Monday, May 2, 2016

To Home School or Not....That is the question....

Once again, I am now faced with a dilemma.  It's not a bad dilemma.  In fact, sometimes I wish I had done this from the get go with all of my children, but, well, before I jump ahead and confuse you anymore, let me explain what I'm contemplating....

My #4 child, #3 girl, is in 5th grade.  She has always loved school.  We moved to New York right before she started Kindergarten, so she is the first child to be in this school district, from the start.  Well, that's not entirely true, I did send my #5 to UPK, but that was only because she was receiving speech and was home with me all day, and I thought being around other minions like her, she'd learn language faster.  Still debating that one.

But my #4 child was sick with the fever virus last week.  She was home with me and the two littlest minions for three days.  It was a lot of fun, despite her illness.  It's amazing how Tylenol and Ibuprofen can make a child appear incredibly healthy.  But during our time together, we had lots of time to talk.  It was so much fun to chat with her.

She became rather distraught during a portion of our conversation in regards to school.  Like I said earlier, my daughter LOVES school.  Since Kindergarten, she has had the most awesome teachers we could ever be blessed to get.  Even this year, she was blessed to be on the same team that my son who is a freshman in HS had when he was in 5th grade.  WE LOVE THESE TWO LADIES!!

But she began to cry when she started talking about her friends.  She was very upset about missing school for two reasons.  One of course, because the workload that has been increasing by the mound-full since the inception of CC is a daunting task for any 10 year old who has missed three days, but two, because she felt bad leaving another friend of hers alone in the classroom because there was another girl who was on vacation last week and so this girl was alone.

Of course, in true "healing" spirit, my daughter likes to fix things and make things right and protect people.  I asked her why she felt bad leaving her alone and she said it's because the other kids in the classroom are really mean to them.

Now, sometimes, I have to put an ounce of "-isms" on my kids stories.  They come by embellishing naturally, so I basically take their name, for example, crazycatholicmomma-ism, and decipher what they mean for real by their story.

She is convinced there are a large group of kids that do not like her.  Or apparently this other child.  I told her to please focus on herself for this moment so I could understand what it was exactly these children did to my daughter to make her feel that way.

She listed the usual culprit first.

"I don't have an iPhone, Mom.  Kids bring their iPhone's to school and make fun of me because I don't even have an iPod."

Parents- I can't tell you enough, how much I THANK you for purchasing such ridiculous pieces of equipment for your 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 year olds.  seriously.  I know you feel justified... I know, your six year old has a demanding job and is in constant need of knowing things IMMEDIATELY and has to text her besties in the next desk over at least 10 times a second.

I get it.

No really,

I get it.

Anyway, since I am never wavering from my "you don't get an iPhone until you are either in HS, or you pay for it yourself" stance, I asked her to move on.  I will not allow my children to bring such expensive and completely unnecessary 'mini computers,' not 'toys' to school when they're in elementary school.  Just ridiculous.   But I digress.....

Don't even get me started on allowing your child to lie about their age on these apps.

So, she continued.

"They make fun of my hair. " (for real?)  Of all my kids, she has some of the best hair!!  Braids great, goes up smooth in a pony tail, come on people.

"They make fun of my clothes."  This one really bothers me because we preach about recycling, not making any more earth, reuse, blah blah blah- until our kids need clothes and it's a brand new wardrobe per season, per kid!!  I actually had a woman tell me several years ago that she wouldn't dream letting her younger daughter wear what her older daughter wore, because, are you ready?

Four years would have passed between the girls!


God help this country.

So, once again, I explained to Gi how blessed she was that she had two older sisters that were about her size at her age and how blessed she was to get to wear clothing that might not be new, but certainly wasn't clogging up some warehouse somewhere, or lying in a dumpster waiting to fill the landfills.

She wasn't buying that one either.

She went on.

"They make fun of how tall I am."  Alrite.  I get it.  But I told her, God makes no mistakes.  NO MISTAKES.  He made her the beautiful, tall, skinny, great swimmer, needs glasses, adorable blond, young lady and she needs to embrace it, and forget about the other kids who are not kind.

Well, the conversation got a little better as we talked about school and learning and how important learning is when she suddenly stopped and asked me the question....

"Mom, can you home school me next year?"

