Why we switched to Home School.

August 8th, I walked my first born into school for the first time. He was thrilled, excited, fearless. Me on the other hand, I cried. Like a baby. But I kept telling myself it was best. He would learn so much. He would make friends. He would come home to me everyday.

The teacher had implemented a face system to let us know how they were doing. They had a calendar in their folder and each day they would get a face to let you know how they did for the day. Happy face for a great day. Straight face for an OK day and a sad face for a bad day. They would write a note on the back letting you know what the issues were, if any, and then we had to initial it and send it back. Sounds like an easy enough system, right?

Day one, a happy face. No big surprise there. Short of bringing in a shiv and stabbing classmates, I don’t think anyone would get a sad face on their first day of kindergarten. And since Genghis was not armed, I was not worried. Day 2 did not go so well. A big old sad face. Oh, but there was no note. So I had no idea what the problem was. I sent a note back asking what he did wrong.

Day 3, another sad face. No response to my note. I’m getting a little annoyed. I am not one of those parents that thinks that the school is ultimately responsible for my child and his behavior when he is at school. I want to talk to him about the issues, find appropriate punishments at home, reinforce what he is being told at school. So I send another note.

Day 4, another sad face. With a note this time. ‘Genghis needs to control his talking and work on following directions’. OK. Fair enough, I guess.

Wait, I’m a little confused. Looking at this, he did follow the directions. All the things that are normally red were colored red. He just kept going. I know Genghis. He is a very literal, very detailed orientated little man. I’m sure he just couldn’t help himself with coloring everything the way it was supposed to be. So I sent another note.

My big concern was that he was bored. I had been working with him at home and while we were not doing any formal teaching, we were way beyond colors. The other note asked for more details on when he was talking out. Was the not following directions because of the color sheet? Was he holding up the class by coloring more than what was asked?

After talking with Genghis I also found out that they made him sit out recess. All the other kids got to go and play, he had to sit outside and watch them play. No note about that either. I included it in my note to her.

I did ask Genghis to only color with whatever the color of the day was. No more coloring the grapes purple if the color is yellow. And I told him that he could finish coloring his pictures however he wanted once he got home.

He came home the next day only having used the orange crayon. And he got a big old happy face. But I got no response to my note. I am still getting zero communication from this teacher. So I did the next step. I called and requested a meeting with her and the guidance counselor.

End of the first week of school and I got a note from the teacher. Basically she said he did miss recess, he does talk a lot but more importantly he keeps kicking the other kids at his table and grabbing them. She does not think he is bored, but he never holds up the class by coloring more than what is asked of him. Oh, but he has gotten a happy face lately because she is making him sit alone at his own table and not with the other kids.

This meeting is so on.

I have a huge problem with making him miss recess. He is 5, he needs that time to run and play.

And moving him to sit alone when everyone else sits together is a great way of singling him out as the ‘bad kid’. Oh, but why am I just now hearing about him touching other kids?

The meeting went well. They agreed that recess would not be taken away any more. The guidance counselor thinks he is bored in class and said she would work with the teacher on finding him some extra work to keep him busy. And he would start out everyday sitting with the other kids and only be moved if he kept touching them.

I worked with him at home one how he cannot touch other people unless they say he can. We talked about personal space and being respectful.

The next few days went great. Happy faces galore. Happy mommy. Happy child.

All was well. Or so I thought.

He came home again with another sad face. The note again was very vague and so I sent another note back.

Next day, another sad face. No response to my note. This time I sent another note and an email.

He tells me he had to miss recess again. But he is sitting with the other kids all day.

He comes home with no response to my note. No response to my email. But he got a happy face. Then I am starting to wonder if he was getting these happy faces because I was sending in notes and pushing for more information.

Instead of hush money, it was a hush happy face.

But there was a little envelope tucked into his folder. A permission slip for the school to do Functional Behavior Assessment counseling. Mama is mad.

I don’t want to think about how long this woman has been a teacher, but even people who are just getting their teaching degree have enough experience dealing with real-life children to understand the difference between trying to help a child, and just trying to convince a child that they are “bad”.

Genghis is a very active, very talkative little boy. He is unique and different and smart. But he does not have any behavior problems.

So we were faced with a decision. We could request a class change and get a new teacher or we could pull him out.

The downfall of asking for a teacher change is that we are now almost 3 weeks in and he has made some friends. He would basically have to start all over. And there was no guarantee that we would get a teacher who would actually communicate with us. We could end up with the exact same problems all over again.

So we pulled him out. We have ordered the curriculum and as of Friday, August 26th we became a homeschooling family. I am excited to see where this leads us. And I admit I love the fact that I get to keep my baby at home with me where he belongs.

About Rachel

Rachel Akers writes about crafts, recipes, and features the adventures of a family of 4. It is always crazy but I wouldn't change it for the world! Comments or questions? Talk to me on Facebook or Twitter or sign up for our RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.