Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rob and I Talked

This has been an excruciating couple of weeks. I have had to cope with Izzy's deteriorating behaviour at home. She pees the bed 2 or 3 times each night. She has been unbelievably mean and lashing out. She is super clingy and we couldn't even leave her at activities she normally went to. She isn't sleeping. Her moods fluctuate between liking school and hating it, dreading it.

Then there are the drop-offs. So unpleasant that I feel tense just thinking about it. Watching her being pulled away, crying, is so opposite to not only my gut reaction but opposite to how I have parented all along. I've never pushed and allowed them to progress at their speed. The kids are confident and independent in spite of my "coddling" all these past years.

On top of it all, I do not feel like the school is helpful in transitioning the kids. I thought this was just me being over sensitive at first but after talking to parents with children at different schools, I am more unhappy with how this school or teacher handles things. If I had the money and the inclination, I think I would be looking into Montessori schools right now. At least that philosophy gels more with mine.

So I've spent the weekend listening to other people's opinions, rereading some of my why homeschooling rocks books, asking for help from some online parenting folks I've known since I was pregnant with Alex...heck, doing everything short of asking the universe for a sign on how to proceed.

Last night I broke down. I felt absolutely sick over this. It is so hard to push towards something that feels so wrong in your gut. Especially when you don't have to be doing it. In tears I told Rob what I was thinking and feeling. I asked him to hear me out...and that I would be completely honest with my thoughts...then asked him to tell me what to do. Which is funny, because he never tells me what to do. Something about "I trust your instincts...", etc.

I said that I didn't want to do this any more because I am a homeschooler through and through. I believe in the process. I am as committed to it as I am to being politically on the left and an atheist. No regrets or doubts in that department. 100% at peace there.

I said that, in this instance at this particular point in time, school feels so wrong. Not because she cries at drop-off, or because her behavior sucks (because I know it gets better for the majority of kids) but because I am less at ease with school itself. Sitting at tables until you are told otherwise. Raising your hand to go pee. All stuff required to reign in hundreds of children together in one building but sure as heck not essential to the emotional growth of my child. I am very concerned about the lack of proper academic stimulation for her abilities. Isn't the whole point of school to learn? All she is learning is how to be a good student, in a bricks and mortar school environment.

I said that Tuesday I saw a bunch of homeschool kids get back together in art class after being away all summer. They ran into the room, excited, hugging each other, laughing and having fun. At the time it felt like a large, boisterous group but I remembered that this crowd was quite a bit smaller than her kindergarten class, at least by about 5 or 6 kids. The art teacher mentors them, taking suggestions, not teaching at them. They were relaxed and free to communicate with each other. I know that these kids mostly know each other already. I know a good number of them are older than 3 or 4 years old. But, parents are welcome. We help those who need it and step back when they are ready to move forward on their own. It was such a stark contrast to what I am seeing at school.

I said that people around me and at school (obviously) want to give this time for her to settle in...that what I am seeing is for the good of all the kids. Well, no offense to any one out there but my only concern is my kids and what they are getting from this. Plus all these issues are not going to fade away because she isn't crying at the door. I will still be unhappy. I feel like if I could have a do-over, I would have told her school was not an option yet.

I said that I don't know what is wrong with me. That I have no idea how I became such a radical non-conformist but that it is there now and I don't think I can pretend to like or agree to this system. That this goes beyond giving it the old college try. That she is too young.

There have been a few positives but not enough to make me stay the course. I like getting up early...who knew? I do like having more structure to our day. These things I can do on my own though.

Rob wanted to know whether or not we had valid concerns, other than separation anxiety, before we pulled her out. He is a fan of homeschooling and has faith in that process too. As an academic minded person, himself, I know he has issues with educational standards and the curriculum too.

I am a very intuitive person. I trust my instincts and work from there. It has been very hard second guessing myself, listening to multiple opinions and worrying that my intentions are honorable, so to speak. In my heart and in my actions I believe I approached this with as much enthusiasm as possible. I convinced myself, and now I see wrongly convinced others, that I had specific reasons for homeschooling Alex (which I did at the time) that didn't necessarily apply to Izzy. But why we continue has nothing to do with his intellect or attention issues. We homeschool because we are homeschoolers. Period.

So, after pouring my heart out and feeling terrible about this even being such an ordeal, we agreed that school is not for us. That it will be quite a few more years before we agree to sending her but it will be at a time when she is more mature and able to see school for what it is and get from it what she needs.

I can't send her back Monday. I feel like I might be letting some people down but I just can't do it. This is a moral, philosophical and lifestyle choice for us. My heart, my mind, my gut and my husband all agree, I can do this at home - better.

I still have a residual tummy ache but overall my piece of mind is slowly being restored.

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive these past few weeks. I can't say how much I needed it and appreciate it.

1 comment:

Kez said...

I'm so glad you're at peace. It certainly sounds as if she was not adjusting to school, and if you don't have to put her through that, why do it?

You gave it a try - it didn't work - now you can get back on with enjoying life as a homeschooler :)

Lots of {{HUGS}} for you!