Tuesday, March 13, 2012
There and back again....A Homeschooling Tale.
I wish someone would invent a recipe that made eating humble pie a little more appetizing. Unfortunately, there is nothing tasty about crow or picking feathers from your teeth. This tale of U-turnish woe started almost 3 years ago. We knew we were moving we just did not know where. I had a child with a milk allergy, adhd, and dyslexia who was falling through the public school cracks. Another child who was struggling with an audio processing disorder, but receiving minimal help due to the speech therapist being put on bedrest and maternity leave. With all of these things swirling in my immediate galaxy, we made the decision to homeschool. We enjoyed homeschooling and it served us well during our moves. Unfortunately, I missed pride creeping in.
You see I wasn't one of THOSE homeschooler's. You know the type, the helicopter moms who think spaghetti straps are of the Devil, evolution = paganism, and public schools are the next Great Satan. Yes, there had been some issues with the kids school, but all in all, it was a decent place. Most importantly the kids had felt safe and loved.
Fast forward a few years. We had finally landed in a town where we felt a bit settled. It was in the country with one elementary school. It seemed to be a similar set up to their last public school experience and since that was not horrible, we thought we would give it a try. The kids were so excited anticipating making new friends, impressing their teachers, riding the Big Yellow Bus, recess and PE. Sadly their rose colored glasses were quickly dashed from their heads and shattered on the hard linoleum floors.
It started slow. A few comments about how much cussing there was, which was a bit shocking, in that Nate and I are not without the occasional expletive. Then I went and sat in my 1st grade son's class for a few days. I watched as they did worksheet after worksheet using the ELMO/smartboard. Worksheets, endless worksheets. Then when he came home there would be more worksheets for homework. I watched a little girl arrive to class about 3 hours late. It was clear from the angry and exasperated look of the teacher that this was not a rare occurrence. "Lily, why are you late.....AGAIN?!" Lily, "because my mom wouldn't wake up," she snarls and stomps to her seat, sticking her tongue out at the unkind faces staring at her. At that moment I have to look into the confused eyes of my 6 yr old, I see the question. Lily wasn't there the next day and within a few weeks she was removed to a "special school."
Then one of the twins started to have his artwork stolen. When he would go to another class, his peers would sneak into his desk and pornographically edit his drawings and leave them out for the teacher to catch. At least the teachers were aware of the very different artistic abilities between him and his peers. The other twin went through 3 increases in his ADHD medications. Then the punching on the bus started. My 6 yr old didn't know how to handle being punched multiple times a day. The bus driver knew, the principal was brought on, but it continued as soon as the Principal was off the bus.
My heart hurts for what they had to experience, but they are home again. They are detoxing and it has not been a pretty last few days, but there is a sense of relief. A peace, a saftey, and a hope for the future. We are two days back into homeschooling and as I write this I am getting ready to take the to a foreign language and culture club. Tomorrow they are going to see a Russian art exhibit, the Houston rodeo and The Band Perry.
I am now one of those homeschooling parents. Call me over protective, insulating, keeping my kids out of reality........as another homeschooling mom put it,
"Misery is optional."