January 26, 2015 by multiracialsky
This minimal collection of information below makes me feel proud of what my child has accomplished in the past three weeks. It also makes me feel a little sick at the wasted time in the past few school years (and that I know continues daily for my three children attending traditional school).
More to the point, I know that traditional school struggles to connect with and reach my child in part because my child is Black. This particular child of mine is smart, whip smart. Finished kindergarten and most of first-grade-level academic work in their homeschool kindergarten year (and then went on to gain ZERO academically in their first grade year at school, but that’s another story). I’m not saying my child is ‘easy’ (they’re not), but their untapped academic potential makes me worried for every Black child in this school system, in most school systems. It’s the system that’s the main problem, and I can’t fix that in time for this child of mine to get an educational fair shake at this point. So we’ve returned to homeschooling. As parents, we’ve set aside our philosophical belief in public education and our belief in families well-versed in social and racial justice issues keeping themselves involved in public schools for the good of all children. We’ve made the choice that is best serving our child, and our family. With three kids still attending two different public schools, we haven’t pulled out completely.
However, sometimes ideals and reality are forced to meet and shake hands. And here’s our reality: In less than three school-weeks, my child has accomplished the following in the area of traditional academics:
- 157 workbook pages
- 50% of grade-level Math for the year has been mastered
- On pace to complete the entire grade-level year of Language Arts by mid-March
- Double-time Spelling (2 lists/tests a week)
- Read out loud 68 consecutive pages in a chapter book (Level N)
- Read independently 103 consecutive pages in a chapter book (Level O)
NOTE 1: We started in January with beginning-of-the-school-year grade-level work. So far, all concepts we have encountered together are ‘new’ to my child. As parents, our primary considerations in choice of school—and in our return to homeschooling—are not academic. However, the obvious academic deficits in our bright child with no ‘learning differences’ are disturbing.
NOTE 2: We are not sitting at the kitchen table doing workbooks 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. On the contrary, we do school-work only when sibs are also in school, and we have had some significant diversions (3-day emergency foster placement of a one-week-old baby, visiting a private school, errands, and a 3-day school week). This child also plays on a hockey team that has 4-5 hours of ice time each week, including practices and games.
*This is not intended to be a bragging post. This is intended to be a what was my child doing all day at school?? post.