The title of this is rather obscure and I apologize for that, but it will all make sense by the end, I promise. I did this rather in a backwards format, posting about our first day of homeschooling rather than starting out with all the reasons why we chose to homeschooling this coming year.
I have wanted to homeschool ever since my son was in kindergarten, to be honest. He started out in the Caraway program for kindergarten but sadly it wasn’t what we thought it was going be. I then frantically started searching for schools and ended up choosing Mount Royal, a small, struggling Arts Core school in the Highlands area of Edmonton.
Mr K’s kinder class was a rocking total of 10 kids.
Not only were the classes small (at that time) but there was a sense of community in that small school. I loved it, even though it wasn’t our actual community at all, since I drove from another part of Edmonton to get there.
My decision to pull him out of the Caraway program because he wasn’t thriving was affirmed by the fact that he was reading by the end of kindergarten.
At a Grade 6 level.
So now here’s where I stand up for mainstream schooling. That kinder teacher and that small class somehow sparked his little mind into action more than Caraway or myself did. He was tested at the beginning of Grade one the next year and was found to be reading at a precise Grade 5.8 level. Crazy, eh?
Mr K was definitely the child that needed a small school and mainstream learning to challenge him. He had small classes with teachers that knew his abilities and challenged him appropriately for many years.
Then came this past year.
What a mess.
Just…what a mess.
I knew that the Grade 5/6 years were going to start getting tough but I seriously didn’t expect it to be as tough as Grade 5 was on my son. Grade 5 was a horrible year on his self-esteem and well-being, from physical to mental.
Let me start out by saying that my son is seriously the nicest kid in the world and that’s not just because I’m his mom. I’ve never met a kid who is so kind, so caring and just generally nice. (Now my daughter? That kid can and will kick some serious butt. She’s a firecracker.) He’s so incredibly sensitive about everything; other people, his family, everything.
He had barely made it a month into school before being attacked in the washroom at school by another boy. This child thought it would be OK to kick Mr K in the back while he was using a urinal. We are talking a full out kick to the kidneys here folks. A sneaky, malicious act if I’ve ever seen one, making sure that he did it in the one place that teachers couldn’t see him.
That kids punishment? Sitting in the office for a couple of days for an in-school suspension. My son came home telling me that this kid was sitting in the office talking and laughing to everyone who came in, including my son. Nothing like seeing the person who tormented you having a gay old-time out of the classroom, apparently not doing anything, right? My son was bewildered. How could the kid who had attacked him in the bathroom be sitting in the office having a great time?
Explain that one to me. Please, do, because no matter what admin told me, I failed to see how this helped my son.
That my friends, was the slippery start of the slide into hell that last year was.
I was in the principals office for a straight month in the fall, it seemed, thanks to this kid not leaving my son alone.
It was an entire year of this for my son. This kid would push, hit and name call. I’d be in the office. The kids would “talk” about their feelings. Then it would just happen again, a week or two later.
My son shrank into himself more and more. He exhibited all the classic signs of being bullied: he didn’t want to go to school, he even faked sick to avoid school (the first time in his whole life) and he was scared of this kid.
I have been really blunt and loud in saying that the system 110% let him down, failed him and as far as I am concerned, aided in the damage that has been done to his self-esteem. Let me clarify that completely by saying he had AMAZING classroom teachers, it is the way it was handled by higher ups that is the problem.
I have sent emails and letters of complaint to the school board superintendents. I don’t believe in not doing anything and fighting back however it’s not enough. We had to leave.
So now this year, I have to try to find some peace for my son. We have to try to put him back together, both mentally and emotionally. He needs to learn how to love learning again and heal and to be frank, I am the only person I trust that can do that job. My trust is gone, my faith in the school system completely shattered and I am honestly not sure how or when he’ll go back into mainstream school.
Now, let me tell you how lucky I am that I CAN do this. I can homeschool and remove my son from the situation. What about those parents that can’t? I’m frustrated for them. I’ve seen how it works.
The other reason we are homeschooling is due to massive amounts of travel this year. We are going to Phoenix for a long while. We are going to Europe next spring. It’s not possible to do all this and stay in mainstream school.
Even if we weren’t travelling, my kids would have been pulled from school and homeschooled this year, let me be very frank about that, and it’s due to all the problems my son had last year. There’s no way he was enduring another year of that.
So there you have it in a nutshell. I’ll be writing about this journey of ours, on and off when I can find the time, and take you along with us. It should be a fun year full of mistakes, learning, fun and adventure. I’m looking forward to it!