If you read my blog or follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I home school my son. What you may not know is that it wasn’t by choice. Evan is an amazing bundle of energy in motion. To say that he is a challenge would be an incredible understatement. I spent most of his earlier years fighting with doctors and schools to get him the help he needed, but it became clear that they just didn’t have the faith in my son that I had. I knew he could overcome the obstacles he faced, but I felt alone in that. He didn’t fit in at school, and they wouldn’t do anything to help. His issues made him an easy target for bullies, and I often found myself in the principal’s office because of Evan’s behavior and fights. I had a novel idea, why don’t you actually do something about the bullying instead of all this lip service and poster crap about not tolerating bullying while burying your heads in the sand. They wanted me to medicate him. They wanted Evan to fit in. I finally realized that Evan wasn’t going to fit in, and I didn’t think he should have to.
By the end of fourth grade, I was tired of fighting. Tired of making excuses and forcing Evan to go to a public school where the people didn’t understand him, and apparently, didn’t want to. When he started making statements like “I’m stupid. I can’t do anything,” that was the last straw. I made the decision to try home school. I was terrified. When I started college, I was an English major in the teaching credential program. My goal was to teach high school English, but I barely made it through the first year. I realized I was not cut out for teaching, and I switched to psychology never to return. What made me think I could teach now?
The thought of being completely responsible for Evan’s education paralyzed me with fear. If he failed, I would have no one to blame but myself, but I couldn’t allow him to continue to struggle and fall behind because of his situation and not because of his potential to learn.
The last two years have been a roller coaster of ups and downs. When we first started, Evan couldn’t work independently at all. Not at all. I had to sit by him constantly to keep him focused. The beat down he had taken in public school had taken its toll, and he had no confidence in himself. There were many days I questioned my decision and my sanity. Our biggest challenge was writing. He could not write one sentence. Not one. Writing was so punishing, he outright refused to do it at times. Using the computer didn't help. He hated the entire writing process.
Through the charter school we are in now, I have been able to get him occupational therapy, speech therapy, and a resource teacher. Plus, we have an incredible supervising teacher who keeps me on track and sane. His progress has been nothing short of amazing. Watching him blossom these last two years has erased any doubts I may have had about home schooling.
This year he is able to work independently, and does not fight. His confidence grows daily as he is able to accomplish goals and complete his work. The one hold up has been writing. Despite my best efforts, that continues to be a problem. While he has improved, he will only write what is necessary and will never write anything independently. I had resigned myself to the fact that this was going to take longer to overcome, but I had my doubts that he would ever write. I was disappointed because he is so creative. He started making “movies” as a way to tell his stories, so I encouraged that and made sure he had the equipment to do it. I let him tell his stories through film.
The other day, he was playing with an old wooden puzzle of the United States I bought years ago. It came in handy when learning the states and their capitals. He had it sitting up a little, so when he removed Texas, the other states started caving in. He cracked up and started making up a story about it. That wasn’t unusual. What shocked me was the fact that he turned to me and asked me if he could write it. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Before I could reply he said “Maybe I take after you mom. Maybe I could write.” I could barely speak past the monstrous lump in my throat. I opened a word document, and my son, for the first time in his life, wrote something voluntarily - completely on his own. It is the greatest story I have ever read.
I want to share it with you. I didn’t change a thing because, like Evan, it is perfect just the way it is.
What Happened to the USA
By Evan Franco
It was a lovely day in America, but Texas was tired of staying in one place for years. “I’m sick of staying here all the time,” he said one day, “I’m the largest state in the world, I shouldn’t have to be stuck here,” he continued. “Oh come on Texas,” said California, “You’ve been here for millions of years, why would you say you don’t want to stay here anymore.” Texas didn’t answer, he just grunted rudely.
The next day it happened, Texas wiggled and wobbled. It caused a US earth quake. “TEXAS!!!” cried California “STOP THIS NOW!!!,” but Texas didn’t stop until, CRASH!!!!!!!!!, Texas broke free and flew away. Good bye guys, I’ll send you a postcard, FROM MARS HA HA HA!!! The he left earth. Many people were left with no home, no job and no family.
“He’s gone” said Nevada. “I really miss” CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!! Oklahoma and Kansas fell. “Are you all right guys” said Colorado (the dust clears) “I think so” they replied. “Man that was a hard fall”, then there was another loud CRASH!!!!!!! Nebraska fell along with North and South Dakota. “It’s happening” said California. “What?” said Idaho. “If we don’t Texas back in less than an hour the US will fall apart.” “We have to get Texas back.”
On Mars, “so earth, I used to live there, you like evergreens yeah you do.” Then a letter flew out of nowhere and hit Texas in the face. “OW MY EYE!!!!!!!.” “It’s a letter from earth, oh its probably just them saying how happy they are without me.” He opened it and showed him a picture of what was happening. “Oh no” he said “I didn’t know THIS would happen. He made a decision “I have to go back.” “Sorry lady mars states, I must go back to earth, my friends need me” he said strongly.
50 minutes had past and Texas was still not back. “LOOKING FOR ME!!!” said a voice. “Could it be” said California. It was, Texas came back. Everyone cheered, Texas was home. President Obama was contacted and reconstruction on the USA began. 70 years had past and things were looking good. Finally after 700,000,000,000, years later the US was rebuilt and Texas learned that no state is more important than any other.
What Happened to the USA
By Evan Franco, M.E Franco’s son
Yeah, if you’re wondering, the last line made me cry.