Adventures in the land of the muggles…..

Against my personal convictions, I recently enrolled my two youngest daughters in public school. They had been homeschooled by me the previous school year.  I think i need to start back a little before this to better paint the picture. I used to live in a county an hour east of where i live now. But a new marriage brought my new home here to the city.  My girls had been attending a school system since elementary school in this county.  I was their momma and felt that they should come live with me fulltime (though we had equal custody..a whole other story)and go to school near my home.  I had all girls and it had been a battle dealing with my ex in regards to the needs of three girls. Especially needs he saw of no importance.  He is a highly critical and pessimistic individual. This made it hard for my girls to talk to him and get things they needed.  Deodorant is a need in this culture we live in but it is heavily laden with chemicals(the big culprit of alzheimers disease is Alum, aluminum) and he and i both had strong opinions against that stuff for the girls.  The all natural aluminum free kind is much more expensive and with three daughters and myself using (Bobo wasn’t old enough yet but soon would be)the product its outrageous to keep in stock let alone sanitary napkins and such. He wouldn’t get them any for a long time so i was left to buy extra to send with them. Stocking two homes takes nearly an extra income to just keep up with girly needs if you can only imagine. We go the all natural route as much as possible but the cost is enormous.  I digress. With constant little battles about this stuff continuously going on its understandable why Bobo and Lala wanted to live with me. His intense efforts to avoid any child support costs  kept him fervently antagonistic about them moving schools. Our eldest daughter was already graduated high school and working towards college. Where she lived was her choice. Lala was in high school and it was understood that a court would recognize her as old enough to decide where she wanted to live. She felt in the middle. I didn’t want her to feel like that so i tried my best to let her make the choice on her own feeling no anxiety about me regarding her decision.  But being an hour away , i would not be able to see her very often. She hated that school and begged me to take her out but she felt like she was choosing between parents who she had spent equal time with most her life.  She has a big heart and though she hated being around him most of  the time also, she loved him and didn’t want him to be alone.  Amelia being much younger was the final factor. Ultimately, we settled out of court in order to keep the courts from seperating me from my children (judge was giving ex favor for keeping kids in same county school system as they had been there for so long regardless of what my girls wanted)and i agreed that Bella could stay there fulltime and go to school there and Amelia would come with me and we would get them time to spend together when we could. The ex would not allow me to put them in public schools if i wanted to settle because he had his mind set that the school system was much more violent and badly managed because we lived in the city. Well the school system we were moving from made more teen moms and alcoholics than they made college students and its still booming epidemic.  He knew the school had let us down where our daughter had been but he would stop at nothing to set up a lifestyle of total convenience for himself rather than hear the heart of our middle child and how unhappy she was in this school. So Lala stayed in the high school she started in and little bit was put in an overpriced Montessori school halfway between both our homes.   I was far more emotional about it than anyone and i felt more unheard and misunderstood than i had in a long time.  But i put my best foot forward and tried to approach it with strength and optimism.  As time went by Lala realized she should have chosen to come with us. Daily her father would make rude inappropriate remarks about her substandard fitness level(in his eyes) or he would hurl harsh criticism at her when she tried to vent about her tough day. He lived much closer and had a better chance to go to the school and speak on Lala’s behalf but he continuously told her to take it like a man and buckup.   The Montessori school was a good school but it was not without its faults as well. Very very expensives with constant fees for fieldtrips out of state and camping with the whole school etc etc. as well as a breeding ground for wealthier spoiled rotten kids who couldn’t be made to mind because their parents were paying customers. Bobo was hitting puberty full on and suddenly encountered acne and needed deodorant now also. Using the natural variety can require you reapply it once more in the middle of your day. Being little and new to this puberty thing Bobo  didn’t always remember to reapply at lunch.  One of the kids starting taunting her about it and making fun of her acne. Other kids had their  issues also but again it seemed that the school would go to great lengths to massage everyone so as not to lose business. Ultimately, Bobo was made to just put up with it. I found out later their was this huge rumor by all the students that two of the teachers were having an affair together and using school fieldtrips to have their rendezvous time together. They were even caught by students alone together late at night in a hotel pool on one particular weeklong travel adventure.  The female teacher was supposed to be the adult guardian in my daughters room and when she disappeared my daughter and her friends went looking for her.  blah blah blah. The total bill for one years tuition minus fieldtrips and camp and stuff came to $13,000.00 and between both schools who were by law given the right to keep my children for 8 hours everyday yet doing a crappy job at truly educating them(other than the cruel and unjust side of things or people) I knew i could do at least a job good as or better than these schools and it wouldn’t cost me 13 grand to accomplish it. I had to think of something that would work so that i could advocate for Lala’s behalf regarding the issues with that rotten school as well as make it feasable for my ex to be open to it. He was easy to anger and once furled up i knew he wouldn’t be eager to work at a change at all.  