The family came to a decision this week and we have removed our son from his elementary school and will be homeschooling him along with his older sister. I wrote about how we came to the decision to bring our daughter home earlier this year and while this situation had many similarities, many aspects were different and the decision had much deliberation and prayer.
Our daughter was failed by the system which no longer actively supports students that aren’t a liability to their precious standardized test scores. In our son’s situation, honestly, he was let down by the other parents. His grade-level, for some unexplained reason, has had discipline and behavior problems since kindergarten. Attempts to correct problems were generally met with disbelieving and ultimately uncommitted parents and by the time the kids go to 5th grade, behaviors were well-solidified. Like our daughter, the problem went on for years but was tolerated until it reached the point it couldn’t be any further.
Brian’s teacher this year, Mr. ‘P’, was excellent which made this decision quite difficult. As we got reports from our son how his class got in trouble again or lectured to again over the dinner table, I couldn’t help but think Mr. P was not being a strong enough disciplinarian (my manager hat must have still been on). Last week, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Brian’s school* and spend some time in his class. Not only did I see first-hand how good Mr. P was but also how frustrating the behavior problem was. The majority of the class was ‘just’ bad enough to be a problem but without clear troublemakers to single out and reprimand though he did several times in the single hour I was there. He simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to discipline a class and try to teach them at the same time.
Brian is also the more social of our kids and the thought of ‘loosing’ his friends was difficult for him but his countenance was clear every day he came home from school. There was a problem that had to be addressed. We decided to do a dry run and kept him home on Tuesday for him to get a taste of what it’s like to be taught by your mother. Of course, she didn’t have all the texts or a full lesson plan but was able to give him a good idea. He liked it but still agonized.
The debate that had gone on for weeks hit high gear. It wasn’t easy, but, thankfully, the Lord did guide us. The decision was made, the dis-enrollment form filled out, and personal belongings collected. Interestingly, there was no resistance and instead complete understanding. There were also many ‘off the record’ comments made about ‘all the good ones are leaving.’ That part really pains me in all of this. The school system is really breaking down both within (testing obsessed admins) and without (nobody ‘parenting’ anymore) and I don’t see that turning around. We’d fight, and we did, but we ultimately need to do right by our kids and not let them loose even if there may be a greater good. That’s why Brian’s new school desk is now five steps from the kitchen.
* If you’re a father of a kid in school, please do yourself a favor and ask if they have a WatchD.O.G.S. program. It’s an awesome way to support your kid and their school.
UPDATED: Fixed a few typos. Maybe I shouldn’t blog at 6 AM.