Friday, October 7, 2011
Why Are We Homeschooling?
Since Steve and I are both teachers and are/were working in public schools, we just assumed that the public school option would continue to work for us. It did work for K-5. Lars was pretty much happy and functioned well. He has always gotten good grades and there were very few issues. Yes, there were some issues but they were handled well by the staff at the school. Each teacher worked well with him and any needs that he had. It did not take much for him to comply with whatever standards were put in place. One teacher had a great system, she kept a chart of all the things due this was out where the kids could see it. If, at the end of the month they had less than two missing or late assignments then they would get to walk to McDonald's with the class. This was great! I think he missed like 2 of them and it was a great incentive for him!
This really changed for him beginning last year. His grades stayed on par. However he spent much of the year in a very stressed state. He loved certain aspects of the day but for the most part of the day he was stressed. He struggled with some of the things and this had a great affect on our family life. We really liked his teacher on a personal level. However, the class was not working for Lars. He was not getting home till a quarter till 5. This made homework and family time very hard. He does have ADHD. After controlling his body and mind all day to follow the structure of school, (He got on the bus at 8) it was very hard for him to put his attention on more school work. This left little to no time for family or for him to still play.
He got along well with many at the school but he still liked to play. He is a late birthday but some of the students really had interest in thing that were more like teenagers not the same things Lars was into. There was also a good amount of bullying going on. He did not deal with this so much in the classroom as he was very well liked in there. But in the halls there was a ton of this. The issue was trying to be addressed and specific matters were dealt with but in general there was a lot of it going on.
Our son was unhappy not just a little but very much so. Others may or may not have seen it but we did. The assignments were coming hard and fast, and by spring break it was clear that he could not handle a whole lot more. We got to the point that we were just trying to push through to the end of the year. As much as we liked the teacher we could no longer be on the same page with her. This is not okay with me. We wanted a united front to get the best education for him. There was so much chaos in the classroom, that Lars could not function. He was on the max amount of medicine and it was no longer helping the way it always had. Steve and I knew he could not go back to that but we were at a loss for what to do. We just all had to get through the year.
We decided to pray over the summer and figure something out for the next year. One huge moment was in June. We were laying in bed reading and Lars was on the X-box with one of his friends. We heard him laughing. We looked at each other and smiled it was a good thing to hear. We realized though that we had not heard that all of the last school year. Don't get me wrong he would chuckle at something, but not that deep belly laugh that he had always had the one that can and should accompany childhood. As the summer progressed we saw more and more of our son emerge. He no longer looked like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Sometime in July it happened. We had our child back! At the same time, both of Steve's and my apprehension for sending him back grew and we did not know what to do.
At the 4Th of July we ran into one of his classmates and the parents who had been pulled out around Christmas to be homeschooled. They spoke of how much the stress had decreased in their home. When they asked how the rest of our school had gone, I cried. At that point point I knew we could not return. Not only for Lars sake, though that was primary, but for the sake of our whole family.
Steve and I were on a lunch date and we were talking about our options for the new school year which was fast approaching. We could meet with the teacher and explain how somethings just needed to change, (we had tried this) we could put as much as we could into the 504 we had in place and insist it be abide by, we could look at having him in the other classroom, (there are many reasons this would not have been a good option) we could look at private schools, we could homeschool. I remember telling Steve "I don't think we are steering our ship to the right harbor." Lars was hating education we also saw that his environment was not just non-christian it was becoming anti-christian. Our goal is to raise a child who first anformost loves God and walks with Him. Secon, that he gets the education he needs to go to college. There was a point that Steve just looked at me we knew this to be true. Within days we made the call and decided to homeschool. So we took the leap we closed our eyes and jumped into the unknown!
So far we are loving it. We still have our son. The other day we were at home group and he was playing with some friends His laughter carried down the steps to us. It is the school year, he is learning a lot, and he is laughing.