This is going to be a long one, thank you for taking the time to read!
After a long debate, discussion and even getting the in-laws involved, last year my husband and I decided it would be best if we (I) homeschool our children.
The discussion first started before school even started last school year. There was an insane amount of cases of the enterovirus 68 (you probably heard about it on the news) that was basically sweeping across the country. (Little Number 1 has asthma and if it is going around, this poor guy tends to catch it; the year before he had double pneumonia twice in 4 months) So me, being the (lovely) sarcastic person I am, made a comment about how if he gets this and ended up in the hospital (the news had stated hundreds of kids were being hospitalized) I was going to pull the kids out of school and just home school them. We live in a fairly small community (about 9,000 people), obviously, people need to work to pay their bills, which unfortunately tends to lead to them not being “able” (quite frankly, willing) to take off of work and take care of their sick kids, so they send them to school, boogers, eye goop and all.
That leads to kids like mine, on the second week of school, I got a call from Little Number 1’s teacher saying he wasn’t feeling good, he was breathing heavy, and his inhaler wasn’t helping. So I picked him up from school, brought him home and gave him a nebulizer treatment. It gave him enough relief to take a small nap but within a half hour, his breathing was worse so I brought him to the urgent care clinic. The Dr. was in the office next to the registration desk, overheard our conversation, put her blood pulse oximeter on him and told us to go straight to the emergency room. His o2 was only at 84 (scary super low!) they hooked him up to oxygen and started him on another nebulizer. In the middle of the treatment he ended up having some type of coughing fit and he was gasping for air. They immediately called and started to make arrangements for him to be transferred to another hospital with a Pediatric ICU unit, about 40 minutes away. As you can imagine, I was a mess. I called my husband and told him to drop off our daughter at my parents and to get his ass to the hospital because they were going to send us via ambulance. They didn’t waste any time getting us loaded up and my husband got there just as we were walking out of the room. He went straight back to his car and followed us to the other hospital. ( I will never forget talking to my mother in law over a month later and she said he called her on his way while folling us and he was just a mess. He said it was so scary seeing the ambulance get farther and farther ahead of him) While in the ambulance our son was hooked up to the oxygen and given more nebulizer treatments. We got to the hospital and all checked in and about 20 minutes later my husband finally found us. I don’t think I have ever been so scared in my life. There was the sweetest little boy you could ever meet, laying in a hospital bed hooked up to so many machines. Wires were everywhere. But he was such a champ. He was so brave. He kept looking gat me and smiling and he told me i don’t have to cry, its just a cold and he will be better soon( cue my crying even harder) They put him on an antibiotic just in case, though they were sure it was viral. Then I asked the Dr “Do you think he has the enterovirus that’s going around?” and the Dr said “I’m not going to test for it, I’m positive that’s what he has. It would take at least 2 weeks to get the results back for the test, and that wouldn’t change the course of treatment for him, we are already treating him like that is his diagnosis.” I was a bit shocked they weren’t going to test for it, but I knew was right, I knew that’s what he had anyways.
The craziest thing for me was, there had been no confirmed cases of this virus in our state. We hadn’t even been out of the state, let alone our own town for over a month. He somehow got this virus from someone who had completely different symptoms. Our daughter, for example, got a stuffy/runny nose just like any other cold, but here was our boy in the pediatric ICU, fighting to breathe.
He ended up being in the ICU for 5 days and then transferred to a regular room for 2 more days. I can’t even explain to you what was going through my head during that week. I was so scared. I had never relied on prayer so hard in my entire life. It is by the grace of God alone, I didn’t completely loose my shit.
During the hospital stay, my parents took our daughter, and my husband was working half days, he made the drive daily to come spend time with our son and tuck him in for bed every night.
His classmates all wrote him get better soon cards, so when we got the ok from the Dr. we took the chance and sent him back to school. THE NEXT WEEK, he came home from school and his left eye was so red, HE HAD PINK EYE! After a week of symptoms not getting better (his eyes was still so red, and super dry) I brought him back to the Dr, and she said the redness wait from the eye drops irritating his eyes, so to stop giving them to him, and everything would clear up in a few days. Then I asked her if he can go back to school because I didn’t know! I’m clearly not a Dr. and I’m there for help and do you know what she said to me??? She said “Do you not want your kid to be away from you?” Whoa…excuse me bitch? I said “No, I just didn’t know if he still contagious or if he’s ok to do go school, my kids have never had pink eye before!” and she replied with” Have you considered seeing a counselor, to talk about things?
I was completely shocked! Here I was was, expressing concern over my SICK child, and she was suggesting that I see a counselor because she thinks I had some type of separation anxiety with my son! Don’t get me wrong, I love my baby boy, but seriously bitch? I love him and I don’t want them to keep getting sick, I’m sorry I didn’t know if he was still contagious!
When I got home I was a hot mess, I couldn’t stop crying (and then, of course, I thought “oh my god, what if I do need to see a counselor” “what if I’m crazy like she thinks I am”) Mind you, my emotions were still rather high, we had only been out of the hospital for 3 weeks at this point.