Bobo was up til midnight doing homework every single night and grew quickly disenchanted with such a heavy workload all year and wanted a change. She liked some aspects about the school and loved the unique things this private school offered but she wanted out. My new husband and I had been footing the entire bill on this school and with two daughters entering college the next fall , even with his decent income we didn’t know where the money would come from.  Still sharing custody(lawyers fees became the deciding factor in our settling out of court though i wish i had been able to get primary with child support straight from the beginning) the best option i saw was homeschooling them(many new programs for online school and now TN has an online public school program) where we could split the time , the commute, everything right down the middle. Lala would be happy and Bobo could have a less aggressive approach to the homework load. I cannot remember how I managed to get this accomplished but somehow my ex felt it was a good idea too and agreed that we pull the girls and homeschool. Often, depending on his mood that day, he spoke of his disdain for much of the crazy priorities of this society as well as the poor morale and the poor examples of professionalism in the school my daughter did go to. HOWEVER, soon after we began teaching the girls at home he changed his mind and began tormenting them about how they will not amount to anything and will learn anything…..He was especially hard on Lala. She is built thick and voluptuous unlike my other two girls and myself who are petite and thin. She is absolutely beautiful. Her face, her eyes, her incredible spirit and sense of humor…even her name. She is highly artisistic and driven. Being a music man his whole life ,one would expect her Father to appreciate all her artistic qualities.she was in band and had a fantastic ability to draw, create nearly anything. She had a perfect 4.0 and perfect 100 percent track record until her last school (her art teacher bullied her and gave her a grade to ruin her perfect grades though we felt it was completely undeserved.) Nothing she could do would please her daddy because appearance were everything in his family and they also had issues with her regarding her solid physique and if they wouldnt completely accept her than he surely could not. He was still trying to gain their approval himself. she was more of a reason why he felt he couldn’t get the approval he desired from them. That is my guess anyway. I would try to talk to her as often as i could over the phone. What seemed to bother her most is missing her momma and being in our positive fun atmosphere. It was hard for her to hear that we would get snowed in and go tromping off on long hikes through our woods in the snow with boda bags filled with hot chocolate and returning half frozen to a toasty fire in the woodstove and homemade food and movies…or we would go out to dinner every now and then. Her little sister Bobo would get to go out with my friends for pizza and such or the friends of ours that Lala adored would visit regularly and she was never here to enjoy their company. His house had no life in it. He kept it cold and it was quiet and empty most of the time and he rarely had friends over.   She LOVED homeschool and was excited about possibly getting snowed in and all the fun things we would do that fall. Even though he began a long school year of  scathing remarks and negative comments , Lala was happy. Bobo was as well. The truth is  noone supported us except a few of my friends who didnt come around the house real often. My new husband nor my exhusband could be bothered to help with homework . They both had math skills that soared above mine but never offered any assistance once.  My husband would come home and ask me how much homeschool we did. My inlaws would visit and question me as if they were also concerned if my girls were getting a proper education.  My life was so busy and i was burning the candle at both ends and tired of all the hurt feelings Lala had to work through (i was the only one that would listen to her) and just completely exhausted with the rest of the demands of my life so i relented. I devised a plan with Lala that if noone would help us or support us and everyone wanted to be this way then we would talk of public school only if Lala was given an awesome graduation party by her Daddy. She knew i would give her one. What she wanted more than anything was to travel the world. She wanted out. She was sick of her Daddy always saying how he may never get to see any of his children walk down the graduation aisle. He laid it on thick of his disappointment( our eldest got pregnant as a teen and graduated a semester early so they would let her walk the graduation ceremony) as if it didn’t hold as much value if she were to go through the exact same ceremony only through her homeschool based out of Chattanooga. He was there and saw the elaborate event our eldest daughter experienced when she graduated kindergarten through homeschool. The ceremony was held at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. I have never seen a high school graduation ceremony that glamorous.  Anyway,  the only way to quiet his mouth was to talk Lala into trying public school for her final year and graduation. Bobo had an increasingly hard time getting up during the day when homeschooled from staying up too late at night. Her studies were suffering and she made the choice to return to school as well because she felt if she were made to sit in a desk all day she would have no choice but to focus on her studies. She had deduced on her own that self motivation and a more lax school atmsophere were beyond her at that time.   I told Lala that though she was going to a new school system in a new city that there was still good things waiting inside every challenge. With a positive attitude she could be anywhere and still be joyful. It was up to her. I let her know if she decided she could not take it any longer and wanted out that we would let her leave school. If everyone wanted to give us a hard time for this we would make them pay by throwing her a big party and by playing their game , Lala would be able to take her graduation money and go to Latvia or Sweden or where she wanted . Even if for a few weeks or the summer she could get out of the country . Enter: Lala /Senior Year/ public high school. omfg. What a headache. This is the part of my story where the adventure really begins. (in the next post though cause i have a client in an hour :)) (I swear though the way Lala tells her tales of each day would win contests if she were to blog about it. Hilarious.) til next time

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