Athena went to public school this fall. She wanted to try it out and she felt like she was ready. I always told her that when she wanted to give it a go we would let her. She had no fear and was very excited. She liked the school work. She liked joining the school choir. She loved learning to play the recorder. It wasn't the school work she didn't like. What she didn't like was the meanness of some of the girls. The boys? They were great but she says it seems that the girls and boys can't play together at this school. Too bad.
Last week Athena pushed someone. And I got the phone call from the teacher. She suggests counselling so she can "fit in with the other kids." I was told that the girls wanted to play with her and she didn't want to play so Athena struck out in anger. I had a hard time believing this. When Athena came home she told me that they did ask her to play and she did push a girl. But... this was the one and only time they asked her to play. They drew a circle in the sand on the school ground. All five girls were allowed in and she was to stay outside the perimeter and if she would try to play in there with them they would push her out. Fun game. Wouldn't you want to play that? So after Athena got tired of this game she walked away to play by herself, as she does every single day. The girls came after her and tried to get her to come back. They called her all kinds of names and she pushed a girl away. She did. And now she needs counselling. (I am not one of those parents that thinks her child can do no wrong. She may need counselling but not for that!)
Things like this have been going on the entire time. She asked me if she was weird because all the girls say she is. She told me she gets a lump in her throat, and she doesn't know why, but it always means that tears fill her eyes. She asked if she could be homeschooled again. And we said yes.
Some people don't agree. "Let her find her own way." "She needs to find out all people aren't nice." "She needs to learn to deal with conflict." On and on and on. And yes she does need to learn all of those things. But I ask you, as an adult, right now, would you be able to bear up in your life if these things happened to you each and every day? Now I ask again, should a little child, who has sensory issues, who is most probably on the spectrum, who is a little different than most kids, should she have to deal with this day in and day out? I didn't think so.
I consulted my daughters, my mother and some special friends (thank you, you know who you are) and after discussing it with Athena and Paul, we are bringing her back home. Her last day at public school is tomorrow.
We are bringing her home so she can feel safe and secure.
We are bringing her home so she can learn in a quiet and uninterrupted space.
We are brining her home where people "get her."
We are bringing her home because we can offer an alternative to public school where not everyone fits in and not everyone thrives.
We are bringing her home where we can offer her the best we can.
Will it be all she needs? No
Will we be able to offer her everything? No.
Will she have some gaps? Probably.
Would public school give her everything? All she needs? Hell, no!
PS It should be noted that she made it 8 weeks without using the public bathrooms. She can't handle that.
PSS She is so glad that she can finally put a comma after the number in the thousands place without getting a big red X on her paper.