We now laugh out loud as we recall our decision to move our family to the "ideal"school system; to find the house where our children would be districted for the "best" elementary school.
I, of course, was the expert on such things, because I possessed 10 years public school teaching experience, and a Masters Degree in Education.
You could say I was "invested" in the system. I believed in the "ideal" of public education. If well-educated parents (such as my husband and myself) would abandon the system, what was to become of it? Surely we didn't want the system to collapse?
A lifetime ago my priorities were vastly different. My eyes hadn't been opened to a different way of life.
I was living the American dream, but there was just one problem: it didn't feel so dreamy.
There was this nagging feeling that my kids just deserved BETTER, that our family was meant to be TOGETHER, and that our decision to send our oldest to school was WRONG.
I quickly discovered I couldn't sacrifice my own CHILD for an IDEAL.
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The Decision to Leave Public School
That initial period of questioning the public schools was quite uncomfortable. After all, if THEY weren't going to educate my children, who would?
We had two choices: private school (not financially possible at the time) or homeschool.
HOMESCHOOLERS. What a bunch of weirdos. They were those moms that just couldn't let go of their children so they decided to keep them at home so they would have something to do.
(I know. It's embarrassing - such harsh words. I made so many judgments and said so many things I now regret.)
In my daughter's third grade year I volunteered A LOT in her classroom. I watched as my daughter grew increasingly frustrated with being BORED and having to deal with some behavior issues in her class that really disrupted others' learning.
We would sit up late at night and read lovely books (I later came to discover these gems were called LIVING BOOKS).
We would fight about ridiculous math homework - after she had already been in school for 7 hours.
We would try to find books to read in the school library from one particular section - because she could only be tested at her "reading level".
I was watching the school standardize my child - little by little, year by year, and it scared me to death.
Thank GOD my Anna got a stomach virus in the beginning of that year, because then she was HOME. I started to think about what it was like if she would be home all the time and I LIKED that thought.
I knew a friend at church who had such wonderful (homeschooled) children. She sensed my restlessness and gently encouraged me. She gave me three books to read.
I devoured these books on a long car trip we took as a family. I vividly remember talking my husband's ear off about homeschooling.
The last straw came on a day when I had a conference with my daughter's teacher. We were talking about testing for the gifted program (which Anna had been through the previous year). The teacher told me (and it pains me to type these words) -