This the story of how I became “The Happy Housewife.” You might want to start at the beginning.
I was excited and nervous about sending the kids off to school. I knew our oldest daughter would be fine, she had attended kindergarten and part of first grade, but I was concerned about sending our son off to school.
Even the small town environment, friendly teachers, and good recommendations couldn’t help me shake the feeling that we were making the wrong decision.
I thought our son was delayed academically, and I wasn’t sure how he would fair socially either. He wasn’t a “normal” kid. I dealt with my fears by throwing myself into projects at the school. I joined the PTO and ended up serving as Vice President. I spent hours at the school talking with teachers and aides about our son and how to best help him learn.
I spent more time at the school than I did at home and it the year hadn’t even begun.
On the first day of school I took their pictures on the front porch and sent them off to school. I had mixed emotions, but they seemed happy so I decided to be happy too.
It was weird not having them home, but I was busy with the toddler and baby so the hours flew by. I spent many hours a week at the school volunteering and working on PTO projects. I kept myself busy so I didn’t miss homeschooling.
While I was having a great time volunteering with the PTO, my kids weren’t having a great time going to school. I had a few “conversations” with our daughter’s teacher about projects, homework, and advanced work.
I also spent a lot of time making sure our son was on track and didn’t need any extra help. His teacher always assured me that he was right on track, but compared to other kids his age he seemed very delayed.
About a month into the school year our daughter was assigned a book report. She chose an American Girl book and went to work creating a beautiful presentation board. She spent every night for weeks working on this board, she was so excited about the project.
Finally the night before it was due I started helping her glue the information she had written up about the book onto her presentation board. Her handwriting was messy and she thought that gluing her handwritten papers on the board would mess it up. She wanted to type up the information cards to put on the board.
Even though it was late I agreed and she went to work typing. After about 45 minutes of watching her hunt and peck on the keyboard I asked her if I could take over and finish typing up the cards from her notes because it was getting late and I wanted to go to bed.
I typed them up quickly and she glued them onto her board.
The next day I drove her to school and I watched as she happily walked from the car with her project. It was the first big project she had ever done and I was so proud of her for working so hard on it.
When our daughter came home I asked how her presentation went and she said the teacher and the class loved it.
A few days later she came home with her grade for the project. She received an A for the book report, A for the presentation, and a C for the project. I was dumbfounded. I had seen the other projects and hers was one of the best. I quickly scanned the grade sheet and was appalled when I saw…
“The board was wonderful, but next time please have your daughter do the work herself.”
I looked up and could tell my daughter was upset about her C. I asked her why her teacher would think that I made the board. She told me that the teacher thought the board was too good for a third grader to do on their own and then she told me the teacher asked her if I made the project board.
She told her teacher that I didn’t make the board and then the teacher asked if I helped make the board. Our daughter told the teacher I did help with the board, because I had typed up her notes the night before the project was due.
I tried to explain to our daughter that I had only typed up her notes, word for word, and that she truly had done all the work.
At this point our daughter was in tears and I was close to tears as well. Our daughter was a bright girl, who rarely missed even one question on a test. She was very capable of making a great project board, but the teacher just assumed I had made it instead.
I called Sailor at work and told him we had to pull the kids out of school. This was just one of many incidents over the past two month where I felt like our daughter was being “punished’ for being smart, and our son was getting left behind.
There was just one problem.
I was the PTO Vice President.
If I stepped down people would talk about us. There were only a few homeschoolers on the island and if I pulled my kids out of school it probably wouldn’t help us make any friends or fit in.
I didn’t want my kids to feel like they were being left out because they were homeschooled in such a tiny community, but at the same time I knew this school wasn’t giving them the best education.
I agonized for a week about how to tell the PTO President I had to step down because I was pulling my kids out of school. I told my husband that people would probably talk about me behind my back and I’d probably lose all my friends, since most of them I had met through the PTO.
He said that people would probably talk about us, but if I lost friends over homeschooling, they weren’t friends to begin with anyway.
I was still afraid to pull them from the school so we finally came up with a plan. We already had a trip back to the states planned so we would withdraw them from school and then immediately leave for Florida. We would be gone for two weeks and by the time we returned, perhaps the whole thing would have blown over and people would have forgotten about the big family who leaves babies at movie theaters and pulls them out of school…..
Our children went to school on Monday and the next morning we were on a plane headed to Florida. I told myself that I would take homeschooling one day at a time, one year at a time, and never let fear of man dictate how my kids were educated.