I sent my child to school with hopes and dreams and a backpack. She was a kind child who didn’t throw tantrums. She put her dishes in the sink without being asked and she wouldn’t dream of hurting her sister, no matter how frustrated she was. She went to bed without complaint, woke up and got dressed without being asked, and talked to me about how everyone’s job is important. She was excited to start school and had an amazing sense that she wanted to be there. She walked up the steps onto the bus that first day thinking that this would be the best experience of her life.
It became harder to get her awake and out the door as the weeks went on. Mornings went from a relaxed two hours to a rushed 45 minutes of trying to get everyone fed, packed, and dressed. She had friends at first. Unfortunately, as the months passed the girls went from liking her to trying to control her. She wanted to play with the Ariel puzzle and the other girls were playing with marbles. She didn’t want to play with the marbles, but she didn’t want to get made fun of for liking Ariel. She asked me one night, “Mom, do you think if I decided to like what they want me to like that they’d start to like me too?” The child that I trusted the school with 100 days ago would have done what she wanted and been confident in her decision.
She was off this week for winter break. She cried about kids being mean to her in school, acted out, screamed, thrown tantrums, worried about not being around us when school starts up again, and generally been difficult. Several times I found her staring at her class picture and crying. She’s so determined to be good at school that all the stress and anxiety is building up and coming out in her behavior at home. She told us that she’s a failure. We’ve never told her that. We’ve never insinuated that. SHE CALLED HERSELF A FAILURE AT 5. She told me that she wishes her bully would die. That’s so far outside the bounds of an acceptable thing for her to say. It took a minute for the shock to wear off before I could deal with it. What the hell is going on during the school day that a child, an amazing kid, would say these things. It’s heartbreaking.
We’re done. Finished. Bye-bye. This stops now. Her Dad and I talked about it and she’s been pulled from her school. She isn’t going to have her self, that amazing thing that makes her her, strangled and standardized down to a kid who doesn’t play how she wants for fear of alienating other kids. We will find the homeschool groups and activities that she will learn positive things from. She’ll learn about apples from an orchard, not a book. She’ll see a real farm, not a video. She will be taught how to be part of a family and community while also being taught the wonderment of her. She will never again tell me that she doesn’t know anything and is stupid. Her education is looking up.