This Is Our Path

I haven’t written about our home schooling adventures yet because there is no way to write about school choices without pissing someone off. When you choose an alternate path, many people assume it’s because you don’t like their path, and none of us are at our best when we feel judged. It becomes a cycle of justifying your choices and making others feel that they need to do the same and it doesn’t help that in the midst of all this are the jerks that are actually judging you, whichever path you happen to take.

Let’s not do that. If you’re reading this and your kids are happy then your family is on the right path and I’m not judging you. If your kids aren’t happy I am still not judging you because I know it is damn hard to find the right path, but you are going to keep doing your best to figure it out. This is our path and right now it is leading us in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean I think all the other paths are the wrong direction. Okay? We can move forward.

This is our path.
I started researching home schooling when Sharkboy was born and I liked the idea of it but I wasn’t read yet to take that step. It takes courage to do anything out of the ordinary. After researching every single school in our area I discovered that the one closest to us had some great programs and it sounded good on paper.

Sharkboy had a bit of separation anxiety and we expected difficult drop offs and a rough transition. What we did not expect was a little boy who came home everyday full of rage. I expected the energy and the non-stop talking, but not the anger. The second week of school he started clinging to us at drop off, begging to stay home. He had to be physically pulled off by another adult every morning. I was concerned by this sudden change so everyday I asked about his highs and lows at school and everyday he said the same thing. His high point was playing with his friend on the playground and his low point was his teacher yelling at his friend. I don’t know why I didn’t take his words at face value. I thought that his teacher was not connecting with him in the way that he needed. I went to the open house hoping I could talk to her about his anxiety and we could find a way to make school a happier place for him. I asked her how he was doing after we left in the morning. She had no idea who I meant even though she had just pulled him off of me, screaming, that morning. When she saw which child was mine she delightfully told me how quiet and still he was all day.

I haven’t blogged much about my in home childcare for awhile, but you might remember it is not a place one would describe as quiet and still. Kids are fully engaged in learning here.

She never did answer me about his emotional state after getting dropped off in the morning. And we never did go back. He was unhappy. We veered off that path so quickly we had to blaze our own trail to the next one. Recently, almost a whole year later, he opened up to me again about his teacher yelling at his friend. This time he added details, like, “she yelled in his face” and, “she slammed her book on the table.” So, suck it haters, we did the right thing.

When people ask me why we home school I tell them that his teacher wasn’t a good fit. We continue to home school because I wasn’t going to risk Little S getting traumatized by the same teacher, and I don’t think our neighborhood school is the best fit for us. They value silence and test scores, we value play time and active learning. (Again, not judging other families, that school was not our path, I’ve heard that others love it. Good. If you send your child there I want you to love it.) Ultimately, we continue to home school because we enjoy it.

There are drawbacks, but there are also solutions. When you feel lazy and unmotivated at home there is no one breathing down your neck to do your job. Sometimes school waits until evening, or sometimes we skip a day and have to work harder the next day. We get on each other’s nerves because we are always together and need a break. So we take one. Not working full time means making sacrifices in other areas, but those sacrifices are worth what we gain.

We gain time together. I’m able to watch my boys learn and pat myself on the back for figuring out what method works best for them. I can choose and customize their curriculum. I can throw out the white washed history books and read them the difficult, but honest stories of our past. We can do science all day if we want, and sometimes we do. We can speed through the math they already know and start a new section. They can take their time learning to read. We can take field trips whenever we want. I get to see them interact with other people and I learn more  everyday about who they are and what they like. When they are full of energy and can’t sit still we go outside. If they are tired they can nap. They can be children, and I can be with them.

This may not always work for us, but right now we are headed in the right direction.

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle
    Sep 15, 2016 @ 01:26:00

    This is a beautiful description. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: The Elephant In The Home School Classroom | Naptime Is For Drinking

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