It’s hard for me to process all the crazy things I did while I was raising my kids. When I was in the moment, I couldn’t tell. Maybe because time was moving so fast. So I didn’t take pictures of the times I’d want to remember so much as I took pictures when I remembered. Sometimes I got a picture of a great moment, like this one.
It’s a picture of arriving back to the farm from a cello lesson in Chicago. The drive was about five hours each way. But the day ended up being incredibly long because we had to get there early so Z could recover from the drive to be ready for his lesson. Sometimes when we got home he was so sick of being in the car, he would get out to open the gate, and instead of getting back in he’d run all the way to the house.
The only way cello worked with school was taking him out two days a week for lessons.
I had this idea that I’d become friends with the principal and have lunches with her and things would be okay. I made sure she understood there was no other way for us to have cello lessons.
She told me attendance is very important and there are no exceptions. I ignored that and continued taking Z out of school.
I got a letter in the mail saying I had to attend a truancy hearing at the county court house. The letter amused me. My son was six years old. I had already requested that he get new math materials because he knew the first-grade curricula, and the teacher told me that the school doesn’t do that. “He can help his peers,” she said.
“You can talk to the principal if you have a problem.”
I talked with the truancy officer about the problem, since I was talking with him anyway. He said they don’t have a gifted program. “We do not encourage children to think they are better than their peers,” he told me.
So you can imagine how he reacted to leaving school twice a week for cello.
So it’s not like I really chose homeschooling. It sort of chose me.
Subsequently, I discovered that parents who take their students out of elementary school a lot have kids with higher test scores. This makes sense to me because it would mean parents are doing extra stuff with kids instead of just relying on the babysitting attributes of school. It’s the unexcused absences that matter the most because they indicate problems with parenting. But like most school research, there’s a caveat that this research applies most to low-income families. Because of course nothing affects the outcome of high-income kids more than their parent’s high income.