Faith, Flour, & Sawdust

Public to Home to Public Schooling

Public, Private, Homeschool

This has been written over the course of a few years. I am a mother of three children; 25, 19, & 14. We have been through public and private schooling with our children. Our 19-year-old went through the local public high school, she now attends Webster University. We took a year off the public and tried homeschooling with our 14-year-old boy, in his 5th-grade year due to the school system failing us.

Public failed Us 3rd time around,

We had a horrible time in the second grade with the youngest, the teacher didn’t understand him and said she didn’t have time to figure him out. We had a lot of tears shed that year, by parents and kid. We also had a bully that picked fights on the bus and beat the crap beat out of him one day in PE.

Third grade was a huge improvement and the teacher really tried and worked with us. I took a part-time job at the school to have an active hand in things. We still had the bully and the fights were getting worse. Finally, as my mother-in-law was dying and I was taking care of her, my son had enough with the bully and beat him up and my kid was punished and the bully off scott-free. *The bully never picked on him again. Monster Child had an issue sitting still, so early in the year we took his chair away and he sat on an exercise ball. The exercise ball made him focus, strengthened his core, and allowed him to have a bouncy rhythm that helped to keep him calm. The teacher also demanded that the school test him for a speech delay.

He is on a spectrum, not sure which

Monster Child has born deaf and gradually developed his hearing over the first two years of life. He didn’t babble until he was 8 months old. His speech was delayed from early on. We were always open and told the school repeatedly about this. We noticed it getting worse in second grade and asked the teacher, she blew it off.His third-grade teacher heard it and did something about it.

Monster Child was in Speech Therapy for almost 2 years, through the school system. He works on his “sh”, “ch”, and”th” sounds. It is a fine motor skill that comes from the back of the throat.

Fourth grade has not been without the tears either. We have a new bully this year and it is a girl! Even better is that her mother is a teacher at the school. The bonus is that my oldest is good friends with the girl’s older half-brothers. This child can do no wrong at the school…. ::snicker::. I have seen this child manipulate adults to her will. She does a thing to provoke reactions from others and then plays the victim.

Wentzville School District

Another issue we have is the class sizes. Now Missouri is getting on board with the idea that having a manageable class size really does make a difference in how well students do in school. Having smaller classes mean that children learn more, they have the better achievement and they have better life outcomes if they’re in smaller classes. The average class size in the United States has increased 5 percent, to almost 22 students per classroom. We are way above that!! According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 22 also is the average class size in Missouri. Missouri is now saying that class sizes need to be 18-20 students. Our school will be raising class sizes next year to close to 30 students to one teacher!

The last issue I will talk about is the staff itself at the school. I have seen these teachers in the classroom, away from parents and I can honestly say I am not impressed with the 5th-grade teacher options. I have seen them yell and scream at the kids, I have heard the teachers call the students names. The fifth-grade classes at the school are the most unhappy kids I have seen. The thought of Monster Child being in one of those classes makes me want to run screaming from them.

Well, that is kind of what we are doing. We are turning and high-tailing it out of there for the 5th-grade year.

Missouri Law

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states in the U.S., however, each state has different levels of regulation and guidelines.

  • States requiring no notice include Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Texas.

Yep, I am in Missouri!  DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) does not regulate homeschooling. There is no registration for homeschooling.  There are very few rules given to us about homeschooling in Missouri. This is what we are told and the guidance we get.

According to Section 167.031 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, a parent or guardian of a child, between the ages of seven (7) and seventeen (17) years of age, shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools. Any parent may educate a child at home. The parent does not need a teaching certificate or need to meet any education requirements in order to provide home instruction.

If a parent decides to homeschool, he or she must offer 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics, which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. At least 400 of the 600 hours shall occur in the home location.

** By the way, most kids spend 900 hours in a school!**

A parent who is homeschooling a child must maintain the following records:
  1. A plan book, diary, daily log, or other written record indicating the subjects taught and the activities engaged in with the student;
  2. A portfolio containing samples of the student’s academic work;
  3. A record of evaluation of the student’s academic progress; or
  4. Other writing, or credible evidence equivalent to a, b, and c.
  5. The school year is defined as beginning July 1 and ending the next June 30.
  6. Children with disabilities attending a home school program may receive special education services provided by the local school district, in accordance with Section 162.996 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, and the State Plan for Special Education.

