Another Detour: Bringing Our Boy Back Home

Life is a roller coaster, isn’t it. I like a roller coaster on occasion, but I don’t attempt those really intense ones.

Except life can feel like I imagine those twisty and curvy and loop-de-looping roller coasters feel. Last year, I shared in-depth about a decision that had been made to send two of our sons to public middle school at the beginning of this school year. We were optimistic and hopeful and willing.



Just when we exhale and think now I can take a deep breath I get a text saying, Our son has been suspended.

Yeah, I got that text. I was in a meeting of sorts and my phone rang with the school on Caller ID. It rang only once, so I figured it wasn’t a big deal. Except it was. They called the Prez though and reached him, so I didn’t hear back. Then the text from the Prez came through and I thought, “Well there’s a first time for everything.”

The writing was already on the wall before the suspension. When we were seriously considering sending our boys to the local zoned public school, I did what anyone would do right? I went to Go*ogle. I remember thinking when I found a site where people could rate schools that it couldn’t be that bad.

One reviewer said: When I moved here I thought Little House on the Prairie but what we got was Dangerous Minds without Michelle Pfeifer.

Sadly, I have to say I feel EXACTLY the same way now and I was hoping for Little House on the Prairie as well. In addition to the very low academic expectations at the school, the environment seems to be volatile and on top of that if your parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, etc. didn’t go to the school … well, you’re just a nobody.

Our boys have no friends there. From day one, our 6th grader was told, “We have been friends since 1st grade. We know each other and we don’t know you. Did your grandparents go here because ours did. He’s my 1st cousin and she’s my 2nd cousin and on and on and on.”

We went  to the Open House and met the teachers and passed the already-formed groups in the halls. We went to the Fall Festival in September and NO ONE except a couple of teachers spoke to us. Have you ever been to something like that where there are hundreds of people and its crowded and you feel incredibly lonely? I knew right then how our boys feel every day at the school. They have told us it feels like this in so many words, but then we experienced it. Our 8th grader does have a few kids who seem nice enough to him, but they call him “Ninja” which he really dislikes. He is the only Asian or non-white child in his entire grade.

Have I mentioned how unfriendly the environment is? Oh and the Prez signed up to be on the PTA and you know how many times he’s been to a meeting? NONE, because they said they didn’t need anymore help. YEP. We don’t have the Serenity Fair School bloodline (yes, I made up the name but you get the idea). He kind of joked when he signed up to be a PTA member and paid the annual dues that he doubted they would accept him into their group, but he was hoping to get involved. Saddest part is he would be a great asset to them, but we aren’t in in the inner circle or the outer one for that matter.

One of the reasons our 6th grade son accepted the invitation to meet another 6th grade student the size of an adult man in the bathroom for a fight was to try and put the bullies at bay. He said the two days he was back before Thanksgiving break did prove to be less volatile for him and that the bullies were surprised he stood up to them. He was beaten up pretty good though, and seeing your child with bruises all over their back from punches and kicks from an adult-sized kid when your son is small for his age? It HURTS. Bad.


Can you imagine walking into a new school as a middle schooler and the groups have been formed since kindergarten. To say they have had an uphill battle socially is an understatement. Our 6th grader also isn’t typical neurologically. Finally, after many years of wondering, I was asked by his therapist if I had considered he might have Aspergers. I have suspected he does for years, but when I have asked doctors and others they have assured me he didn’t have the markers or enough of them. It all makes so much sense now, and honestly it is a relief to know why he has some unique struggles in certain areas that frustrate us incredibly. But even more so, they frustrate him.

Our boys have big hearts and they really tried, but in all honesty they never had a chance at the school. I feel the same way about the surrounding community. It is very closed and if you don’t have roots here, you are an outsider. Period. You imagine moving to the country and finding friendly faces and welcoming arms, but in all honesty this is the most standoffish place I’ve ever lived in the South. It is very strange, but at the school it is even more apparent.

At the end of the day, one of the major reasons we chose to try public school was for the boys to experience school in a classroom outside the walls of our home. We also hoped they might make some friends, but that isn’t going to happen. As I type, I reflect on our hopes for them this school year and they’ve all been dashed. I know middle school is hard no matter where you are, but I did have this ideal that this little school in the country with 50 students or less per grade would be a nice transition for them back into public school. Boy, was I ever wrong.

