I’m not a good writer. I don’t have any real experience with writing, and have trouble feeling confident no matter what I type. I often question my abilities as a blogger and struggle to feel like what I have to say is relevant, easy to understand, and something others can relate to. Some of my closer friends know what I’ve been through as far as my education, but I feel that I need to lay it all out there in order to move forward, feeling secure and capable rather than defeated and ashamed.
From preschool through fourth grade I attended a public school. I’m not bragging when I say I was a great student. I loved learning, adored my teachers, and my grades reflected both. I’ve always been someone to put in my all, having a strong desire to impress others and find some kind of worth within myself. My peers made fun of me because I was a ‘goody good’; always trying to do the right thing, being as helpful as possible, and working hard to be the best I could be. By the middle of my fourth grade year, my mother not only noticed a decline in my self esteem thanks to my peers, but also noticed I was no longer being challenged in my classes. The idea of being homeschooled was brought up; promises of special school trips, learning what I wanted to learn, and being able to sleep in were only some of the pros my mother mentioned.
Sounded good to me!
I was 10 years old at the time, truly having no idea what I was getting myself into. When I walked away from my elementary school at the end of the year, it was the last time I would be in a typical school system. My fifth grade year started, and while I could tell my mother tried to make it fun, I wasn’t being taught enough, and found I was often lonely. I hardly ever heard from my school friends, and was almost always at home, practically hiding in my room from my emotionally abusive father (but that’s another story).
At the end of each school year, I was tested to make sure I was learning what I should and could advance to the next grade, and each year the state found me to be up to par (and advanced in certain subjects) and able to pass. However, what they didn’t know was that after the little teaching my mother did for my fifth grade year, she stopped. My mother struggled with depression, felt like she was stuck in an unhealthy marriage, and was trying to figure out how to deal with my rebellious teenage sister; my schooling was the least of her concerns.
I lived in my bedroom, writing in my journal and spending a lot of time reading novels. Each year I would wait for my mother to get me the books I needed and actually teach me something, but every time I mentioned it, she would gesture to our library and tell me to just go read something. She didn’t teach me anything and despite my desire to learn, I had become so socially awkward that the idea of going back to public school sent me into panic mode, knowing at this point I wouldn’t fit in or be at the same level academically. Toward the end of “seventh grade” a private school opened up in our town. It was put together like a one room schoolhouse and would have grades pre-k through eighth grade attending. My parents spoke with the people who started the school and decided it would be a good fit for me.
I was terrified of going back into a regular school setting, afraid of failing my teacher because I wasn’t smart enough, scared of being around other children every day, and totally insecure in my ability to handle it. Shortly before school started, I found out that there would be only four other students apart from myself; a fourth grader, two third graders, and a preschooler. The idea of being the only eighth grader was a relief, but was hard at the same time. I desired friendship, but had no idea where to find it and pretty much gave up on it. I became a ‘big sister’ to the other kids in the school, and often helped them with their school work rather than focusing solely on my own. The teacher sort of took me on as an aid and though she did teach me, the focus of the school was for younger children.
The next year was back to homeschooling…er…unschooling.
I volunteered at the school weekly, spent a lot of time babysitting, but my own schooling never really happened. The state required a portfolio at the end of each year showing pieces of the work I had done, so the month of May my sister and I would take some time writing up a couple papers and putting a few projects together. Each year I “passed” and every year made me feel even worse.
That’s right, my last year of formal schooling was eighth grade, and even that is a reach because of how I was taught and what was expected of me.
Sick of dealing with the situation I was in, I took the first chance I had to get out of my situation and ran with it. I got married, had babies, and never finished high school according to the state. I had completed my Junior year, but didn’t graduate from high school. I started working on getting my GED a couple times, but wasn’t able to because of my life situations. My ex husband wasn’t supportive and I had small children to care for, so I threw myself into being a mommy, and put it on the back burner.
A lot happened in between, but March of 2012 I decided it was time. I made it a priority and by the end of May I passed the GED test with flying colors, surprising even myself with the scores I received.
My point of this post is that I’m not highly educated or wicked smart, as they say here, and it’s something I have a lot of anxiety about. I do my best, but I read what others write and am full of awe. I wish so badly I had stayed in school, and wonder often where I would be today if I had. I can’t go back to that, nor would I want to, but I know my posts are lacking since I don’t know all the right words to say and what makes sense in my mind isn’t always simple to write out.
I’m hoping that expressing these feelings will eliminate some of my insecurities and help you all understand my situation a little better.
*cough* Carry on.. *cough*