Tuesday, 14 February 2012

How many kids do you need to homeschool?

My beautiful friend T Rex Mom gave me one of my favourite compliments a few posts ago. She said: I am still trying to figure out how you write about your tough childhood and yet it does not come off sounding like a "poor me" attitude or ever complaining. You do a beautiful job…

Good lord! I’m so grateful that people take the time to read what I have to say but to get me on this level, well that speaks to my writery soul.

The thing is I could sit here and tell you about the magical moments till the cows come home, I’m a bit on the poetic side in case you hadn’t noticed; I can spin most things into a Hallmark moment if I put my mind to it. But that doesn’t always feed us as humans, does it? I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that some days I don’t see the beauty. Some days I feel sorry for myself even though I know I have it better than so many people in this world. Some days I can’t crawl out of the pit I’ve fallen into without some major help.

This weekend I was knocked off my well-adjusted high horse. I was sitting there feeling all self-sufficient, like finally I’d gotten my hands on the reigns and had figured out how to drive this old gal called My Life when Deaglan’s report card threw me into a ditch full of quick sand.

Our four-year old is enrolled in all day kindergarten, a test program for our province where kids his age go to school the full day everyday just like first graders. I’ll be honest, before we even read about the curriculum, when we found out that our daycare bill would be cut by five hundred bucks a month, we were all sign us up yo!

But little things keep creeping up, making me question the value of the program. Like the five pages of homework our small boy is required to complete each weekend, the pressure we feel to get him reading ASAP, and the thing that set me loose in CrazyTown a few days ago - the early identification form they sent with his report card listing two areas they’d identified as problematic, an implication that our recently turned four year-old is not meeting their development schedule.

I don’t want to spell it out for you, I’m sure you get it but I.WENT.NUTS.

And it was the weekend so there was nobody to strangle. Only Shaune and me plotting those teachers’ demises for making this first year of school stressful, for introducing the notion that there might me something not absolutely perfect about our child, for daring to suggest that we could be doing something wrong.

I spoke to the principal yesterday and she was able to sedate me. She apologized on behalf of his teachers, felt strongly that they should have explained what this form was ahead of time but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. The point is, I realized how fleeting my sense of security sometimes is. That being human isn’t about reaching a stage of actualized growth and staying there in a bliss of constant. 

Nope. It's getting somewhere and accepting that you might not be staying long.

An old picture of Deaglan but in my heart this is how he still looks.


  1. Remember - it is a test program. It sounds to me like there are many kinks to still work out. He is still just barely 4. It's a lot for a child. For goodness sake, 4 years ago he had just come out of the womb.

    On a separate subject, I love your writing style and my compliment was 100% deserved. I would not be here visiting only your blog tonight after having worked a 13 hour shift at the clinic and not seeing my kids at all today to say this.

    I actually once almost emailed you to see if you could write a post for me about something that happened to me as a younger person because I knew however I wrote it I would sound like I was a whiny complainer but if you wrote it somehow it would sound just right.

  2. It just shows how much you love him Kim. :-)

  3. I think your reaction was appropriate. I think schools expect way too much, way too quickly from kids. Education is important, but learning should be fun. Too much pressure can turn a kid off for life.

    I love your statement that a sense of security is "getting somewhere and accepting that you might not be staying long." You spoke my heart with this sentence.

  4. I think I would have reacted the same way you did. I am not sure how my son is going to react next year when he goes to "school" but I know that thanks to his language issues he is well behind his French counterparts.

  5. I would have went nuts too. I find the elementary school years to be the most stressful because it always seems like the kids are being assessed way too much. Now when they get to the older grades, it seems like they stop evaluating as closely. By child 4 now, I have finally learned to take many of their official and unofficial comments about my child's abilities with a grain of salt. I know that you will always be an advocate for your kids at school. As parents, we need to be their voice and support because we can't let them get categorized as certain "types". Hugs to you Kim!

  6. Ah, you can't let expectations get to you. He'll be fine, you'll be fine. My policy is to not fight it unless it's troubling my child (like when some Bible guy came into the schools and told my kindergartner he needed to be reading he Bible!)

  7. Assessing has gotten way out of hand at this age, and I can not get over the fact that Deaglan's teacher has already has identified two "problematic" areas. Kim-this is nonsense! He isn't old enough to have problematic areas yet!

    Deaglan will learn at the speed and pace that is right for him. That is the only thing that matters.

    You are such a great mom. That is my assessment:)

  8. Oh my heart, Kim...I would have reacted the same way! He is still SO young!
    My Camden will be 6 in May and will just be starting kindergarten in the fall...there are days I worry he still won't be ready!
    They're our baby boys, you know?
    This is beautifully written, by the way.

  9. Love that last line...Nope. It's getting somewhere and accepting that you might not be staying long.

    During a recent parent workshop I was teaching, on Promoting Self-Regulation in your Child, I encouraged parents to make sure they model proper self-regulation themselves. I then followed that up with admitting on the previous night, in a fit of toddler-type rage, I hung up the phone on a postal worker while she was talking... :s

    The first step is recognizing where we need to grow...

    Glad you are feeling better about Deaglan's report my friend. ;)

  10. Oh good God! He's barely four. What exactly do they expect?! I would've gone a bit nutty too.

    My eldest starts JK in the fall...it's a whole other world isn't it? I'm nervous.

  11. Hmmmm... I am wondering who has had a worse time this year with school - me or you?? What is wrong with these schools these days. I am a teacher and I still don't understand.
    You know they put my on high blood pressure meds this year. It's a good thing, too because I thought on several occasions I might blow a gasket at B's school. Horrible. And, again - I am a TEACHER!! Lawdy!
    If we lived near one another we could just make a pact, quit work, coupon, thrift shop, you know - home school.

  12. Why can't things just flow and stay safe? Why does there always have to a kink? I guess that it's the only way we'll ever reach, grow, and learn.

  13. I would be more concerned if my 4 y/o (you know, if I had one) didn't have areas to work on. I mean seriously, he's FOUR!! What are they thinking?

    He's four and he's adorable (even if that is an old picture). That's all that should matter right now :-)

  14. from one "writery soul" to another, this is such a great blog!

  15. I think what floors me is that he's 4. FOUR. The pressure begins so early. Our dr. was so concerned about Donut not crawling at 9mos. Sure other kids were, but plenty weren't. They wanted me to get her evaluated. I decided against it. I know her--she'll do it in her own time and you know what? She did. Took off like she knew what she was doing all along.


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