Monday, October 12, 2009

Reason 136 I Homeschool


When people ask why I homeschool I try to explain--but they don't always "get it". they think we must be fanatical or anti-social when it is the opposite that is true.

I read a story about a boy, age 10, with emotional disorders and on medication for such was ticketed by police for disrupting class--all because his medication made him sleepy and upon the teacher waking him became upset.

This reminds me of one of Michael's early schooling events that shaped our decision to homeschool.

Michael had been in an earthy-crunchy nursery school for about a year. But he was liking it less and less and needed something more. As a 3 year old at the time, he was craving learning which this school didn't really offer. We made the jump one day after long consideration to a progressive learning nursery school in our area. At the time, I was working and we had few options for fueling his desire to learn.

The first day he was at the new school, I called several times to "check in". I was told happy stories of him playing and having fun. It was quite the opposite when I showed up hours later to pick him up.

Michael had found gears at a "center" and was completely intrigued by them--he played and learned and was fascinated. While exploring these, the teacher called everyone for circle time. Michael was never the sing-songy kind of kid and really disliked sitting around singing the ABC--which he knew by heart since he was 2. So he continued to play and learn about gears.

The teacher confronted him at which time he crawled under the table and refused to join circle time. On his first day in a new school and being all of three years old-- it should have ended there. But of course it didn't.

The teacher pulled him out from under the table. When he began to flail and protest she called in two other teachers from another room that he had never seen before. The three of them tried to restrain him as he fought harder and harder. All the while they spoke in Spanish (which he didn't understand) and pulled him to circle time.

My three year old son, scared in a new school, was being restrained by three strangers and hearing the teachers complain in a foreign language cried and yelled and tried to wriggle away.

He spent the rest of the day in "time out" not allowed to play. He came home with a bruise in the shape of fingerprints on his neck. This was the end of our schooling experience.
Three and half years later--he can recall this episode with great detail.

As a teacher, I know all too well the need for kids to fit in to the protocol of the school day and assimilate.

It seems that the schools are less and less tolerant of children being individuals with needs and personalities. Schools often forget that children are--children.

2 comments:

Liza Medina said...

As Michael's aunt, this story breaks my heart. I know now why Michael has such negative memories of this experience. As a public school teacher, this story and the previous post sicken me. These two stories are NOT indicative of what I do during a school day. There is not a second of the day that I don't look at my students with the knowledge and understanding that they are someone's precious child. I spend two extra hours after school Monday through Thursday working with students who need more time and support than the school schedule provides them. For students who need more support than that, they are given my email address so that they can reach me at any time. I tell them every year, once they are mine, they are always mine, and as a result, I often get emails from former students sending messages of success or questions about the things they are studying in high school and college. I cherish these opportunities to act as a guide for such diverse and talented children. Make no mistake about it-- I endorse your right to make the best educational decisions appropriate for your child. However, please do not judge all public education and paint us all with this one hideous brush.

Lizzie on October 12, 2009 at 11:54 PM said...

That is a disturbing story. I'm so sorry your son had to go through that and that you, as a mother, had to go through that. Thank heaven for homeschooling!

Liza, you are an angel in the public school system! I am grateful there are so many of you still out there, but worry that the numbers are dwindling due to the demands of the government machine. In many cases, public school teachers are not given the ability, support, and resources to be as understanding and available as you are. I am grateful that I live in a community that is very much involved in the public school education of its children, but I feel for those communities who do not have such a strong family network with which to approach school boards and district leaders.

Anyway, I'm rambling now. I hope you have found peace in homeschooling, Jenafer.

(Apologies for leaving this big ol' comment as a complete stranger!). :D

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