School starts tomorrow!! Pardon me for a moment here……
The day that every parent looks forward to – when we can ship our kids off to school and let someone else deal with them for 7.5 hours and hope that the kids learn some thing in the process!
My son is going back to public school this year. Last year, about 1/4 of the way through seventh grade – I took him out of school, completely. He wasn’t doing very well in school – – both academically, and behaviorally. The school wasn’t helping a whole lot, either. It had come to a point where the teachers and admins were more of a hindrance than a help, where my son was concerned.
See, Ben is quite an intelligent little kid. You can sit down and have a conversation with him about politics (world or national), history, music – – whatever…and you’d think you’re talking to an adult. Now, some of his concepts and opinions are a little off the mark Like the time he said to me “But if Saddam is the President of his country, obviously he’s in charge, he makes the rules – – so he should be able to kill his own people if he wants to, right?” Needless to say – the kid and I had a long discussion about human rights, and the like. Ben loves to play the other side – – loves to play devils advocate, no matter what the topic…. sometimes, he’s a little misdirected. lol
He’s a handful, that kid. He’s strong, opinionated and arrogant. I have NO idea where the arrogance comes from – but he has it. He’s arrogant in areas he has no business being arrogant in! He thinks outside the box, he’s easily distracted; he doesn’t conform (see my entry about goats to get what I mean.) Most of the time, teachers don’t seem to know how to handle him.
Once he got suspended from school for using the term “Jesus Christ” – – as in, “I’m not the one making the noise, Jesus Christ!” The teacher told him to apologize for swearing. Ben explained to her that he didn’t think it was a swear, but that he would apologize if it offended her, in particular. She argued and told him it was a swear, to which he responded “Well, it’s only a swear if you believe it is a swear – – I don’t happen to believe it is” – – she then got her feathers ruffled and said “So, you’re telling me that you don’t believe in god?”…Which isn’t at all what he was saying, nor is it true. Well, as you can see – the argument progressed and Ben ended up suspended from school for using obscene language and arguing, incessantly, with his teacher. (They want to take away the Pledge of Allegiance because it has the word god in it – – but will suspend your kid for saying ‘Jesus Christ’, because it’s a swear word – – am I the only one who gets the irony?)
Anyways – Ben is a handful. His grades were slipping, his teachers were exasperated and I was losing my mind. So I made the decision to take him out of school and home school him through the end of seventh grade. The intention was to get him through 7th grade, and hope that he learned a thing or two – – both academically AND behaviorally. Ben’s biggest issue is that he needed to learn that the world did not revolve around Ben. It didn’t live by and bend to Ben’s rules of life.
He needed to learn things like: Just because your cursive small ‘a’ looks like an ‘o’ doesn’t mean that the world needs to adapt to your way of writing. If you don’t learn how to make it correctly, it will always appear as if you are spelling things incorrectly – – either that, or are too lazy to fix it and do it right.
Small things like that became really big issues in Ben’s world because he was stubborn and wouldn’t give in.
Well, let me tell you – – after 8 months of home schooling……Ben gave in. It became a battle of the wills between us, and of course, I won. We studied math, history, science, spelling, language, writing and he came out of it having read: Tom Sawyer, The Old Man and The Sea, The Time Machine and Treasure Island – – plus various other accomplishments.
Ben’s biggest surprise through it all? To discover that he can actually do and learn these things – – and he’s a different kid today.
I don’t like public schools, for a variety of reasons. But, it’s where Ben wants to be – – and I want him to be there. I really hope that the 8 months of home schooling helped him review and prepare for what lies ahead of him.
With boys at that age (12-14), a parent has a very very small window of opportunity to make a difference. Especially if they are seeing him start heading down the wrong path in life, developing really really bad habits and making poor decisions. I think after the age of 14 – the parents ability to make a lasting impression and changes becomes more and more difficult.
So, he starts 8th grade tomorrow with, hopefully, new knowledge and new perspectives. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well. Of course, he’s got the whole home school thing hanging over his head again. He didn’t actually believe I’d do it last year – – but now, this year…..he has no doubts that I am willing and able. That is the LAST thing that kid wants – – so maybe he’ll make better choices this year.
One can only hope!