Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why We Pulled Our Son Out Of School

"Mama, I want to be home schooled," my 13 year old son told me as just he and I drove to visit my brother and sister in law's new home.

The news came as a shock.

Okay, maybe not a total shock but a shock just the same.  Last year we had a few issues at school, I blogged about those, and he had said in passing he wished he were home schooled but this year is the first year he is in junior high.  This is the first year he changes classes and he really likes changing classes and he likes all his teachers.  His grades are great.  He has a close group of friends and he gets along easily with everyone.  He finished his first year at football, loved it and all the comrade of the game.

And now S1 was telling me he wanted to be home schooled.

He had asked last year and we had shrugged it off.  But this night, after he had taken that deep breath and told me, he went on to explain what he would like to study, how it could work and then, then he stabbed my heart with, "I'm really sorry I am asking you to do so much work for me, Mama, but I think it's that important."

What could make our son want out of school so badly?

He wants out because he is watching his friends, the friends he has grown up with and hung out with and we have had here at our home and he has gone to their home, suddenly more interested in sex and pornography.  They tell him he won't make it out of school without having sex.  They continually make sexual gestures.  Some of the older kids will rub up against him (as he says) in an "odd way" just to make him blush.  The way the boys talk to and about the girls disgust him.  He is afraid that if he stays in that environment, he will change and be just like them.  He thinks it will start slowly that he will not become aware of the change until one day he realizes he has become what he never wanted to be.

He doesn't want to leave his good friends behind but he knows enough that he needs out.

Throw in there some kids who are disruptive and stall class after class which in turn has him bringing home homework to work on until ten at night and anyone could understand how fed up he is with it all.  He wants better for himself.

On the day we went to the principal to let them know this would be his last day, S1 had written a letter explaining why he was leaving in hopes that morale could improve and it could be better for his friends left behind.  We never even had to leave it behind because the principal talked with us and was completely encouraging - not like he could have changed our minds - but still, encouraging.  I appreciated his words to us greatly.

"Until kids home lives change, it's pretty hard to change the school atmosphere," the principal explained to us.

All our back and forth trying to decide this seemed to be covered in peace when we finally said, "Okay, we are pulling you out."  It was as if a burden has been lifted from our sons shoulders.  His excitement is evident.  We had to keep reminding him to not talk with others about it while we figured it all out but that was impossible for him.  The joy he has now is something I had not realized was gone until it returned.  It does our hearts a great deal of good.

I have to admit, this new adventure has me scared to death.  "Totally freaking out" is how I describe it.  I am suddenly responsible for his learning.  Yes, he has to do the work but I have to hold him to it and that is overwhelming, I am not going to lie.

This also made me realize just how selfish I am.  Here I have reached this place in my life where life seems good.  I love love love my job at the library.  My passion for Praise and Coffee is deep.  I enjoy writing for the Kalamazoo Women's Magazine.  I enjoy meeting with friends for coffee and heading off to write an article.  I love my boys, I love my boys being home, but I had reached that point where I could see how it was nice to drop them off at school to get other things done too.  I really liked the way my life was going.

And now I am not sure how it's going to look.

But my son is more important than all that.  All my boys are.  And it's most important to us to do what is most important for our boys.  Doesn't mean I am not 'freaking out', doesn't mean we have it figured out, doesn't mean I don't like our little school (any long time readers know how much I love our little school - and the other three boys we are happy to leave in that school) but I would be lying if I didn't say I was a little excited too.  Some weird part of me lays in bed at night and thinks, "We can start with a study of the pilgrims and we could read that Plymouth Plantation book!"

It does mean I covet your prayers.  It does mean I am taking all kinds of advice.

It does mean I'll be having some interesting blog posts soon, I am certain.
We are so proud of the young man you are becoming, Andrew! Love you!


Donna Schultz said...

I'm sure that you are SO proud of him! Praying for you, mama!

Anonymous said...

I have spent my day at work catching up on your posts, I just got back from break to see this one. You must be so proud of Andrew, for standing up for what he believes is right and wrong ~ at 13years old!! Prayers for you all of you through this new journey - I have no doubt at all you will all succeed!!
Kelly Faye ;-)

Denise D. said...

We dealt with this stuff last year when our S3 was 12 and in 7th grade. We were close to pulling him but met with the school and they wanted names of people to keep Adam away from and who he wanted to be with. Difference with us is Adam doesn't want to homeschool but yet sometimes his actions say otherwise. That's such a rough age, good for Andrew for having the maturity to recognize that in his life and get away from it!

