An Educational Bonanza

My daughter is finally free of government school!

I’ve written about the trials and tribulations of this long battle multiple times over the years. Perseverance seems to have finally paid off– with help from the coronavirus.

When the coronavirus panic shut down her school last March, I thought this was a good time to homeschool. Her mother had other ideas and wanted her to go ahead and finish out the school year on the school’s online classes.

She did, but the school had no clue what they were doing. I understand this. They weren’t ready for online schooling and it had a lot of bugs. But she made it through, and her mental health improved greatly away from that toxic environment and the bullies.

This year when school started her mom once again wanted her back in the local school’s online classes. We did that for a while, but they didn’t fix the bugs from last year and created new, exciting disasters to ruin any chance of actual education occurring.

So, her mom relented a little.

We allowed our daughter to choose between actual homeschooling and another online government school that one of her friends was trying out. She chose that school. I wasn’t thrilled but I am committed to letting her choose certain things for herself.

The preparations for her to enter that school were a nightmare. So much bureaucracy and so many headaches. I had so much work to do that I had very little time to write and no time to think of things to write about. But finally, she was in.

The first week was disastrous. She didn’t turn in most of her work, and got most things wrong when she did do them at all. A big part of the problem was the user interface, which was incomprehensible to anyone who wasn’t the one who designed it.

So the next week, I sat with her all day every day and helped her through the lessons. I checked to make sure she dotted all the “i”s and crossed all the “t”s. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. Both of us were completely worn out by the time the work was finished– when we were able to finish it. I’ve never seen such a bad user interface in my life. Even talking to the teachers on the phone left me confused and dazed.

This went on for 3 weeks with very little improvement.

This past Tuesday we started the day in good shape, but after 9.5 hours of hard work, we ended the day far behind– four lessons, or 6 hours, behind. That was the last straw. We were both done.

So she is now being homeschooled for real. I’ve found resources online to help, and may (if I can find a way to afford the monthly fee) subscribe to what seems like a really good online homeschooling site that offers a lot of guidance without the mandatory mess.

So far, the first few days of independent study have gone pretty well. Her attitude is much improved compared to being exhausted and frustrated with bad experiences. I’ve found that the discussions we have on some of the subject matter seems to do the most good at getting her to actually remember and think about it. I’m optimistic.

She asked me “Does this mean you’re going to teach me that government is evil?” I said, “No. It means I’ll not hide the evil they do and you can make up your own mind.” A discussion about the Spanish missions in Texas turned into a discussion of the Holocaust which led to a mention of the US government’s Japanese internment camps. She has also wondered why we are still forced to pay “property tax” when she isn’t in the school it supposedly finances. Perhaps it’s a good start.

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Kent McManigal

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