Section 167.042 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, states that a parent or guardian may notify the superintendent of schools or the recorder of county deeds, in the county where the child legally resides, of their intent to homeschool. This is to be done before September 1 annually. Home-schooled students do not register with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Homeschool Year

We had a great year homeschooling. It had its ups and downs, had its tears and giggles. Looking back on it now we were doing things he is now doing in 8th grade. All in all, homeschooling was good and we settled into a nice routine. We got along well and I think that helps. Besides, it is always a good thing when school includes making BROWNIES!!

I remember as a child learning and memorizing my multiplication tables. It was something you just had to learn and you HAD to memorize. Now in the public school system, they say they don’t have time to make the kids memorize and it is not that important. NOT THAT IMPORTANT? It means the world, I can fly through 5th-grade math problems because I have memorized and retained that information from 4th grade. It drives my son crazy that this is easy for me and hard for him. We have had complete meltdowns at the kitchen table over this subject.

We worked with Khan Academy to help explain the concepts better than I can. We also use a whiteboard to work out the problems. Experience has shown us, it doesn’t matter if you get the problem right, you have to show your work. Our oldest son could work the problem in his head but failed to show his work and failed many tests in high school for this simple reason. So, while simple math makes us cry we continued on. We will continue to learn and memorize multiplication tables, Maybe Legos will help? They did!

Wind Walking

I give my dad one job, watch the boy. Understand my dad is a pilot and flies for a living, he also has a small private plane. This is the photo I received while in the hospital with my daughter. I had to be with my high school daughter while she was in the hospital being treated for MRSA.

Now he is training to be a wind walker. How do I fit this into my homeschooling?

Science – aerodynamics, wind speed, how to properly fall from 10,000 feet up

Health – first aid, how to properly bandage broken limbs

no more ER visits 101

Psychology – how to drive your mom crazy and into a home in 1 easy step.

I guess we look at this as a unique learning experience for two days!

Our way of learning

I decided to piece together my curriculum because that is what I believed would be best for us as we are on a tight budget and the kids are at different levels than they may be in public schools. I second guessed myself, I didn’t know what I should be teaching him, and worried about what if he went back to public school and would he be left behind.

First thing, if he goes back to public school they will test him and put him where he needs to be. Plus, he is working one on one with me and we are moving at a much faster pace than the public schools. He is not being left behind.

This is how we put together our curriculum.

  • I bought the books What your Fifth Grader Needs to Know and What your sixth Grader Needs to Know.
  • I bought teacher planner and I went through and marked the days we would not have school. We don’t go to school on Fridays and we are taking Thanksgiving week off and two weeks at Christmas, Spring Break is two weeks, and what not. I write everything in pencil in case things change
  • I then opened up the What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know book and I started with one subject and started filling in the days.
  • I used Khan Academy for math and some science.
  • I subscribed to Brain Pop to help with other things. Math, Science, History, Health, and Art.
  • We also found matching Magic School Bus episodes to help with subjects.
  • I found free spelling lists here.
  • I bought one of the grade level Comprehensive Curriculum workbooks and use it for math, lang. arts, reading comp, and a bit of science.
  • I used a site Schoology to make computer tests and as a digital planner.
  • We used Duolingo for our Spanish, Flashcard Stash for our flashcards, and Timemaps for social studies.

Back to Public School

6th grade we went back to public school, middle school. They tested him and put him in the correct math class. 6th grade was a great year, we had no issues. 7th grade we had a few bully issues, but it is to be expected. 8th grade we have had a few issues but it is a puberty and just being a boy. Thank goodness I know his principal, went to high school with him and he has been a principal to all three of my kids.

My kid has continued to make honor roll every quarter and semester since returning to public school. His teachers say that he is a great kid and is above the learning curve.

While our back and forth way may not work for everyone, it worked for us. It was his Gap year. We did things in a very hands-on approach and that is what he needed not what the school needed.

I want you to have a blessed day, love the ones you are with, and remember we are not guaranteed tomorrow.