Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Our Two Week Experiment with School

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If you’ve been following along, you already know I’ve been doing the single mom thing. It’s hard to get a job when you’ve got four young kids at home, so I was encouraged to give school a chance, if I was open to it. Actually, the woman helping me out was very supportive of homeschooling, so she wasn’t pushy in the least. The kids were interested in trying it, so we did it. There were only about two and a half weeks left in the year, so it would be a good time to give them a sample. I was assured no testing would happen in that time and placement wouldn’t be effected until next year. They would just be passed through to the next grade.

It started out with a huge disappointment. Sander was supposed to start preschool. Last minute, the school said he couldn’t start so late in the year. He cried for days, all because he wanted to go to school.

Next I hear that Beekee is constantly in trouble. Of course, I don’t here this from the school. Beekee tells me himself. He’s constantly in trouble for breaking the rules.

Then Corde complained about being bullied. The kids at school were teasing her because she spent time with the boys. It got to the point where she wanted nothing more than to quit school.

Near the end of our experiment, I get a call. Beekee has been acting up in class. He won’t stand in line. He apparently can’t count past three. He can’t read. He can’t hold appropriate conversations. The principal and his teacher had decided to retain him.

I fought the decision to the bitter end. I know my child and I know it’s not a lack of education or that he just doesn’t have experience in a school setting. He’s just not handling these changes well. As much as he appears to cope with change well he really doesn’t. He acts up a lot and tests people. Of course, they don’t know my child, so they didn’t know that. The answer was adjusting from homeschool and he clearly wouldn’t know the difference. “Lots of kids get held back.” Yeah, in my experience with Texas schools, I know maybe five people that weren’t held back at some point. And blowing it off like that gives me no confidence in the school system.

Then there was the final blow. I was asked why I didn’t go to all the school events, the graduation, the award ceremonies, field day, and all of that. I’m a single mom with two small children at home. I was trying to care for them and look for work. I have no car, and I lived two and a half miles from the school, not walking distance for Sander. Since I have no toddler carrier, that meant Luca got the stroller. However, I was judged poorly because I couldn’t attend. Maybe if I had they would have worked with me.

As things stand, Sander wants to go to school. Beekee only wants to go back if he goes on to second grade. Corde doesn’t want to go back at all. I might see if I can find some kind of class for Sander to attend as “school”. Beyond that, I’m done with school. I gave it a try, like everyone I knew kept telling me I should. Now all my friends that do prefer school can stop telling me to give it a chance, even though I know they’ll excuse bullying as “normal” or blame me for encouraging my kids to be weird. They’ll probably tell me to try a different school. I’ve just had it. I gave it an honest try, hoping Corde would enjoy having friends and we might be able to find out what’s going on with Beekee. I found out, at best, they wouldn’t test him until halfway through the year next year for a learning problem, and that’s pretty standard across the state. So I’m done with it. I went in pretty positive and in two weeks the school managed to get under my skin, make Corde hate it, and made me the bad guy on telling Beekee he was being held back, which he told me I couldn’t do. He was a second grader. If that’s what they do in two weeks, I’d hate to see what a school year would do.

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

One thought on “Our Two Week Experiment with School

  1. Okay, you’re kids know what school is like. You know what school is like. Bullying is not acceptable, but yes, some will try to excuse it as normal. Here’s some ideas based on what you learned: 1. Corde is doing great–she’s where she should be. What you’re doing works best for her. 2. If Beekee wants a school-type environment, the check out k12, or another online learning that is tuition free, and based on student ability. If he wants to be in 2nd grade–he can be in 2nd grade. 3. Sander needs a little structure. Half-day preschool, or Mother’s Day Out program would be fine for him. MDO programs at church’s sometimes give scholarships.
    So, your 2 week experiment wasn’t a total loss, questions were answered, it may not have been the ones you expected, but they were answered and you’re all the better for this.
    Hugs,
    Rhonda

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