"Middle school is hell."
Have you ever heard anyone say that their middle school years were fabulous? It seems as if most folks have uncomfortable memories from these particular years. But while everyone has a tough time of some sorts, what is a parent is to do when it goes further than that? What if your child is the target of harassment? What if you watch, day after day, as your child comes home with the burden of the day visibly weighing on his shoulders? What if the school's administrators don't respond to parent communication? Or the teachers? What if your child's grades reflect the wholly crappy experience in an environment where he doesn't feel secure?
Here's one option:
I remember attending a national early childhood education conference years ago and walking around the exhibitor hall with a colleague whose friendship I treasured, especially when we both became first-time parents within a few months of each other. At the time of the conference, our boys were preschool age and seemed to share some personality traits that could often be challenging for us. At one booth, a representative approached us and asked if we were considering homeschooling our children. We glanced at each other and burst out laughing. We laughed for longer than was polite. We shared the sentiment that my friend stated, "Oh no! We'd end up killing each other!"
Trust me, it might be ten years later, but that fear is still is strong as ever. But, we were at a point in which we couldn't sit by anymore. I couldn't continue to send emails that went unanswered. I couldn't continue to watch the stress eat away at my son. A change needed to be made, and within the public school system, we saw no options remaining. Forget our son's education... he couldn't focus on that with all the other garbage he had to deal with. He had tried to ask for help. Last year it got him labeled a snitch, and this year he got to the point where he didn't have one trusted adult in the entire school that he felt he could turn to. The fears that I have about homeschooling are far outweighed by the fears I have about what could become of my child left in that environment.
So here we are at the beginning of a new, and entirely unfamiliar, road. In all imaginable ways, I know that our family life is about to change. No rose-colored glasses on my face, though, and I'm fully anticipating a road full of bumps. There will be tough hills to climb, and it will likely be hard to keep the gas tank full. I hope there will be some beautiful scenery to savor, and every uphill trek will surely have to turn into an exhilarating, fast and smooth downhill stretch at some point, right?
I think I'll be adopting that 'one day at a time' mantra for a while now. Let's see how this goes.
Ready or not,