In addition to the mounting social issues, the academics at the school are very inferior. Our 6th grader is incredibly bored and no, there isn’t a gifted program. Our 8th grader has been challenged in some areas, but he could be expected to do much more. They are in science rooms where the lab tables collect dust and house outdated textbooks. They have to share textbooks, so they can’t bring them home to study.

When my husband asked at the first parent-teacher conference why they aren’t doing labs in middle school science, he was told by the coach (I mean, teacher) that “I’ve requested supplies and equipment, but apparently there is no money for it.”I daresay our 8th grader has learned absolutely NOTHING in science this year, compared to  the science text we use in our homeschool, which is very in-depth and hands-on and engaging.

Oh, I could go on and on and on about how the academics pale in comparison to what they were doing, but what is the point? At the end of the day, my husband who made the ultimate decision to send them to school is very disappointed on many levels and he asked me to bring our 6th grader home in January. A big part of me doesn’t want to and I told our 6th grader I wasn’t sure I could do it as he is very resistant to my authority at times, but the thought of him getting beat up again in the school bathroom makes my stomach very upset. How can I leave him there to fight alone against the bullies?

He has had at least 10 teachers for his science and social studies class. Why you ask? Well, the permanent teacher was on medical leave when school started, so they hired a long-time sub. She was there until right before Thanksgiving. She was the ONLY bright spot in his day, and he misses her terribly. She was his homeroom teacher as well as science and social studies. She took interest in him and made some accommodations for him that made his day much more livable. But she’s gone. And since then, he has had multiple substitutes. I don’t even know what to think. Why don’t they hire a teacher??? But instead, each week it is somebody different including the mother of the kid who beat him up in the bathroom. Yep, you read that right. I can’t even comment further on that.

I know this post is super negative and I’m sorry for that. But this has just been building up and our 6th grader will be coming home for good when school finishes for the semester on December 19. He doesn’t even know we’ve made the final decision, but today I woke up and thought this is why I’m here. These kids are my mission field. He is worth it. So with my husband’s 100% support and our son also asking desperately to come back home, we will have 5 students again in our homeschool. Our 8th grade son has asked to finish the school year at this school, and we fully support him in that request. He has said he has no desire to go back there next year, and so it is very probable he will be home schooled again in the fall of 2015.

I have no idea what the future holds and I have had to majorly adjust my expectations and plans for our spring semester of school, and we are making plans for specially tailored coursework for our 6th grader, which will involved a private on-line school, but at the end of the day you just gotta do what you are feeling led to do. And trusting your gut can go a long way as well.


14 thoughts on “Another Detour: Bringing Our Boy Back Home

  1. cheryl

    Wow! I had no idea… I could say that this is hard to believe, but I know you and I believe you. Please let me know what I. can do to help.

  2. Nancy

    Sounds to me like you are definitely doing the right thing. How disappointing to move to what you are hoping is an awesome place and find such closed circles. Gotta do what’s best for your crew.

    1. pageprotectorprintablesandmore

      Nancy, it has been strange. We had been forewarned by some, but we tried to keep an open mind. There are lots of nice people, but yeah, the “roots” mentality runs strong out here. Hey, at least our children’s children will have roots here, and ultimately our roots should be found in Christ. Just need to remind myself of this. Daily it seems right now.

  3. Susan

    I am sorry that the people in your town, and the children in the school aren’t more welcoming. It always amazes me that people can act like that, and it’s particularly sad when it’s kids doing it to other kids. They learn the behavior from somewhere and sadly, usually it’s from the adults around them.

    Your story about what happened to your son resonated with me and brought back some unpleasant memories. When I was in the 3rd grade, we moved back to the area where my mom was from. There wasn’t enough time to register me in the private school (which she had wanted to do), so she registered me at the local public school.

    The first week I was there, when I went to the bathroom, two much older girls grabbed me by the arms and legs and dragged me all over the bathroom floor. I won’t get into the reasons here why I think they did what they did. The next day, my mom couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go to school, because I loved school. I finally told her, even though those girls put the fear of God into me if I told anyone. Mom went up to the school and read them the riot act. I don’t know if they ever figured out who did it, we didn’t stick around long enough to find out. Mom promptly pulled me out and had me registered into one of the private schools within a few days. At the private school, that kind stuff did not go on – it was staffed by a religious order who wouldn’t tolerate that kind of thing going on for even a second. And if it did, there would be immediate repercussions for the troublemakers.

    You can’t learn if your learning environment is not conducive to it, especially if you are worrying whether or not you are going get bullied every day. The private school was a far better environment for me, so I think whether you choose to home school your son, or get him into a private school or private lessons, it will be far better for him. Wishing you all the best with this.

