days. I've decided that the work isn't challenging enough for him. But, it works for now. Lane, had a few troubles getting back into the groove of things, though. He's still having trouble with multiplication and division, Language Arts is giving him fits, and the other stuff is slow going. I was at my wits end last month, when my sister said something that reminded me of a curriculum I'd seen online.
I began to do a lot of research in the Charlotte Mason Methods. I fell in love. And with a year of schooling under my belt, I decided I was ready to branch out and try something different. So, the boys are going to continue with what we have, but we're planning to order a total new deal in February, when the Taxes come in. The boys are excited about changing and so am I. CLE was what I needed to get my confidence up, and to show the boys that it could be done, but, it's time to move on.
We are going to stick with CLE for now, get back in the groove of things, improve our skills, and patiently (tongue in cheek) wait for the time to come for us to get our new things. Oh the wonders of Home Schooling! Charlotte Mason, here we come! lol
Lane is ten.
Jacob is seven and a half
Blake is five