Evangeline has been an obdurate little grumpy-butt the past couple weeks. She's been raising her voice at me quite a bit lately, has refused to do things or just done her own thing on occasion, and has taken to lying down on the floor and refusing to move.
Something's been eating at her, and while I'm trying to correct her behavior, I also have been trying to figure out what it is.
Well, tonight it finally came out. She hates being homeschooled. Not too terribly surprising, really; she was in preschool for two years, and really benefitted from the environment with the other children. At home, as she complained this afternoon, it's just me, her and Rachel in class, and she misses her friends. And to top it all off, I'm not the most social of creatures, and sometimes like to withdraw into myself for a while. (I've been trying to set up playdates, but it's not as easy as I wish it were.)
So Evangeline told me today that she wants to go to kindergarten with her friends. Our problem is that we couldn't afford the private kindergarten at her preschool, and the snarfling bureaucrats in our public school district don't consider her old enough to be in kindergarten. (She can read, and knows her basics of history, math and geography, but they won't test her for kindergarten because she misses the cutoff date by A LOUSY TWO WEEKS! Can you say "arbitrary and capricious?")
My wife and I have talked it over, and we're going to keep homeschooling her for now. She's already gained placement at the local charter school for the next school year, so we'll take advantage of that for 2005-06.
I have explained to Evangeline several times why we're homeschooling her for kindergarten, and did so again last Friday. When I explained that the school district wouldn't let us start her in kindergarten this year, she complained, "Well, they made a BAD CHOICE, and I hope they change their minds." So do I, kiddo. So do I.
We've been making a tremendous effort to increase her socializing opportunities. She's enrolled at a weekly Spanish course for children in Metuchen; we recently started her with an hourlong weekly gymnastics class nearby; her formal instruction in drawing starts tonight; and I called the Girl Scouts today to see about enrolling her in Daisies. Plus I called a few other parents to see about play dates.
It just bites. Here in Iowa in particular, we've substituted activity for involvement, mistaken chatter for communication, and settled for acquaintances when we could have made friends. People are too freaking busy to just stop, be and enjoy themselves and let their kids discover the world around them in a natural, meaningful way. It's like the people who hope to discover intimacy by having sex, and find themselves getting sex but all alone.
And of course, in our bid to keep Evangeline from being all alone, we're falling into the same pit that I see already has swallowed many of her peers.