Thursday, January 23, 2014

Adventures in Homeschooling

Well Bug is officially out of Pre K. I know anyone who has followed this blog must be asking, "WHY???". I know, we were all so pumped about it. I was so excited to have a school aged kid. He was so excited about going to real school. Yet right from the beginning things felt wrong. He was being bullied on the bus, he was making the wrong types of friends in his class and adopting the behaviorisms of some of the rougher, older boys who were getting him to act out. His stress level was through the roof. He would come home exhausted, wake up exhausted. There was a lockdown in his school in the early fall after an irate parent was threatening the school, and then just last week in the high school a student brought a realistic looking bb pistol to school. Needless to say homeschooling began looking better and better.
Before Thanksgiving things got really bad. He began to cry every morning, claiming he could learn better at home with me, that he had no friends in school, that the kids were all mean, that no one liked him. I had emailed with his teacher a few times and we had spoken, and had a parent teacher conference. Everything seemed to be going better. She told me that he often has a hard time adapting to their routines, which is true, we have been wanting to have him tested for the Autistic Spectrum almost since age 1. He does not adapt well to change and often will melt down if not given proper time to adapt to a change in routine. I thought that things would be getting better. His report card came back with stellar marks in everything academic, he scored the highest score on the standardized tests of any pre k student in the school. However behaviorally it was a dismal report. I was in shock. This just wasn't the kid I knew and loved. Then I began to realize that even at home he wasn't that kid anymore. My happy go lucky studious nerdlet had been replaced by a grumpy, exhausted, sullen, nervous wreck. Every morning became a fight to even get him on the bus. It was all falling a part.
Then over Christmas break we had a family meeting on whether or not to keep him in school. He seemed to take a renewed interest in it and asked if we could try it a little longer. We all agreed. I had hope that after a few weeks off he would be happy to go back. However by 2 weeks after Christmas he was melting down again every morning. By this point he had missed almost as much school throughout the year as he has attended. Between being truly sick, making himself sick with worry, or just being so stressed and exhausted that I couldn't fathom sending him, he had missed probably close to 20 or so days.
This all culminated on Tuesday morning when our sweet boy should have been super excited to tell his friends and teachers at school that he was going to have a baby sister, which we had found out the night before. Instead he begged for us to just once and for all take him out of pre k. He very logically and clearly outlined for us that he felt he needs more time at home with us, that he can learn better with me, that he wants to help me come up with what he should be learning, and that he feels school had nothing more to offer him. For a barely 4 year old it was a very well reasoned argument. So we agreed. Homeschooling it was. PreK is not mandatory in our state and it is not even a really needed thing. I have many friends who did not send their kids to pre K and they were fine. Plus we did give it a really long try. We made it halfway through the year before we gave up.
So we signed the paperwork today and I sat down with Bug and over the course of a few hours we had outlined a curriculum starting this coming Monday that ends the middle of August. It covers a variety of subjects and incorporates history, science, math, reading, vocabulary, drawing, gross motor and fine motor skills, and yes even socialization.
So here we go.. we are embarking on the adventure that is homeschooling. Wish us luck!

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