Thursday, October 3, 2013

Balancing Act- Kids and School

I have both sides of this school thing at my house right now. We have one in public school and 2 who home school. I can't tell you which one is easier. I honestly think that it is an even draw on difficulty.

Home school-
This is the hardest thing I have ever done. I am far from being a teacher and this proves it everyday. But I get a lot more say in what my kids are learning than I did when they were in public school. It is also a lot of stress. And in full disclosure we do not do traditional homeschool. We are actually enrolled in a Georgia charter school named Georgia Cyber Academy. So my kids have teachers and they do everything that they would in a regular public school. But we have flexibility. If they are struggling then we slow down until they get it. We have teachers that we can go to if we need them. And all records are kept for the state without me having to do it. It also means that they do all state testing. However they are at home and I am their primary teacher. So the fact that Josh struggles with reading is all on me. I am their teacher. I am with them for all of it. And there are days that it is not a good thing. I am trying to balance being their mom with being their teacher and it is not easy at all.
It also is a lot of together time. Add that to a 3 year old who I had fully planned on starting school with this year and hello craziness. Needless to say he has not started school. It's all I can do some days to finish school with the other two. It takes on a whole new level of balance.

My advice:
- BREATHE!!!!!
- Walk away if you are getting frustrated. It will only get worse.
- Remember that they are kids and they are learning.
- Ask for help if you need to.
-Take breaks and just go out in the yard or on a walk. When you come back, you will be surprised at the attitude change.

Public School-
My oldest is in honor classes and also is involved in Academic Quiz Bowl. That being said I am sure that the amount of homework he has is proportional to that. But he comes home some days with 4 hours of homework. And somedays he comes home with "Parent homework". Oh yes, you read that right. Worksheets for ME to do. And then I see some of the stuff that is required from the classes that my other children would have been in and I AM SO GLAD THEY ARE AT HOME. I am all for being involved but y'all the amount of costumes, projects, and other things is bordering on crazy. And field trips plus the cost- don't even get me started.

So here is my advice:
- If you have kids in school and they have a project. LET THEM DO IT. It doesn't have to be perfect. It isn't expected to be. And teachers can tell the difference.
- You work. You can't go on every field trip. Try to go on at least one a year if you can.
- All these costumes can add up. Let your teachers know that you can't afford it and ask if they can try to limit them.
- If there is an award's ceremony- do your best to be there. I know that it isn't always possible. I've been there. But always make sure that your child knows how proud you are of them.
- Keep an open line of communication with all your kid's teachers. Ask them questions. Just don't badger them. And remember that ultimately the grades are your child's responsibility not the teachers. If they don't study or get help then the teacher can't do anything about the fact that they failed a test. She taught them. She is there if they have questions. Don't blame her for your child's grades.

School is one of those things that we either have all the control over or no control over. Be involved. Be proactive.

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