I just don't know if we are doing the right thing.
It seemed like last year the public school program was indeed the exact thing this family needed. Christian schools don't do special ed, you understand. Homeschooling, my first choice, was not working out too well at all. Both children put up an enormous resistance to learning anything directed by me and they didn't yet have the idea that ALL children must learn to read and write and add and subtract. They figured it was just an option this mean mom had chosen to inflict on them and they weren't going to do it unless it was convenient. The old proverb, You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink, was exemplified on a daily basis in our efforts to educate the kids. Anybody who has read this blog knows we were already up to our eyeballs with just trying to teach them to brush their teeth and not scream when they heard the word, "no". I was burned out from the two and half years of exhausting work it had taken to get the children as far as they had come. I knew it was time to put them in school and let the experts have a go at it. HUGE things happened that school year for which I will ever be grateful. They learned that kids actually have to do this stuff. That was light-bulb moment number one. I felt like the kids were given an amazing opportunity and every teacher/aid/para put forth their best to help these two.
I had a few books come from the school library that I was apposed to having in our home, but mostly they were fine and I would just ask James to take back the ones that I didn't feel he should read. Okay, so that happened like twice, maybe. Even if he had read them his comprehension was such that he wouldn't have gotten much out of it anyway. His understanding of the story line was foggy at best. Missy was banned, by me, from bringing library books home, because she just would not return them. Our friend (his family a fellow homeschooling family during the older girls' homeschool years ) was the special-ed reading teacher and he was helpful in alerting me to things that I might have a problem with - movie day, etc... PE was tricky. Music class combined with PE.... even trickier ~ that's where my 9 year old's desire to go to a high school dance came from. BUT overall school was a good thing. The kids made progress, we got the needed break from each other, it cut the chaos in our relationships by half.
We didn't question putting the twins in the school this year. I homeschooled James as much as I could throughout the summer in an effort to help him catch up with his class so it wouldn't be so hard for him. He rarely resisted, though it did happen. Missy was not about to let me do the same for her, unfortunately, but there's a lot about her learning disabilities that I can't even pretend to know how to deal with. For her, public school is the only option for awhile, unless something better shows up. I plan to homeschool James next year. Our relationship is in a good place.
We are three days into school and I'm totally questioning the wisdom of our decision to send James at all this year. I like his teacher. I think the set up is great, and all... BUT my concern is growing. He has become socially aware, but it's more than that. The content of some of the materials for third graders........!
I nearly started crying last night as he was reading to me from his book brought home from school. When I finally stopped focusing on his pronunciation of individual words and paid attention to the plot of the story, I was aghast. I wondered if he really understood what he was reading .... then his snickering over a disgusting paragraph confirmed that indeed, he did. I took the book and perused it. Bullying, the showing of a fist in anger, smart talk, betting, unkindness, superstition, magic potions, conquering others and winning for self glory, harsh words between siblings, lying, name calling, and whatever other trash, all found in a 25 page chapter book. And all justified in the end because the 1'st grader, through it all, conquered his fears and learned to ride a two wheel bike and beat the bully who said he couldn't. Really truly? Such a "wonderful" model of conversation and behavior for our children to follow... REALLY?!
I keep thinking, "By beholding we become changed".
It seems to me we have an uphill battle as it is in character development. Can't we get a little help in the right direction? Must we glorify sin just to make reading attractive to our kids? Why in the world is that rubbish even considered attractive? I'm repulsed, frankly.
I don't get it.
So, now I have a problem. I have to go talk to the teacher............ and I'm so not desirous of making her hard job harder!!! First, though, I shall have a little chat with our friend, who is now the vice-principle, because I know he's on the same page with our family ideals and should understand why I am concerned, but also maybe he can enlighten me on the inner workings of the school and what I should be able to expect in this coming year of third grade. I am beginning to think that with having my kid more integrated in a regular classroom rather than in multiple one-on-one pull-outs in the day it might be quite different. I'm a tad worried someone is going to tell me that it's time to scrap this idea of public school and time dig up the ol homeschool books...