November 19, 2019

The Hidden Emotional Cost of Home Schooling

“That morning, the door of the testing room was propped open, allowing for sunlight and a line of students and parents to snake inside from out on the sidewalk. We were waiting for the results of the math placement test that would let us know how our child’s high school career would begin. It felt as if so much was riding on it.

Would my daughter be at the bottom of the pile, or at top in Advanced Placement classes that could confer college credit, reducing future college workloads, allowing for jobs while in school, internships, or a shorter time in college?

I had home-schooled her for the past two years, so the test also felt like a final exam for me: Her score was also my teaching evaluation.

Like the other kids in line, my daughter seemed nervous, her eyes wide and pupils small and fixed in the distance as we moved an inch at a time toward the front. “Are you O.K.?” I asked. “You look sick. Take my sweater,” I said, and I untied it from my waist. She didn’t want it. She didn’t feel positive about how she’d done on the exam. As if in some automated response, I told her not to worry, she was smart as a whip and she’d nailed it. I didn’t know.”

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