    1. pageprotectorprintablesandmore

      Susan, I’m so sorry for what you endured. That is awful! We have considered private school seriously, but for several reasons we aren’t pursuing it at this time. It is definitely a possibility at some point though. Unfortunately, in our area, the private schools often have a sort of “who you know” or “who your ancestors are” feel to them as well. As for his lessons, yes, I will have lots of help. It has to be that way for everyone’s mutual benefit and greater good. 😀

  4. thegangsmomma

    Interesting to read this today. Our tenth grader has requested I start thinking and looking into homeschooling. For other reasons than what your boys endured but that she was the one asking brought me up short. LOTS of change and difficulty already this year – looks like we’re in for more adjusting and transitioning. hmmmmm

    1. pageprotectorprintablesandmore

      Oh boy T. I wish I had some easy answers or a check-list for you. It is hard isn’t it? We have a 10th grader at home and he is doing fabulous. He is a hard worker and wants to get his work done timely. He will begin dual enrollment at the nearby community college next year Lord willing. He is set to take the ACT next Saturday, which has me all kinds of nerves (since I’m his teacher).

  5. Jamie White


    I am so sorry to hear about the terrible experience that your son has had this school year. That place sounds like a nightmare. I can’t even image how upsetting it must be for him, and for you not to be confident that you are sending him someplace where he is safe (and learning) every day. You are such a good mom and a good teacher, and I will pray that everything works out even better than you expect when he returns to homeschooling.

    Take care,

    1. Leslie Post author

      Jamie, thank you so much for your comment and encouragement. I have been delayed in replying b/c I can’t get to the admin part of my blog from my phone LOL! I don’t know why. Anyway, two of our kids had surgery last Tuesday and just came home yesterday. But I was able to read your comment and now am just on my laptop for the first time in a week and am publishing and replying. Thank you so much and I so wish my Li’l Bit, 4, could be in your preschool! 😀 Leslie

  6. Becky

    I can’t believe your kids have to go through this! The kids in this school are bullies and unfortunately, you will read about them in the news in a few more years getting in trouble with the law. We are only going to survive by getting along with each other. We don’t have to like everyone but be respectful and choose your friends wisely. The other kid should have been suspended too and the mother shouldn’t even be considered to be a sub. He probably learned the bullying from her. Who knows what goes on in these homes? This would make me so angry. Praying for the boys safety and for you with an extra student in January.

    1. Leslie Post author

      Thank you so much Becky for your support again and again. We would later find out that our son should have only been given ISS (in-school suspension), because it was his first offense. Of course the school said they can’t find any evidence of bullying. Clearly they have major problems, but basically certain families in the town run the school and their kids are some of the worst bullies there b/c they know they can get away with it I suppose. It is almost unbelievable but it is happening.

  7. karicole

    I’m so disappointed for you. My heart sank as I read through your families school experiences so far this year. I’ve travel this road for awhile now too – my oldest is 20 and still hasn’t graduaded from high school. This is his last year so it is a do or done year for him. It’s been a loooong and painful journey with a few ups but mostly downs – and this is with a wonderful supportive school system behind us. But we have also lived in places which did not offer such support. regardless, I have a most uncooperative unmotivated student which wears a person out and can leave me deflated. At this point, I’ve had to step way back and accept whatever he chooses. Anyway, all this to say I get it, you are not alone, I support you, and I know you are doing the hard things that need to be done. And doing them well! I pray the cyber school will come along beside you and offer help, guidance, and understanding.
    Oh, and I must say, sometimes a diagnosis or having a someone see what you see is so so comforting and validating. It gives voice to all the unnamed struggles you deal with.
    Thank you for posting and sharing your heart. It always touches and moves me.

    1. Leslie Post author

      Kari, I’m so sorry for the struggles and pain you have faced and are facing, but I reciprocate in saying thank you too for sharing and you encourage me more than you know! You are very correct in saying having someone else see what I have seen has been very validating and even thought our son isn’t talking much about the diagnosis yet the decision to accept it is coming forth and I already see much positive from it. I am working on a couple of more posts, but I’m almost afraid to hit publish. I think I will though. We need to talk about the hard stuff to. I’m not sure why God entrusts me with these moments of clarity and then asks me to share them, but I want to be found faithful and go where He leads. I’m trying at least. Many hugs to you my friend! Leslie


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