When I put the girls in the charter school at the beginning of the school year, I had really high hopes for Isabelle. They made it sound like they would do anything and everything to help her where shes struggles. And she did have tutoring in math and reading. But her grades despite the tutoring were awful. The only reason she didn't have an F in English was because her teacher took pity on her and didn't count some of her work. Now, I don't demand that my kids to be on the honor roll, but I honestly think that if my kid is getting "help", she should be able to at least pass a course without the teacher fudging the score. Worse than that, though, her confidence tanked. I can't tell you how many times Iz has told me that she is stupid. That just breaks my heart. She's not stupid in the least. But she's like the fish expected to climb a tree... she doesn't learn the same way as the other kids, she is most likely dyslexic and reading is far more challenging because her brain processes what she sees differently. She's very smart though and if you give her water to swim in, it's beautiful to watch. She just doesn't climb trees.
So, after a lot of thought, we finally decided we would try homeschooling her. We are doing K12, which is a nationwide curriculum (and they don't like for you to call it "homeschool"... it's online learning, but I think I put in enough work to call it what I please, if you want my opinion.) To be honest, I thought Izzy would spend a few hours a day being taught online and I'd just basically be there to make sure she got things done. Oh, no. We spend approximately 6 hours a day side by side and at least half the curriculum is taught by me. Older students are usually more independent, but as young as she is and with her difficulty reading, there aren't many independent activities.
It's exhausting. I work a full time job. I get up at 4:30am, get to work by 5:30, work until 1:30pm and then go home to spend 6 hours glued to my 9 year old with a few breaks to go pick up her sisters from school, feed everyone dinner and supervise homework, chores, etc. Then it's pretty much bedtime for the girls and I get about 2 hours before I go to bed at 10.... during which I just turn on my audiobook and veg out. I'm just too tired to do anything else.
Don't get me wrong. I'm actually really enjoying it. Other than the struggle to get her motivated to get focused, the rest of it is pretty fun. I was always a total nerd in school and I thoroughly enjoy going over all this stuff. It's a ton of work for me, but I like it. It's fun to watch her learn and it's awesome to see her light up when she gets 100% on an assessment or assignment. And it happens more than it doesn't. The child THRIVES on attention, she always has. I'm sure that's why she was such a maniac when she was smaller... even negative attention fuels her... but this one on one time with me, going at her pace and not having to try to keep up with 20+ other students.... I think this is going to be really good for her.
I don't know how long we will do this. The plan is to take the other girls out of the charter school at the end of the year. Olivia starts middle school (say what?) and she'll be able to join back up with her old friends from her old elementary school. Zoe's doing amazing at the charter school, but there have been a lot of issues that make us wary of leaving her there. I'm not sure I could handle homeschooling 2, but we might just see how the rest of the school year goes. We can't send them back to their old elementary school because we're in a different school zone and they aren't thrilled at the aspect of starting over in a new school. Zoe said she would be OK if Isabelle is there with her, but if Isabelle does better at home, what do we do?
The biggest downside of all of this is that I am struggling to find time to walk. I keep telling myself I should just get up a little earlier and do a walking video before getting ready for work. But I haven't managed to drag myself out of bed on time yet. Yes, I could do it after putting the girls to bed, I just really enjoy my "story time" with my audiobook, zoned out with my crochet or coloring book. I know, priorities... =)