Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Friday, October 05, 2007

To school or not to school; Revisited

After much debating and thinking and discussing, Chamille has decided to hold off on trying out school and give another effort at making some friends in another way.

She came to me one day about 2 weeks ago and informed me that she wanted to go to school. It's her choice of course. It is natural that she'd be curious about it, as she's never been and it's such a huge part of our culture.

The largest reason was for finding and making friends and seeing her best friend more frequently. She hasn't been able to see E. for a while now because there is always some excuse or another coming from the dad about why she's unavailable. The last time E. came over I had to pick her up with the car because her dad told her that it wasn't ok to walk here. So I drove the 3 blocks and picked her up.

While she was visiting, E. and Chamille decided to walk over to the minimart about 2 blocks away. It was about 6:20 when Chamille came home by herself. I knew that E. had to be back home at 6:30, so I was expecting them back at our house any minute. Chamille was really upset when she came home and informed me that E.'s dad showed up at the minimart in his car, made his daughter get in it and drove away with not so much as a bat of an eye towards Chamille. I guess he was really mad about his daughter being at the minimart, but I can't imagine why, because the girls have been walking over there on many occasions over the last year.

What really upset me was that he left Chamille there all by herself without any regard to her safety or well being. I always prefer the buddy system, although, on occasion she has taken the dog on a walk without another person with her. She had to walk home by herself, not a huge deal since it's only about 2 blocks away, but not cool that she was just left there.

I considered calling the dad about 20 minutes after they were supposed to be back and asking him if Chamille and E. were at his house since they were supposed to be home and hadn't shown up. I didn't, but I thought about it. It would've made him have to explain himself and his complete disregard for my child.

I just can't even talk to that man. The longer this relationship goes on, the worse he gets. I am no longer comfortable with Chamille even going over to their house even if she were invited. If the parent in charge over there doesn't consider my daughter's safety, then she shouldn't be going over there at all. I feel really badly for Chamille. I've discussed all of this with her and she agrees that she doesn't ever want to go over there, because she's really uncomfortable with the way her friend's dad treats her and his own daughter.

E. is grounded again so it's not likely that Chamille will get to see her anytime soon. It's an indefinite grounding, where she has to "get her grades up" and isn't allowed to see any of her friends (as if she has any other than Chamille) until she does. It's all very vague and I'm sure that it has everything to do with previous events and his continuous undermining of their relationship. He even changed his mind again and said that E. isn't allowed to sleep over here. I found out about that about a week ago. I guess it doesn't matter anyway since E. is grounded for life, or so it seems.

I feel so badly for the girls, but there really isn't anything I can do about it. It's all about control with him and right now he's doing a great job of controlling the whole situation. There is really nothing I can do accept validate Chamille's hurt feelings and the huge sense of loss and upset that she has over all of this.

So, Chamille considered going to school to be near her friend and maybe have a few moments with her throughout the day. The catch is that they are not the same grade/age, and there is no gaurantee that they would be in the same house, lunch period, classes, etc. They could be in a situation where they don't see each other at all during the day.

We took a walk over to the school on a weekend and peeked into all of the windows. The way the school is set up, is repetitive hallways, converging on a circular entry way. By the last set of hallways, Chamille says, "I don't need to look in those windows, it will look the same as all the other ones.". I looked and she was right. The hallways looked sterile and bare, with the occasional school slogan posted on a designated board. Even the art room was sterile and bare. We talked and walked and looked.

The next day she told me that she'd like to give it another go at finding friends outside of school. I'm trying, but it's really hard. All these local homeschool boards have people that insist there is a really great teen community, but we can't seem to find it or anyone who has kids involved.

For now though, I'm glad that she's not in school, but she needs some friends! Friends that are free to go and do stuff like hang out at the mall and go on walks and bike rides and all that good stuff.


piscesgrrl said...

Hi there - I am visiting via the Unschooling Blogs ring. I empathize with your daughter's situation. My son is in a similar spot and IS in school partly because of it. So far it's going ok - he knows exactly what he's giving up and exactly what he's getting, which is a far more insightful vantage point than always-schooled kids have. I know this is a radical suggestion, but have you considered moving?

I hope your daughter finds some unschooling friends. I know this can be a very solitary path.

Jenny Cyphers said...

We signed a lease and are stuck here until May of '08. It's not a bad place to be, in many ways it's very ideal, but we knew that we wouldn't stay here forever. We are definitely moving next summer!

The other thing I'd considered and discussed with Chamille was that we could continue calling it homeschooling and that she was doing a socialogical assignment of school and that she needed to infiltrate the system to do so. I even told her that I'd go so far as to do much of her homework for her, so that she could focus on the task at hand.

We had a mighty fine laugh at that idea!