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We chose to homeschool for academic reasons. I really didn’t like the district we were living in and I wanted my children to thrive academically. The longer we continued to homeschool, the more uncomfortable I got with things going on in public school.
Standardized tests in order to graduate.
Pushing kids beyond what is developmentally appropriate.
Lack of recess and movement in the course of a school day.
Neurodivergent children are lumped together as all the same or “those kids”.
The book bans.
Stupid TikTok challenges to destroy school property.
Another school shooting.
We continue to homeschool for so many reasons and academics will always come first. I enjoy seeing them discover how to do something for the first time. I got to see them take their first steps and have the same pride in seeing them figure out geometry proofs.
Besides, I actually like my children and spending time with them. They are good people. I love watching them grow up and being an active part of that.
Tomorrow is the open house at our local technical high school. Our local tech school has a lottery program for admission so there are no guarantees on being able to attend. There needs to be a seat available to an upperclassman from our town, but also for the program she is interested in.
There are a lot of moving parts.
Add to that our plan of continuing to homeschool for academics and only attending the tech school for the tech program and we aren’t entirely sure how any of this would work.
But, we talk about it. We talked about how going to school, even part-time, would affect her day-to-day life. How bedtime and wake-up times would change. That lunchtime very well could be at 10:30 in the morning, which is the time she currently rolls out of bed some days.
And then we talked about things like lockers and switching classes. About riding a bus to school. Dealing with bullies, and boys, and drama.
And then about lockdown drills.
I wasn’t ready for the conversation but it happened. I’m still fighting back tears as I play it back in my mind.
Tonight, I had to explain to my beautiful, sweet, innocent, 14-year-old daughter that her friends have to participate in lockdown drills at school on a regular basis in case there is ever an active shooter situation at their school. That there are school shootings that happen way too often and that there are now laws in place about how often and how to conduct lockdown drills. How from kindergarten on children are taught to prepare for an active shooter situation. That this is their reality, and it will be hers too when (and if) she attends a brick-and-mortar school.
I had to explain to my child what it was like to teach in a public school classroom, although 16 years ago, and calm my students and try to get them to remain silent so no one would know we were in the classroom. What it was like to be huddled in a corner of the room and hear someone trying the door.
My husband and I explained to our daughter that sometimes bad things happen and kids go off to school and don’t get to come home.
Tonight, I explained to my daughter that there will be a time in the not-too-distant future when no matter what I do, I won’t be able to protect her.
I didn’t tell her this to scare her or to convince her that public school is bad. We discussed these things because I don’t want her to be in a situation where everyone else knows what to do and she has no idea what is going on, and that makes her a target.
I love my children so very much, and it is breaking my heart that we are now at the point where I have to teach them about the evil in this world instead of just embracing beauty and joy and wonder.
I’m not entirely sure I’m ready for these conversations. I don’t think any parent ever is.