What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Monday, August 18, 2008

So, Here's the Thing.

I have a story to tell today. One I never thought I would be telling. If you would have asked me six months ago if I would be saying this, I would have said, "No, Hell No." But, here goes. We have decided to Homeschool another year. Even though we had him registered to start today. Even though we went to Open House and met his teachers. Even though we bought him all new clothes. And shoes. And school supplies out the ying-yang. Of course, he still needs clothes and shoes and school supplies, so that is not wasted.
Reasons? Well, there are many. Apparently, he still does lingering trepidations about school. I don't know what all happened to him last year on the days he went to school when he was loopy on the Claritin D. I do know he was told that he could not go to the Nurse, he could not go to the Counselor, he just had to do what he had to do to get through the day. And, it was the Nurse and the Counselor that told him that, not me. So, that didn't leave him feeling very reassured about school. Also, he tried to go every single day and never made it in the door. Then, we thought we had him feeling good, so we tried to get him back in school. That's when the administration said no and he wasn't welcomed back. So, he never got the opportunity to go back to school and be welcomed and feel at home. He still thinks bad things are in there waiting for him. And, I don't think they are, but who knows at this point. We really feel like outsiders at this point.
Also, there isn't any one on one attention at this level. We went to Open House on Thursday night and the teachers only spoke of rules and detention and fines and "they'll learn the days not to push me", etc. One teacher sent home a type written page front and back of rules for his class and his class alone. How about "We are going to have fun and learn this and this and go here and see this and let's get excited about it!" For instance, one rule was, if you don't sharpen your pencil before class and it breaks, you are screwed. You do NOT get out of your chair to sharpen it. Now, The Bean would have an an arsenal of sharpened pencils and an arsenal of mechanical always-sharpened pencils, but the very idea of this rule is so stressful to him that that is all he can think about in class. We had problems with his Art Teacher in Elementary School - Pre-Blog. He referred to himself in the third person and yelled at the kids and threatened them for silly things. And, even though The Bean is an ideal student and rule follower, the fact that the teacher would call himself Mr. XXX and then scream at them about not putting the yellow paintbrush in the blue paint would cause him to stress out to levels that I have never witnessed.
I digress. I have stated before that The Bean is a good kid. He's a sensitive kid. He's a one of a kind kid. He's not a cry baby or a wimp or anything. He is just unique. And, I think that is a good thing. If going to a school that can't see that he is an individual or that he has certain needs (not to be yelled at for things he isn't even going to do), then I will take his education into my own hands and do it right. We did Homeschool last year, but I took it personally that they told me that I HAD to do it. So, we did do it, but I was lax in certain areas and didn't push him as hard as maybe I should have. Well, not as hard as maybe I should have to have kept him entirely in line with the kids at school. But, isn't that half the idea of homeschooling? To do it at your pace and in a way your family enjoys it? I don't think most homescholers are of the mindset that they are in their second semester of fourth grade or whatever. I think they just do their studies and progress when they are ready. Maybe they are High School readers and 6th Grade Math. Whatever they need to do - they do. And, so will we.
So, today I have a new attitude towards homeschooling. We will earn and explore and see new things. He's only a kid once, and I need to help him become the adult he needs to be. Maybe he'll go back to school next year. Maybe not. Millions of kids are homeschooled and they flourish. There are a lot of things that I already know that I can teach him and thousands more that I am completely clueless about, but I can learn with him. I wouldn't change the way that kid is for anything. No one else should try to change him either. We will try to get him the confidence he needs to know he is welcome and accepted at school. He needs to understand that he has these emotions and why he has them. I know someone could just give him a pill to make him chill and go, but I just do not feel that is the thing for him, or for us for that matter. He is completely fine 99% of the time and has felt better since we started homeschooling than he ever did at school. But, as our week progressed last week, I could see it in his eyes. Just like last year. Nothing is worth going throught that again.
I'll try not to blog about it, and accept this as our choice and not something we were forced into doing. Of course, I will blog about our adventures because those will continue, I promise. And, there will be junking. Sorry, I can't give up everything! ;o) I tell this story on here because I feel like everyone that comments on here is a friend and understands me. More, perhaps than anyone in this stupid tiny town. And, this blog is where I get things off my chest. So, there it is. Off my chest. Thanks.


