Thursday, December 1, 2016

Education woes

I know, this is a pathetic problem to have - I know I sound whiny.  However, our kids education is VERY important to us.  Get a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long post.

With our first two, homeschool was never an option.  There were public schooled ALL the way.  I really did not like how more and more, the education became all about the test.  They were tested all the time - chapter test, unit test, benchmark test, pre-pre-pre-pre Star Test, pre-pre-pre Star Test, pre-pre Star Test, pre Star Test, Star Test, semester test, pop quizzes, pre-benchmarks, etc, etc. This is per class by the way.

Now, I am not against tests.  I test my homeschool children.  They get chapter quizzes, spelling quizzes, Unit tests, and I do test them once a year with a national testing company to make sure we are the right track.  (Maybe if I ask really sweetly or even demand, if the kids do good, hubs can give me a bonus - very sarcastic)

Besides that, I do not like how the teachers have their hands tied when it comes to educating the kids.  I am not a teacher basher, I am a system basher.

So, given all this and the issues I had with one particular teacher and my daughter, we decided to homeschool the younger two when they were going into 3 & 4th grades.  The first year was wonderful, we did so many things explored history - they learned all the countries of the middle east (amazing) and they both excelled.  The second year, I was worried about them not having enough friends, so we enrolled them in a one day a week class.  It was still going great!

Then pre-puberty hit, and my daughter was getting tired of homeschool, she missed her friends.  Darrell and I, at that time went a local private school that we LOVE!!!  We were going to make it work, but then ultimately decided that it was not the right choice at the time.  Which I am glad we did, because then, the oil industry tanked and we had to change jobs and take a pay cut.

They went back to public school.  It was awful!  They came home crying most days, Koen was beyond bullied, Laney was so bored, she was getting headaches and saying her stomach hurt, Koen sat alone at lunch for 1/2 of the time because of the bullying - he eventually found a group when he got to middle school and joined band.  By Christmas, Koen was begging to be homeschooled again.  When he got his teeth pulled out in March, I just took him out of school.  I was done.  Laney, said she was not sure whether she wanted to homeschool again.  I did not pressure her.  She asked to be homeschooled 2 weeks later.  School was not all it was cracked up to be.

They were happy as larks. 

Now, we are still homeschooling, but my business has completely taken off!  I am struggling to balance homeschooling them AND running my business.  The house has completely gone away - we even stopped having cleaners come in to help with the debt aspect.

OK, so a couple of months ago, I came across this school that is part private/part homeschool.  PERFECT COMBINATION!  I would not have to scourge the earth to find good curriculum and try to figure out how to use it, implement it, enhance it, adjust it, etc, etc.  Not to mention grade and track it.  This I could do!

So, we go to an informational meeting.  It is a little too Bible Thumping for us, but not overly so.  They taught following the Classical Method - the trivium - Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric with focus on the liberal arts - rich Literature, History, Latin, Logic along with Math and Science.  Exactly the way I am trying to homeschool them.  It seemed like a great fit.  They would go 2 days a week and I would homeschool (really just monitor since they are in the upper levels), so we could still do extra-curriculars. 

We filled out all their paperwork, I tested the kids - it was a long hard day!We had t get a reference from our minister, but since we don't g to church, we asked our best friend, which happens to be a lay-leader at an Episcopal Church.  Got a good reference from the educator at the small school we went to, in which I am a judge at the Houston Area Spelling Bee which this school sponsors.

Then, we sat back and waited.  Last night, I received an email.  No call, No interview - just we are not a good fit for their school and we will not be admitted.

Many have said, "Maybe it is a good thing."  I am sure, but this was how I was going to have my cake and eat it too.   My kids would get what we consider the best education we could possibly give them and I could still have my business.

Alas, that is not to be.

Are their other schools, not really.  There is another one just like it, and I will check to see what their policy is on the requirement of attending church.  Which, by the way, is the reason we were not admitted - we do not attend church.  But they sound very similar, so I am not holding my breath.

So, that leaves us with 3 choices.

1. They go back to public school.  I take valium and alcohol for the next five years, meditate to forget the education we planned for them, and continue with the business.

2. They can go to the wonderful, but pricey full time private school that has the same educational plan as us.  Knowing full well, that I'll need to work like a mad woman to be able to afford it.  Remember, we have one in college that we are trying to get through debt free.

