I did it. I emailed in my Notice of Intent - legalese for letting the school superintendent know that we are officially out and are homeschooling the E. While the decision itself was daunting, once I had committed, the actual act was somewhat cathartic. It felt just as good as turning in the cable boxes did. A sort of weird you're bucking the norm/welcome to uncharted territories thrill.
We called Eion in sick last week, which he was kind enough to point out was LYING, in order to test the waters. And while I will fully admit we are most assuredly in the honeymoon phase of this whole ride, it has gone great. But first, let me go through how we got here....
If you've been reading recently (and if not, shame on you), you are aware of our ongoing reading saga and the fight for scarce reading resources. In spite of the extra help we did procure, things were going poorly. When the girls were in 1st grade, they would come home with their reading and read it in 5-10 minutes. You might have to help with a word or two but they had largely already learned it at school. In Maggie's case, she petitioned me not to have to read it aloud since "you know I know it anyway." A petition I granted because it was SO TRUE.
But E was coming home tired and we would have to sit down and teach him to read. There were tears aplenty and more than enough frustration to go around. When we finally would finish reading, he would have maybe a half hour before bed, leaving him distraught that he never had any free time.
So it occurred to us, he totally gets math and science and social studies aren't much of a problem either. The only thing he really needed from 1st grade was to learn to read. Since we were teaching him that at night anyway, why the hell not pull him out so we can cover these topics while he's fresh.
Not to mention, he was getting in trouble every single day and being made to walk laps at recess. It seemed that what 1st grade was teaching him so far was he 1) wasn't too bright and 2) was a troublemaker. Neither of which were on our lesson plan.
Our trial week has gone swimmingly. Eion's ability to focus at 8:30am is infinitely better than at 5pm. Seeing as we have a 1-1 teacher to student ratio, we are moving at a rapid pace. So far, we can cover about a day's work in 2-3 hours, with no homework. Eion is able to chill in the afternoon and I am available again to the rest of the family.
Lord knows I have some work to do. More than one person has asked what my method is, to which I have replied, "So far, winging it!" We're going to need to improve on that. But after extensive review of what Virginia public schools teach in the 1st grade, I can say with confidence, I've got this. My tennis game is likely to suffer (a lot) but E is going to be just fine. I spent an hour tonight preparing for the week's work: spelling words, math sheets, science (motion), and social studies (maps.) We're ready to go!
So I'll keep y'all posted on our progress. I'm sure somewhere along the way I'll be in tears, wondering what the hell I've done with my life. I hope I'll remember the encouraging words of all the people I encountered this weekend (many of whom had E's teacher - who seems to be almost universally loathed) who assured me I am absolutely doing the right thing.