Poppy said...

Way to go S1!!!! I have thought about pulling my 6yo out of school but the reasons were not that significant as in S1's case. If my son ever has those issues in public school he will be home schooled as well. Good luck on your new adventure! Proud of S1 for standing up for his values! All of you will do great with homeschooling, I just know it! Prayers for your family!
Poppy :)

Zaankali said...

I love this post! Doing what is best for your kids is not always the easy choice but it will help your kids see that they are a priority. That will make them stronger in their convictions too.

<3 Hugs!

Karen W said...

I just want to tell you guys that I am proud of you. Your dear, sweet boys deserve better than that behavior. It saddens me that the kids behave in that manner. But, I am SUPER proud of S1 and the mature way of handling this situation, recognizing the need for corrective action and wanting to stay pure most of all. Our prayers and love goes out to you and just know that we are phone call away!

Colette Schmidlkofer said...

I feel your pain and your excitement! I am the mother of 4 boys (and as of last May, a little girl). S1 is 12. We tried homeschooling, but getting pregnant put an end to that. I was too sick to help him any longer! I pray that you will have TONS of peace and lots of laughter in this new chapter of life with 4 boys!

Anonymous said...

While I don't agree with withdrawing from the world, it sounds like your son made a really hard decision. I hope it works out for him and for you.

With a bit of experience with home schooling, I'm going to tell you one thing. The single most important thing is to make a schedule and stick to it - let him help set it, but if he doesn't, enforce consequences.

Good luck,

Momma Kat said...

Good for you and your family! This is going to be a fabulous new adventure. I am so impressed and excited for you. There are many home schooling support systems out there you will be fine. One day at a time :O)

Barbara Rogers Buchanan said...

Praying, Denise! I'm proud of your son for having everything so well thought out before he came to you this time. God has something special for all of our children, but it looks like your son really wants whatever that something special is. He has a strong, valiant heart~ can't wait to see how he grows in the next few years!

Unknown said...

I am so proud of your son. God has big plans for him. God will use him in a mighty way for his kingdom. Enjoy your time with your son you have been given a gift.God will equip your every need.Psalm 32:8,Is.46:11,1Thes.5:24,Phil.4:19.Take lots of field trips,go to reenactments,do lots of hands on learning, living books, life experience, learn along with him! Have a blast, make lots of memories.I so enjoy homeschooling my 3 boys.Sometimes it's hard but so worth the blessings and rewards. I'ts a high and holy calling!!! I'll be praying for you and your family.

Heidi Z said...

You are really blessed having a son who was so honest with you. My mom let me stay home the first day of 8th grade and began home schooling me. The obscenity in 7th grade was just horrible. I did not want another year of that and I'm so glad my mom understood. Now, we have kept all our children home- the best home schooling choice we made was switching to Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum from AOP.

Samantha McDonald said...

Good for you and your family, making the best decision for your son. I am amazed and so glad that he wants to be a man of character. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Unknown said...

We homeschool our youngest we is 12 about to turn 13 and in the 7th grade. It is very rewarding! We just started it this school year and after doing it for several weeks I WISHED I had been homeschooling all along. You will either love it or hate it...I hope you develop a love for it like I have. I have actually wrote on my blog about homeschooling and why we chose to do it. You should check it out if you have a chance.
Hope all goes well with it! Oh BTW on another note...I LOVED your Dave Ramsey blog...I too was a skeptic and my husband was the lover. We have been doing it for 2 years and have never been happier and P.S...we don't do the envelope system either;)

Diema said...

WOW!! I was not expecting that for the reason to pull him out, but how awesome is Andrew to know when enough is enough!!! It shows how wonderful of parents you two are! I will also say that it is amazing that you are listening to your childrens' concerns and not making excuses for the behavior others have been taught! Courageous woman, you are! I'm excited to hear about your new journey!

Leslie said...

I'm so excited for you. I'm a new reader (heard about you from Dave Ramsey) We've been homeschooling since preschool and loving it. I have friends who have pulled their kids out of public school for various reasons, and they've all survived the change. As old as your son is, you may not have to make too many changes to your day. A very good read for you would be "The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child" by Linda Dobson. She specifically addresses parents who have pulled their children out of public school and how to get off to a great start.