Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dear anyone who was left hanging with a sense of fear and foreboding for the well-being of my "spirited" 3rd grader after reading last Thursday's Post,

Unto you, I say:
Don't worry.

 In the famed words of the grubby villager who claimed to have been turned into a newt courtesy of an alleged  village witch in "Monty Python and The Holy Grail"... {Yes, I said that in one breath, obviously.}

  "I got better."

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{disclaimer: pictures have nothing to do with content...but they sure are cute.}

I'm just gonna come right out and say it: I sensed a few "judgment-y vibes" coming my way after publishing my post last week. I sensed some tick-tick-ticking of some tongues, and disapproving shaking of heads as some of you sat at your laptops {aghast!} as you took in my most recent Lola Letter. I also sensed that some of you had a good laugh at my expense, which, I am far more pleased about... but back to the worriers.

Seriously, don't worry.
It was a bad day.

I know that the tone of my post prolly painted the frightening picture of a not too distant future where my cute little 8 year old is chained to a make-shift desk in a dank basement being whipped at the top of every hour and made to write 1,000 sentences {in CURSIVE, no less} that read "I am a bad, bad boy, and I should have obeyed my teacher!!!" every single day.

I got a few comments and emails saying: "Ummmm, mayhaps if you hate the prospect of homeschooling so much, you uh, I don't know... SHOULDN'T DO IT!"

A fair point indeed.
However, I don't hate the idea of homeschooling.

I was just a little bit devastated that my son's behavior hasn't improved one iota over the course of his 3+ years of elementary education. I felt like a failure of a mother {who, in all fairness had also just been assaulted by vulgar weather... in a fa-lipping Walmart parking lot...right after she had showered and blow-dried her hair...no less}. I felt scared, and frustrated, and like things were never going to get better. I also felt indescribably inadequate to accomplish the task that I had laid at my own feet via an overly emotional threat made 4-5 weeks prior.

Teachers are trained.
Teachers go to years of school.

What on the planet of earth was I thinking?

Fast forward to now.
I've had time to process.
The sun is shining.
I have cute, un-soggy hair.

It is all going to be fine.

No, not just fine, amazing.

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Here are some factors that were not included in last Thursdays rant, but should most definitely be considered as a vital part of:

"The Dugovic Family's general overview of why we are going to home school our children."

DISCLAIMER: This is not intended to be an attack on public schools or school teachers. Many of these institutions are ENTIRELY AMAZING. Kort's first and second and third grade teachers have all been incredible. I respect and admire them more than words can say. Teachers are angels. Patient, loving, oft-abused angels I tell ya. The fact of the matter is, PUBLIC SCHOOL IS SIMPLY NOT WORKING FOR MY CHILD.  It's not. Period. I have had to do some soul searching and find a different path because I want him to be the best he can be...and public school seems to be bringing the worst out in him more often than not. There are MANY children who thrive in a public school setting and that is a wonderful thing. It just isn't working for us. I have tried desperately to FORCE a round peg into a square hole, and trying to force something that simply isn't a good fit has proven to be exasperating and also nothing short of detrimental to my relationship with one of the most important people in my life. And it stops now.
{In no particular order}

1. First, and foremost, I have felt spiritually prompted to home school for almost 2 years now. This one is a little embarrassing to admit because well, it's basically saying that I have fought off/ ignored{plugged my ears and went "La-la-la-la-la!" in the general direction of} a spiritual prompting regarding my family for hundreds and hundreds of days. So, there's that.

2. My kid is a genius. A really, good-looking one, with a great sense of humor, and a knack for making friends. {Sheesh! Bragging overload. It's like this is being written by his mother or something...}But seriously. He's amazing. At age four, he was full-on reading and BEGGING me to teach him to write his letters and then practicing them for hours, and writing little notes to everyone, and drawing pictures, and reading on his bean bag all by himself for hours on end...

Then he went to kindergarten and learned that doing those things was "work." Well that was the end of that blissful chapter of our lives. From that day on, it was a battle to get him to read or write anything. The love for learning whooshed out of him like the air from an untied balloon. It was devastating.

