View Full Version : New Here...

06-21-2010, 12:58 AM
Hi everyone, I'm new to this site and am very thankful to have found it! A little about myself and family... we started homeschooling last year when my oldest daughter (8 years old) developed a severe case of seperation anxiety and school phobia following the death of my mother. The school handled it so badly that part of me wanted to sue them! My mother passed away very suddenly during the middle of Courtney's 1st grade year. Courtney was fine going back to school after being out for a week but she also had a very wonderful teacher. And too, she returned to a classroom that was familiar to her filled with all her friends. No problems for the rest of that year. The problems started when she began 2nd grade. She left the house on the first day of school so excited that she almost forgot her backpack! However, when she got off the bus that afternoon she was a whole different little girl. I couldn't get anything out of her when I asked her if something happened. The only thing she said was that her teacher had made a joke about the kids missing their bus. I called the school for further information and all the teacher said was "that's only part of the story and I've been teaching 2nd grade for 34 years". That's it. That is all they would tell me. The next day I could barely get Courtney out the door, she cried the whole time I got her ready. On the 3rd day I couldn't get her out the door at all. She clung to the couch so hard I couldn't move her. All weekend long she cried and complained of a stomachache. We managed to get her to school that Monday but the rest of the week was touch and go. Everyone assumed that I was just babying her, letting her get her way. I couldn't make them understand that she was having panic attacks (I know what they are because I get them too... long story). My husband works 12 hour swing shifts so he missed all of the morning drama until finally one day when I couldn't get her to let go of the back of the toliet, I went upstairs and woke him up so he could see exactly what was going on. He then called his mother so she could hear the chaos. Finally they understood that this wasn't a child having a tantrum over going to school. I brought her to her doctor and he said it sounded like school phobia. I had never in my life heard of such a thing!! He said it's usually brought on by a traumatic event. The school, in all their idiotic wisdom, decided to schedule a "meeting" to discuss the situation. The whole thing was nothing but a ruse. Courtney and I go to this 8am meeting in the principal's office. The principal is there, her teacher, the school psychologist (who looked like she just graduated school herself), the school/home liason and Courtney's teacher. The only things that were said at that meeting were things she had already heard from us... like how much fun school is, how she gets to see her friends, etc... Then the principal says to Courtney "I'm going to have a word with your mom out in the hallway for a moment, ok?" So I go out in the hallway with him and out from another door comes the school psychologist with my purse. I am then ushered out of the school while my daughter is screaming on top of her lungs for me. I cried all the way home and my husband could tell something was wrong as soon as I walked in the door. Then the school/home liason stops by our house to pick up Courtney's backpack and lunch, all the while taking a good look at our home. That was it. The next day we couldn't get Courtney out of bed at all so we called the principal and told him that we are officially withdrawing her from school and she would be homeschooled from now on. I called the board of education that day, they told me everything I had to do and were very nice about it, very helpful. I filed the letter of intent and ordered a cirriculum after doing some research. A week later guess who shows up at our door? Child Protective Services. In the end they obviously closed the case and labelled it unfounded and we've been homeschooling ever since. What really gets my goat is that the school Courtney went to is the best in the city. Granted, we live in a small city (about 12,000) and out of the 4 elementary schools, Lanigan is considered the best because it's in the rich section of town. We purposely bought a house in what I call "snob hollow" just so our kids could go to the best school and this is what the best school did. We have a 2 year old and she will never step foot in the elementary schools here. So far 3 people I know, myself included, have had CPS called on them by our school system simply because we disagreed with something they did. These are people that I know, so how many have had CPS called on them that I don't know? Unbelievable!! I have to admit that homeschooling is something that I never ever considered but now feel that I don't have a choice. Our school system is considered one of the better ones too. Oh, I live in central NY, north of Syracuse.

We joined our local chapter of Leah but frankly found them to be so religious that is was kind of creepy. During the end of year picinic this is an actual statement one of the parents said to their child while playing a game of knocking over empty soda cans with rubber bands "Jedidiah, let the Holy Spirit go through you and guide your rubber band"... my husband said it reminded him of Jones Town and if they started to hand out Kool-Aid, we better not drink it...LOL!