Gulp.  My first instinct was no.  Not happening. I've got two minions at home that keep me insanely busy. I take about half a day to clean the kitchen after the tornatic breakfast that occurs and school lunch making party that insues, I barely have any 'me' time as it is, now to consider schooling another child?  A sixth grader no less- I don't do fifth grade math very well, let alone sixth grade math!!

I told her I didn't know.

She asked again, but a bit more persistent.

"Can we ask dad?  Can we at least think about it?"

So I proceeded to give her all the reasons she wouldn't like it.

You won't see your friends.
You won't be in the high band anymore.
You will be with ME all day.
You will be with two little bitty annoying monsters ALL DAY.

She said that was ok.  She said she would talk to her dad about it and see what he thought.

Of course, what we have to realize is, my #4 daughter is my husband's mini-me.  She's just like him, looks like he did as a kid, and has all of his mannerisms.

He simply said, "Honey, if your mom wants to, I'm fine with it."


Now, before anyone asks the big S word- Let me make something very clear about home schooling vs. school schooling.  (hmmmmmm, is that even a thing?)

That whole notion that kids need "socialization?"

Cover your ears kids....

That's nothing more than bullshit.

You wanna know what "socialization" my kids get from school?

In the upper elementary, they learn the words, bitch, shit, damn, stupid, (sorry, that's a nasty word in my world).

Lyrics to songs that talk about having sex, stalking boys, and other fantastically appropriate things that look so "adorbs" coming out of a 10 year old....

They  learn to see kids trip other kids in the hallway and laugh.  They learn how to be mean to kids without getting caught.    (they can do that here at home for free...)

They learn that kids can have Kik, facebook, and other social media apps on their devices, and strangely be too young to even have an account.  (now that's the kind of socialization we should be MOST proud of!!) Kids- here's how to break rules and it be TOTALLY ok because MOM LET YOU!!

In middle school they  learn the same words as above, plus the bonus words like f**k, c**t, p***y, and other fantabulous slang words for male and female body parts.

They learn how kids can sneak across the street after school and smoke their cigarettes while the principal can only stand there watching.

They learn to sneak their make up to school, their inappropriate short skirts (bought/and or approved by mom and dad!!!) and dress completely different than they left for school!

They learn to laugh at the kid who fell and dropped their books!

Shall I, or DARE I go into what fantastic social skills they learn in HS?

I won't.  Suffice it to say, it's rated R and some days, makes my stomach hurt and causes me to want to be in my closet, rocking in the fetal position.

But we are worried those poor home schoolers are going to be sheltered idiots when they head out to the real world?

Actually, sheltered is ok these days.  It gives us, the parents, a chance to process the crap in the real world, and teach it to the kids at home in a loving, safe environment and I'm ok with that.

So, the socialization thing is not a concern at all.

What concerns me the most is the bizarre state rules my district adheres to in regards to informing the district, sending in grades, etc etc.  I get so anxious about it, it makes my heart palpitate.  Oh wait, maybe that's the coffee I'm drinking....

But it's not an easy road.  I worry that she will wish she hadn't asked.  I worry that she will resent me.  I home schooled my now 7th grader the second half of 5th grade and it was the best decision we ever made.  But so was sending her back to 6th grade and getting the nicest, quietest teacher in the building who loved my daughter.

So that's where we are.  To home school or not.  I can get plenty of resources.  I know she will learn.  I have no doubt she will enjoy the work I pick for her because it's not monotonous, repetitive crap that comes home weekly from this common core nightmare.

I love reading to my kids, so finding some good, quality literature to read together and work on is fun for me.  I love reading, writing, and english.

Math will be tricky, but there are so many online programs out there now, that basically teach the class from the computer that I can almost rest assured she'll be fine there.

Having an older child home with the little ones is actually very fun for the little ones.  My 7th grader loved my little Taz home with us and Taz LOVED her big sis home and reading to her.

The way the schools are going these days with the whole gender/sports/locker room/bathroom policies, I may be homeschooling more children in the very near future.  Because the districts are clearly not going to do anything for the children who actually might be uncomfortable with the changes..... (and that's ok that they're uncomfortable).

So I have lots to pray about.  Maybe about two months to make a decision before I need to inform the district.  Too home school or not..... So pray for me please.  And my little Gi!!

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