  1. (((((Shara)))))

    I am sure that this is hard stuff to deal with, no matter what.

    I do say that I will not be a homeschooler UNLESS blah blah blah. We all know that is a big unless. You do what you have to do with the kid you are given. No kid fits into any one mold, do they?

    When your baby is born you have all these big freaking grandiose ideas about what they are going to be like and what mothering is going to be like, and really, you have no control over any of it. You just have to go with the flow and make it work, a la Tim Gunn.

    I am sure this is going to work out just fine. More than fine.

    (And speaking of which, my kid is sitting here reading my comment. LOL Clearly we are teaching him, eh?) :-)

  2. Some kids need to be pushed into things like school and situations that they are scared of. But some definetely do not, and it would cause more harm than good. I think that the Bean will thrive with homeschooling, and he will grow up knowing that his Mom loves him and did everything she could to ensure that he will have a good life. You have done a lot more than quite a few parents would, and you are to be comended for it. The Bean is a lucky boy.

  3. I'm sure you are doing the right thing because you are going with your instinct on this one. I was even wondering why you were going back this year anyway, it looked like after you both got settled into a routine, the both of you flourished homeschooling. Look at all the adventures you had and will have this coming year.

    juicy :)

  4. Those school people need to be kicked in the nads(if they have any). MEAN PEOPLE SUCK!!!!!!

    You know your blog sisters love ya and support you in your decisions.

  5. We just graduated our oldest child from homeschooling...and she is thriving. When I took her out in mid 7th grade, she was a loner. I had her job shadow all over the place.....it did wonders for her self-esteem. She attended Vo-tech her Sr. year and won a speech competition at the state level. She now gets to go back and be an ambassador for the school. Find a place where he can volunteer or job shadow....and if it doesn't work out...find another place. If you have a VA hospital nearby, call them....they have a great one where we live that LOVES teens. If you have any questions....just comment me. I live in Oklahoma...so, not that far. Relax and go w/ his interests...you'll learn so much more that way. HAVE FUN!!! You might want to try to find a local group to join as well.

  6. Anonymous7:28 PM


    I am not a homeschool mom myself (have given it serious thought this year with my baby going to middle school) but I have several friends and family members who choose to educate their children at home. I think what you do is your business and if you think this is what's best for your son then you have my 100% support (not that you need it, but there it is anyway). Best of luck. And I agree with the comment traci made. In our area (Central KY) there are homeschool co-ops that meet every so often for field trips, support, etc. If you could find one in your area it might be a big help. And just think. You won't loose your junking buddy!

  7. Shara, I haven't been reading your blog long enough to know the whole history of your school experience, but it sure sounds like you're doing the right thing. I understand that schools need to have rules, but a teacher who hands out the list you described is more interested in control than education. You know in your heart what's right for him - I think all good parents do. I give you lots of credit for tackling such a tough job instead of taking the easy way out. Good luck!

  8. You have taken on a HUGE load. More power to you, and we're behind you!! I don't have any kids, so I can only begin to imagine what you guys have been going through! You should feel free to 'unload' on us any time you need to!

  9. I have to say I completely understand your son and his issues. My first few years at school were pure hell and made so by teachers and their stupid rules. Homeschooling was not available to me and every day I can remember crying as I had to go and face teachers and was so terrified of falling faul to their rules and being made to look an idiot in class.(what a stupid rule about not sharpening a pencil! I thought they were there to learn not follow non pencil sharpening rules)
    Much better for your boy if you homeschool him and give him the security he needs. I'm sure in a few years he'll be ready for main school.
    I know one day I went to a new school, looked round and found a new confidence. This is what your son will find will happen to him one day too.

  10. You are the Bean's mom and YOU have his best interest in mind! The schools...well, they have the best interest of the masses in mind, but not necessarily your particular kid. There's nothing wrong with wanting your child to have an education that is most suited to his personality and abilities! Not everyone fits into the same mold. I think you'll both do great this year and I admire you for being brave enough to do it again! Way to go, Mom! :)

  11. You are an amazing mom. I love your comment about letting him feel his emotions and work through them instead of giving him a pill to make them go away. What a gift your son has in you. You are exactly the kind of mom I aspire to be.


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