“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.