3. Social interaction is to Kortland, what crack is to a meth-head. For realsies. Sending Kortland to public school and expecting him to focus and/or learn something, is like sending a meth addict into a crack house and expecting them to do, well... ANYTHING other than get high all day. Kortland LIVES to make kids laugh. He likes to flirt with girls. Being the center of attention makes him so high, he can barely see straight...and more often than not, he doesn't. So, he's disrespectful. He'll do anything for a laugh. That becomes his M.O. Learning,  listening, and anything scholastic takes a back seat {waaaaaaay in the back} to talking, laughing, goofing, showing off, etc. I am excited for him to have the opportunity to delve deeply into science and geography topics without being distracted by his constant need to impress or please others.

4. When I went to teach my kid about the birds and the bees {at age 8, an age that MOST of my friends and family still felt was too early}, I learned that someone in public school beat me to it. Um, like, a full YEAR ago. Awesome. I'll admit that at that point, I sort of wanted to put that child {and their parent(s), if I'm being honest} in my basement and subject them to regular floggings for roughly a month.

I wanted {and had planned}to present intimacy to my son as one of the most spectacular, beautiful, sacred experiences we will have in this lifetime. Instead, some little turd missing half his teeth {as you'll notice, most 2nd graders are}told my kid that it's where two people get naked together and it's "totally gross and disgusting."

Great.
Check.

In a nutshell, I'm done letting the offspring of parents who aren't clued in {and really don't care} school my child about the finer things in life. I'm also done letting the offspring of parents who have cable packages that include HBO and Showtime and Skinamax have any access to my child whatsoever. Period.

5. School doesn't teach him anything about who he REALLY is. In fact, they are required by law NOT to. I think that this is a huge problem, for obvious reasons.

He is a child of God. {Literally.} He has infinite potential. {Fact.} And if the public school system is going to take almost SEVEN precious hours out of his day, and THEN assign an additional hour's worth of homework to suck up even more of his time because they failed to make proper use of the seven they already had... well, then, that doesn't really give me a fair balance of time to even ATTEMPT to reverse the negative effects accrued during any given school day, now does it?

6. I don't want someone else to tell him WHAT to think, or WHEN to think, I want to teach him HOW to think. More on that here.

7. I don't want Kortland to be bribed or pressured to learn, I want him to develop a love affair with learning. One that will put all kinds of knowledge at his finger tips. One that will prepare him to lead, not follow. To think for himself rather than to conform. 

There are SO MANY other thoughts I have and want to share, but they will have to wait for another day. Let me just say this: I am loving this very sudden journey that Kortland and I have found ourselves taking together. I am learning so much so quickly about HOW children grow and develop, and I am so excited about the future.

I love that my child will be developing a love of learning in a peaceful environment.
I love that he now has a teacher who loves him more than anyone else on the planet is even capable of doing.
I love that my sons will actually be able to bond and form a deeper relationship.
I love that Kortland won't waste time comparing himself to others and trying to fit in. Rather, his time, energy, and focus, can be devoted entirely to learning, stretching, and growing ever more passionate about all of the wonders in our world and the universe that envelopes it.

Life definitely threw me a curve ball last week. But man am I thankful when things don't go as planned. That's when we get the opportunity to grow, learn, and see things from a different view. And I have to say: the view from here is glorious. 

I'm sure there will be days when I want to tear my hair out.
I'm sure you'll hear about them. {oi!}
I'm sure some people will judge me...and that's okay. {Seriously.}

But I'm also sure that this is the right thing for us.
Soooooo right.
Righter than right. {And no, that phrase will not be making it's way into the grammar portion of our day.}


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Dear Tennyson,

How does it feel to be King of the Dogs?
{And pretty much the whole house, for that matter?}

Just wondering.

Xo,
The rest of the people who live here.

10 comments:

Lisa Lou said...

Not every kid does well in a school environment. You know your child best and you know what's best for him. I think it's brave/awesome/amazing that you're going to homeschool him :)

jillmassage said...

I HIGHLY COMMEND you for doing this and support you 100% of the way!If you start to get super stressed.... come get a massage :)

Jessica Kettle said...

good for you lady. i have to say i just don't agree with "one size fits all" education for kids. or heathcare for that matter. or discipline. or anything else really... i'm impressed you're willing to take on such a challenge and do what's best for YOUR kid! good luck!!

Nisa said...

Speaking of promptings... I read last Thursday's post and thought how much I needed to write you, but I was running here and there between stuff and didn't listen. :(

We all have awful days and I admire you for being brave enough to share them with us. You show as things as they are. You don't hide behind a bad day. You express it and then you express your happiness and joy on the good days. You're so passionate about life and family and religion. Pretty much everything and it's amazing and uplifting.