Anyways, I'm terribly sorry that this is so incredibly long. I guess I've been needing to get all of this off my chest for a while now! My real name is 'Cherie, my husband Joel and I have been married for 11 years but have been together for 20, we have 2 girls... Courtney who is 8 but will be 9 soon and Katelyn (Katie) who is 2. I'm obviously a SAHM and plan to continue to homeschool for as long as possible. I used Abeka last year and yes it is a Christian cirriculum but it's not too overly done and I didn't purchase the bible study part of it. We do believe in God and Jesus but that is not why we're homeschooling. If we want our children to recieve religious education then we'll enroll them in Sunday school but I'm not covering it here at home. I plan to use Abeka again only because I am now use to how it works and it's affordable for our family. It also covers everything she needs (I buy the child and parent kits) but I also make good use of the internet as well.

I'll stop my very long winded introduction now and I thank anyone who stayed awake long enought to read it all. I am just so glad that I found this group and I think the relief of finding other people who are like me is making me type non-stop! Thanks again!

06-21-2010, 08:31 AM
Welcome! I am so sorry to hear about the creepy and awful way the schools treated your daughter and your family! You were wise to get her out of such a yucky situation.

06-21-2010, 09:03 AM
Welcome to the group 'Cherie! I'm so sorry this happened to you guys. I've had CPS show up at my door several times over the last 6 years (the last time with the police!) because of accusations of child abuse (not linked to homeschooling but custody issues between my husband and his ex where she got her daughters to tell the teachers that we were abusing them) and in our case as well all of those investigations were closed, but not until my own kids (4 of them) had to be interviewed at their schools and without me. I'm still terribly angry about all of this because it brought so much stress to our family. So I understand why you would never put your youngest in that school. What some of those administrators do under the guise of "meaning well" is intolerable, IMO.

Anyway, you're in a better place now since you're here! How is homeschooling going? Is your daughter still battling with anxiety? A friend of mine's 7 year-old son also has separation anxiety and won't let my friend out of his sight (he's homeschooled too) so it's a challenge, but he's getting better. I'm trying to convince him that he can come for a sleepover at our house (he and Noah are really good friends) but so far, he hasn't wanted to... well, he WANTS to but can't, I guess.

I have to run but I look forward to seeing you more on the boards. And don't worry about the length of your posts, we like long explanations, here, he he.

06-21-2010, 10:33 AM
I'm so sorry that you went through that. I can't believe the way the school handled that situation it's just terrible. My daughter also has some anxiety issues (so do I), I can definitely sympathize with panic attacks.
Anyway welcome to the board. Everyone here is very supportive and helpful.

06-21-2010, 10:46 AM
Welcome to the site! I am also sorry to hear about your family's trouble with the schools, hopefully you all are doing much better now! We are so lucky that all of us here have decided to make this journey with our kids together. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to hang out with!

06-21-2010, 10:59 AM
Wow, Cherie...I totally understand about you wanting to share and get that story off your chest. It's a doozy, and I know this has been a long and painful road for you!! (especially after the death of your mom!) I'm SO glad you made the decision you did for your daughter's sake. My son has an anxiety disorder, and few people understand that you can't simply use logic, cajoling, or even bribing to get them out of their phobic state. I hope homeschooling has brought the stress levels down for all of you. This site is a wonderful, supportive place, and I'm betting you will enjoy hanging out with us!! We have a New York (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/group.php?groupid=44) group you might want to join, too!

06-21-2010, 11:03 AM
Hi 'Cherie, and welcome! I'm horrified by what you went through at your daughter's school and I'm so glad that you were able to see a way out by having her homeschool. This forum is a wonderful place with helpful and very knowledgeable members. I look forward to "seeing" you here!

06-21-2010, 01:38 PM
Yikes and double yikes! Good for you for standing up for your daughter & making the decision to get her the heck out of there. We've got anxiety issues here, too; the day I had to physically push my child into her 2nd grade classroom was the day we decided to go back to homeschooling. Is Courtney doing better now? How long have you had her out (perhaps you mentioned & just missed that)? I would be TERRIFIED if CPS came to my home; what a scary invasion!

Too funny about Jedediah needing the lord to guide his rubber band! Ha! We live in Texas, so we know all about that kind of stuff.

I've used some Abeka & liked it; I especially like to arts & crafts books we've found.

06-21-2010, 01:51 PM
Welcome to the site! I'm sure you'll find lots of advice and support here. What a horrible story! :( I certainly feel for you and your daughter. CPS showed up at my door once as well (completely unrelated to homeschooling-one of the complaints by an anonymous caller was that I let my kids outside in barefeet and pajamas-this is in the summer in NH when they were 4 and 6 years old in our backyard...hell, I've seen adults in Walmart dressed in a similar fashion!), so I know the unsettling feeling it can give, even when finally determined to be an unfounded complaint.

