When My Son said, “They Make Me Feel Stupid”

Single Parent Educator Chooses to Homeschool (Part 2)

Last week, I started sharing my experience as a single parent educator who has chosen to homeschool, today’s post continues with some of the early signs I discovered as he started struggling in school.

My son attended a private Christian school for Kindergarten and 1st grade. No problems. We both adored his kindergarten teacher. My son did struggle with letter recognition, and phonics but no big deal. I was an English teacher, my son shouldn’t have a problem with reading right? Wrong.

He did attend pre-school and had a wonderful experience there (except an incident with Red bull and his 20-something year old teacher, but we’ll address that later). The preschool teachers were very aware of my single-parent status and he loved telling everyone that I taught big kids. It’s a funny thing but for some reason, teachers become self-conscious when you know a student’s parent is also an educator. This can work to your advantage most times.

When he began the 1st grade, he got into a lot of trouble. His 1st grade teacher had a different type of teaching style. I received calls from the vice-principal and behavior slips accompanied my son home almost every day. What was happening here? I soon grew suspicious that my son’s learning style was not being met. After all, it was an organized, private school atmosphere, that used the Abeka curriculum, I trusted it. It was very worksheet oriented with lots of seat work so of course, my son was going to start acting up.

English: Six year old boy reading "Diary ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He came home frustrated with his homework, and cried daily, saying that he was too confused and that the letters were jumbled up and his handwriting was awful.

What kicked me was when he said, “Mommy, they make me feel stupid.”

I should be able to fix this right? After all, I am an English teacher. Wrong again, I couldn’t.

I made an appointment with a child psychologist to get him tested for any learning disabilities, but it would cost me a few thousand dollars, which I didn’t have. So I turned to the public school system. By law, the Department of Education can test for Special Education, even if you don’t attend public schools as long as you live in the district. Well, that’s the case in Hawaii.

He entered 2nd grade back in the public school system, with accommodations for his reading disability. The teachers in his care did such a wonderful job, I felt my son was safe and growing very well under their guidance. He met standards, began scoring well on state assessments, flourishing in all aspects as a child should be. . . until he entered the 5th grade.

It wasn’t so much that my son had a disability that made my single-parenting a challenge, but rather it was his situations that taught me so much about my own parenting. I learned to let go more, and place each step in God’s hands.

And then, the last straw. My homeschooling decision caught me by surprise, but I think it was in God’s plans all along. This is when my role as a public school teacher conflicted with my desire to consider homeschooling as a single parent. What are some surprises you’ve encountered in your homeschooling and/or parenting journey?

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4 thoughts on “When My Son said, “They Make Me Feel Stupid”

  1. It was certainly freeing when we decided to homeschool independently, even away from the charter school, which allowed us to homeschool. But it’s far from perfect. We still struggle through our school days sometimes. Sadly, I know I have been the one who has made my son “feel stupid”, though he has never said it to me, because I have put some unrealistic expectations on him. God has been gracious and forgiving, teaching me more than I am able to teach my son. In the end, what really matters for me is that my children know Jesus in a personal way. Being home with them all day, though it can be tiring, means I have more opportunities to be a witness to them.

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. You are so encouraging! Thank you for always pointing it back to God. I wonder at times too how much of a witness I am for my own son with all these decisions we make daily. It has been definitely tiring, but in His strength.

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