I have definitely decided that homeschooling has a life span all its own. In our house, the shelf life is to approximately 5th grade. After that, it becomes too toxic to continue.
Luke, my most laid back child, only made it through the middle of 5th grade. In about mid-4th grade, he developed what I have since started calling 4th-grade-itis. His attitude rapidly deteriorated and we found ourselves schooling until 9 pm on a regular basis. When 5th grade started, after a whole summer in which to fix this attitude, I had been hoping that the infection was gone. Oh, so wrong on my part! The infection had gone into remission over the summer, and when fall came, it just picked up where we had left off the previous May. By January, I admitted defeat. He went off to a school and amazingly, most of his attitude issues cleared up quite quickly.
Micah made it through 4th grade with a minor case of 4th-grade-itis. I thought possibly we would do better overall. And, truly, he has. However, the infection is beginning to become more invasive now. Daily, we do our school from 8:30 – 3:00. Then, nightly, we are working from 1 – 2 hours to either a) re-do the work that was not done adequately that day, or b) working to get caught up on the many, many lessons he is behind. He is currently about 5 – 10% behind in his subjects. There are days when he does a great job, but they are becoming fewer and fewer. He knows that next year he will gain his freedom from the evil mommy tyrant that expects him to do his work and to do it well. We’ll see what tune he sings next year as he discovers that his teachers at a regular school are expecting the same thing from him!
Simon is being exposed to the worst of all infections – that of bad attitude. He has been living with these bad germs for several years now. I am really hoping that next year when Luke and Micah are both out of the house all day that we can clear the air of all the bad attitude germs. I want to see Simon excited for learning again. He has become very reluctant to do school with a good attitude, and he is the happiest of my children overall.
I want to be rid of this infection myself, as I know that my attitude has been affected by being attacked by 4th-grade-itis for several years. I have far less patience with the boys regarding their school than I used to. I have become much more demanding and sarcastic than I am comfortable with. I’m certain that my voice ends up sounding much more harsh than I want it to most of the time.
Yep, the shelf life of homeschooling in this house is definitely about 5 – 6 years. Hopefully, this raging toxin can be cleaned out of our system soon. Then, we will deal with other ways that bad attitude tries to sneak into our family system. But at least then, it will be coming from the outside. Somehow, that just seems like it will be easier to deal with.