Sunday, December 2, 2007

Is homeschooling to blame?

A recent comment from my mother about my 9 year old's spelling sent me into a tail spin. Am I doing a disservice to my child by not making her take weekly spelling tests? Am I completely messing her up by homeschooling?

I was chatting with a friend about this and she pointed out that my daughter's weaknesses are not necessarily because she is homeschooled. Who is to say that she would not have the same or more weaknesses if she went to school?

My oldest has always been "slow to warm" ie. shy. For the past couple of years, my family has hinted that her shyness towards adults may be because she is homeschooled. She occasionally still makes backwards letters and numbers. And her spelling is still more phonetic, perhaps, than her schooled counterparts. School would beat these bad habits out of her, right? Ugh!

And homeschooling never gets the credit for her good traits. She is polite (most of the time). She shares with her sisters generously. She is a 9 year old kid who still plays with toys and not a 9 year old going on 16. She loves to read.

Our kids are who they are whether they go to school or not. It is comforting to know that even when they struggle with academics, personality traits or whatever, that these are areas that they would struggle with even if they went to school. And as homeschool parents, we can take time and work on the weak areas with each child individually...after we get out of the tailspin...


Valarie said...

I can tell you that Kaily is very shy, even more so than Sierra, and she is not homeschooled. She is a few years younger, but I don't see that being something that school will ever really help. She still also reverses many of her letters and numbers. She is reversing the same ones that she was in Kindergarten.
Don't let anyone get you down about homeschooling. You do an amazing job and your girls have great experiences (like all the travelling) that they wouldn't be able to be exposed to if they were in school.

Mrs. T said...

It's fairly normal for spelling not to "settle out" for a couple more years. My now-almost-14yo (who was massively shy when she went to school, too, btw, which she did through age 9) was an ABYSMAL speller in school. She aced all the weekly tests -- she could look at the list on the way to school and get ten out of ten right -- but knowing how to spell on a spelling test did not translate into knowing how to spell when she went to use those words.

Her teachers kept saying, "Oh, it'll sort itself out." And it has, over time, mostly as she's done more and more writing and wanted to have it be polished and literate. I have done very little "teaching" of spelling or anything else (though copywork has helped my 10yo quite a bit -- far more than the tests ever helped his older sister), but reading and writing a lot, on her own and of her own volition, have both helped my daughter to improve.

Nine seems to be a really awkward age for lots of kids in lots of ways. It's tough to have family questioning your choices and commitments at a time when you and your child may be particularly vulnerable (sort of like when you're nursing your first child, and everyone wants to know when you're going to stop, because you're either starving her or making her clingy . . . whatever you're doing , it's just WRONG).

Anyway, hang in there. A shy child is a shy child anywhere -- school emphatically did NOT help my introvert to, um, change her entire personality and be someone else. It just made her an unhappy shy child. She's now a blossoming homeschooled teenager, and my only regret is that we didn't homeschool from the beginning (as I'm doing with my 5- and 4-yos).

Again, hang in there!

sixandthecity said...

My kids are not one bit shy, in fact if anything they are too comfortable/talkative with adults, and homeschooling gets blamed for that, too!