Friday, March 12, 2010

When Homeschooling Isn’t Working

When Homeschooling Isn’t Working

I have to share this with my readers. This blog post horrified me! A schooling at home mom reveals:

"Oh, it had been a long time coming. Attitude problems. Refusing to do his work. Taking hours and hours for a single assignment. Just after Christmas he informed archly that “he doesn’t read”, such a plebeian pastime being beneath him. After that, silent reading became a battle, too.

Mr R began requiring more supervision. Eventually other subjects were crowded out. No time for art this week – I had to browbeat Mr R into writing his spelling words. No time for art when the math hasn’t been done. Prima Latina sat unopened on my desk. We just couldn’t get to it."

Her solution? She expelled her son from school. Yup! She expelled her own son from her homeschool. Yup! She's schooling at home. Is it any wonder her son had had enough? With such a tight leash and all that school work I would have rebelled too. This mom continues to whine:

"Mr R wasn’t content with just putting off his schoolwork. While Mama was busy teaching borrowing to the second grader, Mr R would be gobbling chocolate chips in the kitchen or annoying his little sisters or fighting with the third grader. His relationship with his sister, Miss E, has never been ideal and it simply got worse. Our school got loud, then got louder."

Hey mom, put the darn chocolate chip cookies away (better yet don't bring them into the house) and pay attention to your son. He's trying to tell you something. Why does she keep referring to her children as the second grader or the third grader? If this mom holds a teaching degree in education that may explain the baggage she's carrying with all this schooling nonsense. Schooling at home mom continues:

"We spent days on end fighting. I was always mad, even if I didn’t show it. Why couldn’t he just get his math book, without all the drama? I could never enjoy the creative stories he tried to tell me because I kept interrupting him to insist that he write his spelling words. I was constantly annoyed with him because I knew his grammar lesson lurked, blank and unfinished, on the shelf."

She couldn't enjoy his creative stories? No, to her the math book, the spelling words and the grammar lessons were more important to her than her child's creative imagination and his enjoyment of simply telling his mom what was rambling around in his head. If anyone should be annoyed it's her son for having a mom who is constantly anal over school busywork.

"He wanted to help me with dinner, but how could I let him when he hadn’t done his basics and when I suspected he was using it as a ploy to get out of schoolwork? He wanted to wander the creek looking for snakes, but I couldn’t let him out of the yard because he’d only done two math problems."

This oblivious statement nearly brought tears to my eyes. This poor boy. He wants only to be a boy and do boy things like learn in freedom. He wants only to receive his mother's unconditional acceptance but she's too busy trying to cram schoolwork down his throat. She's too busy to see he is reaching out as only a young boy knows how. Wake up here mom!

Has it never dawned on this mom that her hard-nosed approach to homeschooling may be what her son is rebelling against? Instead of researching the solution to her son's anguish she runs off shopping just to find some peace and quiet. With the situation deteriorating further she hammers down even more and comes up with a brilliant (in her mind) solution. So, what does she do? She expels her son from her school! She banishes him from the family (basically) since her school is his homeschool:

"Since he was no longer a student at St. Joseph Academy for Wayward children, he was no longer allowed to fraternize with the students during school hours (his siblings). He would have to spend school time in his room, alone, playing until I was able to enroll him in a different school. I promised to call him down at lunch time. He could not go outside, because he was not enrolled in any school and what would he tell the truancy officer if he happened to drive by?"

Now I am brought to tears. This boy is not only banished from his family (remember, no fraternizing with students during school hours) he is confined to quarters. Even when I was in the Army I never had a sergeant as hard-ass as this! What is that woman thinking? She claims her son has mood stability problems, bipolar disorder, and learning disabilities but I'm beginning to wonder if some of these problems stem from her lack of parenting skills. If I had to live with her I'd be moody too. I think this is a crock of sugar she's been fed by some so-called 'expert' and she uses these labels as an excuse to blame her problems on her son. Tyrant mom concludes:

"After a day of this, and an emotional meeting between us, with his father mediating, promises were made (as they always are.) I allowed him back into the school, on the condition that he complete his work quickly and promptly, without argument. And on the following Monday, he arrived at our school a changed man."

Although I'm relieved this boy's banishment was only for a day (really?) and daddy finally stepped in to get involved, I still can't help wondering how long this truce will last. For now mommy got her way but eventually (having raised a boy of my own) her son will tire of mom's idea of homeschooling. He'll test the waters again and try to gain a smidgen of independence. He'll try to learn naturally without the artificial trappings his mom imposes on him. His cries for acceptance and his cravings to learn in a appropriate and loving environment will bubble up to the surface again. A changed man? If anyone needs to change here it's mom and we can only hope that she has learned her lesson.


S. Thomas said...

I am stunned at this Mom's, this teacher's attitude. Her son has presented so many opoortunties for lessons, yet she has ignored them all. So very sad.

Mrs. C said...

Actually, I *get* this. The mom has several other children. The child knows what was expected of him. She sounds like she would *love* to hear his creative stories... but it's HARD to have positive interactions with someone who can be very, very difficult to live with. I'm not just talking about the schoolwork... but about mental disorders. Honestly, if you haven't lived with this sort of thing, I know it's hard to understand. These kids can be very difficult to live with. And I know experts can be full of crap... I've dealt with a few myself. But I also know that every now and then, there ARE very tough-to-deal-with kids that require a bit of a reality check every now and then.

I have one older son whose autism is affecting him so badly he may not be able to live with us much longer. It's not that I don't love him or want to be a hard-ass... believe me. But I do need to be *safe* and so does he. It's that bad.

I have only interacted with this blogger a couple of times, but I'm thinking there are many, many, MANY things in here that she is NOT writing. There are some things we can't quite share in blogland, but that we can hint at...

Annnyway, just my 2 pennies.

Cindy Wade said...

This mom just needs to relax and stop trying to 'school' her children. One of the worst things you can do is recreate the school in the home. Home should be safe, non-stressful and a loving haven, not some place where you're constantly badgered and shunned by other family members. Child or no child, if I were this boy I'd be asking to go live with grandma!