I sent him back to school (cause that will show the Dr.!) and everything seemed to be going well. Then! My daughter came home from school the next week (we are now into the middle/end of November) and she had a note in her backpack that Hand Foot and Mouth Disease was going around her school (even though my kids are just 1 school year apart, they attend different schools, our school district is all sorts of ridiculous) Sure enough, 2 days later, she has little blisters on her feet. I brought her into urgent care to confirm (more-so to get the Dr. note for class) and I called the school to let them know she wouldn’t be in class, and to find out when she can go back. Now, my son (surprise) had this when he was about 3, and the Dr. at that time said he is contagious until the blisters pop and heal over. So I was expecting the same thing, but then I got a call from the school nurse, saying as long as she doesn’t have a fever, diarrhea or vomiting, she can go to class! Well, no wonder this is going to her school, if your letting kids with open blisters juicing all over the place and then having the kids sharing EVERYTHING (all covered in infected hand juices!) Good lord! I ended up keeping her home for 3 days until they healed over, I’d rather not be attributing to the discussion-ness of the situation.
I kid you not, the next week, My son had some heavy breathing and I start to panic. Thankfully it ended up being just a cold, but it still went straight to his chest, so he was out of school for 2 days, getting his nebulizer treatments at home. I looked at my husband and I started to cry, I told him I can’t do this anymore. He doesn’t deserve to be so sick.
Plus, as soon as school started our daughter just wasn’t comfortable in her class. Every morning she would cry and cling to me (it caused a major scene EVERY DAY) It was ridiculous, I was that parent in the corner with the screaming kid who would just wouldn’t let go) A few times her teacher pulled her off of me so I could leave. It was frustrating because she would be perfectly fine in the morning, getting dressed and on the ride to school, but as soon as we would get inside the building she would start freaking out. It made me uncomfortable! The year before, she and her teacher were perfect together, like 2 peas in a pod. (They really just adored each other). We had our first parent-teacher conference and her teacher said “Little number 2 has a very kind heart, but the kids don’t make fun of her for it” My husband and I just looked at each and thought it was a weird statement for her to make (like no shit, kids shouldn’t make fun of her).. The next thing you know, she is saying that kids in her class were making fun of her. I called and talked to the principal and she said they weren’t going to have her switch classes just because he was crying, once she was in the classroom, after a few minutes she would calm down and everything would be fine the rest of the day. Well, then it got to the point that before we would even leave the house, she would start crying so hard, she would make herself sick. I can’t send my kid to school when she so emotionally distraught, she’s vomiting and gagging all over the place! Kindergarten should be so stressful or traumatic!
We decided to talk about it more deeply over Christmas vacation (it was just a few weeks away) plus our son was very excited about his Christmas Concert coming up at school. So another week passed and all seemed well.
Then the next week, (the week before Christmas break) my son comes home from school and asks for a cup of water, I went and got him one, and by the time I got back into the living room, he is curled up in a ball, bawling his eyes out on the couch. Some little punk ass on the bus punched him in the face, twice! Mama bear came out and I called the bus line, they said they would look into it (all of our buses have security cameras) and he would call me back. The next day I got a call that in the video they can see a boy raise his arm to my son but they don’t see any actual contact because the seats are so high, and the kids are so little. But they would talk to the boys in the video. SO, then 2 days later I get a call, the boy in the video admitted he hit my son, even admitted to using the phrase “do you want more”. Why did he do it? Because the kids sitting behind him told him to hit my son, after my son ignored them when they said mean things to him. SO my son, instead of defending himself to bullies, sat there and turned his and looked out the window, and he got punched in the face. BULLSHIT! The kids punishment? He had to sit the front of the bus for a week. BULLSHIT! The other kids who were saying mean things? Nothing. Because there was no evidence, there is video but no sound. They didn’t even ask them about it. BULLSHIT! I can’t go up to this kids mom, punch her in the face, and get a slap on the wrist! Then the guy on the phone from the bus company says “I hope this doesn’t deter him from wanting to ride the bus home” What the actual fuck? Of course, it does! Would you want to ride on the same bus where kids bigger then you rally against you and punch you in the face? I don’t think so and I’m assuming since one got in trouble, its just going to make the situation worse. This was my final straw.
I told my husband I was done. When school started back up in January, I wasn’t sending them back. I couldn’t do it anymore. It was just too much. I told him if the kids went to public school, he would need to start taking our daughter to school in the mornings, and he would need to take off work when our son was sick. I couldn’t do it by myself anymore.
Christmas vacation finally came, we talked and we talked. He just wasn’t fully on board. I talked to my mom about it (She’s a retired teacher) and she agreed that it would be best. Then I talked to my mother-in-law (cue dramatic. dun dun dun) Just kidding, I actually really, really love my inlaws, they are so great and supportive (not at all like the horrible monster in laws you hear about all the time) I just figure they are glad they finally found someone who deals with their son 🙂 hahaha. Anyways if my husband and my parents could get along a quarter of what I get along with his parents, the world would be a simpler place. So finally I asked her to talk to him about it and she did. She told him straight out, if this was the situation with you, your brother and sister, I would have taken you all out in a heartbeat. (Mother in law to the rescue!) and that’s all it took, some supportive words from his mom, and he finally caved and let me homeschool.
I have a seasonal job at the most charming Bed and Breakfast you could imagine, so homeschooling doesn’t usually interfere with my work schedule. I also have the most amazing bosses and if something comes up and I need to go in during the offseason, I can just bring the kids with me.. The hardest part of pulling them out to homeschool was the fact that I was president of the elementary school parent-teacher group! Thankfully, I had the most supportive group of ladies working with me and they stepped up and really helped me be able to transfer information and leave my position.
It’s now been over a year since I pulled them out, and I couldn’t be more pleased. My kids have been healthier and dare I say happier. I’m in awe every day with how far they have come and how fast they are growing and learning. We definitely have struggles, but we are working on them daily. I’m so in love with this life we have created and I strongly believe homeschooling my children was one the of the best choices we have ever made!