Ray on our first day!

It’s a new school year and I just knew we would be returning back to a traditional school setting. My son has struggled since he entered public school. He struggled to keep up with his peers academically and even had to repeat Kindergarten. Yet and still I had faith in the school system and thought they were doing right by my child.

Boy was I wrong! Let’s start by how we got to this point of homeschooling. A couple years ago, I noticed Raylan struggling to keep up in Kindergarten and I decided to withdraw him from school and homeschool so I could get him caught up. I got him caught up with his writing and other things but he was still a reluctant reader. We returned back to public school a year later for first grade. Everything was all gravy until we had to transfer schools. This new school felt that there was no way he could catch up and that it would be best for him to repeat Kindergarten. The plan they presented sounded so good but I had no idea what it actually meant for my child.

Now looking back, I realized they made this decision because I homeschooled for the second half of Kindergarten and maybe they felt he didn’t get the proper instruction because he was home. This is an assumption of mine but I feel this was the main reason since they brought it up a couple of times in the meeting. Before I made this huge decision, I wish I would have thought about it more. I wish I would have given my son more time to catch up. This new school and his old school were totally different and they were learning things he didn’t learn at the other school. The information was new and they only gave him a couple days before they decided he needed to be kept back.

I can look back and see how I also failed Raylan and that’s why I’m writing this blog. I had to learn how to fight and advocate for my son because I realized this school didn’t know best. I’m still his parent and I know best. Once I started realizing the game this school was trying to play, I fought back. They had him on a RTI plan preparing him for an IEP. I knew that I wanted a second opinion because I no longer trusted this school had my son’s best interests in mind.

First Day of Virtual 1st Grade

Anyway, the pandemic happened and we finished Kindergarten virtually. That was a hot mess in itself because it wasn’t organized and it was just too much going on. Ray was promoted to first grade and we started the next school year virtually. Ray had a mental health crisis in October 2020 and this school was not a support for my son. I talked about this on my podcast and I’ll link that below. My son went through it at this school and this school filed a CPS report when I wanted to get a second opinion regarding things with Raylan and when I refused to admit him to a psychiatrist hospital.

After going through hell and back with this school, I knew I couldn’t send him back there for second grade. They could not provide the proper support or safety for my son. I tried a hardship transfer and school choice and all of those options were denied. And with this new variant and schools unable to figure out a concrete plan about anything, I knew I had to homeschool. I talked to Raylan about homeschooling because I knew he didn’t like it when we did it for Kindergarten. He was on board because he doesn’t want to wear a mask and this school traumatized him.

Ray working hard writing his letters

For my son’s mental health and safety, I knew it was best to homeschool. Though things are not ideal right now, I feel this is the best decision and I’m excited to teach Raylan and get him prepared for third grade. I will be utilizing a lot of online resources and I might even sign him up with tutoring. We had our first day and I could tell Ray was so relieved not to be going back to traditional school. He’s been very nervous as we waited for a decision for school choice and he’s been fearful about going back to his old school. Now he’s worry free and can learn at his own pace without feeling like he’s the odd one out.

Working on our space

Now that I’m teaching him at home, I’m realizing how much public school failed him. Raylan is a bright kid with a big vocabulary and huge personality. I feel like school stifled that and made him miserable. Beyond that, I’m finding out that he doesn’t even know basic concepts he should have learned in Kindergarten and he did that twice. Now that falls on me, the mom, too because there was so much going on and I just trusted the school was teaching him and I just help him with homework and read to him every night. The teacher never informed me that he was struggling with anything other than sight words and I did everything at home so he could learn his sight words. Now, I have learned from Ray that all they focused on at school was sight words and he was put in different groups to catch up while the others learned new concepts. They were so focused on him learning sight words that he lacked in other areas as well.

It is so important to be na involved parent and not put all of your trust into the school. At the end of the day, you’re the parent and you know your child best. Always ask for a second opinion and be prepared to fight for your child. Be your child’s advocate because their voices are muted and they need someone to stand up for them and demand the best for them. I’ve learned a lot since dealing with this school from hell and I’ll never feel comfortable with putting my son in a public school again. If we ever return back to a traditional school, it has to be a private school, preferably a Montessori school.

Check out my podcast where I talk about this in detail: https://anchor.fm/joshlyn-nicole


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