Saturday, May 7, 2011

Deciding to Homeschool part 3 "The Public School Years" (1st & 2nd grade)

Part 2 left off at the end of Kindergarten....

Well, summer came and went. The first few weeks of school went by without much incidence - I attributed it to my new-found knowledge (from all the parenting books that I had been reading) that 4-Lom was a child who had hypersensitivities, and that he needed advanced notice and preparation for any type of change. So I spent the summer preparing him mentally for all the things I could remember about 1st grade. I mentally prepared him that he would have to ride the bus to and from school this year. During orientation, we met his teacher and WARNED her about his stubborn side, and the fact that he was a little shy and didn't talk to many people. I would have felt guilty dropping my little bombshell on her without giving her advance notice.

His father and I dropped him off in his classroom the first day, and he rode the bus to and from school without any protest the entire year. He actually got up the courage to talk to his teacher on the first day of school too!

He had a WONDERFUL first grade teacher. She was so patient and kind. She really took time to get to know him and his quirkiness didn't get to her too often.

Even so, it was no pic-nic. After he got used to his teacher, he let what we called his "stubborn" side show from time to time. Once, he spent 2 days in the principle's office doing his work because he had a meltdown during class one afternoon and refused to do his work. (By now I've forgotten what set off his meltdown, but it seems like it was something as simple as the teacher changing his seat. But he would not tell anyone what was wrong).

He really didn't "get it" that going to the principle's office was a BAD thing. It didn't seem to stress him out at all. It was just part of school to him. In fact, he sat there and did his work with no trouble. (I would have broken down in tears and surely had to be sent home if I ever got called to the principle's office when I was in school.) Somewhere deep down I felt this was odd, but didn't put too much thought into WHY.

Oh yeah, now we had HOMEWORK too! It was just a little math everyday...and that's where the afternoon battles began at home. It would take me all of 3 hours some days just to get him to put pencil to paper. He would ignore the lines, start goofing off by writing HUGE numbers or letters on the page. I would erase it and make him do it over. He was very good at mental math, but with this homework he would cry and tell me it was too hard, but he didn't want me to help him. I would leave the room and he would follow me to get me to help him, but then he wouldn't let me help. I began to wonder what kind of miracle worker his teacher was for getting any work out of him at all during school. She must have had some pretty nifty tricks up her sleeve.

After about 3 weeks of this I gave up. I knew he was learning math- even if he wasn't showing it on paper. I became content if he wrote anything just to have something to turn in. That's not how I pictured all this would be. I began counting down the days until the weekend..the next break..the end of the many more years of this I had to endure.

Homeschool probably crossed my mind during this time, but I was certain one of us would not survive the experience if this is how schoolwork was with my child.

Well, we survived first grade, and he actually made the A/B honor roll. They closed the SST file because they felt he was talking "enough" to "enough" people by now. 4-Lom was still eating lunch, he had one close friend and a couple other kids he would talk to.

And it was all good, because that's the way it was supposed to be. Right?

The school where he went allows parents to fill out Student Characteristic forms to help place them with an appropriate teacher the next year. I decided to fill one out to help our chances of having a 'normal" year. I had written that he needed a patient, understanding teacher...blah, blah, know, basically someone like his own mother and the qualities I "thought" his first grade teacher had- you know someone who would understand and nurture him. BIG MISTAKE!

His poor second grade teacher didn't stand a chance with him. I'm sure she was counting the days til he was out of her class. She couldn't get him to do much of anything, and didn't have a clue what to do about it. I felt so sorry for her by the end of the year. We "teamed" up on 4-Lom by keeping in touch by email the best we could so he wouldn't outsmart either one of us - but he did anyway.

As the year progressed he was showing his "stubborn" side more and more.
That's when I started listening to Dr. Phil. You know- if your child is not doing what he is supposed to do, you need to "find his currency" and ROCK THEIR WORLD! Well, I ROCKED HIS WORLD alright! His currency was his toys- all his COLLECTIONS of toys.

It broke my heart, but I packed up every toy that I could and took it outside to storage. I allowed him to keep his books, and warned him that if he so much as touched any of the toys that I couldn't pack away that they would be gone forever. (Instead of reading his books, he built with them.)

Well, that got his attention. The next few days or so he had a BIG attitude change....until something at school didn't sit right with him and he refused to do ____.

(Oh, how I wish I would have known about Autism then..looking back I would have done a lot of things differently.)

I did let him earn his toys back throughout the year a few at a time for cooperating, but it still wasn't helping that much with the school/homework problem. Not only that, he ended up with the teacher who assigned the class to write sentences with all 20 spelling words each week AND put them in alphabetical order.. (his friend's class had to write 5 sentences.) My child HATES to write, has horrible handwriting and he ended up with the teacher who requires the most writing. You couldn't read nearly a word he wrote, but after about 3 hours of battles and tears he had something to turn in- my (revised) goal of getting him to do his homework was accomplished. The rest of the battle was hers if she wanted to read it!

This could NOT be happening! I didn't want to be the type of parent who let her kid get away with being slack on his schoolwork, but I couldn't find the logic or wisdom in spending what precious time we had together each afternoon battling over homework either. Other people send their children to school and live happily ever after. I was thinking "God, this is not funny! What am I doing wrong?"

(I wish I would have known about a handwriting disability called Dysgraphia back then too)

By this time I'm checking to see how old my precious child has to be to go to boarding school. (Not that I would send him, but some days it seemed like a good idea). The only other option was homeschool, but NO WAY - one of us would surely die! (Not really- but you get the point).

I realized I needed to get him prayed over at church, anoint him and pray over him while he was sleeping, and read more parenting books, watch more Dr. Phil, AND Nanny 911. They seem to have it all under control.

Well, somehow we survived 2nd grade and summer was finally here!

He still was on the A/B honor roll...this teacher must have been another miracle worker. Don't get me wasn't all bad...not for 4-Lom far as me that was another story! He had some good times, talked to a few of the other kids on the playground, and occasionally to his teacher. He still had the same friend he made in Kindergarden too. But he was learning that a lot of other kids liked to make fun of him because he was different, made scenes when he got overwhelmed, and didn't talk to hardly anyone.

And 4-Lom had taught me EVERY detail of everything there was to know know about Hot Wheels, Monster Trucks, Dinosaurs, Pirates, Transformers and many other things that he was interested in.

I was not looking forward to 3rd grade one bit! And now I'm counting again...only 9 more years to go til we are done with this school thing..... But this is the way it HAS to be. Right?


You know--- God speaks in a still small voice, and I DO hear Him; however, I don't trust myself to know that it really is Him most of the He usually has to let my life circumstances YELL at me until I listen and say to myself - "Oh, that WAS God!"
Yeah, yeah, call me a slow learner, but I finally "GOT IT" LOUD AND CLEAR and started homeschooling...
It only took me 2 1/2 more school years of God letting my life circumstances YELL at me if you want to get to the actual day God got through to me, you'll have to wait for the chapter on 5th grade....but we still have to get through 3rd (there was a LOT of Spiritual YELLING going on that year!) and 4th Grade.

To be continued....

In case you missed parts 1 and 2   
Part 1- Accidental Homeschoolers

Part 2 - PreK and K

Part 4- 3rd Grade
Part 5
Part 6- 4th Grade

1 comment:

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