For the umpteenth time in four years I find myself seriously pondering the benefits of homeschooling my oldest son. I love our school. I love his teacher. It’s not them, it’s him.
He’s been sent to the office a lot lately- maybe even daily. His behavior in class is not okay (talking a lot, being generally disrespectful, being disruptive, etc.) but in the office it’s a different story. He’s fine. Well behaved. Just fucking ducky. So last night I asked him (in earnest) if he liked going to the office…and he nodded.
Color me gobsmacked.
“You like being in trouble?” I asked.
“No. I just like being in the office. I can think.”
That cuts to the heart of it, doesn’t it?
There’s a school we could send him to that we’ve looked into before that would be perfect were it not for one, eensy, minor detail: the $25,000+ per year price tag.
We could buy a brand-new, tripped out Honda Civic for that amount of money. We could take the entire family on a two-week vacation to Hawaii for that amount of money. We could take 20 trips to Steamboat this summer for that amount of money.
But that’s not the point. The point is that to afford that school our entire family has to sacrifice- no more movies (at home or in the theaters), no more going out (and it’s not like we do that a whole lot anyway), no vacations, no special treats, no picking up a cute t-shirt just because- nothing. To afford that tuition I will have to work more hours and we will have to watch every stinking penny we spend. And that’s not right. We’ve lived like that before and it’s beyond stressful. I don’t want that for our family.
But I hate what’s going on with my son. Hate it. I hate this miserable cycle. I hate getting the phone calls from school. I hate knowing that he is, on some level, intentionally being a problem. I hate that because of his behavior issues, he can’t be in the enrichment classes. I hate the amount of medication he’s on just to get through a day. I hate that he’s not happy. He doesn’t like gym or music. He doesn’t come home talking about school, or friends, or the fun he’s had on the playground.. He doesn’t show me his schoolwork with pride. He doesn’t care. He’s quit complaining and resigned himself (I guess) to…drudgery.
If we do this his last day of public school will be December 19 and we will start on our own at the beginning of January. I’m not terribly worried about putting together curriculum. I know several people who homeschool and they could help me sort that out- at least for a few months. SG will continue in school (it works for her and she’s happy) so JP will still be involved in the community (breakfasts, socials, carnivals, etc.) and next year we would pursue some sort of online/ virtual curriculum that would allow us to get plugged in to a non-religious homeschooling community for social activities. JP is ridiculously smart so I don’t think there will need to be a lot of instruction on my part, more discussion, reading and exploration than traditional teaching, I think.
I’m not convinced this is the right decision- not by a long shot, but I’m also not convinced that the status quo is sustainable. I don’t know. I really, really don’t know.