This weekend, while ‘cleaning the house’, I thought It’d be a great use of my time to go through my old posts here at Child’s Play. Can you say, “easily distracted”?
Anyway, it dawned on me that I’ve passed the three year mark for how long I’ve been homeschooling! Yessiree, three years ago I was at the edge of my rope, emotionally and mentally exhausted after fighting the public school system for some help with Naturalist. The pathway towards homeschooling was a long, winding, and frustrating road that we didn’t even know we were on until a particularly bad IEP meeting. A week after that she was out of school. Officially it takes 14 days from the time you notify the state until you can withdraw your kids…surprisingly easy but not quick enough for me. I called the district office to announce that she wouldn’t be going back, they threatened to claim truancy, I threatened to be waiting with a news crew for the officers to show up so I could start asking questions like, “Why isn’t school properly taking responsibility for teaching ALL children”, and “Why is my daughter being subjected day after day to an abusive system from your school district?” etc., etc. The district and I ended in a truce. They told me how irresponsible I was for taking my daughter out, I told them where they could take their opinion, and Naturalist went back only long enough to get her belongings.
I was scared to start homeschooling, but motivated. You can read my ‘OMG, I’m homeschooling!’ freak out post (my first blog entry ever!) here at “And It’s Decided!” (I had a good laugh reading about how soothed I was that homeschoolers have a local bowling league. Like, hey…they actually emerge from deep dark basements to take their kids other places…*snort*)
The IEP meeting that went bad happened when they told us that no, Naturalist didn’t qualify for any accomodations or programs, but yes, she was showing signs of extreme anxiety and depression…so we should medicate her and then send her back for the same old, same old shit that was making her feel so incredibly bad in the first place. And yes, it is illegal for schools to suggest medication, so they phrased it like this: “We can’t officially tell you to medicate, but if she were OUR daughter….”
What kind of sick place diagnoses an 8 year old with anxiety & depression and then does absolutely jack shit about it? Why yes, public school. Back then, I was too upset and freaked out to be mad about it. I was so heartbroken to see my formerly dynamic, vibrant, confident child become a shell of herself and be upset enough to warrant medication. The post that talks about that is here: “Homeschooling…WHAT?” I just knew I had to get her out of that place. Maybe, I thought, I’ll just take her out long enough to find a school where she belongs. So, we took her out…and I never looked back.
I’m upset that Naturalist, Hubby and I had to go through that. But, at the same time, it spurned me towards this life that I’d have never known without such a drastic event. I had never considered homeschooling, never thought about it, never even wondered about it.
When I read my first blog entries compared with my middle ones and finally the current ones, I can trace an arc from tentative, scared, and massively controlling towards a kinder, gentler, more open and mindful homeschooler. An arc that goes from rigorous ‘school at home’ curriculum towards what we do now, unschooling.
Like a rainbow in a storm, this has been an unexpectedly beautiful experience. It’s a journey I never thought I’d be on, but it’s better than anything I’d imagined my life would be like.