Friday, September 3, 2010

The Long and the Short of it

So, we decided to put Josh in school. Just to test it out. Explore our options.

And we decided to homeschool. Just to test it out. Explore our options.

So, we have had two days of both.

Yes, folks, I am probably the first person to have their child enrolled in not one, but two kindergartens.

So, that's the short version of what we decided to do (That was specifically for you, Tina, since you asked). I left out all the heated discussions, the crazy textbook shopping sprees, the nights of excited enthusiasms, the mornings of dread and fear, yadda yadda yadda.



I cannot tell you (but I'm sure gonna try) how heartbroken I am right now. My little gleaming ray of sunshine has had a little cloud following him around for the last two days. And it kills me.


Joshua came home from school today, took hold of the red, smiley-faced balloon I got for Jeremy's birthday and said, "I didn't look like this today." He then spent the next 15 minutes standing at the window looking through the balloons at the sky.

The school had their back-to-school night this evening. I attended, but didn't hear much. I was so distracted and uncomfortable (miserable). The only thing I really remember was thinking, "Why on earth does the school have $23,000 as a proposed budget? Do they really need that many pencils?"

After the general meeting, I went to Josh's classroom to meet with his teacher. I was hoping it would be brief (and it was) and as soon as she said, "You can come up and talk with me, if you want!" I ran up there.

"Is Josh doing okay??" I blurted out. I wanted to hear her side of the sad tales my son was telling me. The look on her face wasn't encouraging.

"Well..." she began. "...he has trouble sitting on the mat...and he tends to wander around the classroom...and has trouble listening..."

I could feel my heart snapping.

"And, apparently, he sat by himself during recess." This I already knew, because Josh said to me, "I didn't play with anyone...Nobody would give me a chance."

I proceeded to explain to her that Josh can focus, and that he knew more than he was showing (the look on her face was a brave attempt to cover her disbelief. I am afraid first impressions stick. He didn't want to "perform" during his assessment and, after Mrs. X said to him, "If you don't know the answer, just say you don't know," Joshua said, "I don't know" to everything she asked him. I sat in the room 6 feet away ready to jump out of my skin as she marked her paper with all his "I don't knows," that he DOES know, backwards and forwards.).

I left the school feeling empty.

When I got home, I decided I needed to chat with my little man (cue lecture). It went like this:

"Josh, you need to do what Mrs. X tells you." I then took his little face between my hands and asked, "What did I just say?"

"You tell Mrs. X what to do..."

Right words, wrong order, and missing a few key elements, with a very accurate view of how he feels about most adults in general.

I quizzed him every 20 minutes after that about what he was supposed to do in school. I hope some of it got absorbed.

So, now I feel lost, anxious, overwhelmed, heartbroken...Oh, how I love that little man. And to see the sunshine wiped away is devastating.

I stood in the kitchen this afternoon, brooding as I folded laundry. "What do I do?" I asked myself again and again. I had the radio on to KBYU, and my brain suddenly turned on as these words sang out,

"Where, when my aching grows?
Where, when I languish?
Where, in my need to know?
Where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.

He answers privately.
Reaches my reaching.
In my Gethsemane, Savior, and friend...."

I have never been afraid to ask God for help. Sometimes it's the only thing that holds me together (okay, most of the time). Perhaps it is a heavenly gift. So, I turned to question over to Him: "What do I do?"

Of course, I didn't get the instantaneous revelation. Probably because most of my prayers are like answering machine messages (although, I do try and be grateful), and I try and fill in as much prayerness as I can before the inevitable *beeep* goes off in my head that says I am done.

But...if you think about Gethsemane, the Savior wasn't spared, but was comforted until His suffering passed. So, I hope for comfort...and that some angels will dry my tears.


Trillium said...

Look at it this way--if you had decided to home-school without ever giving the public school a chance, you would inevitably keep thinking "maybe public school is better--maybe I should have...." Joshua also needed to see what public school is really like. Without this "reality check" he would always wonder if public school was a kind of amusement park that he was missing out on.

Public school works excellently for only a few. For the vast majority, public school is a "mixed blessing." The question is how damaging is it for YOUR child? Do the negatives out-weigh the positives?

I think our neighbor, Mary, was wise to home-school Jonathan until he was older (8-10?) before enrolling him in public school. Look how confident, mature and responsible he is now at age 12. He is a shining example of the wisdom of treating and educating each child as an individual. Public school cannot gear classroom instruction to appropriately teach each unique individual. Only a private tutor can do that.

Of course, I know how you feel. It killed me to see how the institution of public school was hurting my children. Little children do not belong, nor thrive, in an institutional setting.

Chris said...

Caleb started first grade, and he really likes it. I think what helped him is that before kindergarten, he did a couple of years of preschool. Also, he has friends in the neighborhood that he had before we went to school, that were the same kids he went to primary with. I think if we had moved around, and he didn't have any friends, that it would have been a completely different experience. Because, it really does suck to not have any friends and not know anyone. One thing to note, though, is that when we first bought this house over 5 years ago, it took a few years to get to know ANYONE in the ward. I'm not sure why that is. I think it was like 2 - 3 years later that we actually had some FRIENDS. I know that sounds weird. One thing I have noticed is that living in Utah being LDS is not the same thing as living outside of Utah being LDS. Living in Utah, IMHO, kind of sucks. It has gotten better, but not alot. I would say more, but this might be better suited for a private conversation.

Hang in there, it will get better, but it will take time.

Tina said...

Dara, you know what he needs and you'll find the answers. My advice is to give it a little more time. Maybe he will make a friend and learn to do what his teacher asks of him. But... if you truly feel like he needs to be home schooled than do it!! No questions asked and no regrets!!! You know?
I'm so sorry he's had a rough start. I hate seeing Cloey upset about something at school. I feel like I have no control except to talk to her about it afterwards. Our sweet kids are having to adjust and grow up so fast now I think.

Rebecca said...

I struggled with the same things and I felt helpless when my children were hurt or deprived.

I also became their greatest advocate and fought for them when necessary at the schools they attend.

The most important thing I taught them was who they are and to not worry about what other people think. I taught them how to treat others and to show respect. I also let them know that they could always come to me.

This is your first experience and it won't be your last. You will find a way that you know is right.

Enjoying Life . . . One day at a time! said...

I just read a great book by Maria Montessori called "Dr. Montesttori's Own Handbook: A Short Guide to Her Ideas and Materials" Totally inspired me to want to homeschool using this methodology. It also explained why children should not have to sit still to learn. They learn best by touching things within their environment. It also touched on learning to read and learning math, etc. It was quick read and I was able to get it from the library. I hope you are able to work things out for you and your family!

Tara said...

I've been pretty swamped with school and haven't look at blogs lately - I'm sorry that you've been having such a hard time. Decisions really were easy once, but probably because the consequences generally impacted us. Now that the consequences can impact our kids, decisions are HARD! You're the mom, so I'm sure whatever you do will be what's best for Joshua and your family. Get luck getting some peace until then!

Melanie Ann Millett said...

Oh Dara that made me cry! I love that song. Your thoughts about it are so great!

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