I never thought home schooling would be easy. I thought it would be hard. And thankless. And tedious.
But I thought I could pull it off. When Aaron was kicked out of school, I thought home schooling was our natural, easy choice. How could I send my baby off to an alternative school? Where they would eat him alive? Bully him? Assault him? Of course I would home school him to save him. I’m his mother! He’s my baby!
Jim was leery. He said so. He knows that as much alike Aaron and I am in some ways, I also have little patience for him when he’s being…difficult. Jim assumed Aaron would be difficult. A lot.
When Jim tells me I can’t do something, I immediately set out to prove him wrong. I would be such a great home school mom that other people would recognize my greatness. They would turn to me for advice and support. I would start a blog called The Reluctant Home Schooler. (There might already be one, for all I know!)
I researched home schooling. I looked at curriculums. I sought advice from others who have been there. By Monday morning, I was prepared. Ready to take on the education requirements of my seventh grader.
Monday was perfect. Honestly, I was feeling smug. Of course I can teach my son! I have my master’s degree. I have substitute taught. I have taken train-the-trainer seminars. I was home schooling, hear me roar!
We did some algebra. Now I could teach Aaron some real math. None of this silly stuff he’s been learning. We could work on multiplication drills. There’s nothing wrong with memorization! So we did some algebra. Whipped through the simple algebraic equations.
Then we started reading The Hunger Games. I was leery after chapter one, but Aaron liked it. I would force my way through what seems to be a depressing novel for my son! We discussed and then I chose vocabulary words. Aaron made flashcards with the definitions.
In a matter of a few hours, we had whipped through home school! Of course, we couldn’t be done. We headed to the park district and took a nice walk in the gorgeous fall weather. We talked about The Hunger Games, we talked about home schooling, we talked about lots of things.
If the first day was so stellar, surely this would be the best thing ever! Better than a personal invite for the Rick Springfield Rock N Roll Cruise! Better than red velvet cake! I was smug.
The next day, I breezed into the living room, ready to take on day two. I was looking forward to another long walk after the day’s lessons. I couldn’t wait for algebra!
And karma smacked me upside the head and made me its bitch. Aaron was impossible. He couldn’t do a simple equation and I ended up doing example after example, until the worksheet was complete. I had to find more.
We each read our chapter of The Hunger Games, which he couldn’t (or wouldn’t?!) discuss. The headache that had been niggling behind my eyes came on like gangbusters. And of course the home school portion of our day devolved into whining and growling. I’m not sure which one of us was doing which.
I hate it that I can’t home school Aaron. I feel like a failure. But, deep in my heart, I knew Monday was the anomaly. I knew Jim was right. I knew that as much as I love and adore all my kids, I wasn’t the right teacher for any of them. Like many parents, I have so much more patience for other peoples’ children. I don’t have the same expectations of perfection that I have for my own children.
That Wednesday we had the meeting with the midde school about Aaron’s fate. I cried and yelled. I declared he wouldn’t go to an alternative school. When I confessed I felt like the worst parent of all time, it was because I was giving up so easily. I agreed that we should visit the alternative school before we made a final decision.
The people at the middle school were wonderful, by the way. They all said they knew I could home school, but they suggested that Aaron needs socialization.
Aaron wasn’t the only one. I was sooo ready for a playmate with Kelly.