Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Did He Learn Nothing from the Brown Incident?

Each year, the school sends home a sort of "letter of intent" form for parents to fill out, indicating whether they are planning on having their kids return the next year. This allows them to begin working on class assignments and to know how many teachers they are likely to need at each grade level.

Apparently, the principal (or someone above her) puts a lot of pressure on the teachers, because even though the form itself was sent home last Thursday and had a due date on it of May 15, I started getting notes home the very next day from both kids' teachers, asking for me to return the form.

And not just notes. On Friday, as we were leaving school (and while I was still reeling from the whole blister-on-Em's-hand thing), N suddenly announced, "You need to fill out the pink paper, Mama."

"What pink paper?"

"The one that says whether I'm going to school next year. Mrs. N says you have to do it." Pause. "Can you write down 'no'? I don't want to go back to school next year."

"Oh?" I asked, startled. "Well, what DO you want to do?"

"I want to have school at home, like T and N [the next door neighbors]. I want YOU to teach me and do my school at home."

"You want to be homeschooled? Really?" I couldn't help myself. "Seriously? After what it's been like when we do homework lately?"

"I don't care," he said. "You're not mean all the time."

He repeated this request on Monday, since I passive-aggressively still hadn't returned the forms. (For crying out loud! They still weren't due for another TEN DAYS. I guess they need to have this paperwork out of the way so that they can have more time to figure out new and even more creative ways to endanger my children's safety on a regular basis. But still.)

"Mama, I have to return that paper soon," N announced. "I still don't want to come back to school next year, though. I still want to have school at home."

"Yeah, I know you do, kiddo," I said. "But that's not going to happen."

And so I signed the frickin' forms and returned them the next day...not because I was bowing to the ridiculous teacher-pressure, but because the more days N had to think I might change my mind, the more conflicted I'd end up being. Which is not to say that I would ever actually homeschool him, because that's A Bad Idea for a whole host of reasons. But because it would torment me to keep on thinking of the possibility of it, of how it would probably be the best thing for him academically (in a perfect world in which I had time and something even vaguely resembling patience) and probably even emotionally (in a perfect world in which I had time and something even vaguely resembling mental health). Because the kid is a stress case these days, and that IS something I've worried about quite a bit, and something I think might very well be improved by less throwing-into-the-lion's-den and more letting-him-go-at-his-own-speed.

But that's a post for another day.

Still, aside from the guilt about not really thinking about homeschooling and the worry about how to get him the kind of schooling that will actually work for him rather than against him and all the rest of that sturm und drang, the whole thing really did make me shake my head and laugh. Because despite the yelling and the tears and the crayon-breaking, he actually wants to learn at home with me. Thinks that staying home with me would be fun, way better than going to school, with its computer lab and library and playground and friends and art projects and parties and assemblies. Thinks that I would be a good teacher for him. Me. ME. It almost defies understanding. It certainly defies logic.

And it pretty much defines love.

1 comment:

po said...

That is sweet :).

You don't know how many people, when they hear of Matthew's troubles at school, have asked me, "Why don't you just homeschool him?" I don't say the primary reason, which is, "Because I'd really like us both to keep on living."