3.  I stop the business, educate them myself.  Problem is, I am always the one to sacrifice and the work feeds a part of me that is very deep.  When I am not creating and making, I get very depressed and things do not go well.

I don't know we are going to do yet.  I am leaning toward #3, but I still do not know if it will work the entire 5 years.  Taking it one year at a time in elementary is fine, but homeschooling through high school is more difficult.  You have to track, carefully, they need this for college!

There are my educational woes.  I could be worse off, I know.  Many go through public just fine, I have one who is in engineering so I know!  People make the money work through private school, I know.  People make it through teaching their kids at home all the way through - I KNOW!!!

What makes it hard is choosing between my business and educating my children. 

Do I make enough to send them to private school?  Not both, one - yes.  Not two. 

Something we are possibly considering is sending my daughter this nest year since she is going into 9th grade.  I pay for it, then my son follows the next year when we are out of debt.

But again, we are getting older, we need to save more.

Ah, hell, I have no idea!!!


  1. It seems like you have really struggled with this over the years and I hope you find a solution that works for everyone.

    1. Thank you - I don't think it will stop until we they are in college. I let it go at that point - it is up to them. 5 years and counting!

  2. Can you cut your work by 50% and still home school? High school tends to not be easy for anyone. Maybe it's better for your kids if they tough it out at public school. There were a lot of days I wanted to quit but that wasnt an option my mom had to work. So maybe it's time for your kids to realize their mom needs to work too and life doesn't always go as you want it to.

    1. I have been thinking about how to do that. My problem, and it is my problem, I cannot say no. That special bear made from clothes, that quilt from clothes (from dead people's clothes mind you), that scout's blanket, the tshirt quilt for graduation, I am a sucker for ALL the sob stories! My fear in cutting it, is that it will build back up. It would be a balancing act like now and the business is winning. That is why I feel like I have to choose one or the other.

    2. Also, school is not academically challenging for them, it is to easy. The education system here, at least, is not what it was back when I was in high school. It has been dumbed down. We want more for our kids. They will do fine in whatever situation, I know that. It is more getting over my mind! LOL

  3. I homeschool my three children, and I completely see your dilemma. Whenever I find myself feeling overwhelmed, and like I have no time for my own interests, I stop and think about why I started homeschooling. When I let go of everything else and re-focus my energy on educating my children, everything starts to run smoothly again. I understand you have a business you would like to run. But I can't imagine trying to do both! My advice would be to focus your time and effort on your children for the next five years, if you think you can provide the best education for them. 5 years will go by fast! You can then focus your time on your business. Maybe in the meantime, do it for more of a hobby on the side? I know this is a personal choice that only you can make for your family. I know you'll come up with the best decision. I wish you the best!

  4. Hmmm....I homeschooled on and off, and now have them all in public school, sqve one class for dd, (in which she struggles.) If I remember, Texas is an all or nothing state, isn't it? (Ie: you can't just send them for, say, band and foreign language?) I would, if I were you, homeschool. I would finish my current business projects, then close orders until May. For what it's worth, we live in this area BECAUSE of the schools. As for bullying, it was horrible in TX--something about affluent suburbia turns kids and their parents, teachers too, into monsters. In this place, that is not tolerated. Still, in curriculum/testing, their hands are becoming tied tighter. Can you homeschool until they can qualify for dual enrollment at a community college, in junior year of high school? Here, they only need to be enrolled in the district, yet can, based on placement tests, take all their classes at the community colleges. They only show up at the high school for their once a quarter meeting with the guidance counselor. The beauty of this program is one college quarter equals one year of high school coursework.
    I feel for you. It's hard. Be thankful your kids are willing to work with you, though. (Speaking as a mother of a know-it-all...pains me to know how this will end up for him.)
    In any case, they do grow up fast--too fast. Before you know it, they will have all left the nest, and you will be a "bird watcher."

  5. I don't really have a solution to propose either but it seems to me that you love your business and it is important not only financially but for your mental health. Is there a chance you could put your foot down more on the business side - get tough and set more realistic deadlines for your quilts so that you are not wearing yourself out but people still get the quilts they are asking for. Good luck. Anna