It’s time to really start thinking about whether or not the kids are going to public school next year. At this point, I think everyone is 95% leaning towards “oh hell no”.
I gave it a shot. I really did. I’ve determined at least three things by this little experiment: first, people suck at any age; second, public school sucks in any state; and third, it would probably cost about the same to buy a pre-packaged curriculum as it would to keep spending money on school lunches, pictures, yearbooks, book fairs, after-school snacks, new pants, etc.
And the problem? Slogging through probably thousands of either vehemently Christian or else painfully outdated homeschooling packages. (I kid you not, there’s one that SWEARS that the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica was the best set of books ever written.) I forgot how much I absolutely despise this part of it. Do I get a pre-packaged deal that will likely cost me a buttload, on top of the constant trips to the library, or do I piece it together like I did before and just hope to gods that I don’t forget anything? Or maybe I just go by the Core Knowledge lists and get all of my books separately, but then are we going to run into “disagreement issues”?
(“Disagreement issues” are cases where the information that is required to qualify as “knowledgable” in an area like history is blatantly wrong and popularly disproven, like the “biblical bang” theory or the rotundity of the earth or the real “discoverers of America”.)
I feel both vindicated and crushed that this attempt at public schooling has failed the way it has. Lili and Miles are both making straight As and Bs down the line, and there is definitely no problem in the realm of intellect or performance. The problem is that the students as well as the teachers are just so damned prejudiced, the school is so tiny and insular, and the general attitude is not one that will ever forgive a kid for being different in any way, let alone making “cardinal mistakes”.
And as a secondary question to the whole curriculum issues, do I have the strength, fortitude, and patience to get into homeschooling again, knowing that I’ll also be working a job (albeit from home) and taking care of a two-year-old? I think I will, especially after all we’ve been through this past year, but are the kids going to be down with keeping to a structure like that?
Would it help them stay on track better if they still got report cards every eight to ten weeks? Six weeks? Had weekly tests that they couldn’t weasel out of? Could actually see their grades as they go through projects and exercises? Got into other programs like 4H?
I understand and appreciate that public school was there for the kids when I couldn’t be, but there’s still the fiercely protective Momma in me that prays to the gods that they aren’t permanently scarred from this one year in the same ways that I’m still scarred from my one year of parochial school.
Lili had to read a book for school on the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, a very depressing and dour time. It’s not that I don’t think she can deal with the history, but the book is written from the point of view of a young lady who was a disappointment for not being born male (!), loses her mother during the birth of her brother (!!!) after sustaining massive damage from a kerosene explosion (!!!), and a week later the baby brother dies (!!!!!!!!), and then the dust storm happens and she’s told about kids smothered to death (!!!!!!!) and torn to ribbons on barbed wire (!!!!!!!!), and all the while her grief-stricken father won’t speak to her (!!!!!!), so when she gets lost in the storm, he goes out after her and gets lost himself (!!!!!!!!) and comes back only after she’s all freaked out about the people dieing out there (!!!!!!!!!!), and he STILL won’t talk to her, but she decides to stay and weather the storm (!!!!!!!!) even after her father leaves for greener lands (!!!!!!!)…
… and had I known about this, I probably would have bitch-slapped the teacher for not being a least a LITTLE sensitive to Lili’s particular situation. This is probably WORSE than the exercise they had to do on the Oregon Trail where Lili journaled as a young lady who inadvertently poisoned and killed four people! Hello? Are there two MFin’ brain-cells in there to rub together? What the hell are these people thinking?!? I already know that the teacher in question is not especially “available” to answer questions like the ones that Lili is liable to come up with, and there’s already the issue of the lack of respect we’re seeing towards anyone associated with the school…
And then there’s the whole Miles issue… he gets flustered or nervous and has an accident, and feels embarassed, so he hides it, and then starts stinking pretty badly, but then other kids don’t want to be around him, no matter how nice he tries to be with them, so he gets pissed off and frustrated and acts out physically… and I’d like to kick every last one of those kids in his class myself after he specifically invited them ALL to his birthday party, and only his TEACHER showed up.
Is it unreasonable to believe that a 7-year-old will be mature enough to not have accidents, or that the environment will act as a deterent? I thought it would, too. It didn’t. Maybe it was just too much to deal with after Toby, but what else was I supposed to do, really? And so the argument goes back and forth.
I’m ready to hang it up and call it an experience. Maybe the issue will be revisited later. Maybe not. Right now, the school year cannot possibly be over soon enough.