Back in February of 2019 (I think thats when it was) I wrote my first post for this blog called “The Journey Begins,” where I basically explained why we returned to homeschooling after about a year and a half in public school.
There is nothing in particular that I am against public, private or charter schools. No schooling situation is a one size fits all. Everyone is in their own place whether its accessibility, finances, location and work. Schools in general in America need to do better for not only students and adapting, but teachers as well. I can write an entire article on how but thats not the point of my post right now, maybe one day I will.
I will say that I grew up going through the NYC public schools (and private middle school) as well as my mom. My dad did high school in a Catholic School but the rest of his education career was spent throughout the United States as he was an Air Force Brat. That was long before homeschooling was stereotyped or even known to exist the way we do now.
Everyone has their own unique experiences in their school careers, which is completely understandable. For me, I loved school but didn’t feel challenged enough. Yes, I was that nerd and I had lots of friends but what sticks out the most to be from kindergarten through 11th grade (I skipped 12th and went to college early) was being bullied. I was bullied for being nice, bullied for my glasses, for being smart, for being a go getter and so much more. It never stopped. It hurts more than you know, even now long after I’ve graduated. I swore to myself that when I had children of my own, I would never allow that to happen.
Well in February 2013, my sweet amazing wild child graced us with his presence. The first year was amazing. I mean who would bully a baby right?
Then in 2014, right around June, kids in our local playground would be harsh. One kid purposely pushed others off swings and others would run away from him. I know part of it was that they were older and didn’t want to play with a little kid, but some also asked why he wouldn’t talk. Matthew could talk, and talked a lot at home, but was select mute and had trouble making friends and communicating. This continued until he was 3 when I finally was able to get him evaluated and started Speech and Occupational Therapy. (Don’t worry he did make friends with certain kids and found his crew). We were homeschooling the entire time from 2014-August 2017.
By 2017, (he was 4.5) he started pre -k in a particular New York City Public school that was a dual language mandarin class. I thought it would be a great experience for him being in a small class learning his 3rd language (we did french and english at home and he always had a back for languages). His class started with 9 kids and amazing teachers, another student later joined. It was great for him. He really showed he was doing well.
Come September of 2018, he entered Kindergarten. I was told his class size was still going to be small but only a few more students be added, and he’d still have 2 teachers. Well that was wrong. 1 teacher and 25 kids, still a dual language Mandarin class. Yup, you read that. Since the very start of tee school year, bullying occurred, other kids having meltdowns and my boy was being severely effected by it all. The first bullying problem was solved however one particular student, choose multiple kids to take her anger out on. She was in his class last year so I don’t know why Matthew was picked as a victim but maybe because he has such a caring heart that even in the worst of circumstances he wouldn’t push back and hurt her. Anyway, this particular girl would choke him daily. (I didn’t know this until the day I decided it was enough). I knew enough to bring up problems with the teacher, the principal and the district office. As a PTA Co – president, he wasn’t the only one having issues and we wanted to bring in help but the principal refused and district office basically told us to shut up that bullying isn’t in this school (at least how it used to be) and they wouldn’t do a thing about it.
Oh yea, I was furious. Anyway, Matthew had been regressing on many levels, socially, emotionally and academically. It was hard to watch my sweet child be filled with anger, be depressed and reverse in all the ways we worked so hard on. So come his 6th birthday, I took cupcakes to his class and saw he was in the back alone, rather than at his table spot (because he gets too distracted by the other kids). Anyway as I was handing out the cupcakes, the teacher said this student couldn’t have because she was in timeout, not sure what she did but okay, understood. Another classmate piped in an said she pushes Matthew into the closet every day to choke him.
It took everything in me not to react. This explains it. Why was my child regressing so much? He was getting bullied and no one was listening to him. Instead he ends up melting down every day after school. He was the one being punished. We wended the school day (which lead to the start of midwinter break). That night I knew he could never go back. That child never got punished, nor would she. I was sic of fighting and it was too long of him being traumatized daily. I resigned from the PTA and pulled him out immediately. We spoke with the homeschooling office, the DOE office and other homeschooling parents to see possibilities. There was no other fit unless I sued the DOE, which takes a long time and a lot of money, which I don’t have. During that first week I saw Matthew slowly begin to come back. We finished Kindergarten and I knew, our return to homeschooling was the best decision I could ever have made. As we go, as we meet new people, find new resources, have more fun and bond, it makes me feel like we may never return to traditional school.
Now with COVID, and how schools are trying to do this remote learning or mix of in person and remote, well I’m seeing even more how little our government on all levels (Federal, State and Local) actually care about the state of education more than that Teachers are babysitters with a higher education. (Not hating on babysitters, teachers or administration with in schools, its a complicated situation right now and most want safety). There is no way I would want my child risking his life, fellow students, teacher and our own family for this situation. Yes, its a privilege but some (like us) had no choice. There was no choice in schools to fit his special needs, and now health wise I’m compromised as well as my parents whom we live with.
Besides all those points and my long winded story (apologies and thank you for reading through it), there are many reasons to homeschool and everyone’s reason is different. Here is just some of the many reasons that are out there
- freedom to teach what you want and how you want (yes some state have regulations but theres much more freedom compared to traditional school)
- medical reasons and or exemptions – now that NY has taken away religious exemptions on vaccinations, its nearly impossible to get a medical one
- religious – teaching of their own religion
- special needs
- more family time
- can really emphasize learning and tailor it to your child
- COVID 19 – many don’t want to remote learn or risk in school exposure
Homeschooling also has a ton of benefits but just know, no matter your reason, or reasons, or your story/ journey etc. You know whats best for you, your child and your situation. Theres no wrong or right in this. We are in it together to raise independent adults. You can do it.