Feel free to vent and get things off your chest here-it's a friendly place.


06-21-2010, 04:57 PM
That is horrible, and not surprising! I knew when I was trying fill out the forms for my daughters school registration last year that she would have suffered the same type of anxiety, so my heart and my husband said homeschool. I'm so glad I did and I think you'll be very happy you did also.

06-21-2010, 05:17 PM
Welcome, 'Cherie - I can only imagine your frustration and anger after being treated that way by the school. I've run into my share of clueless and hapless administrators, but never ones who seemed so actively nasty. I'm glad that you're here, and I hope that you'll share some of what you've learned over the last year with us!

06-22-2010, 01:58 AM
Thank you everyone for your warm welcome and for actually reading the essay that I wrote. It certainly has been an interesting year... my daughter and I learned a lot that is for sure! She just took the Terra Nova asessment test last week, which we turned into our Board of Education on Friday. They said that we would get the results sometime in July but from looking at her answers while she took the test, I know she did very well. Big sigh of relief there!

Melissa, we've had Courtney out for this past school year and her anxiety about school is gone because she knows that in the "school of mommy" there is no stress. It was scary with CPS showing up, something I never thought would happen to us! That very night I ran around the house and made sure all the doors and windows were locked because I couldn't shake the feeling that someone was trying to take my children away from me.

Nathalie, it sounds like my daughter is exactly like your son's friend. I can't go anywhere without her. She comes to the dentist with me, to my doctor, to the store, to my chiropractor, everywhere... we do have her in counseling so we're doing everything that we can. However, when she does come with me she knows it's not a day off from school. She has to bring school work with her or at the very least put the game Brain Age in her Nintendo DS and bring that. We also have her enrolled in dance lessons which count towards her physical education requirement and for most of the year I had to sit on a stool in the doorway of the studio so that she could always see me. She finally became comfortable enough in the very last month of dance for me to sit with the other moms, which thrilled me to death because I finally got to talk to them normally and not shout at them from across the room! It's been tough but the dance thing made me see that progress is being made, even if it is slow.

06-22-2010, 11:56 AM
That is so cool that she is making progress, and that you are there supporting her through that!

06-23-2010, 05:54 AM
Wow, Cherie, what an awful story. I am glad your family was able to homeschool. So heartbreaking. And it's great to read that the dance class situation is getting easier. My nephew has separation anxiety, though not when he goes to his preschool. It's when he gets home and one or both parents need/want to leave. He also won't go to bed easily because of it. He fights them for an hour or more. He's 4. My BIL also has anxiety issues. Babysitting the few times I have was not easy. While I do't understand what goes on in the kids' heads when they act this way I feel so bad that they are so scared by something. I hope Courtney eventually learns how to cope, for her sake and yours. At least courtney is getting some help; my sister and BIL don't see that it could help their little guy.

06-23-2010, 10:44 AM
I got tears in my eyes reading your story! How awful that CPS was called to your home.

I also understand a little bit about panic attacks in young children. My daughter is 5 and suffers from them. The first time she had one was shortly after my own mother had some major surgery on her back. We went to visit my mom at her house a couple days after the surgery and that night when we got home, my daughter started screaming about how her back hurt and things just progressed from there. My husband and I have talked about counseling for her because overall she's a really emotional little girl. She also takes dance class and it has been a great place of support for her. I'm glad that dance class is helping your daughter make progress.

Welcome to the group, there are some really great people here.

06-24-2010, 01:00 AM
Welcome Cherie! I'm so sorry about what your daughter and you went through. That is awful! I'm glad that you found a solution that has worked for you all. Welcome to this board, I've really enjoyed being here. I hope you do as well!

06-25-2010, 05:12 PM
Like so many others here, I got tears in my eyes when I read your post. However, your daughter is SO fortunate to have such loving and intuitive parents to get her the *heck* out of that "school" and to support her in her endeavors to deal with her anxieties. I can't imagine the stress it must have cost your family to go through all that, but I am so glad to hear that you are now in a better space--working through it as a FAMILY, an unbreakable unit who knows her best (and not enslaved by so-called "educators"). This is an amazing forum, so full of support and insights, and I hope you feel very welcome here. :)

06-26-2010, 01:18 AM
Thank you again everyone for the warm welcome! So much needed support and understanding people all in one place... something that we have not had all year long. I know I am going to greatly enjoy it here!