I woke up 20 years ago or so. I had a son who was suffering from the world’s war on males. He had already awaken and pleaded with me to join the fray in his defense.
He was in the fourth grade and now I realize wise beyond his years. We had spent a year and about five thousand dollars getting him outside help to catch him up to his grade level just one year before only to see him slipping back behind in his public school. A public school we had open enrolled him in because it was supposedly not milking the title whatever federal funding program for students like the district we were unfortunate enough to reside in.
For one year in the evenings twice a week after his normal classes we would drive him to the city 45 minutes away and for one hour they tutored him in a smaller sized classroom. More importantly this institution tested regularly to track his rather rapid improvement. The six hours it consumed each week was draining for both him and us, his parents. At the end of the school year his regular school and his remedial school both told us he was up to speed and no further summer schooling would be needed.
The next fall after only a few weeks we were called in to a conference where the boy’s teacher and the elementary principle tried to get us to put him in special ed, another federal funding program the schools like to tap into. When I asked these two ladies if it was his reading skills the principle said that with the advent of the (relatively new) internet, reading wasn’t going to be as important anymore. They were concerned about his restlessness.
They gave us the name of a doctor that they recommended we go to see with him to get him some help. According to my son the doctor visit (where incidentally the parents weren’t allowed into the session) was a series of questions about whether his dad used corporal punishment and did Dad have any guns. We left with a prescription for Ritalin. My father told me to throw that damned pill pushers script away, drugs were not the answer.
Then I found out my son was spending most days with his desk in the hallway to keep him from distracting all the boys who’d been obediently taking their medications. (During a class trip I was amazed to talk to the many fathers who caved in to the peer pressure) I pleaded and cajoled my son to sit still and try to pay attention. He said they were teaching the same old thing he was learning the year before. He was completely bored.
Inquiring at the school if this was so I was informed that up to half of the new year and sometimes more was review of what had been taught the year before. Some times only the last quarter was available to introduce new material. I was astounded but during retrospection I realized things were that way when I was a boy often with the same consequences. But I had been taught to sit still in church so I flew by the wring wraiths under radar. Not so for many of my friends.
After the parent/teacher conferences I was at my wits end and told my son if he didn’t start to sit still I was going to home school him. He was delighted to learn that such an option was available. When I inquired at the school how I was to go about achieving this home schooling all I got back was crickets chirping. So I called the Area Education Agency to see if the could help me. More crickets. So I called the Iowa State Education Agency. More crickets.
An acquaintance of my wife told her of a local man who had been home schooling his children. We found his phone number and made contact. He directed us to a group of angels that were organized under the acronym of NICHE. The Network of Iowa’s Christian Home Educators. They schooled us on all the hoops we would have to jump through to get our child educated.
More importantly they had local groups that met up twice a month for fellowship and any additional instruction that we may have been unfamiliar with. The children would retreat into their groups after a brief gathering of all as would us parents. They held book fairs and helped the members find curricula that would be acceptable to the state of Iowa if followed. We picked a Cristian based complete curricula from a Florida based company called A Becca. He and we were off to the races.
And we never looked back. I often wondered if the kid was borderline genius. Maybe it was the system. Just add (fresh) water and watch him grow. As his teacher I learned more during the whole experience than I had learned during my education years. It was truly win win. I’m not saying it was easy. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It took commitment. It took discernment. I had to learn how to read him.
You know it’s funny, I had set out to do a diatribe on fake news. I ended up doing a diatribe on fake education. What the hell does America expect when we drop the ball on teaching our kids properly. I don’t care if they are in the public school system or not, parental involvement is key to education. Maybe the most important thing we can teach our children is that no one is going to give them the care that their own parents will. Our grandchildren deserve that. Our country deserves that. We deserve that.
Thanks for the time. My next post I promise to give you my opinions on the never ending fake news. Until then may good fortune find you.
See ya then, see ya there …….