He wasn’t the same kid that we sent to kindergarten in the fall. Now, I realize that kids grow up and change, but this was different. He was angry all of the time. He was coming home with 7-8 paper every day that he had completed during the school day and then he had homework. You might think that 7-8 paper isn’t bad for a school day. The problem was, he was only going for 3 1/2 hours! I was in the public school system for 5 years, so I realize what goes on during the course of a school day. There’s recess, special classes, assemblies, snack time, and other interruptions during each day. I was trying to stay in contact with his teacher, but she really didn’t want anything to do with me. Then I got the call. “Mrs. Mollohan, we need to put your son on a behavior calendar.” My heart sunk. My child - on a behavior calendar - in kindergarten? What was going to happen by the time he was in 5th grade? Then Christmas break (sorry, “Winter” break) came and he was home for 2 weeks. Wow! What a difference we saw in our son. I remember standing in the doorway of the living room with my husband. We were standing there watching our oldest (5 years old) play with our youngest (7 months old). We were amazed at what we saw! He was our son again! He was joyful and playful. He was laughing and smiling and having fun. We hadn’t seen that in a while. We had been discussing homeschooling for months and I just never wanted to be teacher and mom. Boy, was I naive. I already was. Parents are their children’s first teachers. My husband had faith in me that I could do it and he would support me with this new adventure. I wasn’t so sure until it was time to send him back to school after the 2 week break. After 2 days, he was back to the mad, frustrated, and angry 5 year old boy. That solidified our decision. During this same time, my husband and I were looking for a preaching position for him and had decided on one in Oregon. We were going to have to pull him from school anyways to move, so we decided to just wait to start homeschooling until we moved. On my son’s last day, I went in to pick him up from school. His teacher had put together a packet of work that he could work on until I was able to get his homeschooling together. She made sure that I understood that she didn’t agree with our decision to homeschool him because he just stopped crying every day and was getting along better in school. I was shocked! It was April! She never told me that he had been crying every day! That only solidified my decision to homeschool. Thank you, dear teacher.
I want to put a little note in here about public school teachers. I salute you. I was one of you. I know it is a difficult job and more and more keeps getting added to your school day each year with not much pay backing up the work. There are wonderful loving teachers out there who adore their students and really work with them where they are. These are the teachers that put their all into their children. (I call them children because these wonderful teachers don’t think of their students as students, but as their own children) A huge thank you to you blessed teachers out there!
So we move to Oregon and I start homeschooling our oldest, at that time it was April of his kindergarten year. We just had a couple of months to get through before we were able to break for the summer (for us it’s like a month). During this time, I assessed where he was academically as well as emotionally. He really had a worse time in kindergarten than I had thought. He was turned off with school and fought me with just about anything that I wanted to do with him. I had to show him that school is learning and learning is fun. He loved dinosaurs at the time, so I made him a paleontologist and we did a lot of learning focused around dinosaurs.
I never thought that I would homeschool. I didn’t want the job title of “teacher” for my kids. I wanted to be like other moms who sent their kids off to school and volunteer. Even though it’s difficult, and both of my kids are changing and growing all of the time (which makes teaching them like trying to hit a moving target), I wouldn’t change it for the world. I think that it is one of the reasons our family is close and I wouldn’t give up this time to be with my boys and to be able to guide their learning.