Tag Archive: homeschool


Today was…interesting.

The Tao of Bird started school yesterday. He’s been really anxious about it, but I have been doing my best to get him prepared. Slowly over the preceding weeks we’ve worked on desensitizing as much as we can, and I’ve tried to remain positive with him even though my fucking heart is breaking about this and I think it’s totally dumb. I’ve reassured him that he’ll be fine, that he’s prepared, that he’ll make friends…that there’s nothing to be afraid of, and that, regardless, just about everyone else there has the same fears.

My plan was to get to the school early Monday morning to get his schedule so I could at least make sure he knew how to get to all of his classes. Unfortunately, the registrar had other plans, and we spent all the time I had intended to spend further preparing him for a successful first day sitting in the office (yet again) because there was some question about our paperwork. Oh, the endless freaking paperwork you have to fill out to go to school these days – most of which seems to center on keeping certain students OUT of certain schools.

But we got it figured out, and we were directed down the (wrong) hallway to TOB’s first class, corrected ourselves, and I shooed him in the right direction before going home.

I spent the whole day expecting to get a call from the counselor…or someone. But, nothing. It seemed like this school thing might take. TOB came home in a somewhat upbeat mood, and managed to maintain that for several hours before breaking down in tears, telling me how stressful it was, telling me he couldn’t even eat lunch because the cafeteria stressed him out so bad. Telling me he wasn’t going to go to school anymore. And I gave him the pep talk. And I went over the routine for bedtime, breakfast time, school time, and after-school time.

And this morning when I tried to wake him up…he didn’t want to get up. Then he got up…but he didn’t want to get out of bed. Then he got out of bed, but he was ABSOLUTELY NOT GOING TO SCHOOL. And over the period of an hour, we inched closer and closer to the door…me alternating between attempting to encourage and trying not to scream at the top of my lungs. Closer to the door. Closer. Closer. Until I was able to get him out. Said goodbye. Locked up. Went to my office. Came out to check 5 minutes later, and he was gone. “Phew.” I thought.

On my break, I felt a twinge of sorrow when I exited my office and there was no TOB flinging himself at me from some corner of the house.

I went to the back door to let the cat in…

And there was TOB.

“What the…?” I opened the door. He said “Hi mom. I’m going to school tomorrow. I thought about it. I’m sorry. By the way, while I was out there the cats and I started a cult of Carl Sagan. Tiny Cat is a bad disciple, though.”

You know…sometimes you look at your children, and they seem so much BIGGER than they should be. Today I looked at TOB – who is pretty much as tall as me now. And I couldn’t get over how tiny he seems. I gotta say – I think he’s a tough kid. I think he’s a lot stronger than he should have to be at his age. Don’t get me wrong about that. But after all of the phone calls and conversations with counselors and emails to his father and tears and discussions and agreements…all I could think about was how very much I love that little guy. Like, with all my fucking heart. And I just don’t want anyone to fuck with him. I want him to be as HIM as he possibly can be. Silly, smart, brave, kind, strong, sensitive, sweet…HIM.

So, I’m trying to remain honest. I’m acknowledging that I’m not feeling great about all of this, but that it will be good for him to be settled into a routine. This whole year has been a huge disruption in the life of our family. In the lives of these children. They’ve been through the ringer. Being in school gives TOB a good neutral ground to stand on and cultivate his own identity independent of his overbearing mommy and his know-it-all big brother. He has a foundation of learning, and love of learning, that I know will persist. And he has some pretty significant obstacles he needs to overcome. I’m not averse to having a team of experts helping me support him in dealing with those obstacles.

I’m trying to focus on these things, but I will still visibly flinch when I read teacher handouts that contain misspelled words. And I will still audibly complain when I’m filling out YET ANOTHER FUCKING FORM, especially if said FUCKING FORM is on treated paper that’s impossible to actually write on.

Onward and upward. Tomorrow is another day. I’ve been assured it will be better. Cross your fingers for us, plz.

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Underdog

 

8 months ago, it was decided that my youngest child would start school this fall, against my better judgment, after having been homeschooled his entire life.

5 months ago, I attempted to initiate a dialog with my ex in order to better facilitate this transition. My ex responded with suspicions of my “agenda” and refused to negotiate with me unless we were in front of a mediator and would end the session with a legal document that could be executed. A legal document that would take into consideration any of a thousand different decisions that need to be made on a regular basis, such as “who will buy pens when he runs out.” “Who will be able to pick the child up at the last minute on a rainy day.” and “who’s going to pay for the field trip next week.” Decisions which, by the way, default to being my responsibility in the absence of agreement, so there’s really no motive for negotiation on his part. Previously, any attempt on my part to request financial or logistical assistance for activities and events has been soundly rejected, with the explanation that since it was allegedly my sole decision to homeschool my children, it was my responsibility to bear the burden of that decision. He ended our back-and-forth email exchange by asserting, in a rare moment of admission of intent, “This will hurt you” (meaning me) “more than it will hurt them.” (meaning my children.) I chose to not continue the conversation.

In absence of this fabled legal agreement that would magically address the myriad of issues that crop up in the day-to-day life of a child, my ex refused to speak to me at all for several months. Any attempt on my part to negotiate was met with either silence or insistence that I communicate through my lawyer (unfortunately, I am not able to retain a lawyer, so there wasn’t a whole lot I could do to get through to him.)

Meanwhile, the date of registration drew closer, and in spite of my attempts to negotiate the tasks that needed taking care of, I received silence. Until, finally, last month, an attempt was made by him to initiate a legal order by which some of these questions would be answered. The very same questions I had attempted to negotiate about a month prior to that.

While we waited for lawyers to pass information back and forth, deadlines loomed. An attempt was made by me again to define roles and responsibilities. The response was unequivocal that absent a legal agreement, I was not to expect my ex to be responsible for the mundane tasks of school enrollment.

Rather than arguing, I took it upon myself to take care of those tasks, now near the deadline for completion. My ex’s response to my lack of response THIS TIME was to call the school to check up on whether or not I was doing what he had already made exceptionally clear that he was not going to be doing.

Let me be clear that I have never once failed to care for my children. In spite of many and varied obstacles, many of which have been caused by my ex, I have always managed to get done what needed to get done so my children have the things they need. It is an abusive tactic to continually act as though a person is unreliable when they have done nothing but prove themselves to be reliable. And it’s an abusive tactic to drag a third party into the thick of things and make it seem as though the target of abuse needs to be checked up on.

Unfortunately, when my ex called to “check up on me” – he was given different information than I was. So now EVERYONE is confused, and EVERYONE is dragged into this endless loop of manipulative and manipulated communication. And after months and months of refusing to communicate, suddenly we are down to the wire and I’m being treated as though *I* have procrastinated, *I* have delayed, and *I* am irresponsible.

Last night, my eldest son was looking at the scores from the standardized test he took a year ago. The one that was supposed to prove he wasn’t learning. The one that he scored VERY well on. He said to me “Mom. I don’t understand how dad can look at these test scores and insist that homeschooling doesn’t work. He’s not dumb. It’s obvious from these tests that homeschooling is working.”

I honestly didn’t know how to respond to that. I’m tired of being put in that position. I’m also really fucking tired of having to be silent about it.

So, fuck it. This is my life. I hope I won’t have to continue to post these frustrated rants much longer. I hope a rhythm will soon be established, these issues will be resolved, and I can move forward and not have to pay so much attention the the negative energy this person attempts to drown me in.

Cross your fingers. Remain calm. Listen to Sly. ❤