Wednesday, May 27, 2009


We pulled the kids out of school in March. There were a lot of concerns surrounding Camille's classroom and the deteriorating of her behavior at home. I felt at that point that I had done everything in my power to make the situation better but nothing was coming out of that work. I had hoped to make it through the end of the year, and then make a decision about homeschooling.

When I pulled them it seemed pretty straightforward. I was going to keep them home, and continue with homeschooling. However some things have come up that are now making me question this decision. First, we are in a location where there are few homeschoolers. This means that in order for us to do things with group, we have to do a lot of traveling. Camille hates being in the van because she gets carsick. This is problematic because Umberto needs a lot of social activity. He's very orientated towards being other kids a lot, and it's become apparent that being with just his sisters is not cutting it for him. Everyday he asks what we're doing, and who we're going to see. I can see the look of disappointment on his face when I tell him that we're not going out. Second, the school has made some changes that I feel would make me feel comfortable putting Camille back into a classroom. Lastly, I just am not good at this. I don't want to unschool but I have a hard time actually planning out the kind of lessons I feel they need to become healthy, curious learners. I've been out of school for almost a month now and haven't really done much with them in terms of school work. Umberto needs to read everyday or he's not going to become an independent reader. Camille is begging me to teach her more. And I feel like I'm failing them.

It seems this would be an easy choice. Put them back in school. But there are problems with that choice as well. Neither of them want to go back to school. I know it would be a battle. And yes, I could pull the "I'm the parent." but we try very hard to listen to our children's voices. While I wish I was more proactive in coming up with lesson plans, etc, I do think they learn a lot. They are all very curious about the world, choice books about subjects they're interested in, and when we go out, we do a lot of learning type activities. And I'm scared about how we'd all be treated if we go back to CCS. I know there are many there who will see the changes as my fault. This is of course silly and unrealistic but it's easy to pick a simple answer than to look at the whole picture. I am not the only person who has pulled my kids from the school nor am I the only parent who raised concerns. Unfortunately I am the parent whose concerns became public in a highly unethical way.

I have written an email to the principal. I see this as a first step in making a decision. There would be no point in agonizing if there is no room anyway. Parenting is complicated.


V. said...


Sorry you're going through this. All I can say is that I question myself all the time about how much "school" work we are doing.

BUT, I've read papers written by students 18+ who have been through the public school system and most of them can't seem to put a coherent thought together.

I feel it all depends on the teacher in a school situation and there are some great teachers out there.

I took Erin out because I couldn't believe the things that go on in a classroom and the people who are in charge of our kids.

I feel that whatever you are doing is probably better than putting them in a situation where they will start to hate to learn. They are obviously still in a good place if they are asking to be taught.

My kid is older but I'm sure there are people out there who have great suggestions. I remember using software with Erin when she was little and she loved it and was able to learn quite a bit by herself.

There are some things you can't change. Erin reads about 3 books a week but she hates math and always has. It's a constant struggle. But I know that if she needs to learn something for a good reason, she'll get it together.

Please trust yourself and your children.

Dharmamama said...

I want to point out that it's a fallacy that if Umberto doesn't read every day, he'll not become an independent reader -- many, many, many unschoolers have learned to read in their own time, in their own way. It's not on a school schedule, but that's kinda the point of homeschooling (well, it is for me, anyway); it's to honor the kids where they are. You can go on some unschooling discussion lists and "meet" people whose kids learned to read later - 9, 10, 11, even older - but they're good readers! There is some brain development that needs to occur in order for reading to happen. School makes kids whose brains aren't at that point of development believe that they "can't" read, because they haven't by a certain age. You can free your children! There are ways to make it work!