And homeschooling will be that way, too. Just wait until you get to watch Kort have 'aha' moments and it will be you that helped him get there and instead of a teacher experiencing this moment with him, it will be you and, believe me, there is nothing cooler! You will be a great teacher.

I'm so with you on #3. I'm trying to get brave and send Xander to a real school next year because he wants to so badly, but I'm terrified for all the reasons you've listed. I didn't want to homeschool at first and now I don't want to stop.

Mistie said...

Laura, I know I rarely (if ever?) comment on your blog, but I am going to now. You could have not said it better. I am homeschooling my three and will continue to do so until I receive other direction from our higher authority, whom we seek such direction from. My family has the hardest time grasping this concept and the other points I have made, which are basically the same as yours. I am constantly getting that I don't have the discipline to provide the structure of a schoolroom to teach my children. Well, it's that specific "structure" I am getting away from.

I commend you for not only doing it, but sharing that you're doing it and standing up for yourself, your son(s) and that you know and understand why you are doing it.

when seeking some encouragement from a loved and trusted friend, my Midwife (who also home schools her 4 children), she pointed out to me that, Our children aren't even baptized until they are 8 years old because they don't have the full understanding to make the right decisions they need to direct their lives, and we send them out to a place where we don't even know what is going on all day and they do not have the same direction we are teaching them at home. I completely agreed.

It's not like I won't ever let my child attend public school, they're just not going until I feel they are ready (with the direction on of the Lord, of course) to handle that magnitude of peer-pressure and I want then to have self-esteem before they are subjected to that kind of environment, among other things.

You have my full support.

Amie said...

NOOoooo judgements from me on this post or the last... or any. You are just funny and beautiful and awesome and a great Mom. Can't wait to hear hilarious commentary on your new adventure!

Lisa said...

Dear Lola,

Look at it this way ~ most likely the people that judged you are 1.) the perfect parents . . .most likely these people don't have kids yet or these said kids are very, very young and there is only ONE! very, very young child.

AND/OR

2.) These people are most definitely the perfect teachers . . .most likely these people do NOT have children that are school aged yet. These people have no idea of what helping their child with home work is like or even what it is like to teach someone read the same word you over and over for a solid week while you have told that child for the 1000th time that word he keeps saying is not whatch it's which...ch. .ch . .ch NO T honey...NO T!!! ~ while your saying "please focus"..."sit down with me"..."look at me"..."we are almost done" "try it one more time sweety"... doing all this while your holding the baby while he is trying to get into the paint you use for your dyslexic son and your folding laundry...get dinner ready with breakfast dishes still in the sink ,answering the phone AND your trying very hard to be nice to your neighbor that just stopped by AGAIN to see how things were going...while your mother keeps suggesting to you school is just down the street and the house is filthy AGAIN because your doing school ALL day and nothing else...and you still haven't had a shower...and you just realized your husbands due home in 10 minutes...:)

Don't worry Lola! Just like these judgmental people you and I were once the perfect parents and teachers at one point in our lives.

AND

then. . . I for one had four children that I now home school. and I can't judge anyone...

I have said it before and I will say it again. . .not every day of home schooled or life is bliss. We home school mothers take one day at a time Love our children more then anything...put our money where are mouths are and hope for the best for tomorrow.

I thought your post from last week was wonderfully honest and funny.

Oh! Well! like I said before I have been home schooling my four kids for 9 years now... My oldest son is now in college (( By the way...Colleges LOVE home schoolers!)) This son is very smart and knows everything...or at least he thinks he does...

AND

I have this teenage daughter that rolls her eyes ever time I come into the room and makes me feel stupid ... so what do I know?

anyway for what it's worth ~ don't worry about it Lola ~ your a wonderful mother. There is a lot of guilt in motherhood...even when your with them 24/7 not everyday is bliss. But, we keep on trying. Stay strong! Lola and don't let those judgments get to you. Your doing a great job!

xoxo, Lisa

imemary said...

Everybody who is cool has that rug.

Kestrel said...

I think you are fantastic. Thank you so much for posting this. This is exactly what my 3 year old is like. He was just kicked out of preschool for being too... himself. Not even kidding.

I mean seriously. I think we need to get together. Because then you can meet my beastie, and give me awesome advice with him. Because holy crap, I thought I was reading a post of mine from the future. Social interaction = crack? Yeah. pretty much.

Jeff and Jessie said...

I homeschooled. We both loved it! If you need any advice just call!