Monday, August 24, 2009

T comes home

I quickly discovered our first impression did mean trouble. Within a week I got my first every phone call from the teacher. "T is not listening." "T is not paying attention." Then the second phone call. "Does T have problems taking tests?" Umm, he's in first grade.... why would he have ever taken a test. This was an unexpected detour in our vision of our child's education. Never did I expect to get one phone call, let alone 2 a week, not to mention the numerous notes home.

I started re-researching Homeschool almost immediately, but only as a backup, never really thinking we would have to resort to that. However as each day passed, and each note was sent home, it became clear that his teacher was intent on creating an autonomous environment where sitting still and following directions were more important than learning and inquisitiveness. My attempts to correct T's behavior were only resulting in a child who now was resistant to learning, but still bravely went to school each day with a good attitude. My attempts to become involved with the school were unwelcome and red taped to death. My relationship with T was stressed and he was stressed. I didn't even realize how stressed until the school phoned one day to tell me he had wet his pants. That was pretty much the turning point for us. I couldn't imagine what kind of either stress, or dominance, he was under to not ask to go to the bathroom.

That night we made the decision to homeschool. Actually I very reluctantly made the decision to homeschool. I knew it was the right thing for T, but I was having trouble letting go of my vision of my own future. A future that included some quiet time (something I highly value), a few hours each week with both kids in school, and my going back to work, new (to us) cars, vacations, and other things that even a part time job would allow us. Plus I was still unsure how I was going to survive homeschooling a boy that I couldn't even do homework with. But we made the decision, but also agreed to wait a month or two so that I (the planner) would have time to do more research and assemble all the great books and curriculum I would find. I know you can all see where this is headed...

Yep a week later T was home and we were scrambling around alternating between regimented workbooks at a desk and an unschooling day at the library. You see, the last straw for me was the note home "T is picking his nose. Please inform him that this is unhygienic." Apparently, our first grade teacher had never encountered another first grade boy who is determined to stick his finger up his nose no matter what his well intentioned parents tell him about hygiene!!!!! So I sent my husband (the level headed one) to school the next day to collect T's possessions and to tell the school to buzz off. We were now officially homeschoolers and I had NO IDEA what I was supposed to do now.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our Homeschool Journey

Welcome to my blog. Well, I will pretty much welcome myself, as I am the only one here at the moment. :) I vowed this year to start a blog and keep it updated. Considering we started school three weeks ago, I don't think I am doing a very good job. But I am here now, so here is our story.

When my son T was born we quickly discovered we knew nothing about parenting, but we had a belief system about what we wanted our relationship with our kids to be like. This quickly led us towards an attachment parenting philosophy. This was good news for our daughter who was born 2 1/2 years later, because she was a very fussy high needs infant and benefited greatly from our decision. We had lots of friends with similar interests and began to hear about this crazy notion of Homeschooling. I had heard of very religious folks doing this, but never my friendly next door neighbors. We still thought they were crazy, but the idea had been introduced.

When T started Kindergarten I had a Mommy meltdown and started researching Homeschool. I couldn't comprehend sending my little boy away for a whole day to this world I knew nothing about. Ultimately, we did send him to public school and he experienced the good (friends, a great teacher, learned to read) and the bad (a K bully and a bullying "incident"). Things were still going well when due to some unforeseen circumstances we ended up moving to a new state toward the end of the school year. This lead to another round of "researching HS" and yet another decision to send him to public school to finish out Kindergarten.

By the next fall we were comfortably a public school family. We had no doubt about the upcoming school year and excitedly set off to our orientation night for 1st grade. We introduced ourselves to T's teacher and in return she immediately returned the introduction and added "I want you to know I don't want to be just a teacher. I am training to be an administrator. I have ambition." Yes that did not give us a good first impression. I am not sure why she chose to share that with us, but Tyler had a GREAT K teacher in our home state and I never thought there was anything wrong with being "just a teacher." I guess it's like being "just a Mom." It takes a special person to do both.

To be continued.....