Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 16

Perfectly fine. That's how our public school year was going so far. Sure, my kindergartner experienced some bullying, ate cheese balls at snack time more than once and got sick in the first two weeks of school, but other than that...everything was going o.k. One day this week, L came home early and so was able to help the children with their homework. He was astounded by what they didn't know. He felt they were memorizing things to be tested rather than learning information they would retain.

At that point, I knew I couldn't do it anymore. Our afternoons were always extremely stressful with me sometimes spending three to four hours on homework with Robin who is in fifth grade. I lost my patience, there were tears, lots of breaks, and always frustration. I didn't want to spend my evenings being the enforcer when I knew my kid should be outside playing after spending 6 hours in a classroom. I thought, if I am spending this much time on "homework", my kid could just be at home. The plan was always to homeschool, but when the time came for Robin to start formal schooling, I was too scared. So instead, I sent him to school and boy, did we have some experiences. He was given a half day of in school suspension for eating another child's snack (the principal's child) in the second grade. He was bullied in the fourth. I fought the schools and the staff. Sometimes, I did nothing.

Wren fared somewhat better, I guess. In first grade, her teacher asked me if we had any books at home. Then a classmate told my little six year old girl that she didn't like black people. When I told her we would be homeschooling, she cried. Said she would miss her very very nice teacher. I asked her what else she would miss about public school. "Events."

Finch has only been in school for six short weeks but has already been called names and was afraid to stand up for himself for fear of getting in trouble. He is one of the wittiest kids I know and I really worried about putting him in public school. I worried it would break his spirit. I don't think he's going to miss it much.

A few months ago, when I was certain I would not send them back this school year, I went to a homeschool park day and someone remarked that they'd heard that most people want to live in my neighborhood b/c of the good schools. I guess. But I can't shake the feeling that my kids are just being passed through. And that bugs me. Especially since I am raising children of color.

On Monday, I will be filing my Notice of Intent (to homeschool) and withdrawing them from public school. And so it begins...


  1. Um. Okay, I feel a little like a stalker because I also commented on your flickr this evening. But I'm not a creep, promise.
    I really commend you for giving public school a shot and being able to recognize when it wasn't working out. My partner is a public school teacher and I'm not sure what we'll be doing once my little guy is old enough, but it'll be a hard choice, no doubt. It's interesting to hear someone talk about how socialization wasn't a concern because that seems to be what most people mention first (and what I worry about, as the actual education part is, uh...not hard to compete with from home, to put it generously). Anyhow, way to know your babes and what they need!

  2. Dee,

    I'm reading through your blog. Can you tell? Some of the experiences your kids had were concerns of mine regarding public school and my children. Wow! It looks like they had a little bit of everything in a few short weeks.

    At least you can have comfort that you gave public school a chance. It appears it didn't fair to well and you gave it a lot of chances. I say more fun for your children and you at home, outside, at the park, at the beach, in the bed or wherever you decide to have school.