Tag Archives: public school

I Had the Best of Intentions

When I decided to send my two oldest to school, I figured it was simply time. I had this great, philosophical attitude about the whole thing. I taught them our values, I taught them Church teaching. Heck, I immersed them whole-heartedly for the past 15-13 years in what we believe. It’s now up to my kids to take those values and teachings and decide for themselves what to do with them. If I am lucky, they will embrace them. Or maybe they will fall into step with what everyone else is doing, and come back to them later in life, as many people do. Or they may simply reject them.Fact is, I have done is all I can do. I can’t dictate their feelings and I have desire to control them.
They of course are still children, and just because I put them in public school, doesn’t mean I am throwing in the towel. It just means I simply do not have the same amount of control as I used as to what they are exposed to. I actually think that is a good thing. It is one of the many reasons I decided it is time for them to go. I do not want them to be faced with people problems when they are away from home, and do not have family support to fall back on.
Before I go on, let me state, these are my reasons for my children, right here and now, where we are in our lives. This is not a formula I think every good Christian parent needs to follow. Every situation is different, every parent is different, every child is different. All this is is me reflecting (ok, blathering…whining) about stuff on my mind in regard to current choices I have made in my very hormonal state (hence my need to work things out in writing)
So, here I had this great philosophical attitude that shaped my judgments. Why is it then the first time a teacher starts his anti-Catholic rhetoric, I start to panic? I mean it is expected, it’s popular intellectual thinking, how the Church ruined the world throughout history. How the Church kills people with Humanae Vitae. How the Church is made up of misogynists because they preach against abortion. When I thought about it, I was ashamed of my own answer: the teacher was telling my daughter her parents are wrong. I want to say because “he is misleading kids” and other more altruistic answers, which I do feel, but the heart of the matter is I was insulted. This is my culture and he is dissing it. He probably has no idea. Just like all the Albany priests say they cannot preach about abortion, contraception, divorce from the pulpit, because you might insult someone, I have a feeling it didn’t occur to this teacher that there might be a child of a practicing Catholic family in his classroom who embrace Catholic teaching right down to the no-divorce/no-contraception teachings. So after my own personal revelation, I decided, (like hopefully sane people usually do) get over myself, to stay my course and move forward.
I think, as it turned out I had very little to worry about as as my daughter is concerned. My daughter came home that afternoon with more questions about what she learned in history that didn’t seem “quite right’. She said she learned about the Western Schism and that the purpose was to make money and persecute Protestants, which didn’t sit right with her. She also wanted to know how it would play out today, who would be the “real” pope-the one in Rome or in Avignon. I have to admit, the little I learned on the schism always confused (and gasp, bored) me, so I told her to call my father.
Do you remember when Jeff Miller said “scratch a dissident and you will find someone upset about some area of the Church’s teaching on sexual morality”? No exception here. I over heard her tell my father that the teacher complains a lot that he is divorced and feels birth control is necessary. She also said that she liked her global teacher, she loves how intelligent he is and that he was the only teacher to give her an assignment on the first day of school. She said she didn’t understand why he simply didn’t say “I made a mistake and that area of Church teaching was hard for me to follow”, but rather turns it into a long vent against the Church. When he starts his stuff on what’s wrong with the Church, it makes her doubt his intelligence, because he is plain wrong. She also said that it worries her that is she hears so much mythology day in and day out about what the Church teaches or what happened, she will no longer question it and try to seek out the truth-just simply take it at face value. My father told her the rule of thumb regarding Church history is, unless you understand the theology and what was going on at the time, you never get a full story of what happened and what truly motivated people. They are simply leaving holes in the story and making up the rest.
I thought my father gave good advice about Church history. And I thought I should pray for the teacher. Imagine how much of struggle his choices are that an otherwise intelligent man has to hold a captive audience of 15-year olds hostage to hear about his therapy. Sheesh, that’s what blogs are for.

First Day of Real School Part 1-The Prep

How annoying a ride this has been just to get the kids in there. For home schoolers, NYS requires a Notice of Intent sent to the school board by July 1. An “IHIP” or basically a curriculum in within six weeks of the Notice of Intent, quarter reports with samples of work handed in each quarter, and starting at second grade, some sort of assessment every other year, and every year in high school. This can range from a standardized test to a statement hand written by a teacher. We used St. Thomas Aquinas Home School Academy for the older grades (which I highly recommend) and they assessed the kids at the beginning of the school year to devise their curriculum, so I sent that in.
This local school district, for whatever reason, always asks for more than the legally required, such as they make up their own outline for an IHIP demanding booklists with publisher and author names, they send me out dates for the state tests stating the kids must take these specific state tests, they send me quarter report notices when the traditional school semester ends despite the fact that the law states 180 days out of the school year, not that it has to be within the traditional day after Labor Day until the last week of June.
After all that work, at the end of HS, all you have to show for it is you were simply “compliant”. They do not get a diploma. You can get a GED, or take an additional 24 credits at a community college. Home schoolers are not elegible to take the state Regents exams which would entitle students to a Regents dipolma, which is basically a passport to NYC schools. Since money is an object, we were hoping Rosey Posey could attend a state school, at least in the beginning.
With all that attention and demands on our home school, you would think they are super attentive to their traditional students. You’d think.
We were told by the HS, since our kids were home schooled, that our records (all that dang paperwork I submitted) would be at the school district office, and to give the home schooling liason (the woman who sends all the threatening letters letting me know they are watching me) a call so they can figure out what grade to put Rosey Posey in. They said since we didn’t use a “state curriculum” and take the “state tests” she might have to repeat ninth grade to get credit. Part of me was annoyed, and part of me knew we would have to pay for our home schooling insolence, so I warned Rosey Posey, who of course, threatened to run away.
We called the school district office, and left a message. And called again. And again. Fed up, we stopped by her office. She was in the back and when the secretary said we were there (we could see her) she said “tell them I’m busy”. Oh my husband was livid.
We went from there right back to the high school guidance office. The secretary (who is a very nice lady) didn’t understand why they nor we had not heard from the school district home schooling liason lady (her exact title of “Director of State and Federal Projects”) have not gotten back to them or us. My husband who was angry said “because she refused to see us!” I said “Now Polo, they said she was busy.”
“No, don’t correct me! She refused to see us.”
Perhaps I should not have corrected him, because less than an hour later, Rosey Posey who was at home (we left there and went to the store) got a call from the guidance counselor 9this was last Friday) saying they are putting her in tenth grade, into the college-bound course of study and take it from there. If it’s too hard or too easy, they will tweak the classes as needed. She said to call first thing Tuesday morning to come in and devise her schedule. What a relief.
Tuesday comes and we call at 8.30 AM…and call…nothing.
Wednesday comes and we call. Finally we get a return call around noonish (school started yesterday-Thursday). The guidance counselor said “now who are you and why are you calling?” we explained “How can I devise your curriculum without your records?”
Bangs head against wall. “Oh, I think it’s coming back to me…” Deo Gratias we went in, devised a schedule which I swear is identical to my 10th grade schedule.
I had a “proud Momma” moment when the counselor asked if she wanted to take health 1 health class is needed for graduation. Rosey Posey asked “is that sex ed?”
The counselor skirted “yeah, it’s about the body and health issues and some sex talk in involved. ”
” I don’t want to do sex ed.”
OK, I guess we’ll hold off.
She also wanted to know if Rosey Posey had ever done things like be around people before, ever been inside a school, ever played a sport, ever seen other children. I thought despite everything, the lady was genuinely nice and probably had no idea she was speaking in terms of stereotypes vs. reality. We had a nice chuckle about it after the fact.
For the first time, Rosey Posey, who had been threatening to never, ever forgive me for as long as live for putting her in school, and was going to run away, seemed excited.
OHmygosh, we spent a fortune on necessary school supplies, gym sneakers, a rudimentary wardrobe…what was needed in binders, boxes of tissues, correct pens, index cards etc. we could have used on home schooling books for nearly everyone